Car News

This week in cars: Great Wall’s Land Cruiser-rivaling SUV, Ford’s colorful Raptor

Great Wall Motors’ Tank 500 is a Land Cruiser rival from China

“Man, Chinese carmakers are really stepping up their game. Not only are brands from the People’s Republic aggressively expanding outside their home market—they’re coming up with products that are fit to show off on the global stage, too.

“The Tank 500 by Great Wall Motors subsidiary Tank is a fine example of this. Revealed at the 2021 Chengdu Motor Show, the luxury SUV flaunts a fit and finish that we dare say can be compared to something like the Toyota Land Cruiser.

“Aesthetically, the manufacturer has kept the Tank 500’s side profile relatively clean and decided to go bold with the SUV’s face. Up front you’re greeted by a massive chrome grille with the brand’s badge plastered on the center, and this is flanked by boxy headlights featuring daytime running lights. Under that, you’ll find a rugged grille design that features its own lighting units, too.


“The rear of the car is likewise kept subtle, and the vehicle runs on very classy-looking multi-spoke wheels. It’s an incredibly polished overall appearance—at least if it looks this good in the metal as well.

“Inside, there’s a plethora of high-end materials, including some wood trim on the dashboard as well as soft-touch leathers and chrome scattered throughout the cabin. The center console also features a fancy gearshifter with a premium diamond-cut design. On the tech side of things, there’s a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment screen.

“Powering the Tank 500 is a 3.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine capable of 349hp and 500Nm of torque. This comes paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.”

Ford celebrates Pride Month with this ‘Very Gay’ Ranger Raptor

“This is a Very Gay Ford Ranger Raptor. No, seriously—we aren’t just saying this because of the rainbow and glittering gold exterior. This special pickup truck is actually called the Very Gay Raptor.

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“Built by Ford over in Germany, the Very Gay Raptor was actually built because of a rude social media user who left the brand a homophobic comment, calling the stock truck’s Performance Blue exterior finish “very gay.”

“Initially, the American carmaker responded to the commenter with an animation of its truck painted in gold dust and the LGBT advocacy’s signature rainbow colors. That’s a fine enough clap back to a disrespectful commenter all on its own, but the brand took things a step further by making the Very Gay Raptor a reality. 

“In a statement, Ford Germany said that the Very Gay Raptor makes “its position on discriminatory language very clear.” The truck is also a part of Cologne City’s 2021 pride celebrations to cap off the month of August. It’s displayed in these images next to the rainbow Ford Ka built to celebrate the cause 23 years ago.”

Hyundai unveils new Casper crossover


“The crossovers never stop. Just when we thought ‘SUV’ had been distilled into its smallest possible size, along comes another dinkier, more urban-focused faux-by-four to prove us wrong.

“But how could we be mad when it looks this ickle and cute? This is the Hyundai Casper, and never mind friendly ghosts—this is the friendly face of weeny crossovering.

“There’s more than a hint of Suzuki Ignis about it from some angles, but that’s no bad thing at all. And the Casper has its own unique take on the ‘teeny tank’ look thanks to those huge circular lights up front. Naturally, Hyundai couldn’t resist placing a white sheet over the car with those bulbs lit to give the Casper a ghoulish reveal online.

“It joins the Staria minivan and the Santa Cruz pickup—as well as the Tucson SUV and the N-badged hot hatches—on a now implausibly long list of desirable Hyundais. Sure, the Korean brand’s ascent is no great shock anymore, but the simple fact we’re coveting a dinky SUV is proof that its design department is on a roll and a half.

“This being based on the same platform as the i10 city car, little 1.0- and 1.2-liter engines will drive its front wheels, and you can expect 100hp or less from all of them. Which is fine in a car likely to weigh less than a ton.”

Suzuki has turned the Jimny LCV into a mobile cafe

“Mobile coffee shops have been all the rage since the start of this pandemic. We’ve seen people open mobile cafes with a Ford Ranger, a Toyota Vios, and even a modified Yamaha RXT 135 motorbike.

“But if we were to open our own coffee shop on wheels, the Suzuki Jimny would be our vehicle of choice. Call us biased—the 4x4 was our pick for Car of the Year a few years back, after all—but wouldn’t you agree that the cute little thing would make for a cool mobile cafe?

“Now, we’re not just talking about any Jimny—we’d get the Jimny Beans if we had the luxury to choose. This is Suzuki UK’s newest creation, built specifically for Suzuki media and promotional events across all divisions of the company.

“The Jimny Beans is based on a Jimny LCV, modified further into a single-seater to accommodate the 57-liter water tank and 3M filtration system stuffed inside the vehicle. An LPG tank was also installed under the rear floor section, and this entailed tweaking the exhaust system and fitting a new side-exit pipe.


“There’s a compact 12V drawer fridge to boot, which can cool milk to -2° Celsius. Of course, there’s also the coffee machine fully integrated out back, complemented by an aluminum-plated work area.”

Isuzu PH confirms all-new MU-X will launch on September 22

“This is it, people. After some waiting, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has finally confirmed that it will be launching the all-new MU-X in a few weeks.

“In a new Facebook post, IPC shared details about the upcoming premiere scheduled for September 22, 2021, at 7pm. It appears the big reveal will be streamed via the carmaker’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. You can see the announcement below:

“While IPC has yet to release official details about the next-generation midsize SUV, we’ve already received word from a source regarding the vehicle’s specs and pricing. We were told that the MU-X will be priced from P1.595 million to P2.45 million.

“In addition, there will be two engine options available: a 187hp, 450Nm 3.0-liter Blue Power turbodiesel and a 148hp, 350Nm 1.9-liter Blue Power RZ4E turbodiesel. To read more about what we’re expecting to see from the upcoming launch, you can click here.”

The Geely Azkarra has been given a major facelift


Geely has unveiled the updated Azkarra at the ongoing Chengdu Motor Show.

“According to a report by, the Azkarra—also called the Boyue in the People’s Republic—has just been given a hefty redesign. What you’re looking at is the new Boyue X, the first Geely SUV we’ve seen in a while that doesn’t sport the brand’s signature look.

“Instead, the latest version features Geely’s ‘Energy Storm’ design language that’s based on the Vision Starburst concept. The Expanding Cosmos grille up front has been replaced with a bigger, deeper, and sportier-looking one. The fog lamp housings and the lower lip have been tweaked, too. Frankly, it looks like the Azkarra got a complete makeover just by looking at this end.

“The rear, however, begs to differ. It wears basically the same styling out back, only more parts have been blacked out. Speaking of black, the wheels sport a dark new finish, too. This is accentuated nicely by the orange brake calipers and the orange trim that flows from the front end and continues onto the sides.

“Inside, the new Azkarra also gets minor changes. However, the cabin does feature new white material on the seats and the dash, with an abundance of contrasting blue trim all around.

“Under the hood, the Azkarra retains its 1.5-liter three-cylinder mill generating 177hp and 255Nm of torque mated to a six-speed. If and when this new model does arrive in our market, we can probably expect to see no changes in this department.”

The Toyota Fortuner is getting updates and price bumps this month

“Not to be outdone by the new Nissan Terra—as well as the upcoming all-new Isuzu MU-X—the Toyota Fortuner is also set to get updates this month.

“According to a trusted source, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is adding nifty tech and features to higher-spec Fortuners. All V, Q, and LTD variants will be getting a new front-row dual-zone climate-control function, a 360-degree-view monitor, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.

“Top-spec LTD variants will also be getting a new automatic kick liftgate as well as a new hood lift assist feature. Lastly, V variants will get new 18-inch alloy wheels.

“These new additions, however, also come at a price. TMP will be raising the SRP of LTD variants by P36,000 and Q variants by P20,000. V variants will also get a price increase, but no details have been released as of this writing. There will be no changes in specs and prices of G variants. You can see the updated prices below:


2021 Toyota Fortuner

  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 LTD 4x4 AT – P2,440,000
  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 LTD 4x2 AT – P2,280,000
  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 Q 4x2 AT – P2,018,000

“We’ve been told that the updated Fortuner will go on sale starting September 15, 2021. However, take note that TMP has yet to confirm anything regarding this, so don’t quote us on it just yet.”

Geely fully unveils the all-new Emgrand subcompact sedan

“When Geely first showed us images of the all-new Emgrand back in June, it really got us wondering how a car like this would fare in our market. Now that the subcompact sedan has been officially launched, we’re starting to think it might just be a worthy Toyota Vios and Honda City competitor.

“The fourth-generation Emgrand has a sleek design, with a wide grille and a sporty bumper up front and aggressive-looking taillights out back. It’s got the same stylish look that locally available Geely vehicles, like the Coolray, possess.

“Inside is where it really gets interesting. Here, the Emgrand looks a lot more premium than the segment-dominating Vios and City. The cabin has hints of white and blue that mix nicely with the usual black and gray trim.

“The dash features a clean look with only a few visible controls, and the A/C vents integrate nicely into the design. There’s also a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster paired with an equally large 10.25-inch floating infotainment system.

“Powering the Emgrand is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder DVVT engine that generates 113hp and 147Nm of torque, mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT. Not segment-shaking numbers, but Geely says the all-aluminum engine was built to reduce weight and improve fuel economy.”

Arctic Trucks reveals the all-new D-Max AT35

“It’s common knowledge that the Isuzu D-Max is a truck capable of handily taking its talents off-road, so there’s no reason to think the all-new one offers anything less in this department.


“That said, while the vehicle is capable on the trails, it isn’t built with just this sole purpose in mind. If you want to see what an all-new D-Max with nothing but rocks, mud, and uneven dirt in mind looks like, then check out Arctic Trucks’ take on the pickup.

“The off-road specialist displayed a pre-production unit of the all-new D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35, showing off a mean new look built with off-road capability as its main goal.

“Details are pretty light at the moment as the company says this is just a preview, but there’s enough here to warrant excitement. Arctic Trucks says the production version will get a strengthened chassis, and will run on a Bilstein performance suspension setup and massive 35-inch tires.

“Then there are the obvious bits you can observe just by looking at the thing. Oversized fenders and larger wheel wells were added to make room for the new tires, which come wrapped around rugged-looking matte-black wheels. Inside, you’ll find Arctic Truck branding on the headrests and the floor mats, as well as some nice leather.”

Mercedes-Benz is launching the new S-Class in PH this month

“Earlier this year, the country’s elite readied their wallets after local Mercedes-Benz distributor Auto Nation Group (ANG) opened reservations for the updated S-Class. If you’re someone who’s been eagerly waiting on this, you won’t have to hold your breath for much longer.

“ANG has announced that the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be landing in the country on September 28. The company has already sent out invitations for the vehicle’s local launch, accompanied by a microsite featuring a countdown timer and a short teaser video. Watch:

“Unsurprisingly, no specifics regarding pricing or local specifications have been made known yet. So, we’re still in the dark on whether we’ll end up with the diesel 350d or gasoline variants featuring mild-hybrid technology.”

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PHOTO: Great Wall Motors, Ford, Hyundai, Suzuki
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