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

New Ford Ranger FX4 is an updated workhorse truck

Ford’s truck lineup offers a Ranger for everyone

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Ford Philippines has just introduced a new model for its already successful lineup of pickup trucks. Called the Ranger FX4, it exudes toughness with its bold design, work-ready performance, and smart technologies.

It also adds to the company’s Ranger portfolio making it the automotive company with the widest lineup of pickup trucks in the country with 13 available variants.

Ford Ranger FX4

The new FX4 still maintains the Ranger’s general appeal but it comes with unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, door handles, front and rear bumpers, and fresh fender features.

Decals along the lower doors and a 3D badge on its tailgate make sure that onlookers will know this is the updated model.

Stepping inside, you’ll be welcomed by Fx4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitchings on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.

In terms of features, we know that Ford doesn’t skimp on the essentials. The new FX4 carries an infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its 8-inch touchscreen display.

Powering the Ranger FX4 is the company’s 2.2-liter Duratorq diesel engine mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, producing 160PS of power and 385Nm of torque.

The new Ranger models are now available in Ford dealerships nationwide. Pricing is at PhP 1,256,000 for the 4×2 MT model and PhP 1,316,000 for the 4×2 AT variant.

They’re available in five colors — Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, Meteor Grey, and True Red.

An updated lineup of trucks

  • Aside from the new Ranger FX4, Ford Philippines is also introducing a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup.
  • Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4×2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers.
  • Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.
  • Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4×4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models.
  • Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.

Test drive Ford’s trucks for yourself

The launch of the Ranger FX4 also marks the official kick-off of the Ford Island Conquest event this year. The first leg of the experiential test drive will happen on January 24-26, 2020 from 9AM to 9PM at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City.

During the three-day event, customers have the chance to test drive the Ranger FX4 and other Ford vehicles on a specialized driving course that will showcase the vehicles’ best-in-class features and capabilities.

Customers also have the chance to avail of exclusive offers and deals when they purchase a Ford vehicle. This includes a PhP 10,000 outright cash discount and pick-a-prize cash discount of up to PhP 100,000 on top of existing promotions for the month. Over Ph 1.3 million worth of cash discounts and prizes are up for grabs during the Ford Island Conquest kick-off.

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Automotive

Audi shows off its empathetic car at CES 2020

It’s concerned about the passenger’s well-being

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For people who drive or commute in the city, traffic jams, crowded streets, and other eyesores can add to the stress we already have. It’s an unavoidable lifestyle every time we’re on the road and is something we wish we had a solution to. Audi, at the CES 2020, seems to have the answer to this with the revelation of their concept car, the Audi AI:ME.

Described as an empathetic car, the fully automated Audi AI:ME represents a personal “third living space,” alongside our homes and workplaces, this self-driving vehicle is sure to pamper its passengers through the use of the latest automotive AI technologies.

So how can a car be empathetic? For starters, by recognizing its users and their habits, it will combine artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, well being, and comfort.

You can communicate with the car intuitively and even have it order your favorite food or enjoy a wellness experience with a pair of VR goggles that will allow passengers to change the environment in real-time together with the movement of the vehicle.

Upon arriving at your destination, you will find that your ordered food was delivered on time thanks to the AI navigation coordinated by the car’s navigation data. In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrancing of the interior.

Audi has also introduced, along with this vehicle, a 3D heads up display that works like a 3D television. Developed in cooperation with Samsung, Images generated for the left and right eye will give you a true 3D image. You will be able to see vital information, like navigation arrows as if they were floating in front of you at a distance of 8-10 meters and can even be increased to 70 meters. Your eyes will no longer have to refocus looking at the instrument cluster.

Should the driver get tired, different ambient lighting will provide a remedy from blue to cool white light which can have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the driver.  Audi calls this the Human-Centric Lighting.

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Automotive

Nissan shows off Ariya concept, zero-emission ice cream van at CES

There’s even a self-sinking golf ball!

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Apart from other car brands strutting their newest offerings, Nissan is also in full swing over at the ongoing CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Their booth showcases things that first and foremost promote sustainability with technologies that are soon within reach.

To further show what these features can do, the company has taken their technologies and developed new, creative uses for them. These are then available to experience at Nissan’s booth. Check them out:

Nissan Ariya concept: The crossover vehicle is making its North American debut and brings together advanced technologies on an all-new EV platform. It carries the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that we’re pretty familiar with along with an expansive lineup of innovative features.

Technology experts will give demonstrations of Ariya Concept features such as the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, twin-motor all-
wheel-control system, acoustic meta-material, and Smart Route Planner.

Nissan’s zero-emission ice cream van: Chill out with ice cream served from a concept van that combines an all-electric drivetrain, second-life battery storage, and renewable solar energy generation. Based on the 100% electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, the ice cream van’s motor is driven by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery. A portable power pack, which uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles, powers the on-board equipment.

Nissan’s booth at CES with its interactive displays

The ProPILOT golf ball: Inspired by the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, Nissan has created a golf ball that always manages to find the hole. At the booth’s putting green, an overhead camera will detect the position of the golf ball and hole. Sensing technology and an internal electric motor will ensure the putt stays on course until reaching the cup – just as Nissan cars equipped with ProPILOT 2.0 can maneuver along a predefined highway route.

Power Selfie: CES visitors won’t be able to drive the Formula E race car on display at Nissan’s booth, but they can recreate the exhilarating experience. With the help of high-powered fans and special effects, the Power Selfie booth records a short video to mimic the acceleration of the 100% electric race car from 0 to 100 kph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Guests will be able to create a GIF that looks as if they’re racing down the track.

Formula E race car: Nissan, the first Japanese carmaker to join the all-electric Formula E street racing championship, will show its new, Japan-inspired livery for the new season.

The Nissan LEAF e+: Nissan LEAF e+ electric vehicle features a powerful motor, long-range, advanced technologies including the ProPILOT driver assistance system (called ProPILOT Assist in the U.S. marketplace), and the innovative e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

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