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.

Automotive

2019 Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival kicks off

Making car-hunting easy

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Scouring the market for a new vehicle? One of the things you can do as a responsible buyer is to know and experience what you’re getting before you actually spend your hard-earned cash. Auto Focus (the same guys from STV), once again offers you the chance to test drive that vehicle you’re eyeing at this year’s Summer Test Drive Festival.

Held at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds starting May 2 to 5, the event aims to be a one-stop shop for prospective buyers and showcases a wide range of competing standard and luxury models — all ready for test drives.


“Buying a car and selecting a particular model suited to one’s individual purpose, preference, and budget, can actually be a long-winded process,” said STV Chairman and CEO Ray Butch Gamboa. “This may require multiple visits to various dealerships at varying locations, test driving and comparing varying vehicles, and working out the best financing options. Usually, these couldn’t be done in a day, or even two,” he added.

With the convenience of this event, prospect buyers can just go to one location, see and test drive a wide variety of vehicles, and work out the best financing options depending on your budget. Say goodbye to dealer hopping since all the participating brands are just a few steps from one another.

Brands present at the event include Honda, Kia, Hyundai, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan, SSangYong, Subaru, Suzuki, GAC Motors, and Toyota.

The festival will be open starting today, May 2, from 11AM to 9PM. Admission to the public is free.

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Automotive

Honda’s 2019 Brio RS variant is a sporty subcompact

Dibs on Carnival Yellow!

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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. has introduced the second generation of the Brio. This establishes their entry to the A-segment passenger car category in the country while adding a twist of modern sportiness at the same time.

Being a small vehicle, it could be challenging to make it look sporty. But Honda was able to transform what one would usually call “cute” into something that looks like this.


The 1.2 RS variant boasts a Piano Black front grille, 15-inch alloy wheels, side sill garnish, rear bumper garnish, and tailgate spoiler. Inside, there are noticeable orange accents that go with its black fabric seats with the same highlights — all exclusive to this model.

To top that off, its 7-inch audio system is paired to a six-speaker setup including tweeters. This should ensure that you get a high-quality listening experience.

1.2 RS Black Top

Now, if you want something more flashy, you can opt to go for the two-tone 1.2 RS Black Top variant. This Brio comes either in an exclusive Phoenix Orange Pearl or Carnival Yellow — both appealing in their own ways.

Apart from the RS and RS Black Top variants, there are two more models in the lineup: the 1.2 V CVT and 1.2 S MT. They’re the same Brio in essence, although they don’t come with most kits and some bells and whistles of the upper-tier models.

The front grille also has a honeycomb design and multi-reflector halogen headlights which then come with LED parking light guides. At the rear, they now have a redesigned tailgate that allows for better rear visibility and also adds to the rigidity of its body. Meanwhile, its tail and brake lights stretch to the edge of the vehicle and highlight the wide stance of the Brio.

Inside, tech features include manual air conditioning with a digital display, Bluetooth connection, and a 7-inch touch display for the 1.2 V CVT. The 1.2 S MT, on the other hand, comes with a 1-Din audio head unit.

In terms of capacity, packing the vehicle shouldn’t feel too cramped with its 60mm extended wheelbase compared to the first generation, in addition to the 90mm extended cargo area. This simply translates to more legroom for the passengers. And if you need to move numerous items, fold down the back seats and you have space big enough to fit a couple of big boxes.

Under the hood of all variants is a new 1.2-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Like the 2019 Civic, the transmission is based on the company’s Earth Dreams Technology for better acceleration and efficient fuel economy. For drivers who still stick to driving stick, there’s the five-speed 1.2 S MT variant for you to consider.

The available colors are:

  • Taffeta White (all models)
  • Modern Steel Metallic (1.2 RS CVT, 1.2 V CVT, 1.2 S MT)
  • Rallye Red (1.2 V CVT and 1.2 S MT)
  • Carnival Yellow (1.2 RS Black Top CVT and 1.2 V CVT variants)
  • Phoenix Orange (1.2 RS Black Top CVT only)

To further sweeten the deal, Honda is offering a special introductory SRP that will last until the end of June 2019:

  • 1.2 S MT – PhP 585,000
  • 1.2 V CVT – PhP 646,000
  • 1.2 RS Navi CVT – PhP 727,000
  • 1.2 RS Black Top Navi CVT – PhP 732,000

The new Brio also achieved a Four Star ASEAN NCAP safety rating, thanks to the company’s G-CON technology. This should enhance impact absorption in case of collisions. It also has dual SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger, while an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) comes as standard.

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Automotive

2019 Honda Civic now with updated style and features

Comes in two engine options

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The 2019 Honda Civic is here and it’s sleeker than ever before.

Civic’s 10th-generation sedan comes with a sportier vibe thanks to modifications on its exterior. Up front, it has a newly designed bumper and full LED headlights with integrated Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Overall, it still has that familiar front fascia by the Japanese company.


2019 Honda Civic RS Turbo

There are three variants for the 2019 Civic. The top-of-the-line Civic RS Turbo stands on exclusive 18-inch Belrina Black RS alloy wheels. This variant also has leather seats and leather interior trims, adding a premium feel inside to complement its stylish exterior. Meanwhile, the 1.8 E CVT model comes next with a 16-inch Shark Gray Metallic alloy wheels.

2019 Honda Civic 1.8 E CVT

Both these models sport a 7-inch touch display that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They make calls, navigation, and in-car entertainment easily accessible even while driving. Additionally, the instrument panel in front is customizable to show relevant information to the driver.

2019 Honda Civic 1.8 S CVT

The last and final variant is the 1.8 S CVT. It is the entry-level offering of Honda that aims to give customers one of the best value for money in the C-segment category. It comes with halogen projector headlights with integrated DRLs, 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels, and a 7-inch touch display audio system.

Under the hood, there are two engine options for the new Civic. A 1.5-liter turbocharged DOHC i-VTEC engine runs the RS Turbo, while a familiar 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine can be found on both the 1.8 E CVT and 1.8 S CVT variants.

Needless to say, both engines are partnered with a CVT which is based on Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology for responsive performance, acceleration, and efficient fuel economy.

Boasting a Five Star ASEAN NCAP safety rating, additional features include an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Brake Hold, and dual front driver and front passenger SRS airbags. The RS Turbo CVT variant takes it a bit further with additional front driver and passenger side airbags.

The New Civic is priced at PhP 1,608,000 for the RS Turbo CVT, PhP 1,185,000 for the 1.8 E CVT, and PhP 1,115,000 for the entry-level 1.8 S CVT.

The 2019 Civic will come in five colors depending on the model:

  • Cosmic Blue Metallic
  • Lunar Silver Metallic (1.8 E and 1.8 S only)
  • Modern Steel Metallic (RS Turbo and 1.8 E only)
  • Rallye Red (RS Turbo only)
  • Platinum White Pearl (additional PhP 20,000)

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