2020 Range Rover Evoque: The SUV you didn’t know you needed

Being ordinary is boring



The Range Rover Evoque is one of Land Rover’s best-selling vehicles and is the most affordable in the brand’s line-up. It sold over 800,000 units since its launch and has been a very popular SUV worldwide.

This second-generation posh compact SUV has been revamped to keep up with the latest in automotive technologies while maintaining the original Evoque styling with its iconic sloping roofline, ascending beltline, and wide shoulder lines. Although, at the same time, it also borrows design cues from its bigger brother, the Velar.

Just by looks alone, this car would definitely sell since it’s plain beautiful and well-styled. It’s not just made to look good, though, since Land Rover has the reputation of producing well-performing and capable luxury vehicles.

They have set the standard high in this segment and we expect nothing less in the introduction of the all-new Range Rover Evoque —  an SUV that could be considered from the future.

Out of the four available variants in the country, what we have here is the R-Dynamic HSE Diesel model and it sports a Shadow Atlas front grille and copper inserts on its bumper air intakes, rear exhaust, and bonnet vents. It also has sophisticated-looking LED lights that we instantly fell in love with.

The Evoque stands on 20-inch wheels with what the company calls Diamond Turned Finish. These, together with its pronounced shoulders and wheel arches, make the exterior look dynamic — a mixture of robust elements and elegance in one sleek package. In terms of dimensions, the Evoque is wider and longer thanks to Land Rover’s new Premium Transverse architecture. It is now 100mm longer than the old model which is evident when you step inside.

The interior is plush and is padded with premium quality materials. The dash, steering, and center console are wrapped in stitched high-quality soft leather with black piano finish accents and soft-touch plastic which make every surface of the interior look and feel luxurious.

Gone are the knobs and switches that normally clutter the dashboard and have been replaced with Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro Duo system; a dual high definition 10-inch touch screen that controls everything — from navigation to air-conditioning to the terrain management system.

Overall, everything looks clean, minimalistic, modern, and we’d even dare say futuristic. Other standard features you will find are USB ports, cup holders, and 12-volt outlets up front and at the back. The interior is exceptionally spacious and comfortable, not to mention extremely quiet even at high speeds.

Audio is also superior in quality thanks to the Meridian 10-speaker setup. It offers superb, authentic, and immersive surround sound with Meridian cabin correction technology that harmonizes with the precise acoustics of your Range Rover’s interior.

In short, the entire cabin aims to pamper your senses with aesthetically pleasing lines, premium and comfortable materials, and a sound system that delivers high-quality audio for everyone inside.

The Evoque was designed to be more of a street-friendly luxury SUV than a rock crawling hard-core off-roader. But don’t be fooled — this does not mean that this SUV is incapable. It is basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a Land Rover for crying out loud, and we know what they do best.

It’s a proper off-roader with a low range gearbox and it can even compete with the big boys like the more purpose-built off-roaders. In its segment, this could very well be the most capable crossover. We had the chance to test its off-road capabilities and boy was it easy. The Evoque is well-equipped and armed to the brim with the latest in off-road and driving assistance technology.

Mudding and rock-crawling was no trouble for this beast using Land Rover’s latest terrain response system. An inexperienced off-road driver can take on rough terrain with ease thanks to the ClearSight Ground View that makes the bonnet and floor invisible. Being able to see where the tires are is a game-changer.

It uses five HD cameras that let the driver see every corner of the vehicle in 360 degrees. This simply makes off-roading a lot easier. On the downside, this SUV is not the best in wheel articulation as there is a limited amount of wheel travel and will definitely get some wheels in the air in uneven terrain. Although in general, the Evoque will give you the confidence to get you where you need to be even with rough road conditions.

If I were to drive just one car for the rest of my life, I would choose this. It has everything you could possibly want — the luxury of a large sedan that pampers you throughout, the attractive looks of a concept car, the capabilities of a rugged off-road SUV, world-class safety, and lastly, to exaggerate a bit, the technology of a spaceship. It truly is an all-in-one vehicle.

See the Range Rover Evoque in action through this video:


Chevrolet PH offers new Colorado Trail Boss

A new Boss steps into the pickup segment



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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The new MG 5 sedan makes premium features more accessible

Another competitive player in the market



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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2019 Kona 2.0 GLS: Mr. Extrovert

Feeling flashy



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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