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For those who crave a bit more power under their feet, there are tons of options at Global Sources Consumer Electronics, happening in Hong Kong this week. I tried on a few favorites including, a long-range ultra lightweight electric scooter from Shenzen-based supplier GTL, an innovative 3-wheel electric scooter called the Dragon Knight from Tomoloo, and Hover Shoes from Shenzhen SJF Technology.


Global Sources Consumer Electronics is the world’s largest electronics sourcing show bridging suppliers and resellers. For more information visit GlobalSources.com.


Automotive

Ford Ranger Raptor: A gentle beast

Power that comes with comfort

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When I began learning how to drive, I practiced with a bulky, under-powered pickup truck. Needless to say, it wasn’t a joyride. However, the added difficulty made driving smaller and simpler cars a breeze down the road, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

If I were to replicate that experience today, it would be near impossible. Not only are pickup trucks more advanced and comfortable than ever, they are also comparable to premium sedans and SUVs. Case in point: Ford’s newest Ranger Raptor is a gentle beast.


My unit came in Arctic White; other options are red, black, gray, and blue

There’s nothing subtle about the Raptor. Its towering build and robust front have an imposing presence no matter where it’s taken. Ford claims it’s the first factory-ready, high-speed off-road performance truck. In other words, you can go straight from the dealership to the mountains if you’re itching for action.

For comparison, the Raptor is 150mm wider and 50mm taller than the regular Ranger. This leads to a ground clearance of 283mm and a water wading capacity of 850mm. Combined with the 33-inch all-terrain tires and 2.5-inch Fox racing shocks, you don’t have to do much customization to make this machine battle-ready.

The massive FORD logo is part of the Raptor’s DNA

While all these make for a powerful ride, what’s even more impressive is how the Raptor babies its driver and passengers. Never have I felt this comfy in a truck before. Prior to this, I drove an Everest which I’d confidently consider on par with the Raptor’s ease of use — that says a lot.

In addition, Ford’s SYNC system is in place for music playback from any phone, navigation, and simple voice commands. If you need more functionality, you may connect your smartphone through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Every other feature is reachable through the vast number of buttons on the steering wheel.

The 8-inch touchscreen is at the center of all your controls

The red mark at the top of the steering wheels acts as a guide when you’re busy driving

With 213PS from the 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine, accompanied by 500Nm of torque and a 10-speed automatic transmission, Ford isn’t kidding when they call this a “super truck.”

I had several days to put this machine to the test, and keeping it on safe asphalt wouldn’t do it justice, so my team took it to off-road trails fit for, well, a Raptor.

BFGoodrich’s all-terrain tires are equipped on every unit

We crossed rivers, handled 35-degree inclines and declines, and sped up whenever we could. Unsurprisingly, nothing fazed the Raptor. It always felt like it had more power to deliver, asking me to challenge it even more. It was certainly tempting, especially since the truck made me feel so safe throughout the drive.

On top of the standard 2WD and 4WD modes, the Raptor offers six presets that can be activated depending on your needs. There’s normal mode, sport mode for improved steering response and acceleration, Baja mode for high-speed off-road driving, grass/gravel/snow mode for slippery terrains, mud/sand mode for better handling, and rock mode for increased control over unpredictable rocks.

Engaging any of the performance modes takes only a few button presses

At the same time, the Raptor is such a smooth ride on city streets. I logged in hundreds of kilometers on it, and there wasn’t a single stretch that I wished I was inside another car. Sure, parking wasn’t a breeze in this thing — although it does come with a handy rear camera assist — but its imposing height and bright LED headlamps kept the Raptor visible from any distance.

If I were to nitpick, my only gripes would be the finicky Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and lack of compartments around the cockpit. These, however, are common issues with most vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of driving.

More than anything, the Raptor is simply a stunner. I had never felt this confident going from point A to point B, and looking good while doing so. Every stop along the way deserved its own photo shoot.

My team can definitely attest to that.

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Automotive

Right-Hand Drive: My first experience

It’s never too late to do something new

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It was a Friday, my birthday. I, along with the local media team, flew to Hong Kong for an annual event on electrifying cities to achieve a greener environment.

After the warm welcome of the event’s hosts, they started briefing us of the day’s itinerary. We were to use the company’s electric vehicles and drive them through Hong Kong’s three main regions to get a feel of how they ride and put their features to real-world use.


Exciting, right? Thing is, Hong Kong is a right-hand drive territory and I live and grew up in a country with left-hand vehicles. I’ve never driven on the opposite side of the road. I figured I’d just wing it.

I figured I’d just wing it.

They finally sent us out to the cars in pairs and assigned us an official rep either to make sure everything went well or that we didn’t run away with the car — pretty sure it was more of the former.

My partner for this ride was a fellow journalist in the automotive industry. He would always crack jokes on almost anything he saw which somehow took my mind off the fact that I’d be driving in a foreign country with unfamiliar roads during my first right-hand drive experience.

We agreed that I’d take the wheel for the first half of the trip and switch seats halfway so we both could experience the electric vehicle. I grabbed the door handle on the right side, opened it, and gave my weight to its cushioned driver seat.

I was faced with the cockpit of the vehicle. As a person who likes things neat and in order, the buttons, displays, and icons were neatly laid out. I was not overwhelmed.

I spotted a mounted GoPro on the passenger’s side aimed directly at me. I thought it was cool to have a copy of myself driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time.

I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.

With everyone inside, I stepped on the brake and pressed the ignition button. The motor of the car whirred with a held-back enthusiasm. “I’m still not used to how quiet it is,” I told my companions, explaining that I was already able to drive the car — only the previous year’s model. The absence of a gas-guzzling engine made the vehicle come to life not with the sound of a heavy breathing dog but more like Wall-E‘s Eva powering up. I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.

Then we were off to take on the gloomy and chilly weather. The hotel’s lobby is elevated so there was a long spiral-like ramp that led in and out of the driveway. Turning towards the ramp was critical for me as it was my first turn to the opposite lane. “Always enter the left lane. Always enter the left lane.” I kept telling myself this over and over just to rewire my mind and unlearn the driving system that I grew up with and adapt to this new setup.

We drove down the ramp, onto the street, and later on into the highway. “So far so good,” I thought to myself. The idea was to drive through a pre-designated route using Google Maps. But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The app didn’t work properly for the first 15 to 20 minutes of our trip. It had problems with GPS so I had to listen to the company’s representative seated at the back as he pointed when and where to turn.

But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

For a while there, I was like an Uber driver going through the busy streets of Hong Kong.

The vehicle responded very well every time I stepped on the gas pedal. We were discussing that having an electric motor means power is quickly channeled to the wheels so it responds a lot faster compared to internal combustion engines. I also liked how the car didn’t have problems gaining speed whenever I needed to catch up. Basically, exploring the car’s array of features, while driving, helped me eliminate the few anxieties that I had left. Yes, I enjoyed the drive.

It was about 30 to 40 minutes in that I became more confident driving the right-hand vehicle. Entering the left lane every time I turned became more and more natural. Of course, there were times when I’d still forget I was on the opposite side — like that time I was paying at the toll gate and opened the left window instead of the right. Boy, was the teller confused when I did that.

While probably a really simple and obvious solution, one of the things that helped me with the transition was to think of everything in the opposite way. That way, It was easier for me to grasp the entire idea of right-hand driving. If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left. When it felt natural to flick the turn signal using the left switch, I’d use the right since the left would be for activating the wipers.

If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left.

That kind of mindset got me through the entire ride right up to the point where I and the other media I was with had to switch for his turn to drive.

I went down, walked around to the other side, and got in the passenger seat. It was weird because since I was back to sitting on the left side, the initial response of my arms was to grab the steering wheel and start the vehicle, forgetting all of a sudden the “brainwashing lessons” I taught myself just half an hour ago.

Seeing the GoPro that was mounted right above me, I reached for it to check if it was still recording. I then noticed there were no blinking red lights. I leaned closer and to my surprise, it wasn’t even turned on. So much for documenting my first right-hand experience, right?

“It wasn’t recording the entire time!” I exclaimed. It was unfortunate but we had a laugh out of it. I figured I’d just write down the events that happened so that I wouldn’t forget it. I powered up the action camera and started recording for my partner’s sake. With dark clouds and light rain still accompanying us, we started driving back to the hotel.

My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself.

During our trip back, I reflected on what I just did, from the excitement to the feeling of fulfillment of doing something the first time and succeeding. My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself. For me, I simply had to do the opposite of what I’m comfortable with to make sure I had clear control of what to do for certain situations.

Of course, it would also help a lot if one would closely study and practice for something like this. I just didn’t have much choice and had limited time to prepare for the drive.

We got back to the hotel, thanked the company’s representative who came with us for being an accommodating guide, and I went straight to my hotel room to freshen up for the night’s welcome dinner.

It was a great experience overall and am still thankful for the brand extending an invite to the event. The fact that I did something for the first time on my birthday only made it more special. To more drives!

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Automotive

New Subaru XV GT edition is a sportier crossover

Giving the already sporty XV a sleeker look

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Subaru’s XV crossover is already a looker on its own — on top of the fact that it also performs well. But Subaru understands the demand for style and their answer to this is the new Asia-exclusive XV GT edition.

To produce this special variant, Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru in the Philippines, worked with renowned engineering company Giken Co. Ltd and Masahiko Kobayashi who made the head-turning design of the popular WRX STI.


The special edition XV comes with aero kits which give the already-sporty XV a more agile look. It now owns a front bumper lip extension with integrated canards for added stability, side skirts, roof spoiler, and rear bumper extension.

To go along with the added kits, the XV GT stands on a set of fresh 18-inch bespoke alloy wheels. Inside, leather seats inspired by the cabins of European and British grand tourers will greet you along with carpeted flooring.

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Together with Motor Image’s understanding of the market, Mr. Kobayashi’s expertise, and Giken’s experience, the GT edition was born to cater to the demanding needs of customers and looking good while doing it.

The XV GT is now available for booking at any of the Subaru showrooms in the Philippines.

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