Monday, November 20, 2017

Used Car Review - Volvo XC60 (2009-2017)

This unappreciated vehicle will live on in this review.

2009-2017 Volvo XC60


One of the last manufacturers to jump in the SUV craze, Volvo joined the bandwagon in 2002 with the XC90 and became a smashing success for the Swedish brand. With Continental based manufacturers wanting sport utes on their line-up which means going smaller, everyone wanted the piece of the pie.

Unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show as a concept car and with the actual vehicle seeing sales a year later in most parts of the world. The first generation XC60 is part of the 60 family of automobiles that includes the S60 and V60. It shares the platform with the Ford Galaxy MPV and Mondeo sedan, and Land Rover Freelander SUV. Considering Volvo is owned by Ford a decade ago, development is split between subsidiaries with the former taking care of the technology part and the British off-road specialist contributed to its off-the-pavement skills. It was the first vehicle in the brand to introduce an auto brake feature called City Safety, a system where it prevents collisions for speeds below 30km/h.

Between 2008 to 2009, the Philippine market was awash with compact SUVs from Europe which gave the BMW X3 some competition. Volvo arrived ready with one unique selling proposition which the same period models lacked: a diesel engine, which BMW and sister company LR had. A facelift was introduced in 2013 that had added a two wheel drive model with a lower displacement diesel and a powershift transmission.

Value and Costs
With the launch of the 2018 model just months ago, expect prices to fall down with the oldest models going at P890,000 and the recently purchased ones priced at P2,500,000. Most models are AWD, especially that these were offered for a long time. Just like what we say with premium brands, go to the certified pre-owned section for peace of mind.

Volvo vehicles would have expensive maintenance costs but choosing the diesels will keep it lower. Parts are limited to the casa although there are specialist shops to help you, but if you know where to find them.

Exterior and Interior
Stare at this vehicle and you would be surprised that this is a Volvo, especially that at that time the brand is straying away from its boxy and safe image which became a mindset among consumers. Sure, it may have some conservatism in certain areas but the rear portion is where it shines. Only the gasoline model gets the sun roof, which the diesel burners don't get.

The interior is unmistakably European, with a high quality trim, modern styling, and loads of aluminum that you can mistaken it for a showroom for a premium brand furniture. You get a loaded interior from its audio system to seat controls and safety features (because Volvo, duh). Space for both humans and cargoes are decent, a plague for some competitors.

At launch, you get two engine options of different fuel requirements: a 3.0 gasoline having 304hp at 5,600rpm and 440Nm at 2,100-4,200rpm and a 2.4 diesel that utilizes 215hp at 4,000rpm and 420Nm at 1,500-3,000rpm. Added as a low cost option during the mid-cycle facelift is another diesel rated at 2.0 with 240hp at 5,500rpm and 320Nm at 1.800-5,000rpm. If you want this car, go for the diesels and call it a day as it is the logical choice.

Driving Impressions
Thanks to a platform utilized by the Volvo S60 and Ford Mondeo, you'll be treated to a smooth ride (despite road imperfections), nimble handling, and excellent NVH levels. Sure, the BMW X3 is fun to drive but has a harsher ride that not all folks would like.

This SUV may not be the first in mind when it comes to premium compact SUVs but the Volvo XC60 is one great contender.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Used Car Review - Kia Carens (2013-2016)

This unappreciated vehicle will live on in this review.

2013-2016 Kia Carens


If there is one vehicle that have to beat, it is the Toyota Innova. Throughout the years, competitors from various parts of the world have competed but had failed to topple the class leader. What is weird is that older models in which the Innova's predecessor sold better. With that description in mind, enter competitor number four, the Kia Carens since we have covered rivals from Japan (Mitsubishi Fuzion and Nissan Grand Livina) and America (Chevrolet Orlando) on this site before.

The third generation Carens under the RP chassis code first debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 2012, which may giveaway some cues for its intended market with sales commenced a year later. Two gasoline (1.6 and 2.0) and a solo diesel (1.7) were made options and these are all new to the vehicle.

Unlike rivals, this vehicle saw a second generation model for the Philippine market in 2013. Only a diesel option was offered, which is a good thing since the gasoline variant received poor sales. It was silently discontinued in 2016, with two variants being offered throughout selling life.

Value and Costs
Unlike a seven year old Innova or Crosswind, the Kia Carens suffers from low resale values which benefits second hand buyers like you. With the cheapest example you can find is P520,000 plus Kia's five year warranty, it is one bargain especially with a car like driving dynamics and stellar diesel engine. Except for a two row LX model launched in 2015, there are virtually no changes done to the vehicle.

Maintaining one is somewhat on the higher side compared to the Japanese competition. Parts are available in parts specialist shops catering to Korean brands. Fuel consumption is similar to diesel counterparts, which is a plus point.

Exterior and Interior
Thanks to the efforts of Peter Schreyer, the Carens is one stylish MPV which you wouldn't feel ashamed driving of. EX models gain daytime running lamps and a panoramic sun roof, while the lower models don't.

Do not let the smallish size fool you, especially that it can fit seven people in three rows of seats (except the last two people should be smaller ones) and fold the last one, you'll be treated to more space for cargoes. If you own a Hyundai-Kia vehicle, the Carens' interior will give you a feeling of familiarity with the layout of the dash coupled with a high quality interior.

While a diesel engine is the sole option, it is a new powerplant that has seen life in this vehicle. A 1.7 CRDI diesel with 134hp at 4,000rpm and 320Nm (for automatics) or 330Nm (standard among manuals) at 2,500rpm is the only choice and you wouldn't be disappointed. While powerful, it has improved in terms of refinement and smoothness.

Driving Impressions
You would think that you were driving a sedan, albeit with three rows of seats. It is easy to drive yet retains its car-like handling.

The Innova is one car to beat but no matter how smooth the rival's ride are or drives well, but what is important is they had tried hard. One achievement of the Carens is it had reached its second generation model despite popular models surrounding it.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Used Car Review - Chevrolet Orlando (2012-2016)

This unappreciated vehicle will live on in this review.

2012-2017 Chevrolet Orlando


Mention the words "Chevrolet" and "people carrier", the results will shock you especially that the General isn't known for vans or MPVs and these types are sold mostly in Europe, Asia, and South America. In its home market, it had given up on that category especially minivans aren't anymore best sellers.

Riding on a platform which is shared with the Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, the Orlando was first previewed at the 2008 Paris Motor Show with production starting two years later. It was mostly sold in Europe and Asia, with some going to Canada but not to their southern neighbors. For several markets, it replaced a number of vehicles.

For the Philippine market, Chevrolet had given up on people carriers with previous attempts such as the German based Zafira and Chinese derived Venture that were killed a decade ago. A few years later with a new distributor to boot, the Bow Tie brand returned to selling MPVs with the Orlando being the leader of the pack and rivaling the one car that cannot be beaten down in one segment: the Toyota Innova. It was silently removed in 2016 after falling sales with just one variant sold, the LT.

Value and Costs
Similar to gasoline powered rivals like the Mitsubishi Fuzion, expect poor resales for first owners but bargains among second hand buyers like you. With the vehicle discontinued recently, you can snatch the oldest unit available for as low as P430,000. Chevrolet offers a brand new warranty good for five years and transferable to the next owner, which means with not much changes done throughout, may land you a good chance of getting a unit covered with it without getting shortchanged. With that in mind, focus more on the condition.

Engine parts and mechanical related pieces are shared with the Cruze sedan, which is a good thing. Finding exterior parts aren't that easy since this isn't a best seller to begin with. Fuel consumption, obviously, is slightly lower than the Cruze due to a heavy body but on par with the Innova gasoline.

Exterior and Interior
Boxy is the theme for this vehicle, with a front which you can't mistaken for a different brand. However, the long side is a dead giveaway of such vehicle type while the rear is bland.

Own its sedan equivalent? Then you will feel at home since the layout is somewhat similar with some unique touches exclusive to this vehicle which includes the audio panel which can be flipped to reveal a storage bin. It has three rows of seats good for seven bodies and it does its job well, except for the third row that is best for small people.

Unlike competitors (and its apparent weakness), only one engine comes standard: a 2H0 1.8 gasoline with 139hp at 6,200rpm and 176Nm at 3,800rpm that is shared with, you guessed it right, the Cruze. Sure, it is smooth as silk and can deliver the goods despite the weight deficit, we feel that a diesel would be a perfect fit for this car and for its intended purpose.

Driving Impressions
Thanks to a sedan based underpinnings, you will definitely have fun with this vehicle and turning this one does not have the feeling of driving a truck. Driving this one at high speeds will return you some noise that intrudes the cabin.

If there is one car to beat, it is the Toyota Innova. The Orlando, named after a city in Florida but not sold there, has the credentials such as great handling and refinement but lacks what is needed and wanted in this segment.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Peugeot 3008 - Generation 1.2 (2015-2017)

PEUGEOT 3008 (2015-2017)

For 2015, the 3008 received a facelift but only the top of the line model was retained which means the lowest models were dropped, resulting to an expensive price point.

Peugeot 3008 - Generation 1.1 (2013-2015)

PEUGEOT 3008 (2013-2015)

The cheapest Peugeot vehicle in the line-up is also as practical, spacious, and easy to live with. Rivaling compact SUVS, the 3008 gets a diesel engine but no all wheel drive system

Car Profiles - Peugeot 3008 (2013-2017)

2013-2017 Peugeot 3008

The Good: Stylish, spacious, comfortable

The Bad: Not that sporty to drive

The Say: A unique entry to the class which stands out.

Go For: 1.6 Allure

Price Range: P700,000-P1,100,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: Used Car Review - Peugeot 3008 (2013-2017)
Latest vehicle profile: Peugeot 3008

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Car Features - To Our Dearly Departed Brands

We Filipinos take the date November 1 very seriously, especially that we remember our loved ones who had passed away. No matter how long had they died, we still offer them a prayer and light a candle wherever we are (on the graves or on our homes).

The Philippine market had a fair share of car brands that had come by and left us. Some brands had left for a variety of reasons such as poor sales or some controversies surrounding them. In this article (and for our All Saints/Souls day special), let's make a throwback on those brands that had ceased operations and leaving current owners left in the dust. We shall only list down brands that were made available since the 1990s, so American and European brands which existed before aren't counted here. Also, we will not be including brands that had left before but returned later on as it would warrant a separate list.

So, in memory for these brands that had left our 7,600 island nation and leaving current owners with no support.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Car Features - The Unmentiables, Not Sold in Japan

The past few episodes we had focused on Toyota (including Lexus and Daihatsu), Nissan (plus Mitsubishi), and Honda. Now, our last of the series will now involve brands that aren't part of larger automotive groups which includes Isuzu, Mazda, and Suzuki.

We did this series with Korean brands as a whole with vehicles not available in their home country. Before we start, current model line-up vehicles will be counted here and since Japan does not anymore dig pick-up trucks, they would not be listed here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Car Features - Honda Models Not Sold in Japan

Believe it or not, Honda assembles a variety of motor related items such as cars, motorcycles, engines for various items, power equipment, robots (remember ASIMO?), mountain bikes, aircraft, and previously ATVs and solar cell. They also participate in motorsports in both two and four wheels and still active as of today. While Honda isn't a part of any larger conglomerate, they are still a larger company and sell a sizable number of vehicles worldwide.

In this series, we shall discover vehicles built by Honda (cars, as including motorcycles would be a longer list) not sold in Japan. Acura vehicles would not be counted here. Before we start, current model line-up vehicles will be counted here and since Japan does not anymore dig pick-up trucks, they would not be listed here.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Car Profiles - Volvo XC60 (2009-2017)

2009-2017 Volvo XC60

The Good: Flexible, safety feature loaded

The Bad: Busy looking dash

The Say: A breakthrough, not safe looking or generic.

Go For: Diesel
Avoid: 3.0 T6

Price Range: P890,000-P2,500,000
Our Rating: ****

Related Review: Used Car Review - Volvo XC60 (2009-2017)
Latest vehicle profile: Volvo XC60

See the different versions of this vehicle: