Automotive

Chevrolet Colorado High Country Storm: War painted

Still powerful, but better-looking

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People say your choice of car reflects your personality.

Some like speed, others like high-end luxury, and some others will choose utility and fuel economy over the rest. For the adventurous and rugged guys like me who prefer trucks and SUVs over sedans, the choice is simple: high-performance trucks/SUVs that are tough and stunning to look at are usually the main criteria. I have been obsessed with trucks since I was young and grew up wanting to do nothing more than drive them.

One of my favorite trucks in recent years are the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Colorado ever since they came out in the Philippines around 2013. I’ve read reviews, watched videos, and went to car shows to see them. Though they were not the most attractive looking, they were the best in their class, especially in performance.  The latest facelifted models, however, changed everything. It is now one of the most handsome looking SUVs/trucks you will see on the road today. With the rising trend and popularity of special edition performance off-road trucks, the Colorado had to come out with something of their own. Thus, the Chevy Colorado High Country Storm was born.

When this truck rolled up to pick me up, it immediately caught my attention even from afar. It was very good looking. You could instantly tell that this is not your ordinary Colorado.  The first thing that caught my attention were its daytime running lights. It gave the truck such a fierce looking facade, making it look somewhat angry and aggressive. I then noticed the decals, its 18-inch blacked-out rims, the black Sport Bar, and a few body trims. All of them put together gave the truck a sporty and rugged vibe. This was what an adventure-mobile was supposed to look like — like a warrior painted for war.

We drove this truck for 60 kilometers to Jungle Base off-road trail in Tanay, Rizal. Driving it on the road, the first thing I noticed was how powerful the 2.8 Duramax engine was especially while overtaking. I felt the acceleration you would normally find in a car running on petrol and it consistently felt like it had more than enough power to get me anywhere on the paved road. The 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select Manual was also impressive and shifted flawlessly, although tends to switch to a lower gear. I felt very secure and confident driving it on the long winding road, through thick fog and heavy rain.

The rain-sensing wipers did the job wonderfully, auto headlights lit up when it got too dark, and traction control made the slippery road a lot manageable. There’s Lane Departure Warning, too, that beeped every time I skewed out of my lane unknowingly. Overall, the truck gave me a sense of safety and comfort.

Reaching the dirt road that lead to our destination, switching to 4WD was a breeze with just a turn of a rotary switch on the fly. We drove through mud and rocks until we reached the more challenging area. We switched to low range 4WD, turned on the Hill Descent Control, and all we had to do was steer the car down a steep decline of huge rocks and slippery mud.  This was where it felt even more mechanical, a machine working its own way through the obstacles ahead. You can hear and feel the entire mechanism working hard, braking individual wheels to keep a steady pace.  The wheel articulation was very impressive as it kept the car leveled through large rocks and deep ditches. Every part of the vehicle was working cohesively to keep us going.

We’d like to think we were able to push the Colorado High Country Storm to its limits. We climbed rocks, went through deep mud, steep inclines and declines, tested its wading capabilities through rivers, and even went on axel-bending terrains. Its turbocharged diesel engine — packing a lot of torque — is one of the main reasons the Colorado storm passed all these with minimal effort.

There were, however, a few downsides if you’re picking it out as a dedicated off-roader. There were no locking differentials and it’s a feature serious off-roaders will be looking for and something the competition has. The front bash plates were made of plastic and will protect from mud and water, but can be damaged when rock crawling. You’d also probably want to change its tires out. The stock tires get the job done for off-roading, but it takes extra effort. Ride comfort isn’t the best I’ve experienced and is quite bouncy, although that’s pretty common for pickups. Finally, the Sport Bar they call was mostly covered in piano finish hard plastic. It personally felt out of place and delicate.

All things considered, this truck was amazing and loved our time with it. It was fun to drive, very reliable, and stunning to look at. Just see for yourself.

Still can’t get enough of it? More action shots here:

Automotive

GrabProtect is Grab’s safety measures as it resumes operations

Stringent measures against COVID-19

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Grab Philippines is introducing new safety measures as it resumes ride-hailing operations on June 1, 2020. GrabProtect is the company’s safety measure intended to protect drivers and passengers against the threat of COVID-19. The company is also introducing new changes to the booking process for a safer and more efficient ride experience during these times.

Selfie verification feature and feedback

Under GrabProtect, Grab will introduce and implement changes to its GrabCar service. By the end of June, drivers must take an online health and hygiene checklist to verify their well-being. They must also submit a selfie with a mask on as a verification feature. Grab passengers can cancel a booking should they see that their driver is not wearing a mask.

The same also goes for the drivers. If they saw that their passengers are not wearing a mask, they can cancel the booking. Both the drivers and passengers are encouraged to submit feedback after every trip for cases where both parties appear unwell or are not wearing a mask.

Disinfection measures

Vehicle disinfection must take place before and after every ride. Grab will provide special disinfectant kits for every driver. These disinfectants are partially subsidized by the company, with special disinfection rates being planned to cover the rest of the expenses.  There will also be a deep disinfection process every other day to ensure safety and cleanliness at all times.

Before boarding the ride, passengers have to show their booking code to the driver for confirmation. They will only be allowed to seat at the back of the vehicle. A non-permeable acetate barrier provided by Grab must separate the drivers from the passengers. The company also encourages both parties to carry hand sanitizers at all times for personal disinfection.

And to minimize the spread of pathogens, only drivers will be allowed to open and close the doors for their passengers. A maximum of two passengers is allowed for every GrabCar trip.

Other changes to GrabCar service

Aside from GrabProtect, Grab is also introducing new changes to its booking process to comply with the government’s guidelines.

Drivers who want to resume driving for Grab must undergo training to receive safety and hygiene certification from the company. This training is done in a warehouse in Marikina, where drivers are taught how to disinfect their vehicles as well as how to install the acetate barrier. The company has already trained more than 40,000 drivers under its new safety measures.

Grab is also introducing new changes in the payment process for all bookings. There will be a cap in surge for the meantime as the company expects reduced demand for the first few months of resumption of operations. Physical cash transactions are not allowed in the meantime too. As such, passengers must pay through one of the two options:

  • Credit card/ debit card option
  • GrabPay

Grab will also cover the medical expenses for drivers who test positive for COVID-19. As per guidelines, the company is not allowing individuals under age 21 or those above 60 to make a booking. Individuals who are pregnant and those with a compromised immune system are also not allowed to book a ride.

Earlier this month, Grab also introduced changes to its delivery service by doubling down on GrabPay. Now, the company is introducing more changes as the Philippines move to a new normal. These changes will ensure a much-streamlined process while minimizing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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Apps

GrabTaxi resumes operations this May

GrabPay will double as contact tracing system

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Grab Philippines is now resuming GrabTaxi operations as more areas in the country ease their travel restrictions. As a safety precaution, the company is also adopting new measures that will be implemented once GrabTaxi’s operations resume.

Grab is implementing cashless transactions for all its GrabTaxi fleet once service resumes on May 22. The company has already trained more than 7,000 drivers in preparation for the change. It has trained and encouraged drivers to use its GrabPay service to minimize physical cash transactions. After all, banknotes and bills encourage the spread of the virus that cause COVID-19 disease.

Using GrabPay will also benefit the public by acting as an efficient contact tracing system. Combined with Grab and Department of Health’s (DOH) contact tracing platform, the service will allow for faster and accurate contact tracing whenever possible.

The first two cities where GrabTaxi will resume operations this May are Baguio and Naga City. Around 400 drivers are to be deployed in these cities as operations resume. Grab is targeting to train more GrabTaxi drivers in handling cashless transactions along with other safety and health practices so they can quickly resume their jobs once restrictions are lifted. Those interested in undergoing the training can visit Grab’s website.

Elsewhere, Grab has also introduced cashless payments for the rest of its services. Grab users can now use GrabPay to pay for their essential goods and services. With GrabPay coming to GrabTaxi, users don’t have to bring physical cash and risk themselves to COVID-19.

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Automotive

Ford launches new Everest Sport

Improved design, more driver-assist tech

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Pandemic notwithstanding, Ford pushes through with the launch of their latest refreshed SUV — the Ford Everest Sport.

The new Everest Sport has an improved design and comprises of more driver-assist tech all in the service of making the vehicle versatile, safe, and capable. There’s also no price increase from the previous model.

Some of the design changes include a new mesh grille design, an embossed EVEREST hood badge at the front, gloss black painted wheels and exterior mirrors on the side, black tailgate applique in the rear and a ‘SPORT’ decal on the liftgate. It also has LED projector headlamps, daytime running lights and 20-inch alloy wheels.

It’s powered by a 2.0L Turbo Diesel Engine which offers 180PS of power and 420Nm of torque and is matched with Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. That feature helps deliver better acceleration, fuel efficiency, and smoothness across on-road and off-road environments.

For entertainment and connectivity, it’s equipped with an 8-inch LCD Touchscreen, Sync3 with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Connectivity, two USB ports, and 10 speakers.

Lastly, it comes with a host of features for the best driver comfort, convenience, and safety. These are Cruise Control, Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS), Rear View Camera, Rear Parking Sensors, and Electronic Stability Control with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Roll Stability Control. Adding to all these are seven airbags including side, curtain, and driver knee airbags.

Pricing and availability

The new Ford Everest Sport will come in four colors: Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, and Deep Crystal Blue (exclusive to Everest Sport).

It starts at PhP 1,868,000 and will be available in all Ford dealerships in the Philippines starting May 22, 2020. Customers who will reserve the new Everest Sport on or before May 31, 2020 will get a free three-year scheduled service plan.

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