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

Chevrolet PH offers new Colorado Trail Boss

A new Boss steps into the pickup segment

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Chevrolet Philippines, through The Covenant Car Company, Inc., introduces the new Boss in the pickup segment — the Colorado Trail Boss.

Just like the Colorado High Country Storm that we took for a spin, the new Trail Boss is a tweaked out variant with mostly exterior changes that cater to fans of blacked out, all-rugged look.


This means getting rid of its chrome trims and replacing them with black accents. A black front grille with black bowtie badge now adds that stealthy appeal. The 18-inch alloy wheels also sport the same color and a Colorado decal and Trail Boss badge are stamped on the tailgate. And rounding up the additions to this variant is a unique tactical sport bar.

Apart from those, the Trail Boss is basically the 4×2 LT variant of the company in the Philippines. It’s powered by a capable 2.8-liter Duramax VG Turbo engine that outputs 200 horsepower and 500Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed AT. Water wading is at 800mm, payload capacity at one ton, and towing capacity is up to three tons.

Other highlights include Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and electric power steering. Meanwhile, safety is in check with its Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Limited Slip Differential, and Engine Immobilizer.

On top of those, it’s backed up by the Chevrolet Complete Care Program which includes a special five-year warranty coverage, three-year bumper to bumper warranty, plus a two-year warranty on the powertrain or 100,000km.

The new Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss is now available in all authorized Chevrolet dealerships in the country. It is priced at PhP 1,368,888.

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Automotive

The new MG 5 sedan makes premium features more accessible

Another competitive player in the market

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MG Philippines has unveiled its newest entry in the local subcompact segment. Called the MG 5, it’s armed with features usually seen on more expensive models and boasts ample space all around.

The sedan, while there is nothing too striking about its design, is still pretty stylish with its LED lights, flowing lines, and a prominent grille. This is just what we’d expect from the brand as we’ve experienced with the MG ZS.


In terms of dimensions, the MG 5 is the longest and widest in its class. It also has the longest wheelbase which results in more legroom for the front and rear occupants of the vehicle and added cargo space.

Inside, There’s a push start/stop button while a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is installed and supports Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Meanwhile, the flat-bottom steering wheel has been mounted with buttons for audio and menu navigation.

For those instances that you need to maneuver around tight spaces, a 360-degree vehicle view is at your fingertips and shows the top view of the car. Power driver’s seat and auto on/off headlamps are also at your disposal.

Running the show is a 1.5-liter engine producing 114 horsepower and a torque output of 150Nm which the company is proud to claim the best in its class. You can get the MG 5 in two configurations — a five-speed manual transmission and a CVT gearbox with manual mode.

Driver and passenger airbags are installed while four-wheel disc brakes put the vehicle to a stop. There’s also a tire pressure monitoring system for added safety. Other bells-and-whistles include Hill Start Assist, Auto Brake Hold, electronic climate control, reverse camera, and a sunroof.

There are four variants to choose from:

  • 1.5L STD 5MT – PhP 658,888
  • 1.5L STD CVT – PhP 718,888
  • 1.5L COM CVT – PhP 848,888
  • 1.5L DEL CVT – PhP 938,888

To further sweeten the deal, getting one includes a 5-year/100,000km warranty and 1-year free periodic maintenance service (PMS). A mobile app is also free to download for easier scheduling while other services like 24/7 roadside assistance are available.

The MG 5 is now available for purchase at all authorized MG Philippines dealership.

 

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Automotive

2019 Kona 2.0 GLS: Mr. Extrovert

Feeling flashy

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Is it a crossover? Is it a hatchback? Is it an APV? I, too, was confused when I first laid eyes on the 2019 Hyundai Kona. It was one of a kind, unique from any segment I was familiar with.

In line with the Mazda CX3 and Honda HRV, the Kona is a subcompact crossover SUV.


This vehicle is a true head-turner. I highly appreciate car companies whose designs are bold and thought of outside the box. In short, designs that make a statement.

The sleek and futuristic look of the Kona is best complemented in the flagship color Acid Yellow that gave my child-like imagination the impression of a glowing radioactive spaceship.

From the front, its fascia is exciting and modern in style with the growing trend of separated headlight design (like the Nissan Juke), streamlined daytime running lights, and low set fog lamps all go together with Hyundai’s trademark grille design.

Side profiles are matched with dynamic character lines as well as accents of matte black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and rocker panels.

Walking around to the back, you will find a design that is very consistent with the front. It’s almost identical and probably has one of the best looking rear-ends in its segment.

If we were to personify this Kona, it would undoubtedly be an extrovert. He’d be that kind of guy who’s not afraid of being a little flashy and would confidently come up to you to get your attention.

What I’m not a big fan of is the unnecessary amount of plastic cladding. Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle with this type of material will agree when I say it demands high maintenance since it tends to fade quickly.

Overall, the exterior feels exciting and fun, but stepping inside is a different story.

The interior is, well, basic. Scratchy-hard and soft plastic, fabrics, and polyurethane are the main materials used for the interior. It doesn’t give you the same exhilaration as the exterior and sadly feels like it stepped out of character.

Mounted on the dashboard, you will find a somewhat unappealing infotainment system — A non-touchscreen mono LCD unit that’s initially confusing to use while underneath is its manual climate control. Oh, and its instrument panel didn’t help spice the interior up, either, as it seemed a little too straightforward for this car’s asking price.

On the up-side, cabin space and comfort are not lacking whatsoever. With head and legroom to spare and plenty of cargo space for everyone. Cup holders, USB ports, and 12V sockets also come as standard.

When it comes to safety, Hyundai didn’t skimp on this crossover as it earned a high safety rating in the United States. With a score of 9.8, it has been given the Top Safety Pick+ award. It has Anti-Lock Braking System, traction control, dual airbags, and side curtain airbags as standard.

The ride is decently high with a ground clearance of 170mm, nearly as much as its bigger brother, the Tucson. Firing up the engine via keyless push-start button, you hear a smooth running 2.0 DOHC engine.

This is then mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces 147hp and 179nm of torque. It’s not the most powerful but is definitely one of the most economical, giving you up to 20km per liter (at best) on highways.

The Kona has three different driving modes you can shift through with a push of a button. You have Normal, Eco and Sport modes which just basically times gear changes differently to give you better responsiveness.

Driving this vehicle is very simple with no unneeded drama. The ride felt smooth and quiet while steering felt properly firm. You do get a bit of body roll around the corners, though.

Lacking from this vehicle is a reverse camera and proximity sensors and, from its price point, you would expect these features as standard. A feature I didn’t find necessary was the hill descent control which would be useful on its AWD variant but not on the FWD version that we have.

For now, the 2.0 GLS is the only variant available here in the Philippines. A straightforward, rather basic but economical ride that would make a perfect daily driver. Although if I were to choose between the two Kona models, I would probably go for the higher AWD 1.6 turbo Ultimate trim model which is a better option than the GLS trim.

To sum it up, it’s a bit of a bummer that it lacks a reverse camera, proximity sensors, and still runs a sub-par infotainment system in this age of touchscreens and Android Auto.  What I do like, though, is how it looks. This car unquestionably wins in the looks department. And factoring in its safety achievements and fuel economy, we can easily overlook its shortcomings.

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