Automotive

2019 Honda Civic RS Turbo: Is this the return of the Civic we loved?

Looks good and packs a punch

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The Honda Civic has been around for more than 4 decades now and is one of the most popular cars around. In its glory days, it appealed to almost everyone, from being a family car to a daily driver, a road trip car, and even to petrol heads who are also racing enthusiasts.  Thanks to its VTEC technology, the Honda Civic can switch from a conservative, economic daily driver to a ferocious race car. The fifth and sixth-gen Civic from the ’90s was an all-time favorite with a better aerodynamic body and not to mention it was packed with plenty of horsepower under the hood. Parts were also cheap and it was easy to modify the car to your liking.

Every time a new model was released, people expected more and more from Honda. But in recent years, the Civic has been a bit on the unimpressive side. It got heavier and slower, and Honda seemed to focus more on economy rather than performance with technologies that Civic enthusiasts did not find necessary. It just got boring and dull. So is the release of the latest 10th generation Honda Civic the answer to our wishes? The styling is stunning, but does it perform the way we expect it to? Is this the return of our beloved Civic?

The styling of the new 10th generation Civic has so much character that you can instantly tell it’s a Civic even from afar. It looks exceptionally muscular yet sleek. The grille protrudes forward with its character lines and cuts direct your eyes to the front and emphasizes the low set assertive-looking LED headlamps. This makes the fascia look bold and aggressive, like an angry rhino ready to charge.

More lines and curves can be seen from the sides with broad fenders giving the car a wide and sporty stance. I personally liked the repeaters on the front wheel arch and the 18-inch RS Design Belrina Black alloy wheels as they add character and identity to the Civic. The rear is just as eye-catching; the C-shaped LED tail lamps are sleek and is complemented with black trims and diffusers. Plus, included in the RS package is a rear wing that gives the car extra downforce for better grip in high speeds.

The interior did not fall short in design as well. The dashboard was distinctly modern in appearance with a more ergonomic design and there was no shortage of cup holders nor small storage spaces. The interior is plush and spacious with leather and soft-touch plastic. With the RS variant, you get red accent stitching on the dash and steering wheel which evokes a feeling of passion and added sportiness.

Starting the car up, you are instantly greeted with a digital instrument panel. The center console is high and it gives you that feeling that you’re really in a sports car. The seven-inch touch screen is well-equipped and user-friendly. Looking at this car, you can tell that the design department went all out as every detail is well proportioned inside and out and it’s just one of the better-looking cars in the market today.

Although, does it drive the way we expected it to? Is it as sporty as it looks? We took this car up to the twisty mountains and the engine was quiet and extremely smooth. The i-VTEC engine produces 173 horsepower and getting up to speed was a breeze. Turning off the ECON mode and switching the gear lever to Sport mode, this car transforms into an adrenaline-inducing vehicle. It gives you higher revs between gear changes and it simply makes the car more responsive.

However, like most CVTs, you will not get that instant punch in acceleration when you put your foot down the throttle. A bit disappointing but thankfully, once the transmission has found the right ratios, it will slingshot you forward and fast. Steering was very light and responsive; hammering down a corner at 80kph has zero drama and is accompanied by firm suspensions. Body roll was minimal and the car just hugs the road exceptionally.

It’s close to being the perfect car, especially for its price range.  It is a fun, adrenaline-packed, yet quiet and smooth midsized sedan. If only it were up to me, I would replace its CVT setup. Mating this type of engine to a traditional 6-speed transmission would have made this car more aggressive on open roads. Secondly, the electronic handbrake seemed out of place. Sometimes you want to have fun with handbrake turns and try daring maneuvers but would be impossible with electronic handbrakes.

Third, it lacked some safety features that come standard with a lot of cars nowadays — features like front proximity sensors, blind spot warnings, and lane departure warnings. These features just give you better confidence while driving. Lastly, it’s nice that the Civic is quiet in city driving, but there are times when you set free some horses, and a vicious engine grunt would be nice. Maybe a better sounding exhaust system?

At the end of the day, the 10th generation Honda Civic is still not perfect but is no doubt a fun all-around car.  Going back to my initial question: Is this the comeback of the Civic? In my opinion, the answer is, almost. It still has so much more to offer and we will be expecting more from Honda in its upcoming Civic models.

Want to see more of the Civic RS Turbo? We have a video!

Automotive

I Took A Ride On a Self-Driving Tractor!

Just like your smartphone, AI powers tractors through the fields

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Unusual in the GadgetMatch YouTube channel is a visit to a big warehouse full of farming vehicles, windmills, and corn fields. But Michael Josh’s visit at John Deere’s booth last CES 2020 and hosting session in CES 2021 made him gain interest in smart farming equipment.

But do you know what do tractors and smartphones have in common? John Deere’s farming machines are in a way like farming robots. Just like smartphones, they also leverage the power of data and AI — or also known as Artificial Intelligence.

But what makes John Deere’s farming vehicles stand out from the rest? Find out more in our latest video!

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Automotive

VanMoof X3 Review: The Tesla of E-Bikes?

Time to ride the future

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In a bustling city full of cars, bikes not only offer an easy passage from several location points, they also reduce your overall carbon footprint.

But what if someone makes bikes even smarter? Dutch-based VanMoof makes the perfect city bike that sports the right balance of high tech and coolness factor. And comes as part of a complete ecosystem that’s sure to make any city biker happy.

This is our review of the VanMoof X3 — which also applies to the VanMoof S3 if you’re planning on buying one.

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Automotive

Ford Territory: Feel at ease while traveling in style

A feature-packed SUV with driver-assist technologies

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Ford Territory

When you see a Ford badge slapped onto a car, it is safe to assume it inherently will deliver in terms of quality and capabilities. The all-new Ford Territory is the carmaker’s take on a reasonably priced compact SUV. Ford presumably partnered up with JMC (Chinese automobile manufacturer) to trim down the costs in production while still ensuring quality by staying true to Ford’s expertise in design, engineering, and manufacturing.

This five-seater SUV comes equipped with safety features and the latest driver-assist technologies that meet global standards to give you a safe, convenient and comfortable driving experience. Does it stay true to Ford’s SUV heritage? Well, let’s find out!

Ford Territory

A real eye candy

Sophistication and toughness — it’s the best of both worlds.

Ford Territory

Up front, it features Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille, put together with sleek LED headlamps. It also has a pair of fog lamps and daytime running LED lights for more on-road visibility. A silver skid plate protects the underside of the front bumper in a fashionable manner.

Ford Territory

On the side panels are evident character lines with a floating roofline design that gives the car that striking appeal. Nice chrome accents on door handles, waistline and side claddings.


Armed with power folding side mirrors with turn signal repeaters.

Not only that, the mirrors also have underside puddle lights to illuminate the ground when you’re getting in and out of the car at night. Because who wants to step on something gross and then step on their car’s matting? No one!

Ford Territory
The Ford Territory comes with two-tone 18” multi-spoke alloy wheels. With a ground clearance of 180mm, you will have no problem traversing bumpy roads.

Looking at the back from afar, it’s as striking as the front and sides. Those curves!

Ford Territory

The trendy LED taillights are complimented by a chrome bar. A high-mount brake light comes pre-installed so you don’t have to.

Two not-so-fake-looking exhaust tips attached to the rear bumper skid plate add a sporty look. The real exhaust can be seen if you look down a little further.

The presence of the bold ‘Territory’ badge is somehow stating that this is a true SUV.

Ford Territory
Lift up the trunk and you’ll get plenty of cargo space for your usual grocery trips and travel necessities. It also has functional roof rails where you can attach a roof rack if you need to haul more items.

Ford Territory

The spare tire is located underneath the cargo floor along with a jack kit. You can store more essential tools in there if you need to.

Premium touch

Entering the Territory is easy, thanks to its keyless entry feature. By a push of a button, doors get unlocked as long as the key is within proximity range.

Interior

Ford Territory

Ford Territory

I liked how refreshing the interior looks. The combination of premium materials and incorporation of modern technology blend perfectly. The wooden trims that go around the door panels and dashboard give it an earthy feel.

Blending nature to indoor spaces is quite common in contemporary homes. That’s what came to my mind upon opening the panoramic moonroof. Letting more natural light get in the cabin makes you feel more connected to your surroundings.

Digital dashboard and more tech

With its 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, you can control the audio, air conditioning, ambient lighting color and more. Connecting your smartphone is made easy through Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Some functions won’t work while the car is moving so that the driver won’t be tempted to navigate the screen while driving.

The crisp 10-inch digital instrument cluster displays your driving information as well as the tire pressure monitoring system. The display theme is also customizable to suit your mood.

Having a wireless charging port comes in handy especially for long drives. Just make sure your phone is compatible and you’re good to go.


Ambient lighting enhances the mood of travel. It’s not distracting so you can enjoy it as much as you want. The only downside is that it is only visible at night.


These perforated leather seats are very comfortable. And the front two seats are heated/cooled for added comfort.

Legroom is not a problem in this car. Five passengers can travel with comfort. There is no large hump on the middle portion of the floor at the backseat. So, those who will sit in the middle won’t have a hard time finding a comfortable spot for their feet.

For the back passengers, the two air condition vents strive to do its cooling task. On a very hot day though, its coldness is insufficient.

The steering wheel is easy on the grip, thanks to its stylish perforated leather wrap. Controls for the instrument cluster and hands-free phone calls are on the steering wheel.

Along with other features are:

Scattered USB charging ports

Elevated center armrest with cup holders (backseat)

12V socket at the trunk

And an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Behind it is a high-mount USB port intended for dashcams or GoPro (dangling cables no more).

Minimalist cockpit controls

The layout of the center console is intuitive and easy to grasp.

Placement of buttons and toggle switches are easily accessible. It’s also equipped with an electronic parking brake that replaces the traditional hand-operated parking brake.

A wheel knob controls the volume of radio/music player. It also has a cup holder, perfect for coffee lovers out there.

Beside it is a very usable, spacious gate-fold-open storage space.

Inserting keys are slowly becoming a thing of the past with these modern cars. Just push a button and it’ll bring its engine to life. We usually see this feature exclusively on higher tier cars so it is great to have this in the Territory.

What is it like behind the wheel?

Driving the Ford Territory is piece of cake. I felt confident and safe while taking it on the road.

This proves that this car was designed with convenience and safety as the top priority in mind. Steering is very light, like butter. The car is very sturdy on bumps and stable even on sharp turns.

What gives it power is a 1.5L Ecoboost engine paired with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). It delivers sufficient power at 143ps and 225Nm of torque.

In normal “Drive” mode, there’s a noticeable slight delayed response on the accelerator. However, if you put it in ‘Sport’ mode, you’ll be satisfied with the performance. It manages to reach 0-60km/hr in around 4.5-5 seconds. That’s nowhere near a Mustang. But for a 1.5L engine in a big bodied car, that’s impressive.

Having a CVT made it easy on fuel consumption, supposedly. Granted that it is an SUV, it’ll consume more fuel compared to smaller MPVs and compact sedans. It squeezes around 8-10km/liter for city driving and 15km/liter on a highway.

Engine noise and unnecessary background noise is down to a minimum while you are inside the car, offering you a relaxed ride.

Safety is always a priority

Cameras installed at the front, rear and under side mirrors add an all-around vision.

The Ford Territory has advanced driver-assist safety technologies — the Ford Co-Pilot360.


HD 360-Degree camera lets you monitor the surroundings closely when backing up. At night, the cameras capture the areas well. Which is a really big help. The 360-view displays simulated aerial view of the car that helps the driver in avoiding obstacles on-the-fly.

The Territory can also parallel park by itself, upon driver’s command, with its Enhanced Active Park Assist. It also helps in reverse perpendicular parking.


Autonomous Emergency Braking, aided by a radar on the front chin, alerts you to a potential collision.


Proximity sensors help the driver in getting in and out tight spaces.

The Territory is equipped with six all-round airbags (front, side pillars and curtains) protecting passengers from every side. It also has adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, auto brake hold function and blind spot information system.

These safety features are all convenient and helpful, but it is safer to always check your surroundings when driving.

Verdict

The Ford Territory is all-in-all, ideal for daily use. Whether going on a ride alone or with friends and family, it’ll give you superb comfort and convenience so you can own every moment. All the functional features and aesthetically pleasing ornamentation show the extensive thought process that this car went through. A good car is a good car, regardless where it was made. It is undoubtedly a true Ford SUV.

Pricing and availability

The Ford Territory Trend is available at a starting price of PhP 1,277,000. If you want to get all the safety features, the Ford Territory Titanium+ is priced at PhP 1,310,000. It comes in six different colors: Ruby Red, Diffused Silver, Panther Black, Crystal Pearl White, Moonstone Blue and Star White.

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