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Iñigo S. Roces

MIAS 2016 puts the future on display

Top brands of the Philippines automotive industry are once again gathering at the World Trade Center in Pasay City for the annual Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), running from today until April 10. Presented by Worldbex Services International, MIAS boasts of over 30,000 square meters or indoor exhibition space, taken up by the country’s top automotive brands, aftermarket parts and service suppliers, and many more related industries. This year’s MIAS revolves around the theme of “Smart Mobility,” with exhibitors showcasing technologies designed to make driving and many more activities with the vehicle much easier. Automotive brands will feature stalls that show off and explain features like interactive cruise control, autonomous parking, smart entertainment systems and many more. Besides these, MIAS will also feature much-awaited brand premiers and model unveilings. See the newest models …

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KIA sportage launched

Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the official distributor of Kia cars in the country, took the wraps of the fourth-generation Sportage last week at Capitol Commons in Pasig City. The all-new compact crossover SUV boasts of dimensions bigger than its predecessor, packaged in a youthful yet upmarket design. Like its stablemates, the Sportage features Kia’s signature tiger nose grille. Above it is a hood with pontoon fins and headlights that creep up onto the fender. It retains its familiar high-beltline and thick C-pillar profile. Behind, taillights stretch across the tailgate, linked by a chrome garnish. Turn signals, reverse lamps and reflectors are positioned on the bottom. The interior employs a driver-oriented dashboard to keep entertainment and climate controls within easy reach. It makes use of luxurious material like leather, cloth and contrast stitching …

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Suzuki Ciaz 1.4 GLX

With more than 10 competitors already in the market, the subcompact (B-segment) category of cars is one of the most competitive in the country. Nonetheless, it is one that small-car maestro, Suzuki, is daring to do battle in. The marquee is confident for a reason, with top-selling hits like the Swift 1.2, APV and Ertiga to boast of. Nonetheless, for this fiercely competitive segment, Suzuki has done its homework. The result of that preparation is its all-new model, the Ciaz. Bigger and better Bigger and better than its current small sedan, the Swift Dzire, the Ciaz derives its name from the words, Comfort, Intelligence, Attitude, and Zeal. These are qualities buyers can expect to experience when taking their Ciaz around the "City, from A to Z." It’s evident that Suzuki has done extensive research …

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The little car with big fun

Initially inspired by the Morris Mini of the 1960s, the original iconic British small car continues to live on today through the Mini automotive brand. There’s no intro needed for the most famous model, the Mini Cooper 3-door Hatch. Renowned for its compact size, fun and youthful design, and agile handling, it’s a tough reputation to live up to for the other models in the stable. The old Clubman One sibling that had some trouble living up to the hype was the Mini Cooper Clubman. Inspired by the Traveller variant of the 1960s, the previous model boasted of a longer body, rear barn doors, and a small suicide door for the second row passengers. It had its fair share of fans, yet the long body penalized its handling, and that little suicide …

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Luxury and subtlety

With the worsening traffic in the city, it’s becoming increasingly hard to enjoy getting behind the wheel. Thankfully, there are still vehicles that can compel you to do so, one being Volkswagen’s new Passat. A roundtrip of nearly 400 kilometers may seem daunting at first, but the first few kilometers in the new executive sedan to Anilao, Batangas and back were already turning out better than expected. From Volkswagen’s Bonifacio Global City showroom, a fleet of Passats were driven through the South Luzon Expressway to the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway to the twisty costal roads between Cavite and Batangas before arriving at the final stop: Le Chevrerie Resort and Spa in Anilao, Batangas. In a market dominated by the flashy, aggressively styled executive sedans, the Passat dares to be different with its more subtle styling. …

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The little conqueror

SUVs are certainly shaping up to be the favoured mode of transport for motorists. Yet among them, only a handful can actually live up to the promise of actually exploring roads less travelled. One such car is the Suzuki Jimny, staunchly adhering to its more traditional SUV form and function in spite of the prevailance of crossovers. The Jimny nameplate actually dates as far back to 1970, taking on a jeep-like form, complete with a canvas top and doors. Some may recognize the second generation as Shaider's (1980’s Japanese superhero) ride — the blue boxy soft top he used as a civilian. These days, most are familiar with its tall, yet short rounded box shape. The Jimny has managed to carve quite a reputation for itself, particularly in the hard-core off-roading community, as …

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A refined riot

It took two hours to get from Quezon City to Makati, and once there, there was more traffic waiting at Bonifacio Global City (BGC). I was driving a manual, slowly crawling from stoplight to stoplight, but nothing could wipe the ear to ear smile off my face. I was driving an Aston Martin. DBPhils Motorsports, Inc., distributor of the storied British brand so closely associated with James Bond had generously handed over the keys to a Vantage V8 N430, Vantage V12 and Rapide V12. Aston Martin Manila had just opened last September, with a showroom located along the prestigious 5th Avenue in Global City. The opening was timed well with the premiere of the latest Bond film, Spectre. And while the buzz over the movie has long since faded, fanfare over …

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Envoy to outsiders

As intimidating and appealing as cruiser bikes are, the lifestyle and personalities they’re associated with may not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. Yet that’s all about to change, both for Harley and those looking to buy one. Serving as Harley-Davidson’s envoy to a new and possibly profitable market segment is its Street 750 model. NOT YOUR TYPICAL HARLEY Designed to be enjoyed in the city and by riders new to cruisers, the Street 750 hopes to ease them in to the proud American brand, and possibly up to bigger and better bikes in the future. It’s inspired by Harley Davidson’s Dark Custom line of accessories and apparel with the amount of chrome tastefully reduced in favour of a matte finish. It’s meant, after all, to appeal to urban riders that have …

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SsangYong returns

South Korean automotive marque, SsangYong, is returning to the Philippine market, under a new and exclusive distributor, SsangYong Berjaya Auto Philippines, Inc. (SBMP). SBMP is a part of the Malaysian Berjaya Group of Companies. Its sister company, Berjaya Auto Philippines, has been the distributor and importer of Mazda vehicles since 2013. Helming SBMP as chairman is Francis Lee, an Executive Director of the Berjaya Group of Companies, chairman of Berjaya Auto Philippines, and Executive Director of Bermaz Motor, the exclusive distributor of Mazda in Malaysia since 2008. Serving as Managing Director is former Mazda Director for Customer Service, After Sales and General Counsel, David Macasadia, an auto industry veteran of 25 years. SBMP will initially offer three vehicles; the Tivoli compact crossover, the Korando SUV and the Rodius MPV. The Tivoli and …

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Taking on the cowboys

A new cruiser motorcycle brand hopes to upset the establishment with its latest offerings. The Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company is now in the Philippines, distributed by Access Plus / T.A. Marketing, known for distributing Ducati motorcycles, Victory cruisers, Polaris off-road vehicles and Italjet scooters. The bikes were launched last Jan. 14 in Bonifacio Global City, just a day after the brand’s showroom opening in P. Tuazon street in Quezon City. The launch saw the attendance of U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Michael Klecheski, and Maxime Vandereyken, Asia Distribution Manager of Polaris Industries. The North Carolina-based brand will be represented by three models lines, the Scout, Chief, and Road Master. The motorcycles are characterized by their low dragster-like profile, long horizontal exhaust pipes, and trademark Indian head on the front fender. The Scout will serve as …

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