This week in cars: Toyota Lite Ace CV to land in PH, China-made Hiace copy

by TopGear.com.ph | Jun 12, 2022

2022 Toyota Lite Ace could arrive in PH in July

Photo of the 2022 Toyota Liteace pickup version

“It looks like Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is taking the fight to Suzuki. Not with any new small hatchback, subcompact crossover, or seven-seat MPV, but with a Suzuki Carry-rivaling offering: the Toyota Lite Ace.

“According to a trusted source, TMP is now preparing to relaunch the beloved Lite Ace—also known as the Townace—in our market. But rather than being a budget-friendly people-hauler, it’ll compete in the A-segment CV market as a rebadged Daihatsu Gran Max from Indonesia.

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“No specs have been revealed yet as of this writing, but we were told there will be two variants—pickup and panel van—available in July. Come September, a cab-and-chassis variant and utility- and aluminum-van conversion models will be available.

“The units sourced from Indonesia could come with a choice of either a 1.5-liter or a 1.3-liter gasoline engine for both pickup and panel-van versions.

“As far as its SRP goes, TMP is said to be targeting the aforementioned Suzuki Carry’s market and is expected to price this competitively. Perhaps anywhere around the P500,000 to P700,000 range? Anyway, your guess is as good as ours. But once we do get more info on this upcoming offering, we’ll keep you posted.”

A Chinese carmaker has made an obvious copy of the old Toyota Hiace

photo of the Joylong A6, a Chinese copy of the Toyota HIace

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Chinese car manufacturers have come a long way here in the Philippines. We aren’t just referring to the products they offer, but the way they present themselves as well. Names like Geely and MG have made great strides for the way brands from the People’s Republic are perceived.

“And then you come across stuff like this online that leaves you scratching your head and raising an eyebrow.

“If it isn’t apparent at first glance, this is a painfully obvious copy of the previous-generation Toyota Hiace. It’s called the A6, and is built by a company in China called Joylong.

“Odd name? Check. A familiar design from a foreign manufacturer? You bet. Hell, even the interior layout and appearance of the dashboard look practically identical to what we used to get in the Hiace in the Philippines.

“Now, before you think that the design is too similar to the Hiace’s for Joylong’s products to not be made in collaboration with Toyota, think again. Initially, this is what we thought as well. But we’ve come across reports online indicating no such partnership exists between the two brands, and a portion of the van’s official Wikipedia entry is dedicated to the design controversy caused by the similarity in looks.

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“Anyway, back to the van. The Joylong A6 is available with four engines: A pair of 2.8-liter diesels that do between 138-141hp and 350-360Nm of torque, a 2.0-liter turbo with 188hp and 290Nm, and a 2.7-liter gasoline with 161hp and 260Nm. Only a five-speed manual transmission is available across the range. There’s also an electric variant called the E6 that runs on a 384-volt motor and a 61kWh lithium-ion battery back.

“Like we said, even the cabin looks identical to the Hiace’s. This is true right down to the small cubby hole storage compartment beside the head unit and the shape of the A/C vents. Geez.”

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The all-new Subaru WRX is now in the Philippines

2022 Subaru WRX launch, subaru wrx launch, subaru wrx ph launch

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“If we’re being honest, there’s little else left to reveal about the 2022 WRX. We found out the vehicle was arriving in May, and since then we’ve already reported the official prices, variants, and specs of local units.

“Still, there’s no doubt that a gradual trickle of information convinced many of you to hold off on a new car purchase until the Subie became available locally. And now, that moment is finally here.

“As we previously reported, the all-new Subaru WRX will be available as both a sedan and a wagon. Five variants are available, and the base sedan will set you back a cool P2,508,000. Here is the information again in case you missed it before.”

2022 Subaru WRX sedan

  1. Subaru WRX tS CVT - P2,808,000
  2. Subaru WRX 2.4 CVT - P2,658,000
  3. Subaru WRX 2.4 MT - P2,508,000

2022 Subaru WRX wagon

  1. Subaru WRX Wagon tS CVT - P2,708,000
  2. Subaru WRX Wagon CVT - P2,558,000
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And we’re actually lucky we get it here in PH

2022 Subaru WRX launch, subaru wrx launch, subaru wrx ph launch

“So the all-new Subaru WRX is officially here. Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP), the local distributor of Subaru vehicles in our market, has just launched the next-generation performance car.

“What many of you may not know, though, is that we’re actually lucky we get this car on our side of the globe. You see, out of all the countries where Motor Image distributes Subies, the Philippines is the only one to get the all-new WRX. The reason? Well, it appears ours is one of the biggest markets for the WRX.

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“Tan Chong International deputy chairman and managing director Glenn Tan revealed that MIP has an allocation of 30 WRX units per month, and that says a lot. MIP also mentioned that this allocation could grow over time. Although Tan also mentioned that while this is exclusive to our market for now, Motor Image could still sell this in other countries when global supply stabilizes.

“This just means we shouldn’t take the WRX for granted, then. Frankly, we’re not just glad we got it, but we even got the wagon version at that.”

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The MG Mulan is a new electric crossover that’s ready to get down to business

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“Okay, we’re sorry. No Huns to defeat here—but we just couldn’t help but make a reference to the 1998 Disney flick.

“This is the MG Mulan, and the business we’re referring to here is a 0-100kph sprint of just 4sec. We’re also incredibly happy to see that the Chinese car manufacturer’s opted for a moniker with character this time around, instead of the usual letters and number combo our market is accustomed to seeing.

“The Mulan is a pure electric crossover, and a very good-looking one at that. Images released by the brand on Weibo show off an incredibly sporty-looking thing, with very pronounced character lines and an aggressive face that would give even Genghis Kahn’s a run for its money.

“We’re also fans of what MG has done to this vehicle’s rear. Here, you’ll find an attractive floating taillight with a Y-shaped design. The roof-mounted rear spoiler also comes in an unusual two-part design.

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“Performance details are still under wraps, but MG says the rear-wheel-drive Mulan will run on a lithium-ion battery pack designed to give the crossover’s occupants more space. Expect plenty of tech here as well.”

A Toyota compact pickup could be in the works

“Sales of the two newest small trucks in the US—the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz—continue to, er, pick up. It’s no surprise other carmakers now want to capitalize on the momentum and enter the segment.

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“Well, in the case of Toyota, it’s looking into re-entering the compact-pickup market. According to a report by MotorTrend, the Japanese automotive giant is now “looking at where the compact pickup truck is going.”

“‘Today, we have the market really well covered with Tacoma, but that [a compact pickup] could be a possibility and something we continue to look at,’ said Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) executive vice president of sales Bob Carter in an interview with MotorTrend.

“Carter reportedly emphasized that if there would be a new model, it won’t be coming in 2023. If there’s anything in the pipeline, it’ll be out in 2024 or 2025. It could potentially be built on the Toyota New Global Architecture platform as well.”

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Someone packed a souped-up GT-R engine into a Nissan Navara

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“At one point in its life, the Nissan Navara you see above was an honest, hard-working truck. Perhaps it fell in with the wrong crowd, though, because it’s now a widebody Nissan GT-R-engined maniac.

“It’s the work of British drifter Stephen Biagioni and his team at SB Motorsports, with the group wanting something a little different to act as the shop runaround. 

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“Now, we’ve seen a Navara with a GT-R heart before courtesy of Shropshire-based Severn Valley Motorsport, but that made do with just over 800hp. This build gets more than 1,000hp. Should be plenty enough. 

“The VR38 V6 from the R35 was initially a 4.1-liter, with 160 hours of work going into the engine alone. Pretty much everything has been upgraded, with plenty of off-the-shelf GT-R tuning bits as well as custom exhaust manifolds and two Garrett turbos.”

Lexus has unveiled the all-new RX

The exterior of the all-new Lexus RX is one of the best in the business.

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“Lexus has been a roll when it comes to its crossovers recently. The RZ, Lexus’ first-ever global EV, was a thing to behold. And then not long after, the refreshed UX was unveiled.

“Now? The brand is making changes to the larger end of its lineup with the all-new RX. As far as looks are concerned, the all-new RX maintains an appearance that doesn’t stray too far from the familiar. The face does, however, flaunt a new take on the brand’s signature spindle grille design, as well as new integrated headlights.

“The side profile appears relatively clean, save for a flowing character line that leads eyes towards the rear of the vehicle. There, you’ll find L-shaped lighting units that meet at the center of the tail. Buyers also have the choice of 19- or 21-inch machine-finished wheels, with the latter option available in a variety of colors.

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“Inside, there’s a nice blend of modernity and minimalism to the cabin. While the driver’s side of the front area is faced with plenty of controls, buttons, and screens, the rest of the interior maintains a clean overall vibe. Providing a warmer ambiance is an ambient lighting system, as well as premium trim options for the door panels. A panoramic glass roof adds to the roominess of the space, and entertainment can be managed via a 14-inch multimedia touchscreen display.

“Four engine options are available: A turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with 275hp and 430Nm of torque, a hybrid system that uses a 2.5-liter gasoline engine for 246hp and 316Nm, a 2.4-liter turbo-hybrid system with 367hp and 550Nm (found in the TX500h F Sport), and a plug-in hybrid setup. No output details have been revealed for that last one just yet”

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If priced right, the new Hyundai Venue could be a challenger in the mini crossover wars

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“It’s not exactly rocket science why the Toyota Raize is such a hit among local car buyers. Decent ground clearance, city-friendly dimensions, and an affordable price tag? That’s about as surefire a formula as mass-market cars come around these parts.

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“The game plan isn’t that hard to replicate, either, with many brands having their own pint-sized mini crossovers. In the case of Hyundai, it’s the Venue—and we think the brand would do well to consider bringing in the newest version that’s just been made available in India.

“Frankly, the 2022 version looks much nicer than what’s previously been made available to us. The face of the vehicle gets a more premium feel thanks to redesigned headlights and a more intricate grille. The overall appearance isn’t just more compact, but more streamlined as well.

“Over at the back, the Venue gets a new unified taillight design with large lighting units on the sides. And on the inside, there’s a new digital instrument cluster with a sporty feel to it and a drive mode selector. Images of the cabin in its entirety have yet to be revealed, however.

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“Three engine options have been revealed for the Indian market: a 1.2-liter MPi gasoline engine, a 1.0-liter Kappa with a turbocharger, and a 1.5-liter CRDi diesel. No exact output figures for these engines have been provided as of this writing.”

The all-new Mitsubishi ASX has a very flexible engine lineup

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“Earlier this year, Mitsubishi announced that the next-generation ASX was being co-developed with alliance partner Renault, and that hybrid powertrains will be in the mix. Now, we finally have specifics.

“Once the car launches, four powertrain options will be available to buyers: two traditional turbocharged engines, and two hybrid models. That’s a pretty extensive lineup, and the inclusion of traditional combustion engines is a nice surprise as well.

“The first turbo option will have a modest 1.0-liter displacement and will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission. Power is listed at 91hp. Fuel economy is listed at an impressive 18.8km/L.

“Option two is a 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline mill capable of either 140hp with a six-speed manual or 158hp paired with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Economy is rated at up to 13.6km/L.

“Now, let’s get to the hybrids. There’s one full that utilizes a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a pair of electric motors that sip juice from a 1.3kWh battery. Total output is listed at 145hp, and the setup is supposedly capable of averaging 18.8km/L.

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“Hybrid two is a plug-in version that packs a 1.6-liter gasoline engine, two electric motors, and a 10.5kWh battery. This one is good for up to 160hp and has a fuel economy rating of 13.2 kWh per 100km.”

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PHOTO: Toyota, Joylong, Jason Tulio, MG
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