This week in cars: New Mitsubishi Xpander, Toyota Rush GR-S in PH; 28km/L Raize hybrid

What a busy week
by | May 22, 2022

The refreshed Mitsubishi Xpander is officially in PH

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“A few months ago, the new Mitsubishi Xpander started making rounds on social media. It was then that Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) confirmed the new MPV’s arrival and opened reservations for it.

“Now, MMPC has finally launched the refreshed model in the market. This means the new Xpander is now on display at Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide and is officially on sale. In case you need a quick rundown, the face-lifted Xpander comes with new styling but with a familiar 1.5-liter 4A91 MIVEC gasoline powertrain that churns out 103hp and 141Nm of torque. It can still be had with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

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“As for its SRP, the new Xpander range starts at P1.03 million and tops out at P1.16 million.”

The new Toyota Raize hybrid does up to 28km/L

Front quarter view of the 2022 Toyota Raize 1.0 Turbo CVT

“Frankly, with the way gas and diesel prices have been on the fritz, there’s never been a better time to consider shifting to a hybrid vehicle. There’s just one issue: There aren’t very many of them around.

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Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is one car brand that’s made big strides in this department in the past few years, with the likes of the Corolla Altis, the RAV4, and the Camry all getting hybridized recently. Do you know what would be a real game-changer, though? If the recently introduced Raize got the same treatment.

“Currently, an e-Smart Hybrid option of the Daihatsu Rocky (on which the Raize is based, of course) is available in Japan with a claimed fuel efficiency of 28km/L under WLTC international standards. This version utilizes a 1.2-liter gasoline engine capable of 80hp and 105Nm of torque; in this series-hybrid setup, the engine generates electricity to power an electric motor that is capable of 104hp and 170Nm. A 4.3ah lithium-ion battery can also power the electric motor at low speeds.

“Besides the advantage of superior fuel economy, the hybrid option also offers a quieter drive in electric mode and comes equipped with a Smart Pedal. The latter is a feature that allows the Raize to rapidly decelerate without the need for stepping on a brake pedal.

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“Right now, only two powertrain options are available for the Raize on the Philippine market: a 1.2-liter gasoline engine that does 87hp and 113Nm, and a 1.0-liter turbo with 97hp and 140Nm of torque. The latter can be had with a five-speed manual transmission, while the turbo version comes exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). You can check out our review of the Raize Turbo here.”

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The Toyota Vios is now available for as low as P7,518 per month, Raize for P9,351 per month

The Toyota Rush GR-S is now available in PH for P1.176-M

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“You may have heard about Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) plans to launch yet another GR-S model in our market. Well, it appears the carmaker has done just that albeit, very quietly.

“According to a source, TMP has brought in the new Rush GR-S right under our noses. Retail sales for the Gazoo-fied subcompact SUV actually began on May 12, 2022. How much? P1,176,000. We’ve also been told this trim now replaces the Rush 1.5 G AT, sitting atop the range above the 1.5 E MT and E AT variants.

“What does the added P76,000 from the previous G variant get you? The images above come from Indonesia’s Rush GR-S, but our guy tells us these are the same as what our market is getting. Local Rush GR-S units get blacked-out front and rear bumpers, new black trim on the doors, and Gazoo Racing badges around the exterior. The seven-seater also gets new 17-inch alloy wheels.

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“That’s about all of the aesthetic changes that the Rush GR-S gets. In terms of extra features, the vehicle is equipped with a seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Our guy also tells us this head unit is standard across the range. We’re not sure if this is only being introduced now, but all we know is that this accessory wasn’t available yet the last time we took out the Rush for a review.”

SsangYong has unveiled its newest SUV, the Torres


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“As a business, SsangYong has definitely seen much better times. The car manufacturer is currently in the middle of buyout negotiations, but it isn’t letting economic hardship get in the way of producing some pretty neat rides.

“The latest model to come out of the South Korean auto brand is called the Torres. Also known as ‘project name U100,’ the vehicle is being marketed as the evolution of SsangYong go-anywhere toughness. Based on recently released teaser images, designers have at least nailed the look.

“The face features a seven-slot grille (Jeep, is that you?), while roof-mounted lighting units are installed up top. Other design bits of note include a chunky C-pillar, intense character lines, and busy taillights at the rear. Frankly, we can’t wait to see what the real thing looks like.

“This will be the first SsangYong offering to be built using the company’s new ‘Powered by Toughness’ design philosophy, and the SUV’s moniker is inspired by the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. SsangYong has also confirmed that an electric version of the Torres is already in the works, and is scheduled for a European release towards the end of next year.”

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All-new Subaru WRX sedan, wagon to hit PH market next month

Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP) promised us a bunch of big nameplates this year. We’ve already seen the all-new BRZ and the refreshed Forester at the 2022 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS). What’s up next? You guessed it: the all-new WRX.

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“MIP has now confirmed (sort of) the arrival of this next-gen model—both the sedan and the wagon. In a brief heads-up message to the media, the company announced that the launch event will be happening on June 8, 2022. There’s no official invite yet, but we’re expecting this to be as good as final.

“We already received confirmation before that local WRX units will be powered by the new 271hp 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine. No word on transmission options, but we can speculate that the sedan will also get a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic gearbox available while the wagon might only come with the automatic ’box similar to what Australia gets.”

This is the world’s most expensive car


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“It’s not the numbers that matter, but the stories, and they don’t get much better than this one. Having completed test drives at the Nurburgring in 1955, legendary Formula 1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio thought that his Mercedes hadn’t been set up properly.

“An ‘opulent’ lunch in his belly, Rudolf UhlenhautMercedes-Benz’s prized engineer at the time—decided to check for himself. Furnished in his suit and tie, the Anglo-German simply got in the car and tested around the fearsome Green Hell himself.

“He was three seconds faster than Fangio around the ’Ring. Fangio is a five-time F1 world champion. Rudy’s polite comments after the test? That Fangio—Fangio—should ‘practice.’

“So it’s the numbers that matter. This humble anecdote goes some way to explain why Rudy’s old company car, one of just two ever built, has become the most expensive car ever sold. The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut’ Coupe above was sold at a private auction for a gobsmacking €135,000,000. Around £115,000,000 or P7,500,000,000, give or take.

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“Having been owned by Mercedes-Benz since 1955, the winning bid came from a private collector who has just bagged themselves not only one of the most beautiful cars ever built, but one of ‘the great jewels of motoring history.’

“The 300 SLR was based on Merc’s W196 GP car that took Fangio to two F1 world titles; it was also Rudy’s company car. A 300hp 3.0-liter straight-six powered the SLR to a top speed of 290kph making it one of the fastest street-legal cars ever built. Indeed, it’s one of the world’s first-ever ‘supercars.’

RM Sotheby’s hosted the private sale at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart where the SLR has rested, with only select Merc customers and international car collectors part of a very exclusive audience. And it’s not just the most expensive car ever sold at auction, but one of the most expensive things ever sold at auction. Proceeds of the sale will help establish a Merc Fund for educational and research scholarships in environmental science and decarbonization for young people.”

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PHOTO: Charles Banaag, Niky Tamayo, Toyota, SsangYong
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