Monday, April 17, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Thailand for 2015

We had featured the 30 best sellers of Thailand for 2016 last month, this time we shall go a year back and see who sold well. From 800,000 in 2014, it had fallen to the 700,000 range due to some internal factors. 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.

We will also include how sales increased/decreased compared to 2014. Next week we will be featuring 2014's best sellers.

Out of the 12 months, let's look back on Thailand's best sellers.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Car Profiles - Volkswagen Tiguan (2013-2016)

2013-2016 Volkswagen Tiguan

The Good: Excellent levels of refinement, high quality interior

The Bad: Basic interior for its price, rarity

The Say: One of the standouts in its class, a rare find.

Go For: 2.0 TDI
Avoid: 1.4 TSI

Price Range: P1,170,000-P1,180,000
Our Rating: ****

Related Review: Used Car Review - Volkswagen Tiguan (2013-2016)
Latest vehicle profile: 

See the different versions of this vehicle:
2013-2016

Monday, April 10, 2017

Used Car Review - Honda CR-Z (2013-2016)

This discontinued model has a unique story to tell.

2013-2016 Honda CR-Z

History

Stereotypes say that hybrids are fuel friendly but are boring and bland as vanilla and sports cars should be fun but wastes fuel in the process. Honda's engineers thought that, why not combine two characteristics in one body to please both sides as well to throw in an extra pair of back seats and a manual transmission option.

And so, the CR-Z concept was first displayed ten years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show in October of that year with a revised version shown two years later and leading to a production model in 2010 through a North American International Auto Show debut. The CR-Z acronym means 'Compact Renaissance Zero', which brings up a renaissance in the design of concept cars from fresh ideas. The production model is intended to be sporty, efficient, and affordable - something Honda aims to be. Despite a refresh for 2016, it was announced in June 2016 that it will be discontinued at the end of the year to make way for other hybrids in the brand (although some say that poor sales play a role).

Although it was first displayed at the 2012 Philippine International Motor Show, it was officially available in the country a year later. When it was first launched, there were three models to choose from: a standard model, Modulo, and Mugen. A 2016 update resulted to just one model, with the IMA Final Edition released in July of the same year until it was removed in the line-up this year. All variants can be ordered with either a manual or a CVT.

Value and Costs
Costing a hundred grand less than the lowered priced Toyota Prius C, the CR-Z is the cheapest hybrid vehicle that can be purchased brand new, with the standard manual back in 2013 can be had at P1.39M and the most pricey variant pegged at P1.9M for the Mugen CVT. Second hand prices can be obtained between P920,000 to P1.1M for newer models. Our safest bet would be units purchased from the second half of 2014 and later so you can take advantage of the remainder of the warranty.

Since this is a hybrid, prepare yourself to spend a little bit on maintenance especially when it comes to its components while its fuel consumption isn't that far off compared to sub-compact sedans. Since this car is just a few years old, we have no idea when it comes to the hyrbid power-train reliability but it will last long if taken care of.

Exterior and Interior
Remember the CR-X from the 80s? Well this vehicle will remind you of its exterior design spiritually, since the concept doesn't stray off from the original. Additional items from the standard model include body kits for the Modulo and Mugen (as standalone models) with the latter having daytime running lights, which was later trickled on to the updated 2016 model. IMA Final Edition models are distinguished by their black accents.

If you plan to bring along three of your friends for a long drive, look for other options as this isn't for you. With a driver biased interior and a snug interior, this is one car that you can feel comfortable in since the steering wheel and shifter are within driver's reach. Depending on the variant, seat colors can vary that complements a futuristic looking interior. Changes for 2016 includes an electronic parking brake (old models use a lever type), a navigation system, and a reverse camera, something needed for a car with a poor rear visibility.

Engine
The L engine series had seen usage from different Honda vehicles, but this one is rather unique especially that it has a hybrid component. The LEA 1.5 hybrid has varying power figures, depending on the transmission, with manuals having 134hp at 6,600rpm and 190Nm at 4,800rpm while two pedal models get 133hp at 6,600rpm and 170Nm at 4,800rpm. Fire this vehicle up and there's some burble, quite unusual for such type of car.

Driving Impressions
Since this is a hybrid, do not expect that kick that Hondas (from the B engine series) are known for. Rather, when you are on the move it is light on its feet and can get to your destination quickly, provided you are on sports mode. Three driving modes exist which include the following: Eco which is tuned for frugality and economy, Normal for the best balance, and Sport for more aggressive driving. Gearing is great, with smooth shift transitions complemented with a confident handling and quick braking. Fuel consumption, for a hybrid, may leave you disappointed but for a car with a sporting nature, you wouldn't mind.

Verdict
Saying that two things (that even contradicts) can't be combined is impossible, Honda did something that the competition didn't. While it may not have some fans, it was a bold move for them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Car Profiles - Great Wall Haval H9

GREAT WALL HAVAL H9

If there is one territory that the Chinese wants to reach, it is going up. The Haval H9 has the size of the Prado at the price level that's a million pesos less. However, you'd want to think twice going up for something you are not sure.

The Good:
The Bad:

Price Range: P3,000,000
Our Rating:

Last Update: April 8, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Car Profiles - Toyota Prius

TOYOTA PRIUS

Although the first release of this vehicle wasn't a hit, Toyota decided to bring it here for the second time not just to boost sales but rather to push for an image they desire. For a price that hasn't beeb different than before, it gets more toys than ever.

The Good:
The Bad:

Price Range: P2,252,000
Our Rating:

Last Update: April 3, 2017

Mazda CX-9 - Generation 1.3 (2013-2016)

MAZDA CX-9 (2013-2016)

Still running strong despite the onslaught of fresh competitors, the CX-9 now receives the Kodo touch. Powered through a Ford based engine which is fuel thirsty. The 2WD model got the axe first.

Car Profiles - Hyundai Creta

HYUNDAI CRETA

Entering itself in a crowded market of affordable SUVs, the Creta is a second try on the cheaper SUV market. Gas model rivals the Ecosport Trend while diesel heads-on with the Soul CRDi. But since it is based on a car, ride height is similar to one.

The Good: 
The Bad: 

Price Range: P918,000-P1,038,000
Our Rating: 

Last Update: April 3, 2017

Mazda CX-5 - Generation 1.2 (2015-2016)

MAZDA CX-5 (2015-2016)

A facelift for 2015 gives the CX-5 more variants for the buyer to choose from, which adds an entry level model and an expensive diesel.

Used Car Review - Mazda CX-5 (2012-2016)

For its last hurrah, this highly regarded model gets its final review.

2012-2016 Mazda CX-5

History

Sport Utility Vehicles aren't the types that Mazda develops on its own that much, since past attempts were based on Ford vehicles such as the Navajo (Explorer derived), Tribute (a clone of the Escape), and the CX-9 (platform is shared with the Ford Fusion midsize). While the CX-7 that first debuted in 2006 was independently developed, sales were mediocre since its size slots between compact and midsize and poor fuel consumption due to its turbocharged engine.

Mazda's CX-5 crossover was the guinea pig in what would feature technologies that would see usage on future Mazda models. It would be the first recipient of the KODO design language as well as the SkyActiv technology, which features a lightweight platform with efficient engines and transmissions which yields low emissions and high fuel economy. Their hard work payed off, with this vehicle winning Car of the Year Japan when it was first launched.

It was introduced to the local market alongside the second generation 3 sedan that had flopped, the CX-5 can be had initially in two wheel drive guise in both manual and automatic transmissions. It was in 2013 that the vehicle was subjected to changes due to the entry of a new distributor that includes an all wheel drive version (Sport), an entry level model (Maxx), additional items in the first model (Pro), a pricey diesel variant, and the discontinuation of the three pedaled option. Sales ceased with the introduction of the second generation model just last Thursday at the Manila International Auto Show.

Value and Costs
Similar to its peers, resale values aren't that excellent since second hand units range from P700,000 for the first model examples to P1,300,000 for 2016 upper scale ones, and expect them to fall even further later on.

One of the advantages that Berjaya brought in is the YoJin3, which promises free maintenance for three years or 60,000kms; however, finding a unit older than that or having racked more miles will make you illegible for that program. Do take note that this vehicle comes with the i-Stop for October 2013 models and up which requires a special battery purchased from your nearest Mazda dealer. Another worry point is the SkyActiv technology itself, since its components are as complicated as it gets.

Exterior and Interior
Despite being the first model to receive the KODO treatment, the design doesn't jive with the vehicle although some may appreciate this one. An update in 2015 gave this car gunmetal wheels and smoke headlamps which had the car remained fresh despite newer competition.

Inside, the driver is king as the interior is designed for the one behind the wheel and the seats provide topnotch support. Overall space, despite the size, can fit five bodies in comfort. Changes for 2015 models include the shift to an electronic parking brake and a touch screen monitor which can be controlled similar to the Mazda 3

Engine
Three engine options were introduced throughout its selling life and all of them are part of the SkyActiv family. We shall first list the gasoline ones starting with the one found in the Maxx and Pro is the PE-VPS 2.0 having 153hp at 6,000rpm and 200Nm at 4,000rpm while Sport models gain the PY-VPS 2.5 with 185hp at 5,700rpm and 250Nm at 4,000rpm. The sole diesel engine, launched just last year, is the SH-VPTS 2.2 that comes with 173hp at 4,500rpm and 420Nm at 2,000rpm. All three engines are efficient, since they have higher compression ratios and direct injection (for the gasoline) while the diesel has a reduced compression ratio and some tweaks against conventional oil burners. Good thing is that, these are fuel friendly and emission compliant.

Driving Impressions
Thanks to a lighter body, it gives the driver confidence whether inside the city or on the open road. Take this on the curves and it handles with confidence while the ride is on the firm side but not that uncomfortable. You'll enjoy this vehicle, we promise you.

Verdict
The word Sports Utility Vehicle means that only one item can be utilized, the sports term or the utility word. The first generation CX-5 gives you the best of both worlds since it has a handling of a sports car with the usefulness of an actual SUV. You may now forget the first Mazda SUV to arrive here, the Tribute, as it was just a glorified Ford Escape.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Car Features - First Versions of Car Manufacturer Sites in the Philippines

On March 29, 1994, that was the first time the Philippines was connected to the world wide web. Throughout the years, from dial-up connection (just pray that no one would be calling) to DSL services to mobile data, the internet had became a part of the Philippine landscape on every aspect and it has extended to the automotive industry.

Car manufacturers used the internet as a tool on reaching potential customers as well as to promote their products. Apart from the manufacturers, car related services (from new and used cars to automobile accessories) have been using the internet as well as portals such as Top Gear Philippines and Autoindustriya. Nowadays, if you can't afford to buy yourself a domain, you can use the services of OLX and Facebook for a nominal fee.

So lets go back memory lane by visiting the first versions of car manufacturer site locally. Tracking them can be possible by accessing Wayback Machine by entering the url and choose the specific date you want to visit. Do take note not all manufacturers will be posted here, just the ones that we can retrieve. Please be reminded that since these are archived pages, not all features and photos would be available.