Automotive

2019 Mazda 6: Not your ordinary mid-size sedan

Fast, furious, and full of features

Published

on

Mazda’s premium sedan has received another refresh. The Japanese company further improves on the aesthetics inside and out, and aims to make the vehicle more a part of the driver in terms of performance and functionalities.

There are currently two variants of the Mazda 6 sedan available in the Philippines — a 2.2-liter diesel engine and a 2.5-liter petrol engine. What we have here is the former with its 2.2-liter SKYACTIVE-D configuration.

Inspired by a masterpiece

A new model means a new look. The Mazda 6 goes for a more aggressive presence and it’s conveyed well through its new front grille and headlamps. If it looks familiar, it might be the fact that it was inspired by Mazda’s Vision Coupe. It won the “Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year” award last year so there’s no doubt the Mazda 6 is a looker.

With a commanding grille up front flanked by thin LED headlamps, the Mazda 6 channels the Vision Coupe

The front has that shark-nosed design which gives it an illusion of moving forward

The company knows how to play with lights through the accents on the exterior; look how the lines add shadows and detail to the overall appearance of the Mazda 6

The rear also saw a redesign with sleeker taillamps and a refreshed bumper

Rounding up the exterior are a batch of new 19-inch alloy wheels

Available color options are Jet Black, Machine Gray, Snowflake White Pearl, and Sonic Silver Metallic

Premium all around

One can easily see the company’s craftsmanship inside the vehicle. There are certain hints of class and detail everywhere you look. It was not only pleasing to the eyes, but it also felt premium — from the Nappa leather used in the seats to the suede running through its interior.

Buttons for audio and cruise control are comfortably placed on the leather-wrapped steering wheel

This touch of suede blended with Sen wood really adds a premium feel to the vehicle’s interior

Just below the dash are controls for its Dual-Zone Climate Control

The rear seats split in 60:40 fashion and passengers have access to two USB ports for charging

Popping the trunk reveals a large space for your baggage; simply fold the rear seats for more storage space and to fit longer items

Not only is the Mazda 6 a looker inside and out, but it’s also got creature comforts to make long rides more enjoyable. For starters, the two front seats are both ventilated while the driver’s seat has lumbar support. The interior is also equipped with a total of 11 Bose speakers for an immersive listening experience while Bluetooth connectivity comes standard.

These aren’t your ordinary front seats — they are ventilated just for your comfort

From controlling music to making calls, and even accessing its own navigation system, an 8-inch infotainment display is the main hub. It’s touch-enabled but only when the car is not moving.

In between the two front seats is this center control knob for navigation through the menu. The knob itself performs well and is very tactile. The system’s UI, however, is a different story.

It has Dynamic Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning, i-STOP that automatically turns off the engine when the car is idle, a 360-degree view camera, and proximity/parking sensors

A seven-inch TFT display shows important information while driving

But if you want to avoid taking your eyes off the road, a heads-up display (HUD) is projected right at the windshield

A quiet performer

As mentioned earlier, the two variants available locally come in either the SKYACTIVE-D or SKYACTIV-G for its petrol counterpart. For the specs buffs out there, our 2.2-liter diesel engine outputs 190PS of power and 450Nm of torque. Power is then mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda says these numbers not only translate to more power but also results in a more fuel-efficient performance.

Being what it is, we were already expecting it to make the usual rumbling noise of a diesel engine as soon as we pushed the ignition button. To our surprise, while it has that whirring sound, it isn’t as loud as one would normally expect. The sound of the engine actually disappears when you’re outside and a few feet away from the vehicle.

It’s the same story when you’re inside the car and driving. Mazda dampened the interior so effectively that it almost sounds like you’re cruising on a gasoline vehicle.

In terms of power, the four-cylinder DOHC engine doesn’t easily tap out. It’s got a responsive jolt of power on tap and a medium to light handling so it feels agile while being in control whether you’re in the city or winding through the mountains.

With a starting price of PhP 1,930,000 for the 2.5L gasoline variant and PhP 2,250,000 for the diesel model, the 2019 Mazda 6 sedan comes with a sleek and aggressive stance, an interior wrapped in premium materials, features that make driving more enjoyable, and an engine that is subtle but packs a punch. It’s not your run-off-the-mill mid-size sedan in a way that it almost acts like a family SUV if not for its more compact body.

The new Mazda 6 would be a great everyday car with its efficient fuel consumption, and is also equipped enough to go for those long drives over the weekend with the gang.

Automotive

The Ford Ranger XLS and XLT are perfect for business owners

Capable, reliable, and tough

Published

on

When you’re on the market looking to buy a new vehicle, going for the top-of-the-line variant benefits you with the latest features, a more powerful engine, and probably added accessories on its body.

The thing is, one doesn’t always need the best model. Sometimes, you just need something that’s capable, reliable, and tough. This is where Ford’s more affordable Ranger models come into play. The Ranger XLS and XLT variants are characterized by a utility-inspired design with features and capabilities reflecting its hard-working personality.

We took them on a road trip outside the metro to experience how they would fare when used as a utilitarian vehicle for a business owner’s needs.

Here’s a glance on what it offers:

  • Powertrain – The Ranger XLS and XLT variants are powered by Ford’s 2.2-liter TDCI engine. Coupled with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, it delivers 160PS and 385Nm of torque to suit performance demands.
  • Water-wading – Since it targets customers with workhorse and utility needs, the Ranger XLT and XLS variants boast an 800mm water-wading capabilities.
  • Towing and payload – The Ranger XLS 4×2 variant has a towing capacity of 2,500 kilograms, while the XLS 4×4 manual variant ups the ante to 3,500 kilograms. All variants of the Ranger XLT 4×2 have a towing capacity of 2,500 kilograms. Meanwhile, all Ranger XLS and XLT variants have a 1,200-kilogram payload capacity.
  • Features – Both models are equipped with Ford’s Driver Assist Technologies that ensure a safe and comfortable drive whether on- and off-road. These include an adjustable speed limiter, ABS with EBD, childproof door locks, cruise control, front driver and passenger airbags, and front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Putting the Ranger XLS and XLT to the test

Our first stop was at a hardware store for construction materials. We loaded one Ranger with almost one ton of dry cement and delivered it to a nearby site. The Ranger performed the task easily and without any hiccups, as expected.

Additionally, while at the site, an architect shared a short testimonial of how her very own Ford Ranger not only helped her transport materials in and out of the city, but it was also able to reliably haul her workers around when needed.

After a short break, we hopped back in the Ranger and drove off to our next destination. This time it was in a milling plant and we loaded the truck with a combination of rice and corn totaling to 800kgs.

I personally drove the loaded Ranger and was surprised at how well it handled the task. I knew it could take on all that load but I was expecting its engine to struggle a bit. But in reality, it was like I wasn’t lugging around almost 1,000kg of payload.

We brought the sacks of corn and rice to a nearby farm and its owner gave another short talk enumerating how the Ford Ranger contributed to the success of his family business. From all its features, what stands out to the successful business owner is the 800mm water-wading capabilities of the truck. Because of it, he’s never afraid of taking on floods which is common in some areas that he’s in.

The Ranger XLS 4×2 offers a towing capacity of 2,500 kgs

While we were here, Ford wanted to show off more of what the Ranger can do. Next thing we know, the XLS variant was towing a tractor which was quite impressive to see in person.

Built Ford Tough

This activity further established the company’s promise that its vehicles are built tough. Though these were not the top of the line models, they proved to be as capable as their more expensive siblings and a reliable daily workhorse. Plus, with the base model priced below PhP 1 million, it’s a perfect choice for business owners who want to try out the advantages of owning a pickup truck.

Pricing for the Ranger 2.2L XLS 4×2 MT is at PhP943,000, while the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 AT and MT variants now come with a cash discount of PhP 125,000.

Ford is currently offering this exclusive deal until December 31, 2019. For more information on the promo, you may visit Ford’s website.

Continue Reading

Automotive

A racing virgin’s experience at the Toyota Vios Racing Festival

Challenging, but something worth doing again

Published

on

I love driving. Whether it’s an out of town drive for hours or simply going for a short trip with the wife, one could always count me in for such activities. So when Toyota Motor Philippines extended an invite to their annual Vios Racing Festival, I didn’t think twice and submitted my name.

I thought, “I drive pretty well on the road so this shouldn’t be that challenging. How hard is it to avoid cones, anyway?”

Boy, was I wrong.

The Racing Festival

As a quick background, Toyota Motor Philippines has been organizing Vios motorsport events in the country for six years now. Called the Vios Cup, the circuit race celebrates the spirit of Waku-Doki (shortened from the Japanese phrase “Waku waku doki doki” which translates to a feeling of “heart-pumping excitement”) and features drivers from different backgrounds — celebrities, new Vios owners, and car club members are just some of the individuals invited at this special event.

The Autocross Challenge

This season, TMP has added the Autocross Challenge that runs alongside the main event. It’s a timed competition where participants race through an obstacle course and finish with the quickest lap time possible. Basically, the company presents it as an amateur-friendly way to get into the world of motorsport.

The Experience

Unlike the main event where participants spent months training for the circuit race, I and my fellow media participants only got one day of practice driving around the obstacles before the event. The cars were provided by Toyota — a souped-up Vios OMR fit for the track — complete with manual gearbox and loads of torque. We were also given tracksuits and helmets so apart from keeping me safe, I looked like a legitimate race car driver wearing those.

As the title states, I had no experience whatsoever in racing cars. After the briefing, I was basically given the suit and the car and thrown into the track to get a feel for how to make the fastest lap time possible.

So I got in the car, drove up to the starting line, lodged the transmission to the first gear, and gave the engine a full rev. As soon as I was given the go signal Fast-and-Furious-style, I was off — complete with tires screeching.

The obstacle consisted of multiple chicanes and we needed to slalom our way past them. To make things more interesting, there were sharp u-turns and a 540-degree turn at one point and it was where I spun out since I made the mistake of applying brakes while making the turn. It felt like I was in a movie, though, like Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver.

After finishing the first lap, I made mental notes of how I can improve my time for the next practice run. The problem here wasn’t how to avoid obstacles. It’s how to avoid obstacles with speed to be able to finish with the quickest time.

Good thing there were seasoned racers with us and they were able to give me some tips. One could say that taking on the Autocross challenge is similar to dancing — you have to know exactly when to shift, when to brake, and when to turn. These are key elements that I needed to keep in mind, pretty much like memorizing dance steps. I did better time during my second attempt and that concluded our practice day.

Then came the race day itself. After breakfast, I was just in my hotel room sitting down and pretending to drive while thinking about the track. I saw the racing movie Rush a few years back and that’s where I got the idea of imagining yourself on the track, taking on the obstacles and practicing gear shifting at the right moment.

After the opening ceremonies and the main event kicking off, it was our time to compete. To cut some of the details, I finished with a time of 1:01 with the top 10 finalists finishing at 0:58. Considering it was my first time doing something like that, I was pretty happy and satisfied with my performance.

End of Day Thoughts

As someone who’s always into trying out new things, participating in an Autocross Challenge was definitely one for the books. It’s a great initiative from Toyota Philippines to continuously hold events like this to keep the spirit of motorsport alive in the country.

The racing festival itself, even if you’re not a participant, was a really enjoyable event even for the entire family. It’s also worth recognizing TMP’s efforts to bring new blood into the sport every year as it’s not exclusive to Vios owners only. In fact, they’re also opening the Autocross Challenge for the public through their social media pages.

So if you want to get into the adrenaline-pumping world of racing, head to their official pages and see how you can be part of the next Toyota Vios Racing Festival.

If you’re still reading up to this point, it just means you’re one interested fellow and you might want to check out the event next year when it makes a comeback.

You’ll enjoy it. I know I did!

Continue Reading

Automotive

Get a chance to drive the all-new Mazda CX-30 and CX-8 this weekend

Plus other models from Mazda’s lineup

Published

on

The all-new Mazda CX-30 and CX-8 have recently been unveiled in the Philippines and interested buyers can get up close and check out these new vehicles for themselves this coming December 6 to 8 at the Bonifacio High Street Big Bear Oval.

Both the 2020 Mazda CX-30 compact crossover and the 2020 Mazda CX-8 three-row crossover head the expanded CX family lineup of premium, stylish, and dynamic crossovers. They’re definitely one of the best-looking vehicles in the country today and heading to this three-day event will allow you to learn more about the lineup Mazda has to offer.

The Mazda Premium Experience will give customers the opportunity to drive not only the new models from the company but also select models from the rest of their lineup. Apart from the CX-30 and CX-8, the all-new Mazda3, Mazda6 Turbo sedan, CX-5 5-seater crossover, and CX-9 7-seater crossover will also be at the event.

Additionally, a special weekend-only offer featuring up to PhP 180,000 cash savings is available for Mazda’s award-winning 2019 CX-5 AWD Sport Diesel.

“Mazda customers can experience and feel for themselves the premium difference in design, interior quality and driving feel of the Mazda car and crossover range this weekend. Aside from just driving Mazda vehicles around BGC, we will have an in-depth tour of the new Mazda design philosophy as well as showcase the superior craftsmanship and class-leading safety technologies that can be found in our latest models for those who visit the display,” shares Mikko David, Senior Manager for Marketing and PR of Mazda Philippines.

Continue Reading

Trending