Car News

This week in cars: All-new Isuzu MU-X launch; next-gen Honda BR-V, Toyota Tundra

Did you miss any of the big launches?

Isuzu officially launches the all-new MU-X in PH

“It was a long wait, but in 2020, the next-generation Isuzu MU-X finally had its global debut. Now, merely a year after that, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) launches the all-new model in our market.

“The latest Isuzu MU-X is more powerful and tech-loaded than ever, not to mention a lot more stylish than its predecessor. But just like the facelifted Nissan Terra that arrived on our shores earlier this month, the MU-X enters a midsize-SUV segment that’s stacked with fresh competitors like the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and the Toyota Fortuner.

“So, does IPC’s newest offering have what it takes to be a real contender in the market? If you want to read more about this all-new model, here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 Isuzu MU-X.”

Honda unveils the all-new BR-V

“Remember the Honda N7X? Honda has now turned the concept into reality, and it’s now been launched as the all-new BR-V in Indonesia.

“The next-generation BR-V gets a major design overhaul inside and out. The new-look front fascia gets a large grille with less chrome and more gloss-black accents. The headlights look sportier than before, and so are the foglamp housings and the bumper underneath.

“Out back, there are equally big changes. The taillights get a new look and no longer stretch the width of the liftgate, the chrome strip has been removed, and the vertical reflectors on the side are now integrated into the black plastic cladding underneath. There’s still a rear skid plate accentuating the bumper on this end.

“Powering the all-new Honda BR-V is a 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine that generates 119hp at 6,600rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4,300rpm. The figures are very similar to what the engine in Philippine-spec BR-Vs can produce, so if and when the all-new model does land in our market, we might be seeing the same powertrain under the hood. 

“What’s totally new for the BR-V is the host of added tech available, which now includes Honda Sensing safety features. There’s adaptive cruise control, auto-high beam, lane-keep assist with road-departure mitigation, a lead-car departure notification system, and a collision-mitigation braking system available.

“Other extra niceties in the new BR-V include a remote engine start feature that starts up the vehicle and the A/C with a press of the key fob, and a walk-away auto-lock function.”

Feast your eys on the all-new Toyota Tundra

“Think local pickup offerings are tough? Over in the US, these vehicles are different beasts entirely.

“Just take a look at the all-new Toyota Tundra, for example. Yes, it’s a Japanese pickup, but it’s a Japanese pickup built for American tastes. This means it’s a massive thing equipped with an earth-moving powertrain and an incredibly rugged appearance.

“The 2022 Tundra looks unlike anything you’re likely to find outside of the US. To give you an idea of how gargantuan this thing is, you can choose to fit it with a 2.5-meter bed. The grille up front looks like it wants to swallow mini hatchbacks whole, and it can run on either 18- or 20-inch wheels. And in TRD spec? The truck looks even sportier courtesy of a new grille, skid plates, and mudguards.

“Speaking of TRD units, you get the option here of fitting one with either an off-road or a lowered sports suspension. There’s even a ‘Pro’ grade TRD unit that gets upgrades like Fox shocks that lift the truck’s ride by 28mm, TRD Pro stabilizer bars, and Falken tires. All units also get a fully redesigned multi-link rear suspension.

“Inside, there’s the usual mix of American-leaning taste and utility. There’s a good mix of soft-touch material and hard, durable plastic, and you can also get a massive 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility to go along with the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel. There’s also an extra storage compartment tucked underneath the rear bench seat, too.

“You get two engine options here, both 3.5-liter V6 mills. One does 389hp and 649Nm, and the other is capable of 437hp and a whopping 790Nm of torque. All units come equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission. These setups, Toyota says, are good for a maximum towing capacity of 5,400kg and a max payload of 880kg.”

Nissan PH may have just confirmed the all-new Almera’s arrival

“Fresh off the launch of the new Terra, Nissan Philippines is already looking to bring in yet another new model in our market.

“The carmaker has just released a series of videos on social media, and it shows snippets of a ‘next-level compact sedan.’ Our guess? It’s the all-new Almera. Here’s one of the clips:

“We know the Almera is technically a subcompact sedan, but the headlights in the footage check out. Besides, if you follow the news within the automotive industry regularly, you might have already seen spy shots of the wrapped-up Almera undergoing testing on Philippine roads.

“Other elements check out, too, like the taillights and even the VL Turbo badge. Speaking of turbo, if this does end up being the Almera, then this might mean that we’ll get the new 99hp, 152Nm 1.0-liter turbopetrol that was introduced in Thailand nearly two years back.”

The Toyota Hilux has received tech updates to go with significant price bumps

“It appears it’s not just the Toyota Fortuner that’s getting price bumps and updates this month. Upon checking Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) website, we noticed that TMP adjusted the prices of not only the Fortuner but also the Hilux as well, and the changes are quite significant across the range.

“Top-of-the-line V Conquest variants get the biggest increase at P45,000, followed by the 2.4 Conquest 4x2 MT at P40,000. The G variants, meanwhile, get a P30,000 increase. Base J variants see no adjustments, so we’ve excluded them from the list. You can check out all the updated prices below:

2021 Toyota Hilux

  • Toyota Hilux 2.4 E 4x2 MT – P1,135,000 (+P22,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.4 G 4x2 MT – P1,250,000 (+P30,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.4 G 4x2 AT – P1,325,000 (+P30,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.4 Conquest 4x2 MT – P1,420,000 (+P40,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.4 Conquest 4x2 AT – P1,495,000 (+P20,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 V Conquest 4x4 MT – P1,800,000 (+P45,000)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 V Conquest 4x4 AT – P1,875,000 (+P45,000)

“Now, just like the Fortuner, the Hilux gets a few tech updates. These aren’t indicated in the brochures from TMP’s website yet, but according to a source, Conquest and G variants get a new dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic view monitor, and hood-lift assist added to the package. G and E variants, meanwhile, get new reversing cameras.”

Ford confirms it’ll be building a Bronco Raptor

“Given all the leaks and spy shots leading up to today, that Ford was developing a Raptor version of the all-new Bronco was pretty much an open secret. Still, it really hits different when you finally get official confirmation from the car manufacturer itself.

“Yes, Ford has made it official: a Ford Bronco Raptor is on the way. The brand has just released a teaser video online showing...not much if we’re being honest. Watch:

“Okay, so we do get a look at a portion of the performance SUV’s face—including its headlight and mesh Raptor grille. Other than that? Nada. Unless you consider a cloud of dust evaporating into the wind vital information.

“Ford has also released an image of what we assume will be the Bronco’s Raptor badging. At this point, though, this is just speculation. Oh, and we also now know that the vehicle will be released within 2022.”

The MG ZS has been updated for the Indonesian market

“The MG ZS has been one of the bigger surprises in the local auto market the past couple of years. Not only did the model help its Chinese carmaker gain a foothold in the Philippines when it arrived in 2018, but it’s also been doing a fine job dispelling old stereotypes, too.

“Over in neighboring Indonesia, the subcompact crossover has received an update that endows it with a more polished exterior appearance and interior upgrades.

“First thoughts? Well, we wonder if an update for 2022 is in the cars for Filipino motorists. Besides that, we’re really digging the vehicle’s refreshed exterior, and the cabin looks like it would be a slightly cozier place to be stuck in traffic.

“Some exterior design elements have been simplified, including the headlights, the front grille, and the lower fascia, which now all feature a more minimalist look. There’s much less matte black plastic now, and there’s less generous use of chrome on the face as well. Also, you will notice more separation between all these elements, resulting in a cleaner and sleeker overall vibe.

“The shape of the dashboard and elements like the round A/C vents are retained on the inside, but these photos also show off more soft-touch bits and a much nicer implementation of the vehicle’s touchscreen infotainment system. The center console has a relatively more premium design and features a new shift knob surrounded by attractive polished metal trim.

“Units over in Indonesia come with a 1.5-liter DOHC engine capable of up to 112hp and 150Nm of torque, paired with an eight-speed continuously variable transmission. Price starts at 269,800,000 rupiah (just under P950,000).”

The Suzuki Jimny has just received a few upgrades in Japan

“Believe it or not, it’s over three years since the Suzuki Jimny’s retro makeover, so just in time, the wee off-roader receives an update—on Japanese shores, at least. One that’s sensibly not messed with the doe-eyed styling, but has simply Polyfilla’d a few cracks with little slivers of technology.

“So there’s now—shock!—start/stop in traffic, though only if you go for the automatic. There are automatic headlights. A spare wheel cover is now standard-fit.

“And...that’s it. Midlife updates get a little tamer. But with Jimny demand consistently outstripping supply, Suzuki would have been foolish to fiddle too much with a successful formula. Take our word for it—we’ve put it through a rigorous off-road test.”

The BCT Toyota Tacoma by Truckhouse costs a small fortune

“There are a handful of reasons why a moneyed motorist might decide to throw an absurd amount of cash at enhancing an already capable ride. Usually, it’s for added performance to suit his or her needs—perhaps an upgraded suspension setup for off-road adventures, or a more powerful engine to show off at the track.

“Overlanders, on the other hand, can take splurging to a whole other level. Adding extra utility to your home on wheels is one thing. Essentially turning it into a mobile mansion is another thing entirely.

“This Toyota Tacoma by Truckhouse, called the BCT, is the perfect example of what we’re talking about. Built on the truck’s TRD version, the BCT carries a $325,000 (P16.3 million) starting price. That’s pretty much supercar money.

“If you’re looking for a five-star experience inside a pickup, this thing might be the closest you’ll get. If you go all-out on options, you’re getting a queen-sized bed, a dining area that can be converted into another bed, a kitchen setup complete with a fridge, a microwave, and an electric stove, and probably one of the poshest setups in the overlanding scene.

“We’re particularly fond of how spacious the interior looks. This is thanks to the multiple dual-paned windows and large skylight, as well as bright cabin lights. Other niceties include a 32-inch LED television, vinyl flooring, and a wet bath with a toilet.”

The new Lexus ES has been launched in PH

“We saw Lexus unveil the new ES back in April during this year’s Auto Shanghai. Now, the updated luxury midsize sedan makes its arrival in the Philippine market.

“The aesthetic changes to the new ES are subtle, so we’ll go over them quickly first. The grille features a slightly different pattern to the old model, while the rear bumper has received a few tweaks. Inside the cabin, the most notable change you’ll see is the new mauve colorway that comes as an option.

“The new ES is available in two trim levels: the ES350 Premier and the ES300h. The former is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 298hp and 356Nm of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed direct-shift automatic. This variant comes equipped with a built-in wireless charger, an automatic trunk with a kick sensor, and 10-way power-adjustable front seats with ventilation.

“The 12.3-inch infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This head unit produces sound through a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound setup. The ES also comes with the Lexus Safety System, which includes tech like dynamic radar cruise control, lane-tracing assist and lane-departure alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

“The ES300h, meanwhile, packs fewer toys than the ES350. It has an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-speaker setup, and eight-way power-adjustable front seats. The big difference, of course, is the hybrid powertrain under the hood. This comprises a 2.5-liter in-line-four gasoline engine paired with an electric motor. In total, the system generates 215hp.

“The purely gasoline-powered ES350 stickers for P4.728 million, and the hybrid ES300h is priced at P3.758 millionLexus Philippines is currently accepting pre-orders and retail sales are slated to begin in Q4 this year.”

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