Automotive

Conquering Mt. Malasimbo with the Nissan Navara and its Around View Monitor

It has the brawns and brains to take on a mountain

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As a celebration of Navara’s third year in the Philippine market, Nissan recently rounded up media representatives and flew them to Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. The Navara is one of Nissan’s most successful vehicles, and is already part of the top three in the local pickup segment.

This event was also the perfect chance to put to test its new feature: the Around View Monitor (AVM). This is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility initiative which we heard a lot of during the recent Nissan Futures in Singapore.


Kicking off from the southern-most tip of the island, we embarked on our eight-hour drive to Mt. Malasimbo. Each 2.5-liter Navara carried two to four persons. While some took turns driving, others braved the driver’s seat from start to finish.

The roads our convoy took were a combination of gravel, unfinished roads, remote paths with blind spots, steep inclines, and narrow lanes. I’ve already spent hours on Nissan’s zero-gravity seats in the past so I had no issues with ride comfort. These seats plus the truck’s multi-link suspension system actually made the drive comfortable — too comfortable that one of our passengers was asleep in the back seat almost the entire time (no, not dropping names!).

Once at Mt. Malasimbo, we got to finally make the most out of its AVM and other safety tech. An obstacle course was set up in different areas of the mountain which we took turns strategically maneuvering around.

It was during this time that the Around View Monitor proved the most useful. Blind spots — which would usually require an additional person to stick their head out and check how much room you still have — are now comfortably seen right at the monitor.

There’s also an option to have an even closer view of how far your tire is from an obstacle just by pressing one button. This made it easy to take accurate and calculated turns at the site’s steep and narrow inclines.

Other features that were in action while navigating through the twists and climbs of Mt. Malasimbo were Hill Start/Descent Assist, Traction Control, and Vehicle Dynamics Stability Control.

At this event, not only did everyone have fun catching up and driving, the Navara also proved itself as a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures, whether you’re sailing on a smooth highway or treading the road less traveled.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Futures 2018: Electrifying the Future

Automotive

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: A Stylish Speedster

It’s your everyday sports car

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One of the biggest factors when buying a new car, apart from function, is how it looks. The impact of that first glance. Something that would make you look twice. Some of us have that desire to break the norm and it seems like Hyundai took note of this demand — and made it fast.

The grille is flanked with LED headlamps partnered with Daytime Running Lights

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is the second of its generation and now has a more assertive exterior than its predecessor. The most noticeable part? Its redesigned front grille. It now comes in this meshed pattern with sharper edges and, if you ask me, this alone gives the car a more aggressive presence.


Then we go to the rest of the exterior and we see those subtle lines that add to the sporty vibe of this vehicle. From the hood to the wheel arches — these accents make the Veloster look like it’s always moving.

At the back we also have this eye-catching pair of LED tail lamps plus a rear spoiler with the third brake light. Rounding up the whole sporty look is a rear bumper diffuser to improve the car’s aerodynamics.

Other notable details include side mirrors with signal repeaters and sexy 18-inch alloy wheels. If you’re already familiar with the first Veloster, then you’d know that it’s unconventional in a way that it only has one door for the driver’s side while the other has the usual two. Some call it weird. I’d like to call it style.

In terms of features, the 2019 Veloster has the bells-and-whistles for the tech-savvy. There’s keyless entry, a mechanical seat for the driver, telescopic steering wheel, voice commands, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Those are just some of the things the vehicle assists you with before you start your day. And of course, there’s more for the drive ahead!

Your main hub for music, navigation, calls, and more is an 8-inch floating display. For controls, the steering wheel has buttons for Bluetooth as well as audio and cruise control.

Important driver information and settings can be accessed through the digital dash

In the age of smartphones, charging on-the-go is of utmost importance and with the Veloster, you get more than one option. There are two USB ports up front plus a special wireless charger just below it. Of course, your phone has to support this feature for it to work, but if it does, it feels good knowing you don’t have to fumble over plugging the cable to your phone — while you’re in the car, at least.

And for when you want more light during the day or when it’s simply colder at night, you can open the moonroof and let the breeze roll in. Added comfort creatures like this make the Veloster a package for those who like having fun on the road.

One of the things I love about its interior is how the black and red color of the exterior continues here. Its bucket seats wrapped in leather offer a premium feel for the driver and passengers alike.

The company is obviously keen to details as one can see in the cabin of the vehicle. From the buttons and knobs that reflect its sporty DNA to the ergonomics and materials used to make each ride as comfortable as possible.

Being a Turbo variant, it’s powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Power is then transferred to the front wheels through a seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission. Although unlike Schwarzenegger in Jingle All The Way, it’s not always “Turbo Time!” for the Veloster. It offers different driving modes depending on what the situation calls for.

There’s Normal, Sport, Eco, and Smart. Eco obviously goes for the most efficient fuel consumption, Smart mode adjusts to your driving habits, Normal is — well, normal. Sport is for Track Day or simply when you want to show off.

Of course, all that speed has to be kept in check with a couple of safety features. The vehicle comes with dual airbags for the front, plus side and curtain airbags. Adding to those are ABS (anti-lock braking system) and an immobilizer for anti-theft.

Having the Veloster as a daily driver made me realize a couple of things. One is that it’s actually fuel-efficient for a car with this oomph when it’s set to Eco or even Normal mode — averaging about 9km to 10km to a liter in the city and up to 16km/l outside the Metro. It may have slight delays when not in Sport mode but it had no shortage of power. And together with its stance and vibrant red color, the Veloster is a certified head-turner.

See more of it in this video:

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Automotive

2019 Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival kicks off

Making car-hunting easy

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Scouring the market for a new vehicle? One of the things you can do as a responsible buyer is to know and experience what you’re getting before you actually spend your hard-earned cash. Auto Focus (the same guys from STV), once again offers you the chance to test drive that vehicle you’re eyeing at this year’s Summer Test Drive Festival.

Held at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds starting May 2 to 5, the event aims to be a one-stop shop for prospective buyers and showcases a wide range of competing standard and luxury models — all ready for test drives.


“Buying a car and selecting a particular model suited to one’s individual purpose, preference, and budget, can actually be a long-winded process,” said STV Chairman and CEO Ray Butch Gamboa. “This may require multiple visits to various dealerships at varying locations, test driving and comparing varying vehicles, and working out the best financing options. Usually, these couldn’t be done in a day, or even two,” he added.

With the convenience of this event, prospect buyers can just go to one location, see and test drive a wide variety of vehicles, and work out the best financing options depending on your budget. Say goodbye to dealer hopping since all the participating brands are just a few steps from one another.

Brands present at the event include Honda, Kia, Hyundai, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan, SSangYong, Subaru, Suzuki, GAC Motors, and Toyota.

The festival will be open starting today, May 2, from 11AM to 9PM. Admission to the public is free.

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Automotive

Honda’s 2019 Brio RS variant is a sporty subcompact

Dibs on Carnival Yellow!

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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. has introduced the second generation of the Brio. This establishes their entry to the A-segment passenger car category in the country while adding a twist of modern sportiness at the same time.

Being a small vehicle, it could be challenging to make it look sporty. But Honda was able to transform what one would usually call “cute” into something that looks like this.


The 1.2 RS variant boasts a Piano Black front grille, 15-inch alloy wheels, side sill garnish, rear bumper garnish, and tailgate spoiler. Inside, there are noticeable orange accents that go with its black fabric seats with the same highlights — all exclusive to this model.

To top that off, its 7-inch audio system is paired to a six-speaker setup including tweeters. This should ensure that you get a high-quality listening experience.

1.2 RS Black Top

Now, if you want something more flashy, you can opt to go for the two-tone 1.2 RS Black Top variant. This Brio comes either in an exclusive Phoenix Orange Pearl or Carnival Yellow — both appealing in their own ways.

Apart from the RS and RS Black Top variants, there are two more models in the lineup: the 1.2 V CVT and 1.2 S MT. They’re the same Brio in essence, although they don’t come with most kits and some bells and whistles of the upper-tier models.

The front grille also has a honeycomb design and multi-reflector halogen headlights which then come with LED parking light guides. At the rear, they now have a redesigned tailgate that allows for better rear visibility and also adds to the rigidity of its body. Meanwhile, its tail and brake lights stretch to the edge of the vehicle and highlight the wide stance of the Brio.

Inside, tech features include manual air conditioning with a digital display, Bluetooth connection, and a 7-inch touch display for the 1.2 V CVT. The 1.2 S MT, on the other hand, comes with a 1-Din audio head unit.

In terms of capacity, packing the vehicle shouldn’t feel too cramped with its 60mm extended wheelbase compared to the first generation, in addition to the 90mm extended cargo area. This simply translates to more legroom for the passengers. And if you need to move numerous items, fold down the back seats and you have space big enough to fit a couple of big boxes.

Under the hood of all variants is a new 1.2-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Like the 2019 Civic, the transmission is based on the company’s Earth Dreams Technology for better acceleration and efficient fuel economy. For drivers who still stick to driving stick, there’s the five-speed 1.2 S MT variant for you to consider.

The available colors are:

  • Taffeta White (all models)
  • Modern Steel Metallic (1.2 RS CVT, 1.2 V CVT, 1.2 S MT)
  • Rallye Red (1.2 V CVT and 1.2 S MT)
  • Carnival Yellow (1.2 RS Black Top CVT and 1.2 V CVT variants)
  • Phoenix Orange (1.2 RS Black Top CVT only)

To further sweeten the deal, Honda is offering a special introductory SRP that will last until the end of June 2019:

  • 1.2 S MT – PhP 585,000
  • 1.2 V CVT – PhP 646,000
  • 1.2 RS Navi CVT – PhP 727,000
  • 1.2 RS Black Top Navi CVT – PhP 732,000

The new Brio also achieved a Four Star ASEAN NCAP safety rating, thanks to the company’s G-CON technology. This should enhance impact absorption in case of collisions. It also has dual SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger, while an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) comes as standard.

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