Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Car Profiles - Honda Civic Type R

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R

You asked for a performance oriented Honda, they have answered it. Since the Civic SiR's demise more than two decades ago, the Civic Type R is the brand's halo car with the performance known for but comes at a price.

The Good:
The Bad:

Price Range: P2,980,000
Our Rating:

Last Update: July 18, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Japan for 2016

We all know that Japanese brands dominate the Philippine market and you might be curious what Japanese models are selling well in their home country. Well, we have obtained a list online for 2013 to 2016 and we shall start with the latest one.

2016 saw 4.9 million cars were sold in Japan, this includes 1.7 million Kei cars and 343,000 imported cars (non-Japanese brands), down slightly no thanks to a tax increase for small cars. This list only counts regular models especially that our source doesn't include Keis and imports but these are just the minority.

Watch out for three Mondays as we discover the best sellers of 2013 to 2015 in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Used Car Review - Chrysler Town and Country (2008-2017)

One of the remaining American minivans graces this page for today.

2008-2017 Chrysler Town and Country

History

American car manufacturers had long been abandoning minivans for personal usage ten years ago or so, with General Motors and Ford Motor Company leaving the minivan market citing poor sales, with Chrysler/Dodge the remaining American brand to compete in a shrinking market now being relegated to a Japanese and a lone Korean brand. Times weren't friendly to the soccer mom since crossovers and SUVs now dominate the sales charts.

Introduced in August 2007 as a 2008 model, the Chrysler Town and Country/Dodge Grand Caravan twins and the similar European Chrysler Voyager reached its fifth generation life span. It also gave birth to a North American exclusive Volkswagen Routan which wasn't a sales success. Numerous changes from its previous generation model occurred to this Canadian made minivan with an extensive one for the 2011 model year. Although the Caravan still lives on as a cheaper alternative, the Town and Country was replaced by the Pacifica (not related to a crossover sold in the mid-00s).

Apart from the Ford E-150, the Chrysler Town and Country were one of the remaining American minivans sold in the Philippine market during the late-00s, with the Chevrolet Venture - a Chinese branded Buick minivan - being removed. Two models were first launched with a sole diesel added in 2010 and in 2013, it was reduced to a single variant. It was silently discontinued with the pending introduction of the Pacifica later this year.

Value and Costs
American vehicles are notorious for their low resale prices which makes them a bargain for second hand buyers if you know how to look. Second hand Chrysler Town and Country minivans of this generation can cost between P600,000 to a million pesos in varying years. Before going for this van, you may want to reconsider other superior rivals which cost more and importantly, more reliable as we will explain further.

This van, alongside its siblings, aren't the most reliable minivans in the market especially in the US alone. Since this is a high end minivan, power options come standard and these must be checked if these still work. Other areas of concern include the transmission system, air-conditioning, and the interior plastics. Parts can be sourced from American car specialists, in which you must befriend them if you decide to own this one. Fuel consumption isn't a strength (except for the diesel), so if you are complaining of gas prices look elsewhere.

Exterior and Interior
Minivan qualities like a tall profile and dual sliding doors come standard, in which this vehicle is known for. Not much to be said on the outside, as the magic of this vehicle lies inside but Limited models of 2008 to 2012 distinguish themselves with a sun roof.

Since this van is aimed towards the upper scale of the market, it seats seven people just like several rivals (with the exemption of the USDM Honda Odyssey of the early 2010s) and comes with the famed Stow and Go but for the Limited, it gets a Swivel and Go seating configuration that gives you swiveling rear seats and an optional table. Since this van is fully loaded, depending on the year and variant, it comes with the following items: MyGig Hard drive with either 20GB or 40GB worth of storage, navigation system, power tailgate, power sliding doors, power pedals, cruise control, airbags on all sides, parking sensors, back-up camera, and a requisite among family oriented vehicles, a DVD player. Since this is a minivan, expect a roomy cabin for all types of people. Updated models gain a revised interior which bade farewell to cheap plastic materials.

Engine
There are two gasoline engines and a sole diesel burner which was offered. Let us first discuss the former as you'll be encountering this more often; 2008 to 2012 models utilize a 3.8 V6 with 193hp at 5,000rpm and 314Nm at 4,000rpm with 2013 to 2017 using a 3.6 V6 having 279hp at 6,600rpm and 344Nm at 4,400rpm. A rare (but our choice for this vehicle) diesel is offered in the form of a 2.8 4-cylinder with 163hp at 3,800rpm and 359Nm at 1,600rpm to play with. Both petrol engines are fast movers in both acceleration and fuel consumption while the diesel is the thriftier option.

Driving Impressions
The words sporty handling and minivan aren't mentioned in one paragraph, let alone a sentence, and this isn't applicable with the Town and Country especially that comfort rules here. Despite the abundance of power, we advise you to drive prudently especially with the vehicle being full.

Verdict
Although an innovator, the Town and Country became outclassed by superior rivals from Japan throughout the years. Sure, its interior is very flexible and there's a diesel but its isn't that reliable, so check first before committing.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hyundai Grand i10 - Generation 2.1 (2014-2016)

HYUNDAI GRAND i10 (2014-2016)

Redesigned for 2014, the Grand i10 (it is treated as the expensive sibling) is considerably improved but that improvement came at a price. With numerous rivals coming to the scene - and even Hyundai's own Eon - this hatchback was discontinued quietly.

Car Profiles - MINI Countryman (2011-2017)

2011-2017 MINI Countryman

The Good: Fun to drive, funky looks

The Bad: Not that practical, not that reliable

The Say: Unless your choice is dictated by emotion, there are more practical choices out there.

Go For: Countryman
Avoid: JCW, unless you want the need for speed

Price Range: P1,600,000-P2,000,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: Used Car Review - MINI Countryman (2011-2017)
Latest vehicle profile: MINI Countryman

See the different versions of this vehicle:
2011-2017

Car Profiles - Chevrolet Spin (2013-2016)

2013-2016 Chevrolet Spin

The Good: Available diesel engine in its class, interior quality

The Bad: Single transmission option per fuel type, tight third row

The Say: A breath of fresh air in the archaic scene.

Go For: LTZ
Avoid:

Price Range: P460,000-P600,000
Our Rating: ****

Related Review: Used Car Review - Chevrolet Spin (2013-2016)

See the different versions of this vehicle:
2013-2016

Used Car Review - Chevrolet Spin (2013-2016)

This recently discontinued model gets the spotlight this week.

2013-2016 Chevrolet Spin

History

Chevrolet's current line-up had changed throughout its existence in the Philippines, from the time where gas guzzling vehicles became showroom stalwarts until Asian bred (from Korea and China) models were infused in the mid-00s. Things had changed when General Motors got bankrupt and a new distributor in the picture, improved models ushered in aiming to compete in certain categories and this includes the vehicle that we will be talking.

Developed as a global car in Brazil for worldwide consumption, the Spin replaced multiple but similar vehicles in several markets. Assembly points are located in Brazil and Indonesia, with the latter involving the re-opening of its plant in 2013 but only to close two years later due to poor sales. Engines vary per market requirements, which means South American models don't have the diesel while the ASEAN market gets lower displacement gasoline models.

Introduced to compete with the likes of the Toyota Avanza - as well as the later launched Suzuki Ertiga and Honda Mobilio - the Chevrolet Spin was unique in its class, since it offered a diesel engine which rivals do not get. While it sold well (but not to Japanese competition levels), it was a casualty of the closure of the plant, along with the Sonic sub-compact.

Value and Costs
Similar to rivals, second hand Spin units can be had between P460,000 to P600,000 which includes the unique to the segment diesel. Chevrolet has a five year warranty, so even the oldest model can have the remaining chunk which is an advantage.

Keeping this vehicle can be similar to the competition, since most carry the same displacement but slightly higher than Toyota's. Common niggles for this vehicle include the fan belt which is easy to break and the battery unit.

Exterior and Interior
Modern looking than most rivals although its proportions may look awkward (unlike the Mobilio's wagon like profile). LTZ models get alloy wheels and roof rails while the LT utilizes hubcaps.

One of the strengths of this vehicle is an airy cabin, which is abundant on headroom but adequate for the average Filipino rider. LT models lose the airbags, power mirrors, and a fancy audio system which the LTZ gets. Interior quality is excellent than most rivals except for the Ertiga.

Engine
Two engines of different fuel types are available in this vehicle which includes the following: the gasoline unit is the S-TEC 1.5 with 107 hp at 6,000rpm and 141Nm at 4,000rpm paired to an automatic while the diesel is the SDE 1.3 which has 74hp at 4,000rpm and 190Nm at 1,750-2,500rpm that can only be had with a manual. While the gas is decent enough, the diesel is the cream of the crop which provides more punch in the highway along with excellent fuel consumption.

Driving Impressions
Unlike some ancient rivals, this one drives similar to a sedan abeit with some heavy steering with road noise being evident on low speeds but strangely quiet on the highway. Other positives include an easy to maneuver nature, good all around visibility, and stable on high speeds.

Verdict
One vehicles that should have given more attention, the Spin has virtues that rivals lack. If a diesel Spin with complete set of amenities which is priced fair could have shaken the competition.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2008

On our last installment in which we discover more of the Malaysian market, the year 2008 was somewhat fine despite the financial crisis that hit worldwide in the latter part of the year as well as high fuel prices. 524,000 vehicles were driven off Malay dealers in the 366 days of that given year.

We shall give out the thirty best selling vehicles sold in Malaysia in 2008.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2009

Previously we had listed down the best selling cars of Malaysia for 2010 and 2011. This time we shall check out 2009 before and see if vehicle trends at the turn of a new decade. 517,000 cars were sold in that year, despite a economic loom that lingered in that year.

Lets us go back to memory lane of Malaysia, to a time machine of year 2009.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Used Car Review - Kia Rio (2012-2017)

Improved? Let us revisit this model one more time.

2012-2017 Kia Rio

History

We all know the situation Kia faced at the turn of the millennium, decreasing sales and at the same time it cannot escape the stigma that it had faced during the period of the sub-compact Pride. While the Rio was cheap and a breath of fresh air (it was developed independently, not anymore based on a Mazda platform), quality is thumbs down plus the dominance of Japanese makes placed this car out of oblivion. The second generation model, launched in 2006, was an improvement but was relegated to the taxicab crowd thanks to a somewhat basic interior and some marketing push.

The UB Rio debuted first at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, which for the second time shares its platform and engines with the Hyundai Accent. While both sedan and hatchback models were available, a three door hatch was released for this generation.

For the Philippine market, the third generation Rio was first made available in the form of the 1.4 EX sedan in January 2012 with the lower 1.2 LX and hatchback a month later. Later variants for the sedan were added in 2013 covering both bases. This vehicle is an improvement over its taxi image with numerous changes ushering in especially in safety and interior quality.

Value and Costs
Kia vehicles, in general, have poor resale values which in return are bargains for second hand shoppers. A 2012 sedan can be had for as low as P280,000 while later models hover at the P600,000 below range. Do take note that hatchbacks cost more than their four box counterparts. In that price range however, some superior rivals exist which surpass the Rio in certain aspects, so do your research well.

Maintenance costs are similar to rivals of the same time period, with parts being similar to several Hyundai models. If you aim for one, do check out for the air-conditioning unit as it has the tendency to conk out. Kia models sold carry a five year or 100,000kms warranty, so eye for a unit with the remaining chunk.

Exterior and Interior
While the 2006-2011 model was dull at its best, this one has some European touches than something made from the land of Koreanovelas. The Tiger Nose grille gives the vehicle an aggressive yet classy approach. Hatchback models and the EX-S sedan have fog lights with its lowly models losing them, while the EX and SLX having alloy wheels and the base LX rides on steel wheels with hubcap covers.

Same goes with the interior, especially that it was a dramatic improvement (although still not to par with some established rivals) over the model it replaced. Another point of improvement is the safety department, with the 1.4 models gaining at least airbags and ABS brakes. 1.2 models do get at least front power windows and power mirrors and the hatchback/EX-S sedan gain cruise control, automatic climate control, and a push button smart key system.

Engine
Both engines are from Hyundai, so you may be familiar with these especially that they have been mentioned in several of my reviews. LX and SLX gets the Kappa 1.2 that has 86hp at 6,000rpm and 119Nm at 4,000rpm while the rest of the gang uses the Gamma 1.4 with 108hp at 6,300rpm and 137Nm at 4,200rpm. Both engines are capable on their best although the 1.4 needs some revving at certain times, worst for the latter is that its automatic version slurps gas more so stick to a manual if you want this.

Driving Impressions
Driving this one is at the middle ground when compared to the Ford/Mazda twins, with handling being on the safe side. Ride quality, despite the road imperfections our country has, is excellent.

Verdict
Although Kia was relegated to the middle or lower class, the attempt for the third generation Rio is an improvement (although not quite, but going there). It is no longer the dull sedan it was known for inside and out, rather an effort to step up to its game.