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

Nissan debunks 4 electric vehicle myths

The Nissan LEAF demystifies common misconceptions about EVs

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The Philippines is gearing up for a major shift in the automotive industry to EVs or electric vehicles as Nissan prepares to bring the Nissan LEAF to the Philippines. But before the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility arrives in the country, Nissan shares the top four electric vehicle myths and debunks them all.

Myth #1: EVs are slow

A recent experiment raced the Nissan LEAF against the fastest elements of nature — fire and wind, with the famous EV winning with its celebrated acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.9 seconds.

With lesser moving parts, and a powerful electric motor, an EV accelerates faster than a regular engine car. With over 70 years of EV expertise, Nissan has designed the e-Powertrain that puts electric power straight to the wheels for instant acceleration, making the Nissan LEAF quicker on the start, for a smooth and very responsive drive.

Myth #2: An electric vehicle’s range capacity is limited

On a fully charged battery, the Nissan LEAF can cover 311kms. If you consider that the average daily drive around Metro Manila is 13.2km, you can drive around the National Capital Region in a fully charged Nissan LEAF for up to three weeks, without having to worry about an empty battery.

For out-of-town trips, the Nissan LEAF can take adventurers up to Baguio (246.6 km from Metro Manila) before you need to recharge.

Also, the Nissan LEAF’S ePedal combines both ease, excitement and innovation in EV technology. The innovative feature also enables you to drive using one foot pedal, allowing you to accelerate and brake depending on the foot pressure.

Even more impressive, Nissan’s ePedal is part of an advanced regenerative braking system, meaning the car will even recover a little bit of charge every time you brake.

Myth #3: Charging is a pain for electric vehicles

A common misconception is that electric vehicles can only be charged using quick charging stations. Although the Philippines currently has around 14 charging stations that are ready for the Nissan LEAF, most electric vehicle owners prefer to charge at home, since it is the most convenient option.

Similar to charging one’s mobile phone after a long day’s usage, the Nissan LEAF can be plugged into a regular electrical socket to charge it overnight. Charging with the universal cable usually takes about 12 to 15 hours to fully charge the Nissan LEAF.

For faster charging, users have the option to install a special wall box to speed up the charging time to 5 to 7 hours.

Myth #4: Electric cars are not exciting

With the Nissan LEAF as the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the possibilities of a safe, fun, and exciting driving experience are endless. What’s more exciting than an electric vehicle producing zero emissions and virtually no sound while drifting?

In this exhilarating demonstration, the Nissan LEAF showed how easily the mass-produced EV can churn out both maximum torque and force, while delivering virtually silent donuts and burnouts. The Nissan LEAF, with its rapid acceleration of 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, is quick on the start with a smooth and very responsive drive.


This is a slightly modified press release from Nissan Philippines.

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Automotive

New compact SUV Mercedes-Benz GLA premieres in PH

Sporty, fits more, and comes with some fancy tech

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The new GLA is the eighth model to join the line-up and rounds off the current Modular Front Architecture (MFA) from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it represents the entry level into Mercedes-Benz successful family of SUV models.

The new GLA combines the best from the two high-volume segments, the compact cars and the SUVs. It embodies the perfect synergy between pure beauty and robust off-road elements. It carries Mercedes-Benz’ signature SUV design and trailblazing technologies as a true demonstration of modern luxury.

Sporty from every perspective

The sharpened SUV character and expressive design underscore the new GLA’s claim to setting the standard in its class. More than a commanding view of the road ahead, the new second-generation GLA offers a rewarding view of what’s next.

As a compact SUV, it fits in nearly any open space and yet has room for your entire life. The character has been significantly reinforced compared with the previous model. The height of the new GLA, at 1611 millimeters (1616 with roof rails), exceeds that of its predecessor by more than ten centimeters.

The GLA 200 AMG Line boasts an attractive sporty appearance both inside and out. In particular, the AMG Body Styling comes with a diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, 19inch 5 twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, black roof liner and polished aluminium roof rails.

The side and rear views are characterized by the muscular shoulders of the vehicle. In addition, the new generation multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather stands for exquisite look and feel of the new GLA.

Fit more in. Fit in more.

Within a more nimble length, the new GLA gives you more space to ride, more room to shop, stow and be spontaneous. The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the predecessor model, and thus more typical of an SUV.

The new GLA offers a more spacious interior with seats that are incredibly comfortable. The rear seat backrest is 40:20:40 split, with each section folding down individually. This allows better space management for cargo loading and gives passengers a more configurable seating position for greater overall comfort.

Comfortable loading is also seen with low boot sill. Its luggage compartment height can be adjusted in 2 stages, thanks to a continuous luggage compartment floor console, it enables even better use of the available space.

MBUX: a new era of connectivity

Enjoying the solitude and sharing it with everyone at the same time is possible with modern connectivity services. It is equipped with Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). The MBUX multimedia system comes with 7-inch instrument and media display and has its own intelligent voice assistant which is activated with the code word “Hey Mercedes”.

Smartphones can be connected as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the system supports the major applications and selected apps including navigation.

Another highlight is the comprehensive touch operation concept – the combination of a touchscreen, touchpad on the center console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel. In addition to the intuitive operating experience, less driver distraction is another advantage.

Impressive Performance

The GLA is always ready for what’s around the corner. From a tight corner of the city, to a tight corner of a back road, the new GLA is agile and easy to maneuver. Turbo power and a solid stance make it quick on its feet and confident in your hands.

The GLA 200 AMG Line only has one engine option, although it has enough power for daily commuting or longer excursions. The turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine produces 163 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. It comes paired with a 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission with cruise control and standard with front-wheel drive. With DYNAMIC SELECT, one console control calls up a range of performance profiles such as ”ECO”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, and Individual.

It also has ECO Start/Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when you’re at stoplights or idling. This system helps save on fuel and reduces emissions. Once you lift your foot off the brake, the engine starts back up immediately. However, if you don’t want to use this feature, you can easily disable it.

GLA Safety: feel at ease

The new GLA makes a further step in terms of safety courtesy of its driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive combines safety and convenience innovations. With these intelligent systems, Mercedes-Benz is not only setting standards in automotive engineering, but is also taking another important step forward on the road to accident-free driving. This therefore allows the driver to experience a new dimension of safety, convenience and stress relief.

The GLA is able to react when the driver doesn’t. Active Brake Assist is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. The ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity can warn the driver on detecting the typical signs of inattentiveness or drowsiness.

Moreover, the GLA 200 AMG Line is loaded with Light and Sight Package that provides added interior value appeal and optimum visibility in the vehicle. It comprises functional comfort- and safety-enhancing lighting. Parking is made easy with Parking Package consists of Active Parking Assist with reversing camera, providing support when parking and maneuvering. Tire Pressure Loss Warning System monitors the inflation pressure of all four tires while driving.

Pricing and availability

The new GLA is now available at all Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Introductory SRP is PhP 3,290,000 (US$ 67, 874).


This is a press release from Mercedes-Benz Philippines

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Automotive

Tesla plans to make a US$ 25K autonomous electric car soon

Elon Musk is extremely optimistic

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At its Battery Day event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company intends to launch an affordable electric car within three years. The aimed price is around US$ 25,000 — a radically low price for an electric vehicle. The future car hasn’t received a name yet, but rumors suggest it could be Tesla Model C, where C stands for compact.

The announcement was made after Musk reviewed Tesla’s battery development and manufacturing. He is confident that these factors shall help the company offer cut-throat pricing and make the cutting-edge technology available to the masses.

However, the most interesting feature of the car will be its autonomous capability. Sensors and other onboard equipment are expensive and it remains to be seen whether Tesla is able to fulfill its promise.

Musk revealed a new battery design that incorporates a larger and more efficient cell. The new technology is dubbed “tabless” and is said to increase density by five times, offering 16 percent more range. But the technology announced is likely to take years to implement.

The cost of electric cars has consistently dropped in the last few years and Tesla is relying on this trend to hype up its future products. According to The Verge, Prices have already fallen from a lofty US$ 1,100/kWh just ten years ago to about US$ 156/kWh in 2019.

Altough, this isn’t the first time Musk has announced an affordable EV. The Model 3 was initially touted to cost US$ 35,000 but the base option starts at US$ 37,990 while the Performance variant goes for US$ 54,990.

Ultimately, Tesla hopes to make 20 million vehicles a year, Musk said

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