Automotive

2018 Nissan Leaf is coming to Asia and Oceania

New electric vehicles are coming our way!

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Since its launch in 2010, the Nissan Leaf has sold over 300,000 units worldwide, making it the world’s bestselling electric vehicle. To further extend the reach of the most sought-after EV, the Japanese carmaker will bring the second-generation Leaf to seven new markets in Asia and Oceania.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf was showcased during the fourth edition of Nissan Futures, a three-day event in Singapore which focused on how new mobility solutions can help tackle challenges such as pollution, urbanization, and congestion. This was also the first time Southeast Asia got a preview of the new zero-emissions vehicle from Nissan.

The new Leaf features notable accretions in performance and range over the first-gen model. Its electric motor now produces 38 percent more power and 26 percent more torque at 110kW (148hp) and 320Nm, respectively. It also has a higher-capacity 40kWh lithium-ion battery that increased its operating range up to 400km which is more than double the previous model.

Among the new car’s features are ProPILOT Park — an automated parking function, guided by four high-res cameras and 12 “ultrasonic” sensors. The car isn’t fully autonomous but, at least, it can park itself.

It was revealed that the new fully electric Leaf will be available soon in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. The company also plans to introduce it to other markets in the region, including Indonesia and the Philippines.

The exact date of the car’s arrival on said markets remains vague, but delivery should happen before 2019.

SEE ALSO: Nissan creates self-driving slippers for a Japanese inn

Automotive

Voting for Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards now easier

With a chance to win prizes when you vote

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The search for the most popular vehicles in the Philippines has just kicked off in the form of the Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards (AFPCA). People can easily vote for their favorite vehicles using their smartphones.

Launched by production group Sunshine TV, Auto Focus recognizes the country’s automobile manufacturers and importers through an accurate method of determining the motoring public’s choices. This has been the company’s 14th year of organizing the event and this time, they’re making things simpler.

Voting is done with the implementation of the “top of mind” principle. Instead of choosing from a long list of car brands and models, people can simply vote out of the top of their minds. The company went for this approach since they believe awareness and immediate preferences are keys to consider a car model’s popularity.

Additionally, the Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards (AFMCA) will be undertaken in tandem with the AFPCA to honor car models that offer the top features, value, and performance. Professional motoring media and practitioners will judge the entries and give awards for best in design, engine performance, safety features, and value for money.

To vote for the People’s Choice Award, simply go to their page and log in using your Facebook profile. You can input the vehicle of your choice in the spaces provided. A minimum of one vehicle in the Standard category and another in the Luxury category can be included. If you have more in mind, five entries are allowed for each category.

People who vote have a chance to win raffle prizes. Voting can be done every day until the poll closes on September 30, 2018. Happy voting!

SEE ALSO: STV breathes life to old motorsport with ARCC

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STV breathes life to old motorsport with ARCC

Keeping the spirit of rallying alive

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I was at Clark, Pampanga in a former United States Air Force base in the Philippines for the STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge (ARCC).

For the unfamiliar, it’s also called Sampaguita Rally in the Philippines, but it was actually inspired by the Dutch’s Tulpenrallye (Tulip Rally) for the way the directions in the handbook look like. It gained popularity in Europe at the beginning of 1950s and was also the number one motorsport in the Philippines back in the 80s. The sport eventually died down but Sunshine Television has been faithful to breathe life into the sport until today.

STV Chairman and CEO Ray Butch Gamboa kicks off the event.

Now, the “rally” in its name might paint a different picture for some. Usually, speed is associated when you hear the term “rallying,” and that’s because of the modified rally races that are popular today. STV’s ARCC doesn’t follow this trend and stays true to its roots wherein drivers are not required to go fast to win.

Taking an oath to play fair and square.

Car manufacturers, importers, and distributors were the event’s participants and I was invited to be one of Ford Philippines’ representatives. There were a total of nine media reps split into three groups and Ford gave the groups a vehicle each to use in the event.

Our group was in a 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium with me at the helm, while one was assigned as timekeeper and the other as navigator.

You, as a participant, get in the vehicle with your teammates and are put on a public road along with other motorists. You’re expected to follow driving rules just like you normally would while following the tulip-shaped directions written on the handbook.

This is what the handbook looks like with tulip-shaped arrows for directions. The smaller sheet is filled with our time for all the checkpoints.

More than speed, the key factor to winning is precision. A series of checkpoints were set up throughout the course, and our team, along with hundreds of participants from other brands, had to arrive at the perfect time at each checkpoint. Get there one second late/early and you get a demerit. In the end, the group with the least number of demerits wins. Having said these, the goal is simple: Be on time, all the time.

With more than 150km of driving, the goal of the event was to promote driver discipline and road safety. This means if you violate traffic rules, authorities can and will flag you and issue a ticket (plus the organizers can disqualify you from the event depending on your offense).

There’s our ride, Vehicle 24.

The dynamics inside the vehicle (at least for us) worked like this: The navigator obviously had the handbook and told the driver where to turn. Meanwhile, the timekeeper calculated the time needed from one point to the next to made sure we get to the checkpoints at the perfect time — all while inside a moving car. Then there’s an average speed indicated per direction so I, the driver, had to maintain constant speeds depending on the instruction. Mix in traffic lights and buildup of cars and the feeling of frustration crept in knowing we needed to catch up.

Still, it was a great practice for coordination and communication among us inside the vehicle. Since Rally Director Georges Ramirez chose a route with tricky turns and hidden checkpoints, it made things more exciting and required us to almost be at the edge of our seats looking out where that next turn would be.

Team Ford (although not complete)

The 2018 ARCC was indeed a challenging experience, but it’s for that same reason that all of us enjoyed the event. Our group didn’t make it to the top list but hey, it was an adventure that you don’t do every day. It also taught us a thing or two about teamwork and precision driving, and I even ended up making new friends. So it’s not all that bad.

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Suzuki officially introduces its all-new Jimny

A sleek yet tough 4×4

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After nearly 50 years since its debut, Suzuki has officially revealed its fourth generation Jimny. It is, and has always been, a trusted vehicle that can handle the grit of off-road adventures and look good in the city, too.

With the all-new Jimny, the boxy look is still there but Suzuki promises more functionality and practicality than its earlier siblings. Memorable circle headlights have been installed which outright make you notice its five-slat grille. According to Suzuki, its flat, clamshell bonnet — which connects to the more upright A-pillars — enhances visibility from the windshield.

Drip rails on the roof edges have also been added to protect from ingress when opening or closing a door. Side sill covers and wheel arch extensions also make their way to the new Jimny. Meanwhile, at the back, there are now horizontal taillights instead of vertical ones as seen previously. Their signature spare tire rounds up the exterior.

Under the hood, a 1.5-liter engine replaces the previous 1.3-liter unit. While it now packs stronger torque at all RPM, it also has ample torque at low revolutions, which is demanded for off-road driving.

Suzuki is confident about taking the 3-door Jimny to roads less traveled with the help of its ALLGRIP PRO. In a nutshell, it’s the company’s 4WD system made with high off-road usage in mind. Additionally, it will be available in either five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

The all-new Jimny is also stuffed with the latest safety tech. Among these are the Suzuki Safety Support and Dual Sensor Brake Support. The latter determines if a risk of collision is coming up and issues an audio/visual warning with increased braking force. It also applies strong automatic brakes depending on the circumstance. Other functions include lane departure warning and weaving alert.

Watch this one-minute clip showing the new Jimny going on an adventure.

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