Monday, February 19, 2018

Car Features - Same Car, Different Names: Suzuki and Subaru

For our last Japanese car feature about changing names, we would be squeezing two brands for in one article since they represent a minority of the Japanese market. Suzuki is tops when it comes to sales of Kei cars (smallish cars with a mandated minimum size and engine displacement) which are big in Japan and Subaru has three rebadged entries which is the base car.

Unlike our previous Japanese brands, the two brands only have one dealer network which means that having multiple names in one car isn't a big chance. For a car to be counted on this list, the vehicle must have a different name using the same shell (exterior modifications are usually done) but sold under a different brand. And to avoid a super long list, we would limit vehicles which were launched from 1990s and above. Do take note the year range represents the entire vehicle line (including those of its twins) even if the original model was killed.

Let us check which of the two S brands had different names.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Car Features - Same Car, Different Names: Mazda

After a month, our feature is back and we haven't stopped featuring Japanese brands and this week, the brand has its fair share to a point it didn't made sense to the manufacturer but that was almost 25 to 30 years ago. Mazda did this by having three dealership networks which they followed the strategy of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. No thanks to making numerous vehicles that had consumers confused and a poor economy, this experiment was killed in the mid-90s.

As with Japanese brands, this list would be separated in two categories: the first one is the same car but different brand and the second is the same car of the same brand but wearing a different name. For the latter category, they must be sold in a different dealer network (Mazda's dealer network included Autozam, Efini, Eunos, M2, Xedos). Cars launched from 1990 and above would be included on the list to avoid a long list. Do take note the year range represents the entire vehicle line (including those of its twins) even if the original model was killed. It will include vehicles born under joint ventures as a base car and vehicles made during Ford's ownership are listed under the Blue Oval brand.

What Mazda models had a different name for other brands?

PS: Mazda's dealer network demands a separate article, wait for it soon.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Used Car Review - Peugeot 5008 (2013-2017)

This unappreciated vehicle will live on in this review.

2013-2017 Peugeot 5008

History

Mention the words European Car and Filipinos will have the following results: luxury brands like BMW, Benz, or Audi, sports car brands like Porsche or any exotic from Italy, Land Rover for off-roaders, and old VWs for nostalgia stake. For any car brand from the Continental side, you'll be treated like a stranger unless there is enough marketing done. Peugeot was one of the casualties here, until the guys from Kia brought these French stuff with a decent number of promotion until the momentum is there, prices were jacked up which caused their value for money proposition, to be gone.

First introduced as an MPV to the European market in 2009, this vehicle developed a fan base due to its spacious cabin and futuristic exterior and owners call it the "Space Wagon". After a seven year run, it bowed down and was replaced by a crossover SUV version of this vehicle.

Under the helm of Columbian Autocar Corporation (Kia, BMW, Mahindra), the Peugeot brand had a comeback with the 5008 being the first four models to be brought in. Three models were available  paired to two engines were first made available from November 2012 until an update three years later reduced to one model - the expensive top of the line. The Active model is the base while the Allure has more fancy features added.

Value and Costs
Unlike the 3008 crossover, this vehicle can be had for less than a hundred grand and we think its one heck of a vehicle: something that seats seven with a French flair. Not much changes occurred during its run, which is a good thing, so focus on the condition more than the year model.

European brands would usually have maintenance costs that are higher than the Japanese so if you are the kuripot type, this is not the car for you. There are available specialist parts for French cars and fuel consumption is good, since this vehicle is a diesel powered one. Problem points for this vehicle mostly involve the transmission. But if there is one thing to be careful of, it is the diesel injectors given the fact the engine is of advanced state.

Exterior and Interior
Modern in style yet practical, this vehicle does hit the middle spot which isn't flashy nor plain looking. All models come with a panoramic sun roof and daytime running lights as standard equipment.

Seven people can jump in to this stylish MPV but the interior may be plain looking for some people. The three rows, depending on the usage, can be cramped or spacious. Control layout is a mixed bag, some are good while some are not and the bonus heads-up display is a help.

Engine
With the local Peugeot distributor pushing with diesels, the 5008 has two oil burners throughout selling life. Lower models sold from 2013 to 2015 have a 1.6 diesel which gets 112hp at 3,600rpm and 285Nm at 1,700rpm paired to a semi-automatic transmission. Higher end models gain a 2.0 diesel utilizing 163hp at 3,750rpm and 340Nm at 2,000rpm that is matched to a conventional automatic. The semi-automatics could be a complicated combo but you would get used to it later on when you get the hang of it while the automatics are a fine partner. Both engines are fine but we suggest to get the lesser one since it will give you a slight advantage on fuel consumption. Another great feature is this model gets a unique diesel particulate filter which removes harmful particles for zero emissions and a start-stop system.

Driving Impressions
If you want something that is fun to drive yet without sacrificing practicality, this is it. It steers with confidence, has less body roll, and offers an accurate steering. However, the suspension setup will give you a firm ride.

Verdict
It seemed the current Peugeot distributor got the right product when it was first made available and priced accordingly. Later models were messed up since the top end is retained with a jacked up price, but at second hand prices this is a steal already.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Thailand for 2017

After years of decline, the Thai market went up 13% which is a sign of relief for 2017. Despite the mourning of the King, Thais went on buying spree for automobiles. Compared to the Philippines, Thailand has fewer choices but moves a lot of cars and in this article, you will see what Thais mostly buy and you can make it as a comparison against our market.

Let's check out what they had bought for the 365 days of 2017. We have included the rest of the vehicle rankings below (no photos though)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Car Features - Same Car, Different Names: Mitsubishi

Our featured Japanese brand regarding rebadging is Mitsubishi Motors, whose automotive building venture is included in a conglomerate that includes other businesses involving mining, shipbuilding, electronics, aviation, heavy industries, among others. Just like other Japanese car brands, they do tend to borrow their vehicles to sell under their name or use one car but sell at a different name.

As with Japanese brands, this list would be separated in two categories: the first one is the same car but different brand and the second is the same car of the same brand but wearing a different name. For the latter category, they must be sold in a different dealer network (the practice was stopped due to the discontinuation of sedan models). Cars launched from 1990 and above would be included on the list to avoid a long list. Do take note the year range represents the entire vehicle line (including those of its twins) even if the original model was killed. It will include vehicles born under joint ventures as a base car. Some vehicles involved in the Diamond Star Motors between Chrysler and Mitsubishi are listed in the former brand which can be seen here.

Let us check what vehicles from the Red Three Diamond brand that had different names for a single car.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Car Features - Best Selling Car Nameplates in the Philippines from 1995-2017

Thanks (or no thanks, depending on your perspective) to the TRAIN law which meant people panicked in buying cars due to a price increase for taxes, 476,073 cars were sold in 7,107 islands in the Philippines for 2017. This article sees new names and old timers beating their old records. This 22 year old data shows you the best sellers here.

Do take note that vehicle figures here are from the manufacturer itself and lists available information that are released, so other models that sold well but not reported will not be counted here. For 2017, we will wait for further reports from other brands if there's any.

See the records from 2011201320142015, and 2016.

Top 30 most successful nameplates in the Philippines from 1995-2017

Monday, January 22, 2018

Car Features - Same Car, Different Names: Honda

The third Japanese brand (and overall) in which badge engineering is involved, Honda has a fair share of using different personalities for multiple vehicles. While the company manufactures a wide variety of vehicles, with this site focusing mostly on automobiles, this is where we will delve on.

As with Japanese brands, this list would be separated in two categories: the first one is the same car but different brand and the second is the same car of the same brand but wearing a different name. For the latter category, they must be sold in a different dealer network (the practice was stopped until 2006). Cars launched from 1990 and above would be included on the list to avoid a long list. Do take note the year range represents the entire vehicle line (including those of its twins) even if the original model was killed. The list will also include Acura vehicles.

For the straight H badge let us see what vehicles wore different names for one car.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Japan for 2017

For 2017, 5.2 million Japanese branded cars and 351,000 imports were sold, which saw both an increase. However, the vehicles in the top 30 mostly showed a decline (those that went on a positive note were either updated or brand new). This list only counts regular models especially that our source doesn't include Keis and imports.

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of the USA for 2017

While the US market had lost the sidelines to China recently, it is still large when it comes to numbers. However, the seven years of continuous growth had stopped for 2017 with a slight drop. While pickup trucks are still best sellers, the SUV craze had been evident with some surprises below. Yes, we all know that the Americans have different tastes compared to the ASEAN market but there are some cars that are sold similarly to us.

Out of the 12 months, let's look back on America's best sellers. Watch out for our best seller features in the US from 2002 in the coming months. We have included the increase/decrease from 2016.

Disclaimer: Some photos used are Philippine/ASEAN spec, which may differ from what USA has to offer.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Used Car Review - Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005-2017)

Another soon to be classic lives on.

2005-2017 Suzuki Grand Vitara

History

The compact SUV market evolved throughout the years. Previous models used to be truck-like but with the changing market demands as well as trends, they have to ride on car-based platforms which may limit appeal to several segments but then you cannot please everyone.

One compact ute that had stayed true to its form is the Grand Vitara, which remained a rugged image despite its competitors that had gone curvy. On its third iteration which was first introduced in 2005, it utilized a GM platform but all the rest are done by Suzuki independently. It had a run for 12 years straight with multiple updates throughout to keep this vehicle fresh, with rivals having two generation models with that year length. After a long time, most markets receive the fresher fourth generation model which had transitioned to a car-based platform and became shorter than it was before.

A stalwart ever since Suzuki had set shop or in some cases, the term "compact SUV" was invented locally, the third generation Grand Vitara was first introduced to the Philippine market in August 2005 in the form of a 2.0 4WD model available in both manual or automatic transmission. Throughout selling life, updates from engine upgrades (and additional ones) are done and for 2014, the sole model was is a 2.4 2WD with a Special Edition model added months later. There may be remaining stocks for this car but Japan had stopped production of this car.

Value and Costs
For 12 years straight and apart with some minimal changes, focus on the general condition of the vehicle more especially the engines are unchanged. If you are interested in a small SUV with off-road capabilities, this vehicle will set you back between P335,000 for early models released ten years ago to P800,000 among later models. If you want 4WD, only the 2.4 does not have it so hunt for other engine displacements.

Keeping this baby won't set you back big bucks nor your kidney but Suzuki parts cost more than the average Japanese competition. Problem points for this vehicle involve the aircon and the engine support, so have these checked prior to buying. As an economical choice, this isn't the one since city driving will fall below 10kms to a liter and the V6 drinks more than a drunken man.

Exterior and Interior
Timeless looks and a rugged exterior makes this SUV silently stands out in a crowd. Throughout the years, the grille was changed only once. Let us leave the design alone which speaks for itself.

Going inside, this vehicle will treat you to lots of space which can fit five people comfortably. The interior controls are logically placed but some interior touches feel cheap, despite the fact this one is a CBU from Japan. Despite buying a later model year unit, you will feel that you are in something from a decade ago. Just imagine this: you have an iPhone X but the specifications come from earlier model releases.

Engine
Four engines (of gasoline descent) were offered throughout selling life and we will detail them one by one. For 2005 til August 2008, the base engine is a 2.0 4-cylinder with 145hp at 6,000rpm and 193Nm at 4,000rpm until an update had a 2.4 having 168hp at 6,000rpm and 227Nm at 3,800rpm fitted under the hood. To compete with the likes of the higher end models of the Mitsubishi Outlander and Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute, two V6 power plants were made available: From 2006 to 2008, there's a 2.7 engine having 185hp at 6,000rpm and 250Nm at 4,500rpm while from 2009 to 2012, a larger 3.2 V6 utilizing 230hp at 6,200rpm and 288Nm at 3,500rpm. Enough of the numbers, let us delve how do they perform in the real world. The 2.0 is sluggish at first but gets going when it gains momentum, the 2.4 is the best choice as it provides a sweet spot, and both V6 are quick enough to accelerate and to drink fuel. Our pick? The 2.4 engine.

Driving Impressions
Compared to the modern competition, you will feel that this car is from a different time era which masquerades itself as a modern person. A bumpy ride coupled to a decent handling feel, this one wouldn't you consider as something modern.

Verdict
Being different is not a bad thing but fitting in to the modern world while retaining your old image is something a feat. While the GV has its own virtues, it has to evolve and adapt to keep up with the modern times but having an old image isn't something bad, just a limited appeal.