This week in cars: All-new Nissan Almera, refreshed turbocharged MG ZS in PH

Some big launches this week
by TopGear.com.ph | Oct 10, 2021

The all-new Nissan Almera has been launched in PH

Nissan Philippines (NPI) is on a roll this year. After launching the refreshed Navara, the Leaf, and most recently, the new Terra, the carmaker has now officially introduced the all-new Almera.

“‘The all-new Almera is the smart and stylish sedan that first-time owners, growing families, and young professionals can trust,’ says NPI president and managing director Atsushi Najima. ‘As part of Nissan’s transformation plan in the Philippines, we are offering a unique and exciting challenger in the competitive passenger car segment.’

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“The Almera lands in our market with four variants—two sporting a manual gearbox and the other two with CVTs, all of which pack the same engines (more on that later). The range starts at P728,000 and tops out at P1,098,000. VE and VL N-Sport variants all come with a five-year warranty upon purchase. You can check out the full price list below.”

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2022 Nissan Almera

    1. Nissan Almera 1.0 EL Turbo MT – P728,000
    2. Nissan Almera 1.0 VE Turbo MT – P938,000
    3. Nissan Almera 1.0 VE Turbo CVT – P998,000
    4. Nissan Almera 1.0 VL Turbo N-Sport CVT – P1,098,000

    This Hyundai Starex in Thailand looks like an off-road beast

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    “Thailand’s car scene is easily one of the most eccentric on the planet. Where else will you find the likes of the Toyota Hilux being sold as a low-riding pickup or an Isuzu D-Max driving around with five turbochargers under the hood?

    “While the country is a pickup- and SUV-loving nation just like ours, that craziness can be seen across other vehicle types as well. This beefed-up Hyundai Starex is the perfect example.

    “Created by VKH Motorsports, this Starex (known over there as the Hyundai H1) has undergone a suspension enhancement that has given it a six-inch lift. Should be more than enough clearance for most roads, regardless of how many passengers it’s carrying.

    “The garage has also fitted the van with a bull bar featuring neat red tow hooks, a new chrome grille, mud tires, a spare-wheel carrier at the rear, side steps, and a large roof rack for storing whatever cargo won’t fit inside.

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    “No mention of changes to the engine, though. In Thailand, stock H1 units pack a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine capable of up to 175hp and 441Nm of torque.”

    MG launches the new turbocharged ZS in PH

    “This is it—the 2022 MG ZS is here. As expected, the refreshed version of MG Philippines’ popular subcompact crossover has arrived, and it lands in our market bearing new looks, updated tech, and a new turbocharged powertrain. Let’s take a look.

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    “There’s only one new variant added to the lineup: the ZS T. It sports a slightly wider front grille sans chrome, as well as new-look headlamps. The gray trim on the bumper has been removed, and MG has also cut down on the black plastic cladding underneath. The new foglamps and two-tone ‘Tomahawk’ wheels add to the vehicle’s sportier appearance.

    “The 2022 MG ZS T comes with a host of tech upgrades. There’s a 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity paired with a six-speaker setup. The vehicle also gets new safety features such as rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, hill-start assist, cornering brake control, and traction control.

    “The highlight of the ZS T, of course, is under the hood. This one is powered by a 1.3-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that generates 160hp and 230Nm of torque, and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. That’s a huge boost from the old 1.5-liter powertrain, and it puts the vehicle within striking range of the Geely Coolray in terms of performance.

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    “The MG ZS T lands in the Philippines with a P1,158,888 price tag. It’s a P160,000 bump from the ZS 1.5 Alpha AT, but it still undercuts the Coolray by almost P40,000.”

    Geely launches the new top-spec Coolray Sport Limited

    “In the same week that MG introduced a new turbocharged ZS, a new top-of-the-line variant of one of its direct competitors has landed on our shores. Say hello to the new Geely Coolray Sport Limited.

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    “Before we get down to the specifics, let’s talk about the engine. There are no mechanical changes here, so the Coolray Sport Limited is still powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline mill that generates 175hp and 255Nm of torque. This sends power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    “What the new Coolray trim comes with are added niceties. There are new ventilated seats and a new power liftgate out back. There are new 18-inch alloy wheels underneath as well. This variant is also equipped with the amenities found in the Coolray Sport, including the panoramic sunroof, the 360-degree-view monitor, and automated parking. 

    “The leather seats, the automatic climate control, and the 10.25-inch touchscreen display up front are also retained.

    “The Coolray Sport Limited, however, only comes in, er, limited numbers. Just 1,000 of these will be available locally, with each one stickering for P1.218 million.”

    Kei Miura has done his magic on the Toyota 86

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    “One thing we like about the all-new Toyota 86? Its design is so damn clean. There’s just the right balance of aggressiveness and elegance in the package, and all the lines and curves flow very, very nicely.

    “That said, we can see how some people may have wanted something a little angrier in the looks department, as the new model doesn’t have the same mean vibe that the last-gen version flaunted. But fret not: Aftermarket specialists have been busy tailoring the next-generation sports car to such tastes.

    Pandem Rocket Bunny CEO Kei Miura recently took to Instagram to give fans a look at what his company has done to the all-new 86, and we think it’s safe to say his creation will appeal to both those looking for a more energetic design and fans of stanced-out rides in general.

    “The first thing that’ll strike you is how low this thing is sitting to the ground. Exact measurements haven’t been made known, but it’s clear this build will be borderline undrivable on a lot of roads—or, well, roads we’re used to seeing.

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    “There’s also a massive rear wing, over-the-top fender extensions accompanied by what we reckon are larger wheels to fit in them, as well as a ridiculous amount of aero—including a large front spoiler and an open grille that looks like it’ll swallow smaller cars whole. If you’re fitting your 86 with this, you’re essentially removing the aesthetic flow of the entire stock vehicle.”

    Mazda to expand SUV lineup with CX50, CX-60, CX-70, CX-80, CX-90

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    Mazda has big plans for its lineup starting next year. The Japanese carmaker is expanding its SUV offerings with five new models: the CX-50, CX-60, CX-70, CX-80, and CX-90.

    “The CX-50 is a crossover that will be produced in the new Mazda-Toyota joint-venture factory in the US beginning January 2022. This model will share its platform with the CX-30 and Mazda 3, and will be exclusive to the USA where “strong SUV presence as well as off-road performance are in high demand.”

    “Mazda will then be bringing the two-row CX-60 and the three-row CX-80 to countries with narrow roads and small parking lots, such as Europe and Japan. The two-row CX-70 and three-row CX-90, meanwhile, are larger models with wider bodies that will be introduced in North America and other markets where bigger vehicles are preferred. The latter is expected to replace the existing CX-9 in the US.

    “The carmaker confirmed that there will be both turbocharged straight-six gasoline engines and plug-in hybrid setups available for North America. Plug-in hybrids with in-line-four powertrains will arrive in Europe, as well as straight-six Skyactiv-X gasoline and Skyactiv-D diesel engines with 48V mild-hybrid systems. In Japan, PHEV models and diesel hybrids will be launched.

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    Ford previews the next-generation Ranger

    Ford is back with yet another preview of the next-generation Ranger. It’s still partially under wraps, but this time, the truck’s wearing a special kind of camo.

    “The camouflage stickers are designed with “mind-bending patterns, squiggles, and swirls” to “confuse the eye” and prevent the public from really seeing the features of the vehicle. The livery was inspired by the block pattern of the Bronco R Baja racer, with a combination of black, blue, and white blocks in a pixelated pattern created by Ford’s Design Center in Melbourne, Australia.

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    “Likewise, Ford Philippines is advising the public to keep their eyes peeled for this all-new Ranger because it could already be lurking around in a nearby neighborhood, as Ford continues its global testing program. Who knows, you might be able to spot the next-gen truck before its global reveal later this year.” 

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PHOTO: Nissan Philippines, MG, VKH Motorsports, Jason Tulio
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