Automotive

Ford PH kicks off 12th Driving Skills for Life Program

Educating drivers for safer roads

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Ford Philippines stays true to its advocacy on road safety and once again kicks off its Driving Skill for Life Program. It’s now on its 12th year and has successfully trained over 23,000 Filipino drivers over the years.

The DSFL program is free and combines classroom training about vehicle handling, driving in special conditions, anti-distracted driving, and fuel-efficient driving. This is then combined with hands-on driving simulation allowing participating drivers to apply their learnings from the classroom.


For 2019, the program is looking at 2,500 participants composed of student and private drivers, public utility drivers, traffic regulators and call center employees in key areas all over the Philippines.

Participants can expect to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving, as well as tips and techniques in driving under special conditions so that the number of road accidents will be lessened and contribute to making the roads safer and even less congested.

Ford Philippines is working with its long-time partner, Tuason Racing School, to provide an immersive and interactive training experience during the sessions.

Driving Skills for Life was established in the United States in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of experts. It has also been a consistent recipient of awards in the Philippines — bagging a Gold Award in the road safety category of the third Driven to Serve Awards of the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists.

Automotive

Chevrolet PH offers new Colorado Trail Boss

A new Boss steps into the pickup segment

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Chevrolet Philippines, through The Covenant Car Company, Inc., introduces the new Boss in the pickup segment — the Colorado Trail Boss.

Just like the Colorado High Country Storm that we took for a spin, the new Trail Boss is a tweaked out variant with mostly exterior changes that cater to fans of blacked out, all-rugged look.


This means getting rid of its chrome trims and replacing them with black accents. A black front grille with black bowtie badge now adds that stealthy appeal. The 18-inch alloy wheels also sport the same color and a Colorado decal and Trail Boss badge are stamped on the tailgate. And rounding up the additions to this variant is a unique tactical sport bar.

Apart from those, the Trail Boss is basically the 4×2 LT variant of the company in the Philippines. It’s powered by a capable 2.8-liter Duramax VG Turbo engine that outputs 200 horsepower and 500Nm of torque mated to a 6-speed AT. Water wading is at 800mm, payload capacity at one ton, and towing capacity is up to three tons.

Other highlights include Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and electric power steering. Meanwhile, safety is in check with its Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Limited Slip Differential, and Engine Immobilizer.

On top of those, it’s backed up by the Chevrolet Complete Care Program which includes a special five-year warranty coverage, three-year bumper to bumper warranty, plus a two-year warranty on the powertrain or 100,000km.

The new Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss is now available in all authorized Chevrolet dealerships in the country. It is priced at PhP 1,368,888.

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Automotive

The new MG 5 sedan makes premium features more accessible

Another competitive player in the market

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MG Philippines has unveiled its newest entry in the local subcompact segment. Called the MG 5, it’s armed with features usually seen on more expensive models and boasts ample space all around.

The sedan, while there is nothing too striking about its design, is still pretty stylish with its LED lights, flowing lines, and a prominent grille. This is just what we’d expect from the brand as we’ve experienced with the MG ZS.


In terms of dimensions, the MG 5 is the longest and widest in its class. It also has the longest wheelbase which results in more legroom for the front and rear occupants of the vehicle and added cargo space.

Inside, There’s a push start/stop button while a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is installed and supports Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Meanwhile, the flat-bottom steering wheel has been mounted with buttons for audio and menu navigation.

For those instances that you need to maneuver around tight spaces, a 360-degree vehicle view is at your fingertips and shows the top view of the car. Power driver’s seat and auto on/off headlamps are also at your disposal.

Running the show is a 1.5-liter engine producing 114 horsepower and a torque output of 150Nm which the company is proud to claim the best in its class. You can get the MG 5 in two configurations — a five-speed manual transmission and a CVT gearbox with manual mode.

Driver and passenger airbags are installed while four-wheel disc brakes put the vehicle to a stop. There’s also a tire pressure monitoring system for added safety. Other bells-and-whistles include Hill Start Assist, Auto Brake Hold, electronic climate control, reverse camera, and a sunroof.

There are four variants to choose from:

  • 1.5L STD 5MT – PhP 658,888
  • 1.5L STD CVT – PhP 718,888
  • 1.5L COM CVT – PhP 848,888
  • 1.5L DEL CVT – PhP 938,888

To further sweeten the deal, getting one includes a 5-year/100,000km warranty and 1-year free periodic maintenance service (PMS). A mobile app is also free to download for easier scheduling while other services like 24/7 roadside assistance are available.

The MG 5 is now available for purchase at all authorized MG Philippines dealership.

 

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Automotive

2019 Kona 2.0 GLS: Mr. Extrovert

Feeling flashy

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Is it a crossover? Is it a hatchback? Is it an APV? I, too, was confused when I first laid eyes on the 2019 Hyundai Kona. It was one of a kind, unique from any segment I was familiar with.

In line with the Mazda CX3 and Honda HRV, the Kona is a subcompact crossover SUV.


This vehicle is a true head-turner. I highly appreciate car companies whose designs are bold and thought of outside the box. In short, designs that make a statement.

The sleek and futuristic look of the Kona is best complemented in the flagship color Acid Yellow that gave my child-like imagination the impression of a glowing radioactive spaceship.

From the front, its fascia is exciting and modern in style with the growing trend of separated headlight design (like the Nissan Juke), streamlined daytime running lights, and low set fog lamps all go together with Hyundai’s trademark grille design.

Side profiles are matched with dynamic character lines as well as accents of matte black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and rocker panels.

Walking around to the back, you will find a design that is very consistent with the front. It’s almost identical and probably has one of the best looking rear-ends in its segment.

If we were to personify this Kona, it would undoubtedly be an extrovert. He’d be that kind of guy who’s not afraid of being a little flashy and would confidently come up to you to get your attention.

What I’m not a big fan of is the unnecessary amount of plastic cladding. Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle with this type of material will agree when I say it demands high maintenance since it tends to fade quickly.

Overall, the exterior feels exciting and fun, but stepping inside is a different story.

The interior is, well, basic. Scratchy-hard and soft plastic, fabrics, and polyurethane are the main materials used for the interior. It doesn’t give you the same exhilaration as the exterior and sadly feels like it stepped out of character.

Mounted on the dashboard, you will find a somewhat unappealing infotainment system — A non-touchscreen mono LCD unit that’s initially confusing to use while underneath is its manual climate control. Oh, and its instrument panel didn’t help spice the interior up, either, as it seemed a little too straightforward for this car’s asking price.

On the up-side, cabin space and comfort are not lacking whatsoever. With head and legroom to spare and plenty of cargo space for everyone. Cup holders, USB ports, and 12V sockets also come as standard.

When it comes to safety, Hyundai didn’t skimp on this crossover as it earned a high safety rating in the United States. With a score of 9.8, it has been given the Top Safety Pick+ award. It has Anti-Lock Braking System, traction control, dual airbags, and side curtain airbags as standard.

The ride is decently high with a ground clearance of 170mm, nearly as much as its bigger brother, the Tucson. Firing up the engine via keyless push-start button, you hear a smooth running 2.0 DOHC engine.

This is then mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces 147hp and 179nm of torque. It’s not the most powerful but is definitely one of the most economical, giving you up to 20km per liter (at best) on highways.

The Kona has three different driving modes you can shift through with a push of a button. You have Normal, Eco and Sport modes which just basically times gear changes differently to give you better responsiveness.

Driving this vehicle is very simple with no unneeded drama. The ride felt smooth and quiet while steering felt properly firm. You do get a bit of body roll around the corners, though.

Lacking from this vehicle is a reverse camera and proximity sensors and, from its price point, you would expect these features as standard. A feature I didn’t find necessary was the hill descent control which would be useful on its AWD variant but not on the FWD version that we have.

For now, the 2.0 GLS is the only variant available here in the Philippines. A straightforward, rather basic but economical ride that would make a perfect daily driver. Although if I were to choose between the two Kona models, I would probably go for the higher AWD 1.6 turbo Ultimate trim model which is a better option than the GLS trim.

To sum it up, it’s a bit of a bummer that it lacks a reverse camera, proximity sensors, and still runs a sub-par infotainment system in this age of touchscreens and Android Auto.  What I do like, though, is how it looks. This car unquestionably wins in the looks department. And factoring in its safety achievements and fuel economy, we can easily overlook its shortcomings.

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