Car News

This week in cars: New Toyota GR-S arrivals, updated Mazdas with hybrid engines

What a busy week

Toyota PH has officially launched the Fortuner GR-S...

“Out with all the teasers and the speculations: Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has now launched the Fortuner GR-S. And this time, it’s official.

“The jazzed-up midsize SUV looks exactly as advertised, sporting new bumpers on both front and rear ends. Additional garnish on the foglamp housings and the liftgate can also be found on the outside. Capping off the GR-inspired look are the blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels.

“No red color options for this one, though, as the Fortuner GR-S can only be had in a two-tone finish with a White Pearl body and an Attitude Black Mica roof.

“Inside, the vehicle is fitted with sport-type front seats wrapped in a mix of suede and leather and with eight-way power adjustability. Contrast red stitching can be found here as well as on the steering wheel. Aluminum pedals, matte-carbon trim, dual-zone climate controls, and a plethora of Gazoo Racing badges are also available.

“The engine was left untouched, so this here is still powered by a 2.8-liter turbodiesel that churns out 201hp and 500Nm of torque. That said, the SUV has been given some mechanical upgrades courtesy of the new monotube type suspension and front and rear GR brake calipers.

“The Fortuner GR-S also gets the safety features and amenities found on the LTD and Q  variants. This includes the Toyota Safety Sense package with a pre-collision system, lane-departure alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

As we were anticipating, the Fortuner GR-S arrives with a P2,509,000 price tag and lands right atop the stable, slotting higher than the former top-dog LTD variant.”

As well as the Hilux GR-S

“Since we’ve already discussed the midsize SUV, it’s now time to take a look at the new truck. The Hilux GR-S gets a new ‘G-mesh’ grille design with the Toyota name spelled out across the front end. Body-color overfenders, a gloss-black sports bar, and 18-inch blacked-out wheels are also included in the package. Inside, the pickup also boasts an abundance of leather and soft-touch materials accentuated with red contrast stitching and Gazoo Racing badges.

“Similar to its new stablemate, the Hilux GR-S retains the standard version’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel capable of 201hp and 500Nm of torque. It features a new monotube-type suspension setup, GR brake calipers up front, and paddle shifters. Also available are the hood-lift assist feature and a 360-degree-view monitor which we reckon will come in handy when parking a truck this size.

Our initial prices check out, as the Hilux GR-S will sticker for P1,985,000. It’s available in Super White and Attitude Black Mica, and can be spec’d with an Emotional Red finish for an additional P20,000.”

Nissan unveils the new Urvan

“Most local buyers consider the Toyota Hiace the top-of-mind choice in the country’s van segment. It’s an understandable mindset when you take into account that a lot of people think the same way about the brand in general.

“Thing is, there’s more than just one van around worth taking a look at. The Nissan Urvan is one of them, and has been for quite some time already. If Nissan wants to bring more attention to its Hiace rival, we think it might do well to seriously consider bringing in the van’s latest version.

“Over in Japan, Nissan is now selling a new and improved Caravan (known here as the Urvan) featuring styling that can keep up with the best of them. It comes with an updated face that flaunts sleek headlights and a new grille, and also sports a more muscular lower fascia.

“Inside, you’ll be greeted by a familiar cabin with one big change: The steering wheel has been updated and now features a flat-bottom design similar to more modern Nissan offerings. Nissan Intelligent Mobility features are also available for buyers looking to invest a little extra for their safety.

“Granted, these changes are nothing too drastic, but they do a good enough job modernizing one of the longest-running names in the segment.”

Feast your eyes on the all-new Honda Civic Si

“The jump from the regular Civic to the monstrous Type R is a pretty big one not just in terms of performance, but cost as well. In the Philippine market, we’re forced to choose between the two Hondas. But in the US? The Si is there to help bridge the gap.

“The all-new Honda Civic Si has just been revealed in the US. Equipped with a tuned suspension and an updated 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, it makes for an enticing proposition if you find the stock sedan too tame but can’t imagine being able to handle the hot hatch version.

“This thing boasts 200hp at 6,000rpm and 260Nm of torque between 1,500-5,000rpm—that’s 20hp and 20Nm more than the non-Si Civic’s 1.5-liter turbo. Oh, and this variant comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.

“A new exhaust system and Active Sound Control system also make this version more pleasing to the ears, Honda claims. The brand also says this is the most rigid iteration of the Civic Si yet, and that it gets stiffer springs, reinforced McPherson struts, thicker stabilizer bars, and new dampers. The bushings up front have also been sourced from the Civic Type R.

“In terms of aesthetics, the Civic Si gets altered bumpers, a front spoiler, a subtle rear spoiler, and black side mirror housings and window trim. Units run on 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels finished in matte black. Inside, you’re looking at sports seats, red contrast stitching, and a new seven-inch instrument panel.”

The mild-hybrid Mazda 3, CX-30 have arrived in PH...

Mazda Philippines dropped a big announcement today as it revamps its roster with the 2022 Mazda Premium Collection. The revised lineup now features four new offerings: mild-hybrid versions of the 3 and the CX-30, and the refreshed 2 and the CX-3. Let’s take a look at the hybrids first.

“The new e-Skyactiv-G M Hybrid system is made up of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine assisted by a 24V hybrid lithium-ion battery mated with a DC/DC converter, an integrated starter generator, and a regenerative friction brake coordination system. It produces a total of 162hp and 213Nm of torque and is similar to the setup found in the mild-hybrid MX-30 in Japan.

“In addition to the new hybrid setup, the entire Mazda 3 range also gets a few upgrades. The Sedan and Fastback Elite variants now get new full-black leather seats, while the 12-speaker Bose sound system now comes as standard. These non-hybrid variants are powered by a familiar 2.0-liter engine that churns out 153hp and 200Nm of torque.

“As for the CX-30 M Hybrid, this new variant retains the crossover’s extra tech and niceties. The i-Activsense features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert are still available. The 12-speaker Bose setup and 360-degree-view camera are also equipped here.

“The new Mazda 3 M Hybrid stickers for P1,695,000, while the non-hybrid goes for P1,495,000 (both SRPs apply to both Fastback and Sedan versions). The new CX-30, meanwhile, comes with a P1,990,000 price tag.”

Along with the refreshed Mazda 2 and CX-3

“It’s time to get the lowdown on the gasoline-powered models that just received new faces. First up is the updated Mazda CX-3.

“This new crossover is different from the one launched in Japan in 2020 with the new 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine. Our version retains its 2.0-liter gasoline powertrain that churns out 148hp and 195Nm and is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The new CX-3 also retains its exterior look. 

“The majority of the changes can be seen inside the cabin, where it sports new black leatherette seats in the Sport variant and white leatherette seats with tan Grand Luxe cushions in the Elegance trim.

“Apart from the addition of a second variant, the CX-3 also gets a new Mazda Connect infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and a seven-speaker Bose audio setup. The 2022 models also boast a smart keyless entry system and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors.

“Capping off the list of new introductions is the refreshed Mazda 2, which is now only available as a five-door. The Mazda 2 Hatchback sports new LED daytime running lights up front and sits on 16-inch black alloy wheels. Inside, it gets leather seats with a dark blue finish.

“The 2 retains its 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G gasoline mill that’s capable of 108hp and 142Nm. It receives several tech upgrades, including wireless Apple CarPlay, smartphone mirroring, and a wireless charging pad. It is also equipped with i-Activsense features such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

“The refreshed CX-3 comes with a P1,490,000 price tag for both variants, while the Mazda 2 Hatchback stickers for P1,195,000. These complete the 2022 Mazda Premium Collection.”

Mini has launched the new 3-Door, 5-Door, and Convertible in PH

Mini Philippines has revamped its roster with the launch of the refreshed Mini Cooper. The range consists of seven variants in total, all of which have received some slight aesthetic and technological enhancements.

“Headlining the new lineup are the 3-Door, the 5-Door, and the Convertible. The exterior tweaks are similar across all three models. The grille now sits a bit lower than before, and the chrome strip enclosing it has been replaced with a gloss-black trim that tapers all the way down to the air intakes underneath. These intakes are now bigger with a new vertical pattern, while thin vents take the place of the fog lamps to give the front bumper a much sharper look overall.

“Inside the cabin, all three models get a Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, a multifunctional five-inch instrument cluster, and an 8.8-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. A wireless charger is also available here.

“The vehicles have also been given a new Driving Assistant package that comes as an option. The suite includes tech such as forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning.

“The John Cooper Works 3-Door and John Cooper Works Convertible also get some upgrades. The two boast minor exterior changes, particularly with a new hexagonal grille, larger side openings, and new bumper strips. They feature the same interior improvements as the other Cooper models, but their infotainment systems are paired with 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound setups. A new Zesty Yellow color options is available on the Convertible as well.

“No changes to the powertrains have been made. The 3-Door and 5-Door still come with a 1.5-liter in-line-three turbocharged gasoline engine that generates 136hp and 220Nm of torque. Cooper S variants and the Convertible pack a 2.0-liter four-pot turbopetrol capable of 192hp and 280Nm of torque. Both engines are mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. As for the John Cooper Works models, those still pack a 231hp, 320Nm 2.0-liter turbopetrol mated to an eight-speed automatic. 

2022 Mini Prices

  • Mini Cooper 3-Door – P2,750,000
  • Mini Cooper S 3-Door – P3,150,000
  • Mini Cooper 5-Door – P2,850,000
  • Mini Cooper S 5-Door – P3,250,000
  • Mini Cooper S Convertible – P3,500,000
  • Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door – P3,950,000
  • Mini John Cooper Works Convertible –P4,400,000

Geely starts production of the Zeekr 001 EV

“Big news from China—the Zeekr 001 has gone into production in a fancy 5G+ equipped factory in Ningbo.

“Now, don’t fret if you haven’t heard of the 001. Zeekr is Geely’s all-new, all-electric brand for the Chinese market. And if you’re getting a strange sense of déjà vu, it’s because the 001 was first shown as the Lynk & Co Zero concept back in 2020. All a little confusing, no? Just remember that Geely owns everything.

“Seems as though the 001 is a little confused, too—it can’t decide whether it wants to be a proper estate, a shooting brake, or a coupe-like SUV. It does look rather good, though, and it’s based on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) platform so also gets some mega specs.

“The twin-motor version gets 536hp and 767Nm of torque, meaning the 0-100kph sprint takes 3.8sec. It also gets a massive 100kWh battery for up to 700km of range, and with 360kW fast charging available it can top up from 10-80% in just 30 minutes.”

The next-gen Ford Ranger is currently undergoing rigorous testing

Ford isn’t ready to show us the next-generation Ranger just yet, but it’s more than happy enough to keep sending previews our way every now and then.

“We get a little more than just photos this time, though. Ford says that the truck is currently in its testing phase, and has shared a few details of the rigorous terrain that the Ranger is now going through.

“Ford is now putting the all-new truck through its paces across some of the world’s toughest terrain. So far, it has covered 10,000km of desert driving, the equivalent of 1,250,000km of customer driving, and the equivalent of 625,000km of off-road durability testing at maximum load capacity.

“In addition to this, Ford’s engineers are also putting the Ranger through thousands of hours’ worth of computer simulations and thousands more of real-world simulations in labs. This enables them to cover aspects such as aerodynamics and the durability of components.

“These simulations are also done to run tests that are ‘deemed too rigorous for humans to endure.’ An example of this is the extreme ‘squeak and rattle’ rig where the Ranger is exposed to punishing test cycles that are repeated 24/7.”

The Isuzu N-Series Smoother might be the easiest light truck to drive in PH

“When it comes to commercial trucks, utility and performance are the main factors to consider. Any convenience features or creature comforts are pretty much just bonuses. Isuzu, though, is making ease of use one of the key selling points of its latest local introduction.

“This is the Isuzu N-Series Smoother, and it comes equipped without a clutch. Instead, it utilizes an automated manual transmission to reduce fatigue in traffic while supposedly still providing the economical benefits of a manual transmission.

“According to Isuzu Philippines Corporation president Hajime Koso, the N-Series Smoother addresses a number of issues common among local fleet owners, namely operational expenses and the need for more capable truck drivers.

“‘In the Philippines, trucks are maximized and utilized almost at 24/7 operations. And with the increasing demand for delivery, especially in logistics, truckers deal not just with the increase in their operating expenses, particularly fuel and maintenance, but also the need for more professional drivers which has become quite a problem,’ Koso said. ‘So, we thought, why not make our next truck address all these challenges and more?’

“Isuzu N-Series Smoother units are equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged DOHC engine to go along with the convenient new transmission setup. This is capable of 122hp and up to 354Nm of torque. Other features include a two-speaker sound system, power windows, and a central door lock.”

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PHOTO: Toyota Motor Philippines, Nissan, Honda
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