Car News

This week in cars: Isuzu MU-X updates, Toyota Vios with 1.3-liter engine

Daihatsu has also unveiled the quirky new Tanto

The updated Isuzu MU-X has been unveiled in Thailand

Isuzu MU-X 2023

“Would you look at that? The current-gen MU-X is already turning two this month. Time really does fly. For the midsize SUV’s second birthday, Isuzu has decided to give it some minor aesthetic tweaks.

“Up front, the MU-X still sports the same grille only this time it’s been given a new black chrome finish. Underneath, new 20-inch rotor blade alloy wheels take the place of the fan-like two-tone alloys. Also pictured here is the new Glacier Blue Mica exterior finish which, in the pictures, looks way more stylish than the colors we have in our market.

“Inside the cabin, the layout has been retained, but a new Macchiato Brown color option is now available. We said minor, didn’t we? The new Glacier Blue Mica looks darn good, though.

“Across the board, it’s still basically the same SUV. The MU-X still comes with a choice of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel or a 1.9-liter RZ4E diesel mill. It also still packs the same arsenal of safety and driver-assist features that select variants here in our market have. It does get a new smart liftgate, though—it opens or closes the rear door whenever the key holder approaches or moves away from the vehicle.”

The Toyota Vios lands in Thailand with a 1.3-liter engine option

Toyota Vios 2023 Saudi Arabia 1.3-liter engine

“You’ve already seen what the new-generation Vios looks like. Launched about two months ago, it premiered in Thailand as the Yaris Ativ with a 1.2-liter engine. A few weeks after that, the Laos market got their hands on it sporting a 1.5-liter engine. That got us thinking, will Toyota still offer the subcompact sedan with a 1.3-liter?

“Specs? The updated engine puts out 97hp and 122 Nm of torque, which is about the same as the current 1.3-liter but with 1Nm less. It still has Dual VVT-I along with enhancements to the exhaust gas recirculation. While the numbers aren’t heart-pounding,the claimed fuel economy figure of up to 22 km/L should delight those looking for something efficient.

“Unlike before, the Vios rides on a Daihatsu platform. Dubbed the DNGA, it shares the same chassis as the Avanza, the Veloz, and the Raize. It even shares a few suspension components with the said MPVs and crossover. So, for those saying that this is merely a reskin of the past model, this is an all-new model from bumper to bumper. Interestingly, the length is about the same but it’s grown in other areas.”

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The quirky new Daihatsu Tanto has been unveiled in Japan

Daihatsu Tanto 2023

Daihatsu easily has one of the quirkiest lineups in Japan, from funky models like the Copen to small yet utilitarian ones such as the Taft. If we were to list down the Daihatsus we’d like to see in our market, then we’re going to need some time.

“There’s one newly launched model that we’d definitely add to that ever-growing list, though: the Tanto. The new range has just been launched in Japan, and we can’t help but imagine how a tiny vehicle like this could thrive in our market.

“The boxy kei car comes in different variants, starting with the standard trim which gets a very typical design. The Tanto Fun Cross, meanwhile, is the rugged version that gets black plastic claddings to accentuate the exterior. Then there’s the Tanto Custom, which sports a Lexus LM-like spindle grille up front and snazzy two-tone wheels underneath.

“The Tanto sports ‘miracle doors’ that make it easier to board or alight the vehicle. There are standard doors up front matched with sliding doors at the rear, and there’s no B-pillar inside, drastically improving accessibility.

“Under the hood, meanwhile, this kei car gets a 660cc three-cylinder gasoline engine that can be had with or without a turbo. Both 2WD and 4WD options are available, but the CVT remains as the lone transmission option. As far as fuel consumption goes, the Tanto will yield anywhere between 21-28km/L depending on the configuration.”

Honda has pulled the wraps off the Prologue electric SUV

Honda Prologue

“It was earlier this year when we got our first look at Honda’s first-ever electric SUV, the Prologue. The Japanese carmaker may have gotten a bit too excited about its upcoming EV, though, as it has now released the first official images of it ahead of the 2024 launch.

“It’s definitely a looker, this one. It captures Honda’s design language quite nicely, with that familiar nose. There’s no grille here, of course, but the entire front fascia looks a bit similar to that of other modern Hondas.

“The rear arguably even more stylish than the front. Unique Honda badging with the stylized typeface along with the simple yet eye-catching taillights—these make for a very balanced design overall. The plastic claddings underneath match the beefy-looking wheels, too, embodying that ‘neo-rugged’ design Honda’s pertaining to.

“‘Our goal was to create a clean harmony based on a rugged SUV image by coordinating the colors and materials to express neo-rugged design styling that’s familiar to our customers and uniquely Honda,’ said Color, Materials and Finish design lead Masaki Sumimoto.

“Inside, the Prologue supposedly boasts a Passport-like cabin in terms of space. The Prologue is about 203mm longer and 127mm wider than the all-new CR-V. It looks rather neat, too, with what appear to be soft-touch materials with premium garnishes plastered around the interior. There’s an 11-inch fully digital instrument cluster paired with an 11.3-inch infotainment system as well, adding to that futuristic vibe.”

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The Honda Jazz has just received a minor refresh

Image of the Honda Jazz


“Want a Honda Jazz in the Philippines? Since the hatchback has already been discontinued locally, your best shot at owning one now is our country’s secondhand market. The model continues to live its best life over in Japan, though, where it has just been refreshed.

“Heading into 2023, Jazz (or Fit, rather) units will feature an altered face with a more minimalist appearance. The lower fascia features more black plastic now and a simpler overall design, while the small grille eats less into the vehicle’s headlights. The wheels have been given a makeover as well, and now feature a more modest five-spoke design.

“Oh, and remember the Honda Jazz Crosstar? It still looks more rugged than the rest of the vehicle’s lineup, but the grille now features a honeycomb design and the lower fascia gets some nice contrasting trim.

“The new bumper layout is definitely cleaner, but we can imagine that some of you may find it a little bland compared to the previous one. If that’s the case, there’s always the new Honda Jazz RS. You can read more about this spiced-up hatchback here.

“Other improvements? There’s a 14hp improvement in the total system output of e:HEV Honda Jazz units, supposedly providing the hatchback with smoother and improved acceleration. Reversing and blind spot assist now come as standard across the range, too.”

The Isuzu D-Max also gets a few updates

Isuzu D-Max 2023 gets minor updates inside and out

The MU-X isn’t the only Isuzu that gets updates for the 2023 model year. The Japanese automaker also applied some changes to the D-Max pickup for good measure. With that, we might expect a couple of these updates to eventually make it to the Philippine model.

“At first glance, you won’t find much difference between this and the current model. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice metallic grey finishes in the grille, along with more grey-colored trims in the fender flares for the V-Cross (aka, the LS-E in the Philippines). Moving to its sides, the D-Max also gets new wheel designs and that applies to all variants of the pickup. As for the rear, it gets smoked tail lights as part of the 2023 update.

“Inside, you won’t see much changes in terms of the dashboard’s design. It still retains the piano black and dark chrome accents, and the seat colors are the same as before. However, it’s the seat fabric that gets a significant update. Isuzu calls the material Cool Max, and they say it has the ability to lessen heat absorption compared to synthetic leather. Now that’s something handy when you’re parked under the sun. The seats also get vibration-absorbing cushions for the front seats.

“For the 2023 model year, the D-Max gets an updated infotainment system. It sports a higher resolution screen, per the manufacturer, plus they added wireless Apple CarPlay to go along with it. There’s a hardware upgrade for 2023, too. From now on, most 4x4 models get an electronic rear differential lock as standard. Here’s to hoping the Philippine version gets it too.

“All engines are carried over for the 2023 D-Max. That means you have a choice between the 1.9 RZ4E Bluepower turbodiesel, or the 3.0-liter Bluepower turbodiesel. Transmission choices remain the same; a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.”

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