Automotive

Mazda MX-5 RF Club Edition: A must-have sports car

Effortlessly ticks the right boxes

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This is the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 RF Club Edition. Tracing way back from its great grandfather in the ’90s, it has been a well-loved car and has been a favorite affordable sports car of many.

The company has been known for making beautiful cars through the years and is a car brand close to my heart due to my affinity for the RX-7 and RX-8 in my younger years. In addition to that, I remember always choosing an MX-5 Miata in the racing games I played back then. It was one of my all-time favorite cars simply because it looked good and was fun to modify.

It was the best-selling two-seat sports car in history, selling over 1 million units since it first came out. Each succeeding model was an improvement of the last and it still continues until today.

Now, the latest MX-5 has set the bar high. Just by looking at it is already exhilarating. Personally, it’s the best looking MX5 yet and I think the majority will agree with me.

This Club Edition variant in the Philippines sits just below the 30th Anniversary Edition MX-5 RF and comes with new Recaro seats, BBS alloy wheels, and some updates in features.

Other than that, it’s the same sexy design that many of us fell in love with. The wide panels and glossy curves make this car drop-dead gorgeous especially in that Soul Red Crystal – definitely makes it look glowing hot. In terms of design, it truly stands out among other cars in its segment.

Getting in the car, you instantly notice the sporty Recaro bucket seats wrapped in leather with suede accents and red stitching. You are seated in a very low position and pretty close to the road underneath you, while your legs are stretched all the way forward which kind of gives you that race car driver feel à la Formula 1.

The dashboard is well-designed and its minimalist approach is very pleasing to the eyes. You have classic circular air vents while its dashboard and steering wheel are also wrapped in leather. A notable design feature would be the metal door panels that match the color of the car. It gives you that well-appreciated connection between the exterior and interior while adding a lot of character for the cabin.

Mounted on the center of the dash is a 7-inch infotainment system with what the company calls Mazda Connect. It is very convenient and user-friendly and provides navigation, calls, and music hands-free . The center console is high and well-equipped with knobs and switches that make driving easier. Instead of concentrating on navigating through the touch display, you have a tactile knob at your fingertips.

A car’s audio system is something I am very particular with, and the MX-5’s 9-speaker Bose audio setup with integrated speakers on the seat’s headrest was more than impressive. It delivered superior audio quality even with the roof down and with wind noise. the speakers in the headrest gave me crystal clear audio and were very useful when making a hands-free phone call.

Turning on the engine, you straight away notice the low engine grunt even in idle. The engine sound is exceptional and this is what we expect a small sports car to sound like.

This car is not only made to look good. The MX-5 is also a proper sports car packed with plenty of power and agility. The 2.0 Skyactiv engine produces 184 horsepower which is more than sufficient for a car that weighs only a thousand kilograms.

Sport mode on, pedal to the metal, this car catapults you from 0-100 in less than 7 seconds. Driving the MX-5 in the open road will definitely get your heart pumping and your adrenaline rushing. This car just wants to be driven and is begging to be driven fast.

The paddle shifters are functional even when you’re not in Manual Sport Mode. This is a brilliant feature when you just want to overtake and downshift in a normal driving mode. Safety is also taken seriously — the massive Brembo brakes can bring the car to a halt from 100kph in under 3 seconds. You also get Lane Departure Warning as standard.

In terms of steering, this car is firm and steady and has a bit of weight to it at high speeds. This gives you a sense of control, especially in tight corners. The firm suspension plus the weight of the car makes cornering in neck-snapping speeds effortless.

Fuel consumption is remarkably economic, with the introduction of i-ELOOP regenerative braking and i-stop feature that shuts off the engine when stopped at traffic lights, for example.

This car gives you nearly the same presence and confidence as supercars that cost more. You just feel good in this car, not to mention that it’s a major head-turner especially when driving top down on a scenic road. It’s times like these that you just feel like you’re part of a movie scene or something.

I have nothing negative to say about the vehicle except maybe the rear is not as aggressive-looking as the front of the car, it felt inconsistent to the overall design of the car with round taillights in contrast to the angry headlights up front.

With the MX-5, you feel very connected to the car and the road. It may not be the best daily car as it’s not very utilitarian in its nature, but if you want to enjoy the open roads and really want to experience the essence and joy of driving, this is a must-have sports car.

See the MX-5 take on some twisties in this video:

Automotive

LG debuts world’s first curved OLED for cars

Featured in 2021 Cadillac Escalade

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Pretty soon, smartphones and televisions won’t be the only place you’ll find OLED screens in. The automotive industry is slowly perfecting the OLED screen for everyone’s cars. In particular, LG is partnering with a few car makers for this endeavor.

Earlier this week, Cadillac has launched the 2021 Escalade. Aside from what’s under the hood, the iconic SUV debuts the industry’s first-ever use of a curved OLED screen in a car. The massive 38-inch display houses LG’s P-OLED Digital Cockpit Solution. The all-new software displays the vehicle information and infotainment system.

The display itself combines three separate P-OLED panels into one. The largest panel measures 16.9 inches.

LG is also boasting a new augmented reality-enabled navigation system and night vision. Presumably, the new features make driving friendlier for any road condition and driving time.

With the 2021 Escalade’s debut, LG dips its toe into the automotive display market. It predicts substantial market growth in the industry by 2023. The display company is also expected to debut a similar display in Mercedes Benz vehicles later this year.

SEE ALSO: LG withdraws from MWC 2020 due to Coronavirus outbreak

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Automotive

My favorite pony made more fun

The thrill of rolling on a top-down ‘stang

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No doubt, the most powerful car I’ve driven for the past year is the Ford Mustang 5.0 GT and it never fails to impress. This adrenaline-inducing speed machine was made more enjoyable as it now comes as a convertible. In my book, nothing else screams “fun” like this American muscle car.

The styling of the current model stays true to its heritage with that massive vented hood that gives the car a masculine and bold look. It has its intimidating headlamps along with an aggressive grille, broad shoulder and beltlines, and the iconic triple lamp tail lights which we all recognize.

Yes, this car looks stunning, but what Mustang enthusiasts are really after is performance. Ford has managed to fine-tune the current model to near perfection. Significant improvements and changes to power, handling, and safety of the vehicle were also ensured.

The updated 5.0 Coyote V8 is now fitted with high-pressure direct injection, bigger intake and exhaust valves, and increased compression ratios (12:0:1) boosting power to 460hp and 569Nm of torque with redline increased to 7500rpm and now mated to a 10-speed gearbox.

The sound of the engine alone is exhilarating as all that V8 goodness rumble. The independent rear suspensions, along with improved dampers, make this car very agile and easy around the corners.

In addition, you now have customizable steering settings that can change the steering wheel’s responsiveness and stiffness with a push of a button.

Other notable updates are the obvious facelift, featuring a newly designed hood with a lower grille and headlamps, new front and rear bumper and fender design, a more aggressive rear redesign with quad-tip exhaust and a sportier rear diffuser standard across all GT models.

Full LED headlights, a new full 12 inch LCD digital instrument cluster, and a 10-inch infotainment system with a 12-speaker setup are also what awaits you. You can even customize each selectable drive mode and get a number of performance metrics straight from your instrument panel.

Safety features also got an update such as pre-collision emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.

The interior also stays true to Mustang’s styling cues with those classic circular air vents, brushed aluminum accents all around, and soft-touch plastic and leather trims. Front seats are fairly comfortable while the rear may be a bit cramped especially if you’re tall.

Let’s get down to the driving experience. As soon as you get on the driver’s seat, you kind of feel a connection with the car and it just gives you an extra confidence boost.

Turning on the engine was already an exhilarating experience for me. And when I took it to our favorite scenic road in Sierra Madre on Normal Mode, it felt surprisingly comfortable for a sports car.  It was smooth, quiet, and tame.

However, the whole car transforms completely once you set the driving mode to Sport+ Mode. It becomes a proper race car with power that just blows me away. We are talking 0-100 in under four seconds.

Throttle response is more sensitive while gear shifts are more delayed. And to top it all, drive it with the roof down and you will have the time of your life — I know I did.

A piece of advice though, try not to use its paddle shifters on Normal Mode. You downshift second gear using the paddle shifter and the car disapproves of your choices. It has a mind of its own and will immediately put you back into third gear making the maneuver super slow while simply making its engine grunt. It’s better to just floor it. And with the roof down, people will definitely remember your face, the guy in a Mustang who failed overtaking a Corolla.

Overall, the Mustang GT Convertible is probably one of the most fun cars I’ve driven. It can drive like a tame and normal vehicle and be as brutal as a race car.  Given the new updates, you are getting more tech for your money. Fuel economy is not the best, but people buying this car will probably not mind, given what this car has to offer.

If you’re only after the looks of the Mustang, probably get the Ecoboost variant for better fuel economy, but Mustang enthusiasts will definitely enjoy the 5.0 V8. In my opinion, this model is very much worth the upgrade from the 2015-2017 Mustang.

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Automotive

New Ford Ranger FX4 is an updated workhorse truck

Ford’s truck lineup offers a Ranger for everyone

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Ford Philippines has just introduced a new model for its already successful lineup of pickup trucks. Called the Ranger FX4, it exudes toughness with its bold design, work-ready performance, and smart technologies.

It also adds to the company’s Ranger portfolio making it the automotive company with the widest lineup of pickup trucks in the country with 13 available variants.

Ford Ranger FX4

The new FX4 still maintains the Ranger’s general appeal but it comes with unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, door handles, front and rear bumpers, and fresh fender features.

Decals along the lower doors and a 3D badge on its tailgate make sure that onlookers will know this is the updated model.

Stepping inside, you’ll be welcomed by Fx4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitchings on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.

In terms of features, we know that Ford doesn’t skimp on the essentials. The new FX4 carries an infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its 8-inch touchscreen display.

Powering the Ranger FX4 is the company’s 2.2-liter Duratorq diesel engine mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, producing 160PS of power and 385Nm of torque.

The new Ranger models are now available in Ford dealerships nationwide. Pricing is at PhP 1,256,000 for the 4Ă—2 MT model and PhP 1,316,000 for the 4Ă—2 AT variant.

They’re available in five colors — Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, Meteor Grey, and True Red.

An updated lineup of trucks

  • Aside from the new Ranger FX4, Ford Philippines is also introducing a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup.
  • Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4Ă—2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers.
  • Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.
  • Ranger Wildtrak 4Ă—2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4Ă—4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models.
  • Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.

Test drive Ford’s trucks for yourself

The launch of the Ranger FX4 also marks the official kick-off of the Ford Island Conquest event this year. The first leg of the experiential test drive will happen on January 24-26, 2020 from 9AM to 9PM at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City.

During the three-day event, customers have the chance to test drive the Ranger FX4 and other Ford vehicles on a specialized driving course that will showcase the vehicles’ best-in-class features and capabilities.

Customers also have the chance to avail of exclusive offers and deals when they purchase a Ford vehicle. This includes a PhP 10,000 outright cash discount and pick-a-prize cash discount of up to PhP 100,000 on top of existing promotions for the month. Over Ph 1.3 million worth of cash discounts and prizes are up for grabs during the Ford Island Conquest kick-off.

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