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

New Ford Ranger FX4 is an updated workhorse truck

Ford’s truck lineup offers a Ranger for everyone

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Ford Philippines has just introduced a new model for its already successful lineup of pickup trucks. Called the Ranger FX4, it exudes toughness with its bold design, work-ready performance, and smart technologies.

It also adds to the company’s Ranger portfolio making it the automotive company with the widest lineup of pickup trucks in the country with 13 available variants.

Ford Ranger FX4

The new FX4 still maintains the Ranger’s general appeal but it comes with unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, door handles, front and rear bumpers, and fresh fender features.

Decals along the lower doors and a 3D badge on its tailgate make sure that onlookers will know this is the updated model.

Stepping inside, you’ll be welcomed by Fx4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitchings on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.

In terms of features, we know that Ford doesn’t skimp on the essentials. The new FX4 carries an infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its 8-inch touchscreen display.

Powering the Ranger FX4 is the company’s 2.2-liter Duratorq diesel engine mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, producing 160PS of power and 385Nm of torque.

The new Ranger models are now available in Ford dealerships nationwide. Pricing is at PhP 1,256,000 for the 4×2 MT model and PhP 1,316,000 for the 4×2 AT variant.

They’re available in five colors — Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, Meteor Grey, and True Red.

An updated lineup of trucks

  • Aside from the new Ranger FX4, Ford Philippines is also introducing a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup.
  • Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4×2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers.
  • Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.
  • Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4×4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models.
  • Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.

Test drive Ford’s trucks for yourself

The launch of the Ranger FX4 also marks the official kick-off of the Ford Island Conquest event this year. The first leg of the experiential test drive will happen on January 24-26, 2020 from 9AM to 9PM at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City.

During the three-day event, customers have the chance to test drive the Ranger FX4 and other Ford vehicles on a specialized driving course that will showcase the vehicles’ best-in-class features and capabilities.

Customers also have the chance to avail of exclusive offers and deals when they purchase a Ford vehicle. This includes a PhP 10,000 outright cash discount and pick-a-prize cash discount of up to PhP 100,000 on top of existing promotions for the month. Over Ph 1.3 million worth of cash discounts and prizes are up for grabs during the Ford Island Conquest kick-off.

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Automotive

Audi shows off its empathetic car at CES 2020

It’s concerned about the passenger’s well-being

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For people who drive or commute in the city, traffic jams, crowded streets, and other eyesores can add to the stress we already have. It’s an unavoidable lifestyle every time we’re on the road and is something we wish we had a solution to. Audi, at the CES 2020, seems to have the answer to this with the revelation of their concept car, the Audi AI:ME.

Described as an empathetic car, the fully automated Audi AI:ME represents a personal “third living space,” alongside our homes and workplaces, this self-driving vehicle is sure to pamper its passengers through the use of the latest automotive AI technologies.

So how can a car be empathetic? For starters, by recognizing its users and their habits, it will combine artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, well being, and comfort.

You can communicate with the car intuitively and even have it order your favorite food or enjoy a wellness experience with a pair of VR goggles that will allow passengers to change the environment in real-time together with the movement of the vehicle.

Upon arriving at your destination, you will find that your ordered food was delivered on time thanks to the AI navigation coordinated by the car’s navigation data. In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrancing of the interior.

Audi has also introduced, along with this vehicle, a 3D heads up display that works like a 3D television. Developed in cooperation with Samsung, Images generated for the left and right eye will give you a true 3D image. You will be able to see vital information, like navigation arrows as if they were floating in front of you at a distance of 8-10 meters and can even be increased to 70 meters. Your eyes will no longer have to refocus looking at the instrument cluster.

Should the driver get tired, different ambient lighting will provide a remedy from blue to cool white light which can have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the driver.  Audi calls this the Human-Centric Lighting.

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Automotive

Nissan shows off Ariya concept, zero-emission ice cream van at CES

There’s even a self-sinking golf ball!

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Apart from other car brands strutting their newest offerings, Nissan is also in full swing over at the ongoing CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Their booth showcases things that first and foremost promote sustainability with technologies that are soon within reach.

To further show what these features can do, the company has taken their technologies and developed new, creative uses for them. These are then available to experience at Nissan’s booth. Check them out:

Nissan Ariya concept: The crossover vehicle is making its North American debut and brings together advanced technologies on an all-new EV platform. It carries the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that we’re pretty familiar with along with an expansive lineup of innovative features.

Technology experts will give demonstrations of Ariya Concept features such as the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, twin-motor all-
wheel-control system, acoustic meta-material, and Smart Route Planner.

Nissan’s zero-emission ice cream van: Chill out with ice cream served from a concept van that combines an all-electric drivetrain, second-life battery storage, and renewable solar energy generation. Based on the 100% electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, the ice cream van’s motor is driven by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery. A portable power pack, which uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles, powers the on-board equipment.

Nissan’s booth at CES with its interactive displays

The ProPILOT golf ball: Inspired by the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, Nissan has created a golf ball that always manages to find the hole. At the booth’s putting green, an overhead camera will detect the position of the golf ball and hole. Sensing technology and an internal electric motor will ensure the putt stays on course until reaching the cup – just as Nissan cars equipped with ProPILOT 2.0 can maneuver along a predefined highway route.

Power Selfie: CES visitors won’t be able to drive the Formula E race car on display at Nissan’s booth, but they can recreate the exhilarating experience. With the help of high-powered fans and special effects, the Power Selfie booth records a short video to mimic the acceleration of the 100% electric race car from 0 to 100 kph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Guests will be able to create a GIF that looks as if they’re racing down the track.

Formula E race car: Nissan, the first Japanese carmaker to join the all-electric Formula E street racing championship, will show its new, Japan-inspired livery for the new season.

The Nissan LEAF e+: Nissan LEAF e+ electric vehicle features a powerful motor, long-range, advanced technologies including the ProPILOT driver assistance system (called ProPILOT Assist in the U.S. marketplace), and the innovative e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

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