Car News

This week in cars: All-new Suzuki Grand Vitara, LC300 pickup conversion

The Toyota Land Cruiser LC300 has been turned into a pickup


“The aftermarket community has played around with the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser quite a bit since the SUV launched last year. This one, by an Australian company called Creative Conversions, has to be the most practical take yet, though.

“Frankly, this shouldn’t take too much explaining. What you’re looking at is an LC300 that’s had its rear half chopped off and replaced with a bed. The end result is a rather rugged-looking dual cab pickup truck.

“Buyers have the option of either a 700mm or 800mm extension. A variety of canopy options are also being offered by the company with lengths ranging from 1,800mm to 2,100mm. All conversion units are also in compliance with local regulations. Oh, and no mention of any changes to what’s under the hood by the way.


“Creative Conversions is calling the beast the “ultimate touring-towing and/or work vehicle.” The company recommends that interested customers coordinate with their Toyota dealership to have their unit sent straight to the Creative Conversion facility from Japan to save on transportation costs, too.”

The all-new Suzuki Grand Vitara has been unveiled in India


“This is it. After a quick teaser, Maruti Suzuki has finally unveiled the all-new Grand Vitara in India.

“This looks nothing like the Grand Vitaras of old. The all-new model now boasts MPV-slash-SUV-like styling. Thin, aggressive-looking headlamps flank the chrome slat on the nose from which the Suzuki badge hangs. There’s a trapezoidal grille with large intakes, and beside it is a pair of boxy foglamp housings. More air intakes can be found on the lower lip of the front fascia along with a gray bumper trim.

“Black plastic cladding begin right at the end of the front bumper and stretch around the vehicle, giving it a hint of ruggedness. At the rear, there’s another Suzuki badge floating at the center of the long lightbar. An even bulkier plastic trim makes up the rear bumper, while what we assume are vertical reverse lights give the behind a more muscular look.

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“The inside is just about what you’d expect: a black cabin with a mix of hard plastics and soft-touch materials. Nothing too fancy. There are contrasting Champagne Gold accents on the dash and the door panels to add more character to the interior. In case you were wondering, no, this doesn’t get seven seats. Only a two-row, five-seat layout is available.

“The all-new Grand Vitara can be had with a number of powertrain configurations. Accounting for the majority of the range is the Smart Hybrid system, a mild-hybrid setup that consists of a 1.5-liter gasoline powertrain generating 101hp at 6,000rpm and 137Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

“The mild-hybrid system helps reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency, and bolster performance through a torque-assist function that gives a slight boost upon acceleration. This engine option can be had with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both 2WD and AllGrip drivetrain layouts are available.

“The second engine option is the Intelligent Electric Hybrid setup that comprises a 1.5-liter gasoline engine paired with a 49kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. The full hybrid system enables the use of solely electric power when driving and can seamlessly switch driving modes from pure EV to pure gasoline or even to a mix of both. The system is capable of a total of 114hp.

“There’s also a good amount of driver-assist tech available in the all-new Grand Vitara. There’s stability control, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, a 360-degree-view camera, and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors.”


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The all-new Ford Ranger and Everest have been spotted on PH roads

photo of the Ford Ranger 2023 at Ford Commonwealth

“There’s just about a week to go before Ford Philippines officially launches the all-new Ranger and Everest, and it now appears units have been starting to hit local dealerships.

“Two Ranger Wildtrak units have already arrived at Ford Commonwealth, and photos of the trucks surfaced courtesy of sales agent Daryll David. The pickups are basically out in the open, so if you’re in the area, now might be your chance to drop by and see the pickups before the launch.

“Meanwhile, down south, both the Ranger and Everest were spotted park along a quiet road in Filinvest Alabang. The owner of the photos, Ian Barlis, may have just been extra lucky with this one as the two units don’t look like they’ll be staying there that long.

“Man, these local sightings beat the one from earlier this month. We really are inching closer and closer to the big reveal. Anyway, if you’re reading this and you still don’t know the prices and specs, check out this story.”

Honda has pulled the covers off the all-new Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R on track and in action

“With all the teasers and leaks that have preceded this, you could say that little has been left to the imagination regarding the latest iteration of the Honda Civic Type R. Maybe this is the case—but it doesn’t make finally seeing the thing in full any less exciting.

“Yes, we’re done with all the camo-covered shots. We finally get to see the next-generation hot hatch in its entirety, and the Japanese carmaker is promising it’ll be everything fans have come to expect of the Type R lineage, and then some.


“First off, let’s take about the outside. The 2023 Civic Type R is longer and wider than its predecessor, but sits closer to the ground. As is usually the case, it features a ton of functional exterior enhancements that also serve to liven up its aesthetic.

“It’s more intimidating than the vanilla version overall thanks to a more muscular face that features a revised honeycomb mesh grille. The latter, together with the larger air ducts on either side, also improves airflow and aerodynamics.

“The rear doors are wider compared with the stock version, and the rear flaunts a redesigned spoiler (that sits lower compared to the last-gen’s and features diecast mounts) and a reshaped bumper that shows off the vehicle’s three-exhaust setup and diffuser.

“As is the case with all Type R releases, there’s plenty of variant-exclusive badging and red exterior accents to go around. The vehicle also runs on sleek-looking 19-inch matte-black alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

“All these changes serve to both improve the hot hatch’s downforce and reduce drag. Five colors will be available at launch: Rallye Red, Boost Blue, Crystal Black Pearl, Sonic Gray Pearl, and Historic Championship White.

“Inside, there’s your usual array of red and black treatments. There’s honeycomb trim on the dashboard that matches the grille’s, and it features serialized badging as well. The seats get upholstered with a ‘suede-like’ finish that supposedly reduces slippage—something that should come in handy if you plan on throwing this thing around a lot.

“As far as performance is concerned, there are not too many specifics we can get into at the moment. Honda has refrained from revealing the 2023 Civic Type R’s exact performance figures, but says it will pack a ‘more powerful and responsive’ version of the brand’s 2.0-liter turbo paired with an improved six-speed manual transmission and rev-matching system.”

The Toyota 86 to land in PH with both ’matic and manual gearboxes


“The Philippine market is inching closer toward a local release of the all-new Toyota 86—it’s just that no one knows exactly when this will take place yet.

“Our hunch is soon, but until Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) marks a date on the calendar, it’s all speculation. The company has, however, already revealed the upcoming sports car to members of the local media. During the unveiling, the Japanese brand also confirmed some details regarding local units’ specs.


“Our market will get the same 2.4-liter flat-four naturally-aspirated gasoline engine as other markets. This mill is capable of up to 232hp and 250Nm of torque—an impressive 35hp and 45Nm improvement over what’s currently in stock locally.

“TMP has also revealed that the vehicle will be available with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Oh, and the car’s infotainment system will supposedly be a massive step up compared to what’s found in the current-gen offering.

“And that’s about it. The company says a release date and prices will follow. Considering a media reveal has already taken place, we reckon we won’t have to wait much longer before these details get out.?

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Ford unleashes the 700hp V8-powered F-150 Raptor R

Ford F-150 Raptor R 2023 off-roading in the sand

“Ford has revealed a new range-topping trim level on one of its most popular vehicles. ‘Range-topping’ here meaning a socking great V8 slung in the nose of an F-150 pickup truck.

“Welcome, brave souls, to the 700hp Ford F-150 Raptor R

“It is, in Ford’s own words, ‘the fastest, most powerful, most extreme high-performance off-road desert Raptor yet.’ Taking its cue from Raptors past—all inspired by trophy trucks—this new R is the ‘ultimate Raptor.’

“Underneath, it wears the same heart that powers the Mustang Shelby GT500. That means a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 punching out 700hp and 867Nm of torque. Ford Performance recalibrated this unit, installing a new pulley to the supercharger for better torque delivery in the low-to-mid rpm range.

“The exhaust manifolds are stainless steel now too, and there’s an upgraded oil cooler and filter, a deeper oil pan, and a wider air-intake inlet and high-flow air filter for 66% greater intake volume. In short, it’ll gulp in great lungfuls of air.

“The 10-speed gearbox attached to this V8 also gets a better calibration, and the front axle features a stronger carrier casting and structural cover to manage the extra torque. The driveshaft’s a larger aluminum unit, there’s a “specially tuned” torque converter with a heavy-duty turbine damper too.

“Should sound fruity, thanks to a dual exhaust system with a valve that allows for various settings (normal, sport, quiet, and Baja—all fairly self-explanatory). Suspension is via 24-inch springs and active Fox shocks specially tuned for the R. Ford claims wheel travel of 13 inches up front and 14.1 inches out back, so, at the very least, the supermarket curbs should be absolutely fine.”


New Nissan X-Trail with e-Power and e-4orce lands in Japan


“Nissan’s e-4orce tech has come a long way, it seems. From controlled testing in the Leaf to making secure ramen deliveries, it has now made its way to the all-new X-Trail in Japan. But this four-wheel-drive system isn’t the only new addition to this crossover—it now also comes with e-Power.

“The all-new Nissan X-Trail arrives sporting the second-generation e-Power system. Said system now uses Nissan’s VC-Turbo powertrain—the world’s first mass-produced variable compression ratio engine—as a generator to produce electricity for the e-Power system. This combination promises an even more powerful and quieter drive while maintaining high fuel efficiency.

“The e-4orce all-wheel-drive system then enables maximum traction and precise control on all kinds of road surfaces and promises a smooth and comfortable drive. The e-Power system now comes as standard across the range, but the e-4orce drivetrain can be had as an added option.

“Now, the X-Trail e-Power isn’t the only new model Nissan has introduced. The carmaker has gotten really busy in its home market as it has also launched the new Kicks e-Power with a new and improved four-wheel-drive layout.

“The Kicks now also gets the second-gen e-Power system—a bit different from what we’ll be getting in our market next month—but without the e-4orce drivetrain. Its 4WD tech does promise enhanced precision and improved cornering, as well as better traction on tricky terrain such as snow.

“Similar to the X-Trail, the Kicks e-Power also comes with a wide range of safety tech. And just like its bigger sibling, this one is also available in a number of colorways.”

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