Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Car Profiles - Nissan Urvan


First launched in 1988, the Urvan can be had in 12 seaer Shuttle guise at first. Subsequent versions including the Escapade, Estate, and other seating configurations were launched later on.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Car Profiles - Toyota Hiace


2014 ushers in for the Hiace with an increase in seating capacity for the Super Grandia and other goodies. While this van looks modern, there's the bumpy ride which is a demerit but no one would bother.

Price Range: P1,373,000-P2,619,000

Last Update: January 9, 2018

Monday, April 28, 2014

Used Car Review - Suzuki APV (2005-Current)

Need something practical for less cash? Myk Belmonte gives you a suggestion.

2005-Current Suzuki APV

Indonesians love multi-purpose vehicles since the birth of the Toyota Kijang in that place. In fact the Toyota Avanza (and its Daihatsu Xenia twin) are the common vehicles roaming the streets of the island nation. Talk about small size and little maintenance costs, it inspired competitors to develop this type of vehicle for the market.

Designed in Japan and produced by Suzuki's Indonesian subsidiary, the APV was first launched in 2004 together with the Mitsubishi Maven (basically the same model with a different design and Mitsubishi's 4G15 engine but discontinued after 2009). It was made available first in a MPV body with pick-up versions followed suit.

After fielding Carry in the passenger van market back then, the APV was made available to the Philippine consumer back in 2005 with ads that feature Doraemon. This vehicle provided an alternative to the common Adventure and Crosswind duo and the new kid on the block Innova until the Avanza came along a year later. Updates were done in May 2008 and November 2011 which included some revisions in the trim line. Variants include the base GA (added in 2006), GL, GLX, and SGX (made available in the 2008 revision).

Value and Costs
Do not worry if you have limited funds to purchase a brand new unit, especially a second hand APV costs between P200,000 for older models to P500,000 for later ones. Go with a July 2011 and later model to take advantage of the warranty.

Engine components are shared with the Vitara, which means maintenance costs are on the low side. Do take note that the engine is situated under the front passenger seats which makes access a little bit difficult.

Exterior and Interior
Unlike other contemporaries, the APV possesses a tall height which translates to a good headroom inside while retaining its compact size. It has some resemblance to a loaf of bread due to its lines and size. Let us not deal with this aspect too much.

Jumping to the driver's seat requires you some adjustments if you had graduated from a sedan, since the steering wheel is positioned akin to a bus, a high seating position, and oddly placed pedals. Good thing the second and third row benches are equally placed which can give you capacity for six people at the back. SGX models gain a second row captain's chair which can be adjusted forward and reclined if desired. Thank goodness that the radio and air-con controls are within the driver's reach. Before anything else, the GA does not have any power amenities except steering.

No diesel engine under the hood, but instead we find a G16A 1,590cc gasoline having 91hp at 5,750rpm and 127Nm at 4,500rpm. Having a weight worth 1,300kg, the 1.6 engine might have trouble in motivating the APV no thanks to a double digit horsepower rating. If its full, you have to mash every revs to extract power that is available.

Driving Impressions
For those who want something that will inspire their driving, go elsewhere. Handling isn't exciting and steering feedback is on the bad side, no thanks to a steering wheel that is small. But then, you'll be treated to an expanse outside visibility which is a good thing.

If you want something cheap to purchase that can carry seven to eight people in a pinch, the APV is the answer. However, in the price range, we would be picking something that is more superior in every aspect especially that the devil of depreciation hit them.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Car Profiles - Mazda MX-5 (1996-1998)

1996-1998 Mazda MX-5

The Good: Fun to drive, communicative chassis

The Bad: Limited interior and trunk space, hard to find in the market

The Say: It brings back the simple joys of driving.

Go For: Any well maintained unit
Avoid: Unloved ones

Price Range: P300,000-P450,000
Our Rating: *****

Related Review: None as of the Moment
Latest vehicle profile: Mazda MX-5

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Car Profiles - Jaguar XK


The Good: Something prominent that is a great performer
The Bad: Being prominent means that it offers a high cost of maintenance

Price Range: P9,800,000
Our Rating: ***


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Car Profiles - Porsche Boxster (2005-2012)

2005-2012 Porsche Boxster

The Good: Engine options, fun to drive personality

The Bad: Keeping this baby needs more cash

The Say: The high price of entry accepts the selected few.

Go For: Boxster S
Avoid: Poorly maintained units

Price Range: P2,000,000-P4,500,000
Our Rating: *****

Related Review: Used Car Review - Porsche Boxster (2005-2012)

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Car Profiles - BMW 3 Series Convertible (2008-2014)

2008-2014 BMW 3 Series Convertible

The Good: Easy to live with everyday and fun to drive

The Bad: Limited practicality and high maintenance costs

The Say: A 3 Series which has a limited fans club.

Go For: 325i
Avoid: 335i

Price Range: Data Not Available
Our Rating: ****

Related Review: None as of the Moment

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Used Car Review - Porsche Boxster (2005-2012)

It's time for fun under the sun courtesy of Myk Belmonte's suggestion.

2005-2012 Porsche Boxster

We all know that the 911 is the star of a Porsche dealership anywhere in the world. However, not everyone can afford and not a fit to everyone's tastes and personality. This is where the Boxster fits in, the one car that saved Porsche from being purchased back then. The rest, as they say, is history.

The second generation Boxster (under the codename 987) was first seen in the 2004 Paris Motor Show and put to sale the following year. While the shape is similar to the previous generation model, there are minor differences to begin with while the interior gets circular motifs in it. The 981 was introduced in March 2012, effectively discontinuing this series.

PGA Cars launched the 987 Boxster in 2005, alongside the Carrera and 997. Variants include the 2.7 (upgraded to 2.9 in 2009), 3.2 (became the 3.4) and the indent basis Spyder.

Value and Costs
If you want one, then prices for a 987 Boxster fall between P2,000,000-P4,000,000. Our very number one rule when it comes to buying premium branded vehicles: go for the pre-owned route.

Maintenance costs are definitely on the upper side of the scale, especially when compared to its German compatriots. As with top down cars, check if the canvas works properly and free of water leaks.

Exterior and Interior
While the car bears resemblance to the 986, there are some distinctions done to the vehicle which includes Carrera GT-like headlamps, intake valves which are horizontally slated and done in silver color, and larger wheel arches to accommodate wheels up to 19 inch in diameter. Add to this (which is subjective and my opinion) is a timeless design.

Mickey Mouse would feel at home when driving the Boxster, especially that circles are present in the air-con vents and instrument cluster. The audio controls are wanting, since they are small and tiny. Good thing is that seats are comfortable and baggage's are welcome in the front portion and a little at the back.

Two engine options sold in a regular basis and one that can be had through an indent basis are available throughout selling life, with all of them being flat six engines. The base one is a 2.7 (upgraded to a 2.9 in February 2009) that has power good for 240hp at 6,400rpm and torque pegged at 270Nm at 4,700-6,000rpm (255hp at the same rpm range for the 2.9 and 290Nm but the initial range is lowered to 4,400rpm). Next in line which powers the S model is a 3.2 (later updates bumped the displacement to a 3.4) having 280hp at 6,200rpm and 320Nm at 4,700-6,000rpm (the 3.4 models get 310hp at 6,400rpm and 360Nm at 4,400-5,500rpm). A 3.4 engine available in the Spyder having 320hp at 7,200rpm and 370Nm at 4,750rpm. So when it comes to performance, we can sum up to this: the 2.7 being mild, the 3.2 the moderate, and the Spyder a wild one in terms of power. Do take note that units until the first month of 2009 made do with a 5-speed 'matic, with an option between a 7-speed dual clutch (or PDK) and a manual transmission for the units sold after that date.

Driving Impressions
Have the vehicle driven anywhere, flats or curves, and it will stay planted on the ground while remaining its fun to drive demeanor. You'll never run out of excuses to have fun with this convertible, especially that it invites you to drive one for yourself.

Going pre-owned gives you the possibilities of driving home something that you can't afford before. Although you can't have that sweet new car smell, the function and performance matters. The 987 Boxster, despite nearly 10 years old when it was first launched, is a fine piece of automotive. You'll love it, I say it to you.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Car Features - January-October 1995 Passenger Car Sales Figures [RARE DATA]

Thanks to the power of Google Newspapers Archive, I managed to retrieve passenger car sales for the first 10 months of 1995. However, unlike the previous sales reports I had done, we would reveal the best selling variants for the said period. So, drum roll shall we?

Disclaimer: Photos may not actually reflect the variants themselves, they are provided for illustrative purposes only.

Car Features - We Rate the Vehicle Introductions During Joseph Estrada's Term

Joseph Estrada experienced falling car sales during his period as the President of the Philippines since he inherited the effects of the financial crisis. Nearly thirteen years he was impeached and became the Mayor of Manila, he saw the economy progressed which caused heavy traffic to his city. Today, he will celebrate his 77th year of existence.

Despite the financial crisis and sagging vehicle sales, there are some vehicle launches which we will revisit and rate them for their significance.

We would rate the vehicle launches between June 30, 1998 to January 20, 2001 by their success and significance in their market. Some vehicles paved way to future trends in the market while some were regarded as future classics and collectibles.

Shown below are the vehicles, date of introduction (those after January 20, 2001 are excluded), short introduction, and significance rating (out of five) with some commentary.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Car Profiles - Hyundai Accent Sedan (2011-Current)

2011-Current Hyundai Accent Sedan

The Good: Styling, generous heaping of equipment

The Bad: Some cheap touches, limited rear headroom

The Say: One step forward that is hampered by several flaws.

Go For: 1.6 GLS
Avoid: 2011-Mid 2013 1.4

Price Range: P430,000-P650,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: None as of the Moment
Latest vehicle profile:
Hyundai Accent Sedan

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Car Profiles - Ford Fiesta Sedan (2010-Current)

2010-Current Ford Fiesta Sedan

The Good: Heaps of equipment, great driving dynamics

The Bad: Not that spacious inside

The Say: A fun to drive sub-compact sedan which comes prepared.

Go For: 1.4 Trend
Avoid: None so far

Price Range: P420,000-P500,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: None as of the Moment
Latest vehicle profile: Ford Fiesta Sedan

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Car Profiles - Honda City (2009-2014)

2009-2014 Honda City

The Good: Huge interior space, reliable

The Bad: Rev demanding 1.3

The Say: High levels of quality trickled down to a sub-compact package.

Go For: 1.5 E
Avoid: 1.3 A

Price Range: P400,000-P610,000
Our Rating: ****

Related Review: Used Car Review - Honda City (2009-2014)
Latest vehicle profile: Honda City

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Car Features - Car and Driver: Dishonorable Mention

There is a reason why the coveted Car of the Year Award exists: this is to know the best automobiles sold in the market. However, Car and Driver magazine (and Motor Trend and Automobile magazines) bought back their words on some vehicles in which they are anything but award-worthy of the award for some reasons. Do take note that the lemon law was not in existence yet and features like Bluetooth and airbags mounted in the seatbelts were basically a dream.

Let us now give you the dishonorable roll, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Car Profiles - Volvo S70 (1997-2000)

1997-2000 Volvo S70

The Good: Safety feature loaded, comfortable

The Bad: Control layout, expensive maintenance costs

The Say: A great choice from the mainstream Germans.

Go For: 2.0 LPT
Avoid: Units appeared to be not maintained

Go For: P170,000-P250,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: None as of the Moment

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Car Profiles - Nissan Teana (2010-2014)

2010-2014 Nissan Teana

The Good: Luxury oriented, smooth engines

The Bad: Interior tends to get messy, not that much ergonomic

The Say: A car perfect for the backseat rider.

Go For: 3.5 XV
Avoid: 2.5 XL

Price Range: Data Not Available
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: Used Car Review - Nissan Teana (2010-2014)
Latest vehicle profile: Nissan Altima

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Car Profiles - Dodge Charger


Another option for those who want something different from the European (AMG, M, S) choices when it comes to high performance sedans. R/T model has a powerful HEMI V8 under the hood which gives the Germans a run for their money. Limited rear seat and allotment in the market are deterrents.

The Good: Sedan with sporty attitude
The Bad: Limited rear seats

Price Range: P3,450,000
Our Rating: ***

Last Update: March 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Car Profiles - Chrysler 300


The bad boy among executive sedans received a redesign and had vastly improved. Materials inside befit a P3M car and an 8-speed automatic motivates this one. Those who are introverts need not to apply to this car. Now facelifted with some nips and tucks.

The Good: Strong acceleration with the V6
The Bad: Shifter operation

Price Range: P3,550,000
Our Rating: ***

Last Update: August 10, 2015

Monday, April 7, 2014

Used Car Review - Chrysler 300 (2005-2011)

Look good this summer by buying what Myk Belmonte is suggesting you.

2005-2011 Chrysler 300

Chrysler has a history when it comes to the number 300 in their full size sedans. The first 300 vehicle was released in 1955 that was considered as the 300A until the letter L (I was omitted since it could be mistaken for 1) in 1965. The 300 series (this time with no letters after it) had its appearance in 1962 which replaced the Chrysler Windsor which overlapped three years later until its (the no letter series) discontinuation in 1971. There is the Chrysler 300M that was launched in 1999 that preceded the Eagle Vision but technically not part of the original 300 series.

It started life as a concept car previewed at the New York Auto Show in 2003 with production commencing the following year. Basic models were marketed as a high end full-size sedan while the SRT-8 is treated as its high performance brethren. With its marriage to Daimler Benz, components are based from the W211 E Class. After 2011, the vehicle was redesigned for its second generation with the wagon version dropped.

With the distribution rights of Chrysler products given to CATS Motors, the 300 was introduced after years that the marque had not sold any sedan (the flopped Neon and Stratus were dropped sometime in 2000). It found its own market and with the success of the line, a wagon and diesel joined the fray in 2010. Sales ceased in 2011 with the second generation model launched in November of that year.

Value and Costs
What used to be a two million peso rich kid's plaything can be yours for the price of a brand new mid-size SUV from Thailand. For peace of mind (and the standard drill when it comes to premium brands), going to the pre-owned route is the order of the day.

This is no bed of roses when it comes to maintenance costs, that's if you compare this to a diesel powered SUV from a Japanese brand. As of now, there are no reported problems with this cruiser which indicates its good reliability record.

Exterior and Interior
Badass: this is one word to describe the 300's exterior design. Its appearance need not be described anymore, it begs to be stared and you'll be the life of the party. The rectangular chrome grille that is imposing and the most prominent part of the vehicle. Enough of this, let the vehicle speak for itself.

Inside, there are tons of gadgetry in which it is reserved for vehicles based in the Continental side. There is a reasonable amount of interior space but rear visibility is a boo-boo, no thanks to its smallish windows afforded by this vehicle.

Similar to your coffee, the 300 can be had in five engines. First is the basic EER 2,736cc with 190hp at 6,400rpm and 254Nm at 6,400rpm while the step up is an EGG (we are not kidding you) 3,518cc having 250hp at 6,400rpm and 340Nm at 3,800rpm - both of them are V6 powered. The cream of the crop are these two V8s equipped with the HEMI technology - the EZB 5,654cc carrying 340hp at 5,000rpm and 525Nm at 4,000rpm and the ESF 6,059cc with 420hp at 4,800rpm and 570Nm at 6,000rpm. For the eco-freak in you, there is the Mercedes Benz sourced OM642 2,987cc carrying 221hp at 3,800rpm and 510Nm with torque range between 1,600-2,800rpm. Let's give the engines a rundown: the 2.7 is decent although some might find the power lacking, the 3.5 is our which especially it gives you a balance of power and economy, both V8s are fast and quick, while the diesel is fast yet economical.

Driving Impressions
Thanks to its underpinnings supplied by Mercedes Benz, driving fun (it concerns the handling) and driver's control is there. With a smooth ride coupled with power that is built in time, this is one fun driving machine.

Fun and full size sedan combination? In the 60s, yes. In the 20th century, blurry. But thanks to Chrysler's efforts, something reserved for your grandfather is now a piece of an enjoyable automobile which demands you to stare even if you are not an enthusiast of the four wheeled invention. And with used car prices, the dream can be yours for less.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Car Features - We Rate the Vehicle Introductions During Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Term (Part 1)

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stepped into power after President Estrada was deposed (similar to Cory Aquino) and many changes in the automobile industry happened. We all saw the introduction of several new models and the revision of a taxation rule that removed tax incentives to vehicles which carried 10 or more people.

For her 67th birthday, let us go back to the vehicle launches during her term especially with her nine years in power, many things happened especially to the automotive industry.

This feature is divided to three parts. First would be her term from January 20, 2001 to June 30, 2004, next is from June 30, 2004 to June 30, 2007 and lastly is from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2010. The latter two will be made available on future dates.

For the first part, we would rate the vehicle launches between June 20, 2001 to June 30, 2004 by their success and significance in their market. Some vehicles paved way to future trends in the market while some were regarded as future classics and collectibles.

Shown below are the vehicles, date of introduction (those after June 2004 are excluded), short introduction, and significance rating (out of five) with some commentary.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Car Profiles - Peugeot 307 (2003-2007)

2003-2007 Peugeot 307

The Good: Fully kitted that is complemented by a nice exterior design

The Bad: Space isn't great, not that athletic

The Say: An entry ticket for a French ownership experience.

Go For: 1.6

Price Range: P195,000-P250,000
Our Rating: ***

Related Reviews: None as of the Moment

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kia Rio Hatchback - Generation 3.1 (2012-2015)


While the previous generation hatchback isn't a success, this one sold decently. Unlike the sedan but like most competitors, this one can be had with one variant that is positioned as the top model.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Car Profiles - Renault Clio (2000-2002)

2000-2002 Renault Clio

The Good: Good looks

The Bad: Difficult to find

The Say: Better look elsewhere.

Go For: Anything which looks cared for
Avoid: Getting high expectations

Price Range: Data Not Available
Our Rating: ***

Related Review: None as of the Moment

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Ultimate Used Car Guide to give away cars this December

Used Car Review - Nissan Verita (2000-2007)

Today is April 1st and Myk Belmonte throws in a funky looking vehicle for this foolish day.

2000-2007 Nissan Verita

We mere mortals know the charm that a Mini Cooper (whether the British Motor Corporation built ones or the latest from BMW) can offer. It has boxy lines that will resist looking dated and for the girls, a laglag panty reaction when one sees a unit pass by.

The Micra lineage of vehicles (also known as the March) from Nissan can be traced back in 1982 starting from the K10 platform. The second generation under the K11 codename appeared 10 years later which became the basis of the Verita, launched in 1999 and also called as the Bolero. The Verita featured a different exterior and interior treatment which makes an ordinary variant go home.

Following the Toyota Echo, Nissan Motor Philippines (under Yulon's operation) launched the Verita in a time hatchbacks aren't ready to persuade customers wallets, yet. While the Echo got the axe in 2003, this one stayed a little longer until it was finally dropped in 2007, a period where the category is heating up.

Value and Costs
With just 2,000 units that were sold locally, finding one in the classifieds can be summarized in a single digit number units of them for sale, less than a Sentra of the same period. If you want one, prepare to shell between P200,000-P280,000 for a unit.

Thanks to a 1.3 engine, this is one fuel sipper in which you can enjoy the car while being economically conscious. One beef with this vehicle is the switchgear that fails especially it can be traced in the driver side power window buttons. So have it checked first or suffer the consequences.

Exterior and Interior
Love it or hate it, these are the reactions that you will blurt out when you lay your eyes upon this vehicle. Chrome (probably influenced by the Sentra Exalta STA) is evident throughout the vehicle from the door handles, bumper garnish, and other locations outside. The big news is the retro theme that resembles classic British vehicles from the 60s that can be reminiscent of the Toyota Classic.

It is a blast to the past when riding inside, whether you are driving or just a passenger. Wood treatments in the steering wheel and dashboard are nice touches; leather upholstery is everywhere which is a rarity in this class. Oh, let us not forget that it is versatile and can accommodate four people in a comfortable manner.

A CG13DE 1,275cc carrying 75hp at 6,000rpm and 99Nm at 4,000rpm is the sole option for the Verita. Mated to an automatic transmission, it does supply you adequate acceleration inside the city but comes short and breathless for overtaking situations. By the way, this is a fuel injected model and not something living in the carburetor age.

Driving Impressions
Jump in to the driver's seat and you'll be rewarded with an upright position, which is what the doctor ordered. To complete the luxurious touch the vehicle has to offer, drive it on a zen manner which is not always being in a rush.

As they say, novelty wears off. Rare vehicles which may be unique from mainstream offerings have their own shelf life. The Verita has its own cult following but its time had passed by. If you prefer to be different from the rest, then this is the one.