Automotive

This is the 2020 Land Rover Defender

More than capable on- and off-road

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Land Rover has introduced its new boxy 4×4. Sporting modern but still familiar looks, the 2020 Defender is still up to the task of conquering unpaved roads — while also promising a smoother and more comfortable ride.

The new Defender now looks meaner with its owl-like LED Daytime Running Lights while its large bumper gives the front fascia that appreciated bulk for a more rugged look.

Although a little bit curvier than before, its hood and panels remain thick and flat which has the older Defender’s DNA all over it.

The rear, of course, is where the spare tire is mounted. It also comes with stacked taillights and a skid plate on its bumper for added protection against bumps and dings.

Inside is a versatile cabin. The Defender 90 is a six-seater model while the Defender 110 is available in five-seat or five-plus-two-seat configurations. One of its interesting features is the front-row bench that you can fold and unfold to either accommodate a third person up front or use as cupholders.

It comes with a 10-inch touchscreen, Jaguar Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system, and onboard Wi-Fi.

The new Defender is available in a new mild-hybrid with turbo as well as petrol and diesel engines as alternatives. All are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

To make off-roading a lot easier, it features the company’s ClearSight Ground View that shows the road or terrain under the vehicle. It also has the ClearSight RearView in case a large cargo is blocking your line of sight. These are the same ones we’ve played with on the Range Rover Evoque which proved really helpful.

Other notable features for the new Defender include a 900mm wading depth, Terrain Response 2 System, and a towing capacity enough to pull a trailer.

There will be different trim levels and accessory packs to choose from based on what kind of adventures you’re bringing the Defender to. The all-new 4×4 will be available in over 100 markets around the globe.

Automotive

2019 Suzuki Jimny: A little monster on steroids

We took it to where it truly shines

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What is cute and adorable but also fierce and beastly when set loose? No, the answer is not a rabid puppy — it’s the all-new 2019 Suzuki Jimny.

When we talk about extreme off-roading, normally we would think of big, bulky, expensive SUVs with massive tires, monstrous lift kits, and a gas-guzzling engine. No one will think of a small, Japanese kei car to be a good off-roader, but that’s where most are wrong.

The 2019 Suzuki Jimny is probably one of the most anticipated 4x4s this year and is one capable off-roader in the market today. We were given the chance to bring the 2019 Jimny All Grip Pro to our favorite off-road testing grounds at Jungle Base in Tanay, Rizal — a renowned playground in the off-road community.

Let’s begin with the looks. The styling will not fit everybody’s taste. There is not much to look at with the exterior since it’s basically a box on wheels. Though it stays true to its styling heritage and looks more like a modern second-gen Suzuki Samurai.

Personally, though, I like it. It’s simple, rugged, and I actually find it kind of cute. Being the way it is, there is so much potential to personalize it to your preference and needs and it excites me to see differently customized Jimnys on the road. It’s a blank canvas waiting to be modified.

The interior is also pretty basic and really has no luxury features but we can easily overlook that since this small SUV is not built for luxury; it’s built to be tough. Mounted on the center is a very decent infotainment system. It spans nine inches across but it does not support Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

Other features include Cruise Control, Hill Descent Control with Hill Hold, Traction Control, and Power Windows. You have loads of headroom, decent legroom for the front but a bit cramped at the back. Seats are also fairly comfortable.

On a personal note, I really liked how the B-pillar is placed behind the driver giving you an unobstructed panoramic view of the side of the car — advantageous for offroading.

Driving the Jimny on paved roads felt bouncy and jiggly, while cornering had to be done carefully. Body roll is an issue and being a narrow and tall car, you kind of feel like you could roll when taking on tight corners with speed. It also struggles to gain speed even with a new and more powerful engine. This means you sometimes need to catch the right timing when overtaking.

No one will be buying the Jimny for racing, anyway, as speed is not its best asset. This car truly shines when the pavement ends.

Once we got to the dirt road, we were amazed by how smooth it suddenly felt. Driving at around 40kph on soft gravel felt like driving on butter. It was unbelievably quiet and smooth, gliding through the trail and absorbing the bumps.

Switching to 4-Low when the trail got tougher impressed us even more. The little Jimny tackled large rocks, ditches, and mud effortlessly. Thanks to its trailing arm coil spring suspensions up front and at the rear, as well as its improved approach and departure angles, articulation was beyond impressive.

On paper alone, it even has a better approach, departure, and break-over angles than a stock Jeep Wrangler and I honestly did not expect that much wheel travel.

Its new 1.5-liter K15B DOHC VVT engine produces only 101 horsepower and 130nm of torque which may seem small. Although you have to remember this car weighs only a little over a thousand kilos giving it a better power-to-weight ratio than most SUVs out there.

Even on engine idle speeds, this little monster on steroids crawls without even having to step on the throttle. It has solid axles both front and rear but it lacks any type of locking differentials. However, the vehicle will sense when a wheel is losing traction and will automatically apply the brakes to distribute power to other wheels. It’s not as good as differential locks but it will still get you going.

Its rigid ladder frame can handle any twists and uneven terrain without having to worry. Water wading is a downside, however. Being very light, the Jimny can easily be swept away in strong currents when river-crossing and is highly discouraged. Rollover angle is also very limited since it’s tall and narrow, but not to worry as you get a digital clinometer display to make sure you don’t exceed the limits.

An important note to remember is that the Jimny has quite a small tank. When over landing, make sure you bring enough extra fuel for the trip the back. Consumption on average is 12-15 kilometers per liter and around nine kilometers per liter when offroading.

Priced at PhP 1,095,000 pesos for the GLX All Grip model, the Suzuki Jimny is probably the most affordable off-road SUV that is truly capable. Now that I’ve driven and tested it, I want one for myself more than ever. It’s extremely fun, tough, efficient and I highly recommend it.

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Automotive

WOCEE 2019: Nissan Intelligent Mobility Tour 2.0

Armed to make driving safer

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Car safety is a top priority in this generation of automobiles.

This is why automotive manufacturers have been developing and innovating all kinds of systems to make their cars safer and easier to drive. And because of these efforts, customers are more confident in their daily commutes.

This year at the Nissan Intelligent Mobility Pop-up Booth at the World of Consumer Electronics Expo in the Philippines, the brand was able to showcase their latest technologies in car safety through demos, interactive displays, and 3D projection mapping simulations. The Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) tour aims to educate the public about the new features they have to offer.

The tour — albeit quick — was informative, educational, and gives you a glimpse as well as a first-hand experience into Nissan’s aim to build safer and more intelligent cars. Here are some of the things we learned:

Nissan is truly a class-leader when it comes to safety and driver-assist features. It helps you see the things happening around you with the use of cameras, sensors, and radars.

At the interactive area using NIM Digital Table Top Simulator, we learned of these highlighted features: Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection warns the driver of potential danger. There’s also the company’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with Intelligent Emergency Braking which can detect the difference between pedestrians, animals, cars, and other obstacles. This feature can bring the car to a full stop when the driver fails to do so. Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Warning, on the other hand, lets the driver change lanes confidently at high speeds.

Nissan boasts its new Intelligent Rear View Mirror available in the new Terra. This gives you a clear unobstructed HD view of what’s behind with just a flip of a switch. Additionally, an Intelligent All-Around View Monitor gives you a 360-degree bird’s eye view of your vehicle and its surroundings. This system has selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear, and curbside views that help you navigate through tight spaces. We had the chance to experience these features through the use of their 3D projection-mapped driving simulation. Moving Object Detection, cross-traffic alert and pedestrian crossing with auto braking are just some of the helpful features we need when driving around the city.

Are you bad at parking? Not to worry, NIM also features automatic Parallel Parking and Perpendicular Parking assist. Basically, you just have to let go of the steering wheel and the car will steer itself for you. Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist is adaptive and keeps you at a safe distance at high speeds or even in traffic while automatically applying the brakes to maintain a safe following distance.

To end the tour, we were given the chance to test these features in real-world scenarios by driving the latest Terra and Navara around the area. With Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility features, driving was really effortless.

Experience the Nissan Intelligent Mobility Tour 2.0 happening nationwide To learn more, visit Nissan Philippines website at www.nissan.ph

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Automotive

This is what a Ferrari-powered SUV looks like

Goes up to 300kph

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For those who demand speed but prefer the comfort and spacious offerings of an SUV, look no further. The Maserati Levante Trofeo has arrived in the Philippines sporting an engine from a Ferrari 488 GTB.

Starting from the looks, it’s got the familiar Levante aesthetic with just some fresh updates for its front bumper. Larger intakes and a front grille carrying aggressive lines are what greets you head-on.

While at the rear, things are not as aggressive, but it still features premium-looking taillights and accents. It’s also got new shoes in the form of larger 22-inch forged aluminum wheels.

The engine is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that outputs 590 horsepower and a whopping 730Nm of torque. It can go from 0-100kph in as fast as 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 300kph. The company’s Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive System delivers power to all its wheels.

Maserati says it also sports new suspensions that have been tweaked out to support all the extra horses from the engine and provide better handling and comfort. It also boasts a low center of gravity and a 50:50 weight balance that they’ve come to be known for.

Step inside and you’ll see some signature Maserati design like its analog clock mounted on the central dash. However, the interior now has an extra sporty vibe going on — it’s been equipped with sculpted sport seats and matte carbon fiber trims have been applied to the dashboard and paddle shifters.

No official pricing has been announced during the launch but to see this beauty up close, you may head over to the Maserati and Ferrari showroom at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Manila.

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