This week in cars: RAD Pathfinder Hilux, Geely’s sub-P500k EV, new MG ZS in PH

What a week
by TopGear.com.ph | Oct 3, 2021

The RAD Pathfinder is a very tough-looking Toyota Hilux build

“With all the aftermarket add-ons and packages available to truck owners these days, you really need to do a lot if you really want to stand out. If you’re having trouble finding inspiration for how to take your Toyota Hilux the extra mile in terms of aesthetics, this might help.

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“This beast you see before you is a product of RAD Bumpers in Thailand. It’s called the RAD Pathfinder Hilux, and its look is enough to compete with gnarlier designs like that of the Ford Ranger Raptor.

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“It’s going to cost you if you want to slap this package onto your ride, though. Without the suspension enhancements, the bodykit costs 170,000 Thai baht (over P250,000). And if you want those rugged 20-inch Old Man Emu wheels, you’re going to have to drop an extra 120,000 baht (P180,000).

“You do get quite a bit for that sum. The package includes a full set of bull bars, a rugged new front grille with a more intricate mesh design, a gnarly hood scoop, fender extensions, and a sports bar. Noticeably absent in these images, however, are side steps. If the kit does not include those, getting in and out of this thing might be quite the chore.”

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Geely unveils its new sub-P500k electric vehicle from China

“The list of affordable electric vehicles over in China that we wouldn’t mind having in our market just keeps on growing. The latest addition is the EX3, a crossover from Geely’s pure electric brand Geometry.

“The Geometry EX3, unlike other budget offerings like the Wu Ling Hong Guang Mini EV, is quite big. It measures 4,005mm long, 1,760mm wide, and 1,575mm tall, with a 2,480mm wheelbase. For context, that’s almost as big as a Kia Stonic.

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“It’s got decent styling, with swept-back headlamps flanking those horizontal slats on the grille up front. There’s a sporty looking bumper on this end, with black plastic cladding that wraps around the vehicle. There’s a yellow-green trim accentuating the hood and the black roof. The rear, meanwhile, mimics the look of the front end.

“The EX3 has a colorful cabin with a two-tone black and blue colorway accentuated further with touches of white, gray, and yellow green. The majority of this interior has suede-like soft-touch materials, with Geely saying the overall design was done ‘with young consumers in mind.’

“There’s a 10.5-inch LC instrument panel with an eight-inch floating infotainment display. The head unit supports Geely’s G-Link system that enables features such as mobile device mirroring, native QQ music, Autonavi navigation, voice control, and in-car Wi-Fi.”

MG PH is launching the new turbocharged ZS on October 5

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MG Philippines is making some big changes to its lineup next week: The company has confirmed that it will be launching a new turbocharged vehicle to its lineup. No other details were provided, but by the looks of the invite, we’re pretty sure that it’s going to be the new ZS. Look:

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“Look closer and you’ll see that those are the headlights, grille, and foglamps on the refreshed ZS that was launched in the UK last year. What we’re getting will be a bit different, though, as this one will come with a turbo.

“The powertrain we’re guessing will arrive is a 1.3-liter turbocharged in-line-three gasoline engine. It generates 154hp and 230Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic. It’s got one cylinder fewer and 40hp and 80Nm more than the engine current ZS units in our market have.

“But since this is simply a refresh, we’re not expecting to MG Philippines to cut the existing engine from the lineup. In case you didn’t know, that one’s a 114hp, 150Nm 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine mated to a CVT.”

The new Nissan Almera is arriving in PH on October 8

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“It’s official: The all-new Nissan Almera is being launched in the local market on October 8, 2021.

“This confirmation comes just a week after teaser material for the subcompact sedan began making rounds on social media, and Nissan Philippines has already sent out invitations to media outlets for the event.

“Details are still scarce, however. All we have to go on right now is the launch date and whatever was revealed via teasers. The brand has, however, already released an image hinting at the arrival of the Almera turbo.

“If this is the case, units packing a 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine capable of 99hp and up to 152Nm of torque may be going on sale. This could give the Nissan Almera a distinct advantage over segment rivals like the Toyota Vios and Honda City.

“We’re also expecting a modern touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Oh, and the vehicle’s sharp design will no doubt be a head-turner around these parts as well.”

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The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class lands in PH with P17.89-M price tag

“The wait is over. Auto Nation Group, the country’s official Mercedes-Benz distributor, has launched the all-new S-Class in the Philippines. The luxury sedan with all the bells and whistles carries a P17,890,000 price tag, but for that sum, you’re getting what’s easily one of the poshest offerings in the entire market.

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“Units come equipped with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine capable of 435hp and up to 520Nm of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This setup sends power to all four wheels via the vehicle’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, and the sedan runs on an air suspension that should dampen most of what our roads have to throw at it.

“This thing’s performance, though, comes second to its style and interior. This version builds on the familiar S-Class luxury sedan look while building on it with a handful of exterior enhancements.

“First off, the lighting units have been upgraded. The headlights now feature a new three-dot design, while the taillights come in a two-piece format with a 3D-like appearance. There’s a large grille with a minimalist design that lends the sedan a dominating presence, and it runs on 21-inch AMG wheels.

“Once you step inside, you’re greeted by only the finest appointments the brand has to offer. The rear executive seats come wrapped in premium Nappa leather and feature electronic adjustment, leg rests, and a massage function. There’s ambient lighting, and the vehicle’s A/C system comes with ionization and a fragrance feature as well. There’s even a refrigerated compartment in the back for keeping drinks cool.

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“And on the tech side, passengers sitting in the rear can control vehicle functions with a tablet nestled in the armrest, and are faced with a pair of 11.6-inch touchscreen displays. The dashboard gets a large 12.3-inch touchscreen display, and music is played through a Burmester 3D sound system equipped with 15 speakers. Standard driving assist features include Active Distance Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist, and Active Parking Assist.”

Honda has a redesigned Civic in China that it now calls the Integra

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“Your eyes do not deceive you. The image you see above is a new Honda Integra. Obviously, this isn’t the actual next-gen sports car that Honda recently gave us a preview of, as we won’t be seeing that one until next year.

“This new Integra is basically an 11th-generation Civic that’s bound for China, only it’s been given a few design tweaks on the outside. Take a look at this one closely and compare it with the all-new Civic, and you’ll notice that this Integra features the same overall shape.

“There’s a new grille and bumper up front, but the sloping hood and the creases on the sides have been retained. The rear sees more changes, with a new pair of taillights and a diffuser underneath. But the resemblance is still noticeable, particularly with the sharp brake-light design that seems to be derived from the typical 11th-gen Civic. Two striking color options are available: Fiery Yellow and Emerald Blue.

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“No mechanical details were provided, but the rear shows a 240 Turbo badge, meaning this Integra might be powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that generates 180hp and 240Nm of torque, and is mated to a CVT—the same powertrain available with the all-new Civic in other markets.

“According to PaulTan.org, this sedan was named the Integra because a Civic already exists in the People’s Republic under Dongfeng Motor Group and Honda Motor Company’s joint venture, Dongfeng Honda. This new Integra, meanwhile, is under GAC and Honda’s Guangqi-Honda. That clears things up, then.”

Wuling launches affordable Zootopia-themed EVs

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“Chinese carmaker Wuling Motors seems pretty fond of building little electric vehicles. Nearly a year after the launch of the affordable Hong Guang Mini EV, the company has now unveiled the new Nano EV at the Tianjin International Auto Show.

“Not all the details have been revealed yet, but Wuling did say that the Nano EV has a 1,600mm wheelbase, which is 340mm shorter than the Mini EV’s. Both can reach speeds of up to 100kph, but the Nano EV offers better maximum range, capable of reaching 305km on a single charge.

“The Nano EV can also be had with a 6.6kW high-powered fast charger that fully recharges the battery in just 4.5 hours. The vehicle’s battery is equipped with an intelligent battery management system, low-temperature preheating technology, and battery insulation. It has an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating, and the battery’s status can also be remotely monitored via a smartphone app.

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“The Nano EVs unveiled were limited-edition Disney Zootopia models. The vehicles feature exterior and interior details inspired by Zootopia characters Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. Only 5,000 of these will be built, and each will sticker for 59,800 Chinese yuan. That’s about P471,000 in local currency—more than double the Mini EV’s SRP.”

GAC launches Alphard-rivaling GN8 Master’s Edition with P2.95-M price tag

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GAC Motor is updating its roster with a new premium offering: the GN8 Master’s Edition.

“This is basically the GN8—the budget-friendly GN6’s older and more luxurious sibling—only it’s wearing a burly new bodykit. There’s an absolutely massive new grille with vertical chrome slats, along with a stylish new bumper and fog lamps accentuating the front fascia.

“The minivan also gets new side skirts and a rear bumper that add to the overall look. The exhaust pipe gets a new finish, and there are new LED brake lights and silver skid plates as well.

“Inside, the GN8 is fitted with second-row ottoman car seats with heating and ventilation features and a back massager. There’s a panoramic sunroof, adjustable ambient lighting, an Apple CarPlay-and Android Auto-compatible infotainment system with an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup, three-zone automatic climate control, and an air purification system.

“No mechanical changes were made, so the minivan is still powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line-four gasoline mill that generates 199hp and 320Nm of torque. The engine sends power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.”

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Nissan launches the new Sylphy e-Power in China

Nissan’s e-Power technology is making its way to more and more models in its lineup. After the Kicks in Thailand and the Note in Japan, the latest vehicle to get the treatment is the Sylphy over in China.

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“You may recall that this is the same market where the all-new Sylphy made its debut back in 2019. This new Sylphy e-Power debuts with the same stylish exterior and premium interior but with an entirely different setup under the hood.

“The powertrain is composed of a gasoline engine, a power generator, an inverter, and an electric motor with a lithium-ion battery. Nissan hasn’t said much about the new Sylphy’s specs, but it has confirmed that the e-Power setup will produce 300Nm of torque and will be capable of achieving 25.6km/L.

“Chances are, it’ll have the same power unit as the Note Aura. By the looks of the videos on Nissan’s website, though the Sylphy might not get the one-pedal capability of the Leaf and the Kicks e-Power.”

The Changan CS35 Plus just did 21.4km/L in a fuel economy run

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“Remember when the idea of driving an SUV was associated with poor fuel economy? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Especially with all the smaller models coming out in the segment lately.

“One such vehicle is the Changan CS35 Plus subcompact SUV. It packs a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine capable of up to 156hp and 235Nm of torque paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This mill managed to perform pretty well during a recent fuel economy run held by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP).

“During the run held from July 20 to 22, the vehicle managed to do an impressive 21.432km/L over 180.6km along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Expressway (SCTEX). It’s worth noting, however, that it was only traveling at a modest 60-88kph during the test.

“As expected, fuel economy for the CS35 Plus fell during city driving conditions, but still came out to a decent 13.548km/L over 90.8km. The vehicle was driven around Makati, Pasay, Manila, and Quezon City for this part of the test.

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“The company notes that the unit used for testing was completely stock and had two passengers on board and no luggage, with the A/C system set to medium.”

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PHOTO: RAD Bumpers, Geely, MG, Nissan
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