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

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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