Friday, December 9, 2016

Car Profies - Suzuki Kizashi (2012-2016)

2012-2016 Suzuki Kizashi

The Good: Fun to drive personality, cheap to buy

The Bad: Limited space at the back, struggles an identity crisis

The Say: Practical in size but fails to impress in any aspect.

Go For: 2.4

Price Range: P480,000-P660,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: Used Car Review - Suzuki Kizashi (2012-2016)

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Car Features - Cars Singaporeans Can Buy That Filipinos Can't (And Vice Versa)

For those who don't know their history, Singapore used to be a part of Malaysia until they've bolted out and declared their independence. With 719.1 square meters, they do have numerous vehicle choices while having their efficient public transportation which moves the nation and despite a certificate of entitlement which gives you a right to purchase a car.

Despite the lack of parking space, let us discover what cars that their market get (and the ones they don't) and the other way around. Since numerous brands are available, we would focus on mainstream brands which leaves out luxury brands in this list.

Large SUVs aren't included here, which is popular around ASEAN but not there since space is lacking. So let's list down the cars here, so prepare for a short trip. Ok lah?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Car Features - Cars Vietnamese People Can Buy That Filipinos Can't (And Vice Versa)

From a communist nation closed to the world back then, Vietnam is becoming one of the rising economies in ASEAN. While they do have a larger market for motorcycles (similar to us), their car market is booming with several car assembly plants located there.

Lets discover the Vietnamese market by determining what cars we get (and in return they don't) and vice versa. The list does not include the likes of engine and body configurations for both countries and we would only focus on popular brands, leaving out small players such as luxury brands and some unknowns.

Before we start, we'd remind you this list on has cars and not motorcycles so don't expect Honda Cubs on this one.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Used Car Review - Audi A4 (2008-2012)

This compact executive is being replaced and Myk Belmonte discovers this gem.

2008-2012 Audi A4

Mention the word "compact executive" and the top two answers would be two German compatriots: the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C Class. Heck, the Lexus IS would also be mentioned at the same breath leaving some rivals such as the Audi A4 or the Volvo S60 out of the equation. Sure, the A4 doesn't have any faults but with rivals overshadowing over its popularity, this one deserves a keen look at the second hand market.

Released in September 2007 at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the sedan (with the Avant having its debut in March 2008), the B8 series A4 represented the fourth generation model of the vehicle line. This generation utilized a variant of the Audi Modular Longitudinal Platform which allowed the vehicle to utilize a longer wheelbase without growing in length which made improvements in its handling due to the redistribution of the center of gravity.

Locally, it had its debut sometime in mid-2008 which competed with the fresh C Class, long-in-the-tooth S60 and class leader 3 Series. Both diesel and turbocharged gasoline models were made available to Filipino consumers.

Value and Costs
If you are not a fan of the bling-bling that a Benz or a Bimmer gives you, even on a second hand package, then the allure of an Audi may suit you. Prices for this Ingolstadt assembled vehicle ranges from P900,000 to P1,900,000, which may also include rivals from Europe and Japan given the range. Our advice for premium brands when going second hand is to go certified pre-owned, as such PGA Cars has a wide range of certified units available.

Between the two engines, we'd pick the diesel due to the savings that can give you. Common problems for this vehicle include the EGR in diesel models and the headlights have the tendency to blacken out. Early release models have their MMI interface freeze, so make sure it works properly.

Exterior and Interior
As we said earlier, the redesign gave this vehicle more space without looking bulky and making it more longer than its two German rivals. Its styling is definitely timeless and can withstand the test of time without making this vehicle look outdated.

The interior is where Audi excels, and they succeed in this redesign with high quality materials abound this vehicle. Inside it may be bare but it was crafted perfectly. When placing in passengers, the rear is best left to two since the middle seat has the driveshaft tunnel (to make way to an all wheel drive system) passing through making the one sitting there uncomfortable.

If you prefer the quietness of a gasoline engine, the sole option would be the 1.8 turbocharged which puts out, depending on the year model, 158hp at 4,500-6,200rpm and 250Nm at 1,500-4,500rpm for 2008 to 2011 models while later ones play at 170hp at 3,800-6,200rpm and 320Nm at 1,750-3,000rpm. Choosing the diesel will opt you for a 2.0 unit having 143hp at 4,200rpm and 320Nm at 1,750-2,500rpm. Both engines are impressive enough on their own intents, with the diesel masquerading for something as gasoline driven.

Driving Impressions
Having a suspension set-up for touring purposes, the ride will not beat you up and still bring your tired body home with ease. Steering is on the sharp side and ride quality is excellent.

Sure, it may not have the badge of a Benz or the driving feel of a BMW, the Audi A4 makes an excellent proposition if you value economy and presence more without the flash.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Car Profiles - Honda BR-V


Still derived from the Brio platform, the BR-V (short for Bold Roundabout Vehicle) has chunky looks while being practical and importantly, cheap. Price places it as a tweener, same with size. Do not expect high levels of quality inside though.

The Good:
The Bad:

Price Range: P989,000-P1,119,000
Our Rating:

Last Update: November 19, 2016

Car Features - 10 Commonly Repossessed Vehicles November 2016

Today is your payday and you are contemplating on getting a car. Rather than wasting money on new car depreciation, a late model repossessed car is a prudent choice since recent year models are available. This list reveals that one bank has a lot of cars repo'ed.

Do take note the list is accurate as of November 19, 2016. Sources include: PS Bank, Banco De Oro, RCBC Savings Bank, East West Bank, Unionbank, Maybank, BPI, and Security Bank.

See the top 10 of  the following months: October 2015November 2015, January 2016February 2016, March 2016, April 2016, May 2016, June 2016, July 2016August 2016, September 2016, and October 2016. Original 2014 article here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quickie Used Car Review - Nissan Murano (2010-2015)

2010-2015 Nissan Murano

The Good: Drives like a car

The Bad: Some traits of a car remain for a crossover SUV

The Say: A car that has the talents which comes unappreciated.

Go For: Z51

Price Range: P1,200,000-P1,300,000
Our Rating: ****

Full Review: Used Car Review - Nissan Murano (2010-2015)

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Quickie Used Car Review - Chevrolet Traverse (2011-2015)

2011-2015 Chevrolet Traverse

The Good: Can fit eight people in comfort, space

The Bad: No diesel, dated interior

The Say: A worthy car ruined by poor pricing and marketing.

Go For: LT 4x2

Price Range: P1,400,000-P1,650,000
Our Rating: ***

Full Review: None as of the Moment

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Used Car Review - Toyota Prius (2009-2016)

Revisiting in what could be a game changer is Myk Belmonte's duty for today.

2009-2016 Toyota Prius

Once upon a time, there was a car named Toyota Prius whose original concept can be traced from an exhibit at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show which was followed by a testing a year later. The first generation model, which utilized a sedan body, went on sale in December 1997 in Japan which became the first mass market hybrid vehicle and worldwide launch happened at the turn of the millennium. Because of its popularity with environmentalists and became popular when fuel prices shot up, the Prius family was expanded to include a smaller version known as the Prius c (or Aqua in Japan), Prius V wagon, and the Prius plug-in hybrid.

Running on its third generation model, the XW30 Prius continued on with its hatchback body with a debut at the 2009 North American International Auto Show and sales started in May 2009 for the Japanese market. There were 1,000 patents that had filed for this model and several changes for this model happened which includes a bump in engine displacement to 1.8 liters, a change of transaxle to THS III, and had used a new range of plant-derived ecological bioplastics extracted from the wood's cellulose with kenaf and ramie as its principal crops. Interestingly enough, this generation saw the launch of the full Prius family for worldwide consumption.

While the XW20 model was brought in for testing purposes, it was this model that had its official launch and was the first hybrid car to be sold here. While the motoring press jumped for joy, the regular folks cannot afford due to its prohibitive price no thanks to taxes. While it wasn't a big seller, we can now consider this one as a niche vehicle with a niche market.

Value and Costs
Priced at P2.2M when it was brand new, the Prius had only a few units sold throughout its life (estimates fall in less than 100 units or so) which means finding one at the used market could be difficult. If you want one, then you may have to shell out P800,000 for a decent unit.

Since this is a hybrid, fuel consumption is excellent and will beat out any vehicle sold in the market. When it comes to hybrid parts especially for the battery pack, you have to go to your nearest Toyota dealer for stocks or order online. A recall in February 2010 was issued to install a modified ABS management program due to reports of slight delay in braking by owners.

Exterior and Interior
Retaining its hatchback body and its familiar silhouette that we know since 2004, this generation gained cutting edge looks with lines that is meant to lower fuel consumption due to drag coefficient which Toyota painstakingly spent lots of hours on this aspect alone. In the end, you get something decent looking while saving more on the pump without being mistaken for a science project back in high school.

The interior is now more car than something science related (do we see a chemistry here?) since it is accommodating plus high quality materials greet occupants. The dashboard has a floating design reminiscent of the Swedish and the center display cluster is situated above which drivers can read vital statistics like if you are running on battery or gasoline. Lastly, a joystick inspired transmission shift remains there.

All Prius (or Prii as Toyota calls it as its plural form) models come with a 2ZR-FXE 1.8 gasoline which has 98hp at 5,200rpm and 142Nm at 4,000rpm on tap. Drive below 40km/h, you'll be treated to some sound of silence while going beyond that will have the conventional engine kick in. Utilizing an Atkison cycle, it prioritizes fuel consumption over optimal power and after all, this is a hybrid car. Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Ride transitions from electric power to conventional engine and so forth.

Driving Impressions
Yes, we have to admit this that you wouldn't be buying this beast to have fun. With two motors inside, it can carry you away with three power modes: EV for full electric mode with no noise, ECO mode for economy which adjusts the air-conditioning unit, and Power mode for more throttle response. It is one simple car to drive, no doubt. However, it is heavy and you'll feel this one you have lessen speed since the battery cells and regenerative braking system comes standard.

While this vehicle had some good intentions, no tax exemptions for hybrids limited its appeal and it was a right car that went to a wrong market. At least, Filipinos became aware of the hybrid car and we wish to the Duterte administration to grant incentives for fuel saving cars since our planet is at stake.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Quickie Used Car Review - Chevrolet Tahoe (2007-2014)

2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe

The Good: Lots of power in a manageable size

The Bad: Lots of fuel is consumed, lacks a 4x4 option

The Say: A practical partner while retaining the power.

Go For: 4x2

Price Range: P1,100,000-P1,300,000
Our Rating: ***

Full Review: None as of the Moment

See the different versions of this vehicle: