Automotive

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

Challenging, but something worth doing again

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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!

Automotive

Honda unveils long-term plan for road safety using technologies

Safety for everyone

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File Photo: Honda Brio RS 1

Honda Motors held the world premiere of advanced future safety technologies the company is currently developing for its ultimate goal of zero traffic collision fatalities by 2050.

Honda will strive to attain its goal by utilizing two key technologies. One is the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Intelligent Driver-Assistive Technology to provide advanced assistance to drivers.

The other is the Safe and Sound Network Technology which connects all road users, both people and mobility products, through telecommunications, to be able to accurately predict potential risks and help people avoid collisions before they occur.

Zero traffic collision fatalities by 2050

Striving for a collision-free society for everyone sharing the road is represented by Honda’s global safety slogan, Safety for Everyone.

Honda has been pursuing the research and development of safety technologies from the perspective of both hardware and software.

For the pursuit of a collision-free society, Honda will expand the introduction of Honda SENSING 360, a recently announced omnidirectional safety and driver-assistive system, to all models to go on sale in all major markets by 2030.

Moreover, Honda will continue working to expand application of a motorcycle detection function and further enhance functions of its ADAS (advanced driver-assistance system).

Safety for each individual

Honda also unveiled the Intelligent Driver-Assistive Technology which uses ADAS sensors and cameras to recognize potential risks in the vehicle’s surroundings.

This enables AI to detect driving risks and determine optimal driving behavior on a real-time basis to offer assistance accurately suited to the driver’s mindset and current traffic situations.

Next-generation driver assist technology

In developing the future of driver-assist technologies, Honda is taking into consideration three essential points:

  • No driving operation errors (Operational assist) where the vehicle offers AI-based assist to reduce drifting and other risks;
  • No oversight / No prediction errors (Cognitive assist) where the vehicle communicates risks with visual, tactile and auditory sensations; and
  • No errors due to daydreaming and careless driving (Attentiveness assist), where the vehicle helps reduce driver fatigue and drowsiness.

Technologies in the research and development phase include risk indicators, seatbelt control, 3D audio, bio feedback, and vibration stimulus through the backseat.

Mutual safety for all road users

Honda also established the Safe and Sound Network Technology which connects all road users through telecommunication.

The system will understand and recognize situations and the surrounding environments of each driver.

Through the communication network, information about potential risks in the traffic environment will be aggregated in the server and risks are predicted using the reproduction of the traffic environment in the virtual space.

Collision-free society

Honda is also utilizing existing telecommunication technologies to realize its vision of a “collision-free” society for all road users as these techs will enable everyone sharing the road to be connected and coexist.

With the Safe and Sound Technology, information about potential risks in the traffic environment are detected using information obtained from roadside cameras, on-board cameras, and smartphones.

This information gets aggregated in a virtual space that replicates the traffic situation, taking into consideration as well the conditions and characteristics of each road user.

Honda is aiming for real-world implementation of the said technologies after 2030, as the car company is working on standardizing them in the second half of the 2020s.

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Automotive

11th generation Honda Civic now in the Philippines

New look, more features

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Honda Cars’s 11th generation All-New Honda Civic is now available in the Philippine market, as announced by the company virtually via livestream last November 23.

The iconic sedan features a new clean-cut look along with a range of high-tech features, along with a standard VTEC turbo engine for a powerful driving experience.

For the 11th generation, Honda focused on Design, Dynamics, and Human Machine Interface (HMI) to achieve an “Exhilarating Civic” grand concept.

Exterior

The All-New Civic had a full-model change, taking into consideration design elegance and sportiness. The compact sedan is longer compared to the previous design.

In front are newly-shaped headlights that can house full LEDS or projector halogens. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are made standard across the range.

LED fog lights are also available for the V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING and the RS Turbo CVT Honda SENSING.

The sides also get an aesthetic upgrade, as well as improved driver visibility with the design changes in the door mirrors.

The entire rear end has also been redone, having a new pair of LED taillights. Other RS-exclusive details include black-painted side mirrors, door handles, sharkfin antenna and trunk spoiler, along with chrome-finished dual-exhaust pipes.

Interior

The 11th generation AllNew Civics interior also gets an overhaul towards a minimalist design.

Depending on the trim level, the AllNew Civic could either come with fabric seats, or a fine combo of suede and leather upholstery exclusive on the RS

The latest model sports cabin space than most sedans in the segment. Additional space was used to improve the ease of getting in and out of the car.

The new dimensions also make rear seat comfort better, while compartments are located all around the cabin for personal items.

For incar entertainment, all variants of the AllNew Civic come with touchscreen display audio that either measures from 7 to 9 inches.

Both screens are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable, while the larger screen has Wireless Apple CarPlay.

The infotainment systems are powered starting with 4 speakers for the S and up to 12 for the RS variant on a Bose sound system.

Other RS-exclusive convenience features include automatic climate control, dual zone, and a 10.2-inch full-digital cluster display supported with steering wheel mounted controls.

Engine and transmission

One of the main highlights of the 11th generation AllNew Civic is the 1.5-liter 4-Cylinder DOHC VTEC Turbo engine found in all grades.

The latest model now has an all-Turbo variant range with the engine producing more torque than before.

The Civic’s new powertrain also has an additional 37 PS and 66Nm, versus its predecessors 1.8L Naturally-Aspirated. 

All trims of the Civic are paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The compact sedan also has distinct driving modes including Econ, Normal, and lastly, Sport, that is particularly found in the RS variant.

Safety

To make driving the latest Civic safe for everyone, Honda SENSING is now standard in all variants of the 11th generation model.

The following features are included:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF)
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning (RDM with LDW)
  • Auto High-Beam (AHB)
  • Lead Car Departure Notification System (LCDN) – New

The new Honda SENSING system uses a single monocular camera with a wider field of view combined with improved software.

This will make the recognition of vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian and road markings better.

The Honda’s G-force Control (G-CON) Collision Safety Body that enhances impact absorption for the added protection of passengers in the event a collision occurs.

In addition, the latest Civic has advanced safety features that are now available across all variants like Speed Sensing Door Locks, Multi-View Reverse Camera, and Keyless Entry System.

The Side Curtain Airbags, Honda LaneWatch Camera, and the Walk Away Auto Door Lock function, meanwhile, are exclusive on the RS variant.

Furthermore, other features such as the Driver and Front Passenger Airbags, Side Airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Child Lock, ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor, Security Alarm, and immobilizer are all included across all variants.

Pricing, availability, colors

The 11th generation All-New Civic is now available at all 37 Honda Cars dealerships nationwide and comes in five colors:

  • Morning Mist Blue Metallic (new color; V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING and S Turbo CVT Honda SENSING)
  • Meteoroid Grey Metallic (new color; RS Turbo CVT Honda SENSING, V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING, and S Turbo CVT Honda SENSING)
  • Ignite Red Metallic (exclusively for RS Turbo CVT Honda SENSING)
  • Platinum White Pearl (RS Turbo CVT Honda SENSING and V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING only) – for an additional PhP 20,000
  • Lunar Silver Metallic (exclusively for S Turbo CVT Honda SENSING)

Notably, Honda is offering the chance to choose Platinum White Pearl for all variants at no additional cost until November 30, 2021.

Customers who will reserve the All-New Civic V Turbo CVT Honda SENSING variant until December 31, 2021 are likewise entitled to a free Modulo Trunk Tray and Modulo Exhaust Pipe Finisher on top of all other promotions offered for the month of the vehicle release until January 31, 2022.

Below are all the available variants of the AllNew Honda Civic with their corresponding Suggested Retail Prices:

  • S Turbo CVT Honda SENSINGPhP 1,290,000
  • V Turbo CVT Honda SENSINGPhP 1,498,000
  • RS Turbo CVT Honda SENSINGPhP 1,690,000
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Automotive

Ford Territory: A techie finds his dream car

Comfortable driving and hi-tech features

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Ford Territory

Riding a car is a matter-of-fact part of life. It’s either a bumpy trek careened by rideshares and private chauffeurs, or a face-melting drive crawling through viscous traffic and terrifying motorists. For a techie, a drive can turn monotonous from being trapped in a steel cage unable to use their precious devices. FOMO is strong for a techie driver.

As a techie myself, fawning over a car seemed impossible. After all, why would I fall in love with a car when the latest smartphone is right around the corner?

That was, of course, before I met the Ford Territory. A new marvel orchestrated by Ford, the Territory turns a cavernous way to get from point to point into a veritable lounge equipped with the latest in automotive technologies and comforts.

A techie’s paradise

Going through Manila traffic is an undeniable chore. Traveling between cities can take hours under the worst driving conditions. The Ford Territory packs in so many new features that you might even find yourself glad to be stuck in traffic.

My girlfriend and I took the Territory for a romantic date from Quezon City to Bonifacio Global City, and we couldn’t be happier. Obviously, taking the love of your life is a reason for elation by itself. However, Ford’s SUV made the day so much sweeter.

Everything starts with the Territory’s insanely responsive infotainment system. On its own, Ford’s built-in SYNC can control the car’s temperature, entertainment, phone, and safety features from the tap of a screen. The system is a standard of every Ford car now, but it’s even better with an ultra-responsive 10-inch touchscreen. It’s like having a tablet right in your car.

Plus, if SYNC isn’t your flavor, it also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As a couple with both Android and Apple devices, we were satisfied with how the car catered to both our tastes. We could use Waze, Maps, Spotify, Tidal, or Pocket Casts seamlessly from our seats. Regardless of who has DJ responsibilities, the Territory catered to both my eclectic music tastes and her obsessions for all things Disney.

And speaking of music, the Territory has one of the most satisfying soundstages I’ve heard from a car’s sound system. Both bass and higher frequencies are tuned in to deliver the best quality of music, regardless of what you’re jamming to. Plus, it’s just as good regardless of where I sit in the car.

Ford Territory

Safety is a priority

While the Territory is certainly one of the most tech-savvy vehicles I’ve ridden in, it is also one of the safest. The car keeps both driver and passengers safe from any difficult road condition.

The first thing you might notice as a rider in the car is its extensive collision warning system. Gentle but firm beeping sounds and on-screen alerts keep you on top of any obstacles approaching you on the road. And, if you do get too close to an obstacle it detects, the Territory stamps on the brakes with its Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking. For longer drives, it comes with Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warnings.

Parking is also a breeze. With its Enhanced Active Parking System, the Territory can, to put it bluntly, park itself. It knows how much torque you need for both reverse and parallel parking. While the system still needs your input, the car can do the heavy lifting for you. Or, if you prefer doing the lifting yourself, the car also has an incredibly detailed 360-degree camera. You still have the more traditional rear camera, but the all-around camera gives you a delicious overhead view of the car. You don’t need to bring down your window anymore to see if you parked correctly.

Besides that, the Territory has all the fixings for an ultra-safe vehicle: ABS, EBD, traction control, hill launch assist, and airbags everywhere. Though we (thankfully) didn’t experience every safety feature the car had to offer, having the peace of mind makes for a more-than-worry-free drive.

Lounging under the stars

In terms of size, the Territory is bigger than an EcoSport but smaller than an Everest. And it does feel that way with its expansive space and legroom. The car is roomy but not to an agoraphobic point. It’s just right. Driving in the front seat, chilling in the rear seats, or having a picnic with the hatch open — everything feels comfortable.

Outside of space, the Territory is even more comfortable with the addition of an adaptive temperature control. If you had to park the car under the scalding heat, you’ll probably enjoy the seat coolers (and warmers). Plus, to help fight off the bad things going around in the air today, the car also has built-in CN95 cabin air filters.

And finally, to address the gorilla in the room, the moonroof. The Territory has one that spans from the driver’s seat to the rear passenger’s side. With a simple dial, you can retract the fabric cover and half of the moonroof’s glass panel to let in some fresh air. It’s a perfect feature to use on a romantic date. We parked the car under a relatively open area and admired the stars in comfort.

Ford Territory

Lighter than a feather

For its size, the Territory drives like a hot knife through butter: topping off at 143ps and 22Nm of torque. Accelerating through both easygoing and bumper-to-bumper traffic is responsive. It injects as much gas as you’ll need to get through the city. Handling is an even bigger surprise. We went through tight alleyway shortcuts with ease. To top it all off, we also drove the car up and down steep slopes. The car had just the right amount of bite to keep you afloat in the middle of a slope.

Further, the 1.5L EcoBoost engine’s Continuously Variable Transmission comes with a pleasant sport mode. The feature certainly unlocks a lot of the car’s potential. Using it in less hectic situations brought the spotlight firmly onto what the engine can do as a car. And yet, despite turning on a sportier car, the Territory remains faithful to its slew of safety features. You can keep safe while having fun.

Ford Territory

The techie dream

As a car, the Ford Territory is more than worthy as a daily driver. Whether you take it going to work every day or on a romantic date on the weekend, the SUV can deliver just as much power as you’ll need for a drive.

As a tech device, the Ford Territory packs in so many creature comforts to keep its riders entertained throughout a drive. Short of a self-driving car, Ford’s latest series is definitely a car I’d love to own as a techie today.

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.

SEE ALSO: Ford EcoSport: Perfect first car in the new normal

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