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This week in cars: Toyota Fortuner, Hilux GR-S PH arrival; Chevy Trailblazer PH return

Toyota PH is launching the Hilux GR-S next month, and this is how much it could sell for

Toyota Hilux GR-S

“There are a lot of rumors flying around saying Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) will be launching GR Sport models in our market soon. But now, a source has given us more than just confirmation—we finally have the specs and prices, too.

“We’ve been told that both the Hilux and Fortuner GR-S are arriving on November 3. Let’s focus on the pickup first.

“Just to be clear, there will only be one version of the Hilux GR-S available, and it’s not the low-riding pickup from Thailand. It’ll pack the top-spec Conquest’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel that generates 201hp and 500Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

“The truck will be fitted with exterior garnishes, decals, and Gazoo Racing badges. It will also sport a gloss-black sports bar out back and sit on 18-inch alloy wheels with an exclusive GR design.


“Inside, the Hilux GR-S will have seats stitched with a mix of suede and leather as well as red accents. More GR badges and red contrasts can be found on the instrument cluster, steering wheel, and door trim.

“Apart from these changes, the Hilux GR-S also boasts some mechanical upgrades. The suspension setup has been bolstered with monotube shock absorbers to complement the double-wishbone setup up front and the leaf spring rigid axle out back. The disc brakes, meanwhile, have new GR calipers.

“The Hilux GR-S will reportedly sit at the top of the stable with a P1,985,000 price tag. That’s significantly bigger than the former top-spec variant’s P1,875,000 SRP, even after the recent price bump.”

As for the Toyota Fortuner GR-S...

Toyota Fortuner GR-S

“Now that you’ve heard all there is to it about the pickup truck, it’s time to learn more about the midsize SUV.

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“We still have no photos of what’s to come, but the specs and pricing of the Fortuner GR-S indicate that we’ll be getting the LTD-based model from Thailand, not the other one from Indonesia.

“According to our source, the vehicle will land sporting a new GR-S grille, 18-inch alloy wheels with an exclusive GR-S design, and Gazoo Racing badges. The interior will also get red contrast stitching, GR elements, and smoke silver metallic highlights on the instrument panel, the dashboard, and the suede-leather seats.

“The Fortuner GR-S will come with most of the niceties in the LTD—including the recent additions—save for the front-seat ventilation and door-trim illumination. Similar to the Hilux, this one will also be powered by a 201hp, 500Nm 2.8-liter turbodiesel mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Its suspension setup will also get monotube shock absorber upgrades and the disc brakes will get GR calipers.

“We’re told that the Fortuner GR-S will also slot atop the range and will be priced at P2,509,000. Only one color option is available—the two-tone Attitude Black Mica roof with a White Pearl body.

“As a bonus, our source shared with us that the V 4x2 AT variant will get new 18-inch alloy wheels and a dual-zone automatic climate control added to the package. This will bump its prices to P1,842,000, or a P15,000 increase. Retail sales will start later on November 15.

“These announcements aren’t official yet, as TMP has been keeping mum about this over the past weeks. Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted once we receive word.”


The Chevrolet Trailblazer is returning to PH as a crossover

The Chevrolet Trailblazer Crossover

“After axing its Trailblazer midsize SUV a while back, The Covenant Car Company (TCCCI) has now confirmed that the nameplate will be making a return to our market in crossover form this month.

“For those unfamiliar, this is China’s smaller Trailblazer we’re referring to. We first speculated about its arrival after General Motors pulled the plug on its Chevy operations in Thailand early last year. TCCCI has yet to release a lot of details, but at least we already have a good idea about the compact SUV.

“In the People’s Republic, the vehicle is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline mill that generates 162hp and 240Nm of torque. The powertrain is mated to either a CVT or a nine-speed automatic gearbox that enables switching between front- and all-wheel-drive.

“Safety tech come aplenty in the crossover as well. There are features such as lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. It’ll be handy if the Trailblazer comes with all of these when it arrives.

“We’ve no idea yet how much the new Chevy will sell for, but we’re guessing it’ll land above the Tracker in the local lineup. We’re expecting a starting price bigger than the latter’s P1,142,888.”

Geely launches its new jazzed-up Azkarra in China

Geely Azkarra

“It seems that the new range-topper of the Geely Azkarra (or the Boyue in China) will be getting a lot more than just improved styling with the ‘Vision Starburst’ design—it’ll come with a new and more powerful engine, too.

“Now that the Chinese carmaker has fully unveiled the Boyue X, we’ve learned that it will be equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that generates 181hp and 300Nm of torque.


“This “award-winning” powertrain is mated to a seven-speed wet DCT with a 97% transmission efficiency, and Geely claims it can do 13km/L. For comparison, local non-hybrid Azkarra units come with a 1.5-liter in-line-three turbopetrol that’s capable of 177hp and 255Nm of torque, and is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

“In addition to the new engine, this Azkarra also packs a lot of extra features inside the cabin. We’ve seen the interior before, so let’s focus on the tech. For starters, there’s programmable interior lighting and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

“The infotainment is also fitted with a high-performance E02 chip as well as the carmaker’s new Milky Way OS. Some of the specifics have been left out, but Geely says this smart cockpit is compatible with smartphone apps from Tencent, Huawei, and Baidu, among others.”

The all-new Honda Integra can come with a manual transmission

Honda Integra with a manual transmission

“Very little about the next-generation Honda Integra was made known when the brand released a teaser of the vehicle late last month. All we have is that it’ll be available as a five-door sedan like the original and will come equipped with a subtle spoiler out back.

“Now, we know the all-new Integra will have at least one other thing going for it when it finally hits showrooms: A six-speed manual transmission.

“The carmaker revealed the very welcome news in a neat teaser that shows the company’s gearsticks shifting (pun intended) from one generation to another. Watch:

“And that’s it. No release date yet. Hey, we said it was a teaser, didn’t we?

“Now, just to be clear, the all-new Integra won’t be available with only a six-speed manual. The way the industry is going, that just wouldn’t be a very sound business decision. Still, we’re certain purists will take this as a win nonetheless.”

Mitsubishi previews the all-new Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV


“If you liked the look of the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander when it was revealed earlier this year, then you’re going to love the all-new Outlander PHEV—because they look very, very similar.

“The Japanese car manufacturer showed off the upcoming plug-in hybrid ahead of its global premiere later this month. And not surprisingly, it looks practically identical to its purely gasoline-powered counterpart.

“The “only real discernible difference between the two SUVs is that the cleaner version is available with a two-tone exterior. Not that we’re complaining, because the regular Outlander was already a pretty handsome SUV.

“That rugged Dynamic Shield mug reminiscent of Southeast Asian Mitsubishi offerings like the Montero Sport and Xpander—with the incredibly squarish design cues up front—is there. The same goes for the clean, blacked-out two-part grille, and sporty 20-inch wheel design. If you’re not a fan of too much chrome in vehicle design, look away.

“Similarities between the two models extend into the cabin as well. The interior the brand shows off here is, again, the same as the normal Outlander’s, with its playful two-tone treatment, contrast stitching, and similar use of material. That near floating touchscreen infotainment system is present here, too.”

Lexus launches the all-new LX600

Lexus LX600

“Here it is, ladies and gents. As promised, Lexus has now fully unveiled the LX600.

“This next-generation LX debuts with a more modern design inside and out. The signature Lexus grille is still present, but there are bigger horizontal slats and the chrome border has been taken out. Flanking it are a pair of headlamps that look much sleeker than the old ones. In the F Sport variant, the grille gets a blacked-out mesh design.

“There’s nothing subtle here save for the foglamps, which are placed right underneath the massive air intakes. We now also get a full view of the LX600’s rear. It looks cleaner and a lot more stylish than the LX570’s, with a new bumper to go along with the new-look taillights.

“The interior boasts typical Lexus luxury, with a plethora of premium materials from end to end. The vehicle is equipped with a dual-display setup consisting of a 12.3-inch upper screen and a seven-inch lower screen that offer a variety of views, instrumentation, and control adjustments. Sound is produced through a 25-speaker Mark Levinson audio setup.

“In the higher Ultra Luxury and F Sport trim, the cabin is spec’d with an even more opulent four-seat layout. The rear seats can be adjusted forward or reclined, and a footrest behind the front passenger seat is available.


“Other amenities here include window sunshades, reading lights, rear-seat displays, and an A/C system with overhead ceiling vents (Ultra Luxury only). There’s also a rear control panel for several rear-cabin functions, a DC power supply, USB ports, headphone jacks, and a wireless charger available.

“The LX600 also gets the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser’s setup, which is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo gasoline V6 that generates 409hp and 649Nm of torque. The powertrain is mated to a Direct Shift 10-speed automatic gearbox.”

The refreshed GAC GS8 lands in PH with a P2.088-M starting price


GAC Motor has been a bit busy this month. After introducing the GN8 Master’s Edition a few weeks back, the carmaker has now launched the 2022 GS8.

“The new arrival isn’t the next-generation model we saw back in September. Rather, it’s a simple refresh with slight design changes and new tech. Starting with the front end, there are new headlamps flanking the familiar chrome-laden grille. Underneath is a reworked bumper with bigger air intakes and a new skid plate.

“The rear remains unchanged for the most part. It also gets a larger skid plate that now takes up most of the rear bumper’s real estate, but that’s about it.

“Inside, the GS8 features a new piano-black finish on the dash, which is still adorned with wood trim. The seats are wrapped in Alcantara leather and the front two now come with a heating/ventilation feature.

“There’s a new 10-inch infotainment system up front, which now comes with Apple CarPlay connectivity and a six-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup. A new wireless charging pad is equipped in the cabin, and a 5V USB port and electric outlet are now available in the second row.

“Also new for the 2022 GS8 are the LED ambient lights, the panoramic sunroof, and the 360-degree-view monitor with parking sensors. A fingerprint sensor door lock, an anti-glare rearview mirror, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and a power liftgate with motion sensor has been added to the package as well. The GS8’s new key fob also has remote control over the ignition, the windows, and the sunroof.

“As for the engine, the 2022 GS8 retains its 2.0-liter turbopetrol. This is capable of 199hp and 320Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. There are two variants available—you can check them out and their corresponding prices below:”


2022 GAC GS8

    1. GAC GS8 6AT 4x2 Sports – P2,088,000
    2. GAC GS8  6AT 4x4 GL – P2,288,000

    Honda gives us a preview of the upcoming track version of the Civic Si

    Honda Civic Si

    “The Honda Civic Si is, sadly, a variant of the popular nameplate that constantly finds itself on many Filipino Honda fans’ list of auto industry what-ifs. But can you blame them? A sportier version of one of the market’s hottest compact sedans—that’s a proposition we’d be more than game for as well.

    “It looks like the all-new Civic Si is gearing up to continue the trend as well. Honda recently released a teaser showing a track-ready version of the vehicle being developed for competition. Nice.

    “You can watch the sedan being tested at the Thunderhill Raceway in California in the footage below:

    “Actual performance figures remain a mystery, and the vehicle seen in the footage above is hiding under camo (though the car does appear to retain mostly the same form as the non-Si version).

    “We are, however, treated to a proper look at that massive rear wing, and it looks sick. Perhaps not as much as the rear wing of its more menacing bigger brother, the all-new Civic Type R (which was recently teased as well), but sick nonetheless. The brand also claims this vehicle will be the ‘best-handling and most fun-to-drive Civic Si ever.’”

    Isuzu has launched a new D-Max V-Cross variant in Thailand

    Isuzu D-Max V-Cross variant in Thailand

    “The all-new Isuzu D-Max is already one of the toughest trucks in the market in terms of appearance. So, what do you do to build on that aesthetic then? Well, not much.

    “Hey, don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? This is why we like the route the brand has taken with the D-Max V-Cross over in Thailand.


    “Essentially, the V-Cross has a slight edge over what we have here in the Philippines in terms of ruggedness. It comes equipped with a sportier blacked-out grille up front flanked by your familiar angry headlights with black plastic accents. The vehicle runs on more macho-looking 18-inch wheels as well.

    “Overall, we think the V-Cross has a bit more going for it compared to its local counterpart, the Isuzu D-Max LS-E. We’re also digging its stealthy ‘Opec Gray’ exterior, too, and its availability with two doors instead of four is something we don’t get either.

    “And that’s about it as far as alterations go here. The interior is pretty much identical to what’s available around our parts. Units run on a 3.0-liter turbodiesel capable of up to 187hp and 450Nm of torque with power driven to all four wheels.”

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PHOTO: Toyota, Chevrolet, Geely
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