Automotive

The Ford EcoSport is the essential travel buddy for tech geeks

For both beginners and sporty drivers

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For years, automobiles have slowly left the realm of technology. Now, at least in the public’s eyes, cars exist more as a means of transportation, rather than feats of technology.

However, if you were part of the driving public over the last decade, you would have realized two things. Firstly, a great car is just as invaluable as an amazing flagship phone. Secondly, with the number of features packed into a car today, the line between technology and transportation is blurring once again.

Just as how they pioneered the moto industry in the United States, Ford is again leading the charge for technologically capable cars for the modern market. In 1908, it was the first Model T Ford. In 2018, it’s the Ford EcoSport.

What’s under the hood?

Sporting a 1.5-liter Ti VCT 110ps/142Nm engine, the Ford EcoSport is a capable daily driver for both urban stop-and-start traffic and countryside rough riding. For its size, the EcoSport straddles the fine line between sedan and SUV.

Further, this hardy engine is mated to a 6-speed PowerShift transmission (5-speed for manual). From a performance standpoint, the EcoSport transitions smoothly in and out of Sport mode.

Potholes? No problem!

With all this in mind, the EcoSport can blaze through most driving situations you can throw at it. Whether it was for urban trekking through tight roads or riding through tough rural tracks, the EcoSport powered through with barely a hiccup.

Potholes and unpaved roads were no match for the EcoSport’s suspension. Jolts and drops didn’t have as much impact as it usually does with other cars. The EcoSport inspires confidence even for inexperienced drivers.

Even with moderately deep mud pits, the EcoSport can power through with just brute force. Its capable engine can clear obstacles without flooring the pedal. Additionally, its high ground clearance can go through the debilitating floods that usually frequent the metro.

The EcoSport’s confidence carries itself despite challenging situations. A lot of cars today don’t inspire the same confidence as the Ford EcoSport.

Crank it up to 11

As with most Ford cars, the EcoSport carries a welcome Sport mode for accessing that extra boost you need for both smoother and hardier conditions. Sadly, most people don’t access this feature out of fear for what it’s capable of.

As the name implies, the Sport mode brings a sportier vibe to the EcoSport’s drive. Costing a small bit of fuel efficiency, the specialized mode injects improved speed, handling, and traction to everyday drives.

Personally, the Ford EcoSport brought one of the smoothest driving experiences I’ve handled across the industry. The Sport mode handled amazingly well against metro traffic.

All that junk inside that trunk

Besides exemplary performance, the EcoSport is a champ at four- to five-seater space allotment.

There’s nothing more comfortable than a ride that offers a mile’s worth of legroom. While the Ecosport isn’t the most spacious, it offers more than adequate room for even long legs. Riding or driving for hours is a breeze with the EcoSport’s space.

Sporting around twenty slots and compartments for gizmos, the EcoSport can carry an entire storeroom of goodies. Even as a dedicated tech geek, I was able to fit complete rosters of devices. On a road trip, I brought a sizable bag with my huge 15-inch laptop, an assorted yarn of chargers, mice, and mouse pads. It fits snuggly with a hard case for my DSLR and its variety of lenses.

Even then, the EcoSport can still pack in bags of food, gym bags, and more people. Ford even boasts that the back trunk has space for a 560-liter washing machine.

Despite the wide space available, the EcoSport’s thermal control system can cool or heat passengers adequately throughout the cabin.

Jamming to the sync

Sadly, commercially viable self-driving cars are still years into the future. Thankfully, smart technology isn’t limited to intuitive AI.

As always, Ford installs their trademark SYNC technology into the Ford EcoSport. The feature melds the car with the abilities of a smartphone.

Its most popular use is to connect your phone’s media to the car’s entertainment system. Besides through an AUX, USB, memory card, or CD, SYNC’s Bluetooth connectivity adds convenience to jamming through congested traffic.

The feature also adds to your device’s phone features. It takes a hands- and distraction-free approach to managing your phone life.

Additionally, the features boast added support for the most useful apps for driving. With a bit of technological know-how, the car’s infotainment system can access and display Waze for convenient navigating through alleyways and side streets.

Safety first

Ford remains at the forefront of road safety. With a slew of safety features, drivers can rest assured that the EcoSport won’t skid uncontrollably.

The EcoSport comes equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and Electronic Stability Program. The mechanisms prevent skidding, wheel spins, and understeering.

Further, the rear also has parking sensors to help with all forms of parking.

Pick your colors

Even with the all-in-one package, the Ford EcoSport offers options for how it looks. It comes in four variants (Ambiente 1.5L MT, Trend 1.5L MT, Trend 1.5L AT, Titanium 1.5L AT) and six different colors (Panther Black, Ingot Silver, Winning Blue, Candy Red, Mars Red, Frozen White). Personally, the Frozen White variant is quite the looker.

Further, sportier fans can grab the Black Edition, which offers more style than the six regular variants. Besides black finishing for the exterior grills and tires, the variant also touts roof cross bars, rear spoilers, illuminated scruff plates, and sports pedals.

SEE ALSO: Ford launches all-new Mustang and Expedition at MIAS 2018

Automotive

Voting for Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards now easier

With a chance to win prizes when you vote

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The search for the most popular vehicles in the Philippines has just kicked off in the form of the Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards (AFPCA). People can easily vote for their favorite vehicles using their smartphones.

Launched by production group Sunshine TV, Auto Focus recognizes the country’s automobile manufacturers and importers through an accurate method of determining the motoring public’s choices. This has been the company’s 14th year of organizing the event and this time, they’re making things simpler.

Voting is done with the implementation of the “top of mind” principle. Instead of choosing from a long list of car brands and models, people can simply vote out of the top of their minds. The company went for this approach since they believe awareness and immediate preferences are keys to consider a car model’s popularity.

Additionally, the Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards (AFMCA) will be undertaken in tandem with the AFPCA to honor car models that offer the top features, value, and performance. Professional motoring media and practitioners will judge the entries and give awards for best in design, engine performance, safety features, and value for money.

To vote for the People’s Choice Award, simply go to their page and log in using your Facebook profile. You can input the vehicle of your choice in the spaces provided. A minimum of one vehicle in the Standard category and another in the Luxury category can be included. If you have more in mind, five entries are allowed for each category.

People who vote have a chance to win raffle prizes. Voting can be done every day until the poll closes on September 30, 2018. Happy voting!

SEE ALSO: STV breathes life to old motorsport with ARCC

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Automotive

STV breathes life to old motorsport with ARCC

Keeping the spirit of rallying alive

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I was at Clark, Pampanga in a former United States Air Force base in the Philippines for the STV Auto Rally Corporate Challenge (ARCC).

For the unfamiliar, it’s also called Sampaguita Rally in the Philippines, but it was actually inspired by the Dutch’s Tulpenrallye (Tulip Rally) for the way the directions in the handbook look like. It gained popularity in Europe at the beginning of 1950s and was also the number one motorsport in the Philippines back in the 80s. The sport eventually died down but Sunshine Television has been faithful to breathe life into the sport until today.

STV Chairman and CEO Ray Butch Gamboa kicks off the event.

Now, the “rally” in its name might paint a different picture for some. Usually, speed is associated when you hear the term “rallying,” and that’s because of the modified rally races that are popular today. STV’s ARCC doesn’t follow this trend and stays true to its roots wherein drivers are not required to go fast to win.

Taking an oath to play fair and square.

Car manufacturers, importers, and distributors were the event’s participants and I was invited to be one of Ford Philippines’ representatives. There were a total of nine media reps split into three groups and Ford gave the groups a vehicle each to use in the event.

Our group was in a 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium with me at the helm, while one was assigned as timekeeper and the other as navigator.

You, as a participant, get in the vehicle with your teammates and are put on a public road along with other motorists. You’re expected to follow driving rules just like you normally would while following the tulip-shaped directions written on the handbook.

This is what the handbook looks like with tulip-shaped arrows for directions. The smaller sheet is filled with our time for all the checkpoints.

More than speed, the key factor to winning is precision. A series of checkpoints were set up throughout the course, and our team, along with hundreds of participants from other brands, had to arrive at the perfect time at each checkpoint. Get there one second late/early and you get a demerit. In the end, the group with the least number of demerits wins. Having said these, the goal is simple: Be on time, all the time.

With more than 150km of driving, the goal of the event was to promote driver discipline and road safety. This means if you violate traffic rules, authorities can and will flag you and issue a ticket (plus the organizers can disqualify you from the event depending on your offense).

There’s our ride, Vehicle 24.

The dynamics inside the vehicle (at least for us) worked like this: The navigator obviously had the handbook and told the driver where to turn. Meanwhile, the timekeeper calculated the time needed from one point to the next to made sure we get to the checkpoints at the perfect time — all while inside a moving car. Then there’s an average speed indicated per direction so I, the driver, had to maintain constant speeds depending on the instruction. Mix in traffic lights and buildup of cars and the feeling of frustration crept in knowing we needed to catch up.

Still, it was a great practice for coordination and communication among us inside the vehicle. Since Rally Director Georges Ramirez chose a route with tricky turns and hidden checkpoints, it made things more exciting and required us to almost be at the edge of our seats looking out where that next turn would be.

Team Ford (although not complete)

The 2018 ARCC was indeed a challenging experience, but it’s for that same reason that all of us enjoyed the event. Our group didn’t make it to the top list but hey, it was an adventure that you don’t do every day. It also taught us a thing or two about teamwork and precision driving, and I even ended up making new friends. So it’s not all that bad.

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Automotive

Suzuki officially introduces its all-new Jimny

A sleek yet tough 4×4

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After nearly 50 years since its debut, Suzuki has officially revealed its fourth generation Jimny. It is, and has always been, a trusted vehicle that can handle the grit of off-road adventures and look good in the city, too.

With the all-new Jimny, the boxy look is still there but Suzuki promises more functionality and practicality than its earlier siblings. Memorable circle headlights have been installed which outright make you notice its five-slat grille. According to Suzuki, its flat, clamshell bonnet — which connects to the more upright A-pillars — enhances visibility from the windshield.

Drip rails on the roof edges have also been added to protect from ingress when opening or closing a door. Side sill covers and wheel arch extensions also make their way to the new Jimny. Meanwhile, at the back, there are now horizontal taillights instead of vertical ones as seen previously. Their signature spare tire rounds up the exterior.

Under the hood, a 1.5-liter engine replaces the previous 1.3-liter unit. While it now packs stronger torque at all RPM, it also has ample torque at low revolutions, which is demanded for off-road driving.

Suzuki is confident about taking the 3-door Jimny to roads less traveled with the help of its ALLGRIP PRO. In a nutshell, it’s the company’s 4WD system made with high off-road usage in mind. Additionally, it will be available in either five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

The all-new Jimny is also stuffed with the latest safety tech. Among these are the Suzuki Safety Support and Dual Sensor Brake Support. The latter determines if a risk of collision is coming up and issues an audio/visual warning with increased braking force. It also applies strong automatic brakes depending on the circumstance. Other functions include lane departure warning and weaving alert.

Watch this one-minute clip showing the new Jimny going on an adventure.

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