2019 was a sensational year for the motoring industry as it aspired to spring back from the previous year’s slump with aggressive marketing efforts done through a number of car launches and media test drives. With this, a number of exciting cars were introduced to the market and last week, we were able to feature some of its noteworthy ensemble. For this issue, not only do we get to witness some of it in the flesh but we actually do get to take them for a spin. Thus, here are some of the memorable ones to boot.
In one of our test drives, we were able to take the compact SUV, Jimny to Batangas for one exhilarating whole day of shoot and drive.
Right at the get-go, the Jimny was a small off-road beast on the uneven terrains of Batangas’ outskirts. This was already a given since at the onset, this exciting little critter already screamed its palpable optimal off-road functionalities with its iconic front grille and round LED projector type headlamps, angled bumper and square-shaped wheel arches with its usual spare tire cover at its rear. Dark-metallic gray 15-inch alloy wheels, meantime, put icing on its no-nonsense swagger.
Inside, the cabin design mirrors its outer practicality. It maintains the inner layout at minimal to keep thrills outside the window — uninterupted. Dark hues are even used — except for some metallic colors on the center switches and dials. To exude that certain doggedness, the instrument panel sports that scratch- and stain-resistant grained finish.
Motivation comes from a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder K15B engine that produces 100hp @ 6,000 rpm and 130N-m @ 4,000rpm.
The cutthroat SUV segment has already been stacked in recent years. From the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Terra, Isuzu Mu-X, to the Ford Everest and many others, these contenders have made the market as vibrant as ever.
With SsangYong’s introduction of the 2019 Rexton, the Korean carmaker brings to the table a new breed of SUV with its premium packaging, yet with a very competitive pricing.
It packs a 2.2 diesel engine capable of 181 hp and 420 N-m of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with drive mode selection. Together with this is a whole other slew of exceptional features that make the Rexton a promising contender in its segment.
Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II and Wraith
The Rolls-Royce marque will always be a timeless classic. Whether the model was launched this year or the previous years, it will always be a thing to die for — or to simply be just driven. And so, when the brand held a test drive in 2019, selected motoring journalists were just head over heels over the media drive. Two of its models, the Ghost Series II and Wraith, were made available for that once-in-a-lifetime local event.
Perhaps a stunning proud image of automotive zenith in the local scene, an undisputed status symbol, the Ghost Series II and Wraith models, were personally driven from Bonifacio Global City in Taguig to Tagaytay.
These demigods were powered by a V12 direct-injection engine with a 566hp @ 5,250 rpm and 820 N-m of torque @ 1,500 rpm and 626 hp @ 1,500-5,500 rpm and 820 N-m of torque @ 5,600 rpm, respectively.
Here’s a dream drive that clearly epitomized classic premium German engineering. Our test drive of the third-generation Porsche Cayenne let us experience exactly just that. This midsize luxury crossover actually shares its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and the Audi Q7 — all the more making its Bavarian characteristics even stronger and more evident at every twist and turn.
This luxury stunner still carries its recognizable genes from the Cayennes of old — only this time, it’s sharper and more refined.
It was not just long drive and spec sheet reading: it was more of immersion. Mazda Philippines invited selected members of the media to showcase their latest offering, the all-new Mazda 3 — on and off the track. A relatively small fleet of Mazda3 models — ariants of the Sportback and Sedan — went up north to see how these pocket-rockets can be enjoyed either being driven or even just standing still. Participants drove some 185 kilometers going to Baguio to further experience Jinba Ittai, the Japanese term for “horse and rider as one”.
Mitsubishi Strada in Palawan
Sweet memories of the pickup, paradise and the blissful drive were all encapsulated in stories of our very own version of a picture-perfect sunset during our Mitsubishi Strada media drive in Palawan.
These reworked workhorses found themselves frolicking at the 14-km pristine beach of San Vicente, Palawan as a bunch of exuberant motoring journalists tested tooth and nail the Strada’s prowess. The 300-km ride and drive activity from Puerto Princesa to this virgin summer haven and back whimsically further tried its mettle.
The much-anticipated yearly event was highlighted with the launch of the Toyota Avanza. The giant Japanese carmaker also announced the model’s 100,000 unit sales milestone during the event in Palawan.
Nissan drive in Siquijor
With its drive to push its “GoAnywhere” campaign, Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) went places on its second leg of the endeavor — literally. Its destination? The magical mystery island of Siquijor.
The three-day event was made to highlight Nissan’s robust light commercial vehicle (LCV) lineup of the Navara, Terra and Patrol. Induced with the impetus, the “inner fire” within us also wanted to further stretch how far “going anywhere” would take us using the fleet’s four-wheel drive capabilities and Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology.
We put the 2020 Ford Everest to the test in a grueling 500-kilometer drive. The testing grounds consisted of traversing the roads from Manila, to Baler in Aurora, to San Fernando La Union and back under the harshest of conditions. Pitted were its new 2.0-liter engine 4×2 variant and a more powerful 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine 4×4 variant. We particularly loved the latter since it’s the same engine that powers the mighty Ranger Raptor. The latest 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine kicks out 210 hp and 500N-m of torque. Paired with the advanced 10-speed automatic transmission, it even provided improved fuel efficiency and a better push.
Suzuki Swift in Bataan
The all-new Suzuki Swift was an instant time machine in 2019. The adorable little critter was the perfect conduit to seemingly travel 200 years back to old Manila as a group of motoring scribes and Suzuki executives paid the fabled Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan a well-deserved visit.
The whole trip onboard the Honda BR-V left memories of the relaxing stay at Anvaya Cove, pictures of a dauntless pack of seven-seaters braving every hurdle thrown its way in the 300-km trip and that surreal feeling of going home fulfilled and unscathed. Here, we were living witnesses of one extraordinary drive.