2017 top motoring stories

News spread like wildfire, and that applies to motoring headlines too. However, there might be some who might have just missed the latest trends in the automotive world, especially in the Philippines where the local market is as dynamic as Xander Ford’s life.

That’s why we took all the top motoring stories of 2017. These might not be hot-off-the-press by this time but trust us, these news sold like hotcakes when they hit the airwaves. Whether you’re a car nut or someone who’s just interested in buying a car next year, these topics will keep you in the know.

Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) started 2017 with a bang as the funky and fun-looking Juke got new limited edition N-Style variants with colorful updates inside and out. Although as of this writing, these are already sold out, but if you’re looking to buy a Juke with a different color scheme, a Bordeaux Black variant is available.

In addition to that, the Urvan was updated this year with a bigger V-Motion grille and multi-reflector halogen headlamps. A top-of-the-line variant was also added and appropriately named Urvan Premium.

To put icing on the cake, NPI also refreshed the X-Trail compact crossover. Aside from a slightly new face, it came equipped Nissan’s Intelligent mobility on board — the first among the company’s lineup to gain high-tech safety features.

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) pulled all the stops in 2017 with an almost simultaneous launch of the facelifted City, Mobilio, and Jazz. The latter also got an RS variant to boost the already-sporty appeal of the hatchback.

One of the biggest stories in 2017 was when HCPI finally (and officially) brought in the Honda Civic Type R for the first time. It was a show-stopper during the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), which made the company sell the car in the local showrooms.

HCPI also launched another first — a 7-seater diesel-fed CR-V. The 5th generation model was the first diesel Honda to roll the streets.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) took a different approach in 2017 as they began to locally assemble the Mirage G4 in their plant in Laguna. This strengthened their footing in the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) government program.

The diamond brand also updated their big cars as the ASX crossover got a new look, while the Montero Sport GT variant was enhanced with advanced safety features such as Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) automatic emergency braking system and Blind Spot Warning (BSW).

Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc. (MIPI) took a bold step in 2017 by bringing in the next-generation Impreza and XV. Both models now sit atop the all-new Subaru Global Platform, which naturally improved everything there was with the star-spangled nameplate.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) buffed up their entire lineup—including the commercial vehicles—through the launch of the Blue Power line of diesel engines. These power mills are compliant to the international Euro 4 (Euro IV for trucks) emission standard.

The mu-X midsize SUV and D-Max pickup truck got the new engine, however, the Crosswind AUV didn’t. This marked the end of an era in which AUVs reigned in the hearts of Filipino car-buyers.

Bermaz Auto Philippines (BAP) also hit the limelight during the MIAS with their strong all-new Mazda lineup. All-new crossovers CX-5 and CX-9 led the charge, along with the sleek and sexy MX-5 RF.

BAP also updated the ‘2’ subcompact car with G-Vectoring Control to further enhance its driving prowess. In line with that, the Japanese brand launched the Jinba Ittai Academy to let Filipinos experience the true joy of driving.

Suzuki Philippines aimed to stir the subcompact crossover segment with the 2018 Vitara. It’s an all-new model that’s smaller and more vibrant than its predecessor. They also updated their dynamic mini duo Celerio and Alto with more safety features.

Still reigning as the number 1 brand in the country in terms of sales, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) refreshed its MPV lineup with new variants — the Avanza Veloz and Innova Touring Sport. TMP also ended the year by putting a smile on the 2018 Yaris’ face.

Chinese brands set the bar high this year when it comes to providing customer service. BAIC Philippines opened their flagship showroom in Makati — a 1,200-square meter dealership that can display up 12 vehicles and has a customer lounge, multiple sales offices, and an aftersales service reception area.

BYD Philippines, on the other hand, launched their 5-year preventive maintenance service (PMS) program for the all-new S1 subcompact crossover and the 7-seater S7 SUV. Moreover, other BYD cars such as the F0 and S6 got a special rate with the brand’s PMS.

South Korean brands shined as the most fuel-efficient cars in the 2017 DOE Fuel Economy Run were the SsangYong Rodius (diesel) and the all-new Kia Picanto (gasoline). The latter was also just launched this year, which sprung interest among its patrons with its Turbo GT-Line variant.

Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) made the year spectacular as well by adding the H350 mini-bus and Creta subcompact crossover to their arsenal of vehicles. They also brought a new luxury line, the Genesis G90, which is looking to challenge the segment that’s populated by European brands.

Speaking of European cars, Volkswagen Philippines led the lot for being proclaimed as Philippines’ top European car brand. By selling more than 1000 cars in the country, the company surpassed a milestone after just operating for 3 years.

A lot of European cars also made local launches. These were the Aston Martin DB11 and Vanquish S; Porsche Panamera; BMW 5 Series and 2 Series Grand Tourer; Audi Q2 and Q5; 2nd generation MINI Countryman; and Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover.

Peugeot Philippines laid its cards to jumpstart its nameplate. They challenged the SUV/crossover market with their 3 French heroes — the 2008 subcompact, the 3008 compact, and the 7-seater midsize 5008.

Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover found a new home in Coventry Motors Corp. (CMC). President Gerardo F. Alejandro leads CMC as the exclusive local distributor of the British brand.

Now for the American brands, Ford Group Philippines (FGP) had a change in leadership as Bertrand Lessard was named as its new Managing Director. Aside from that, the meanest and most badass-looking pickup truck was teased to be hitting the local showrooms next year in the form of the Ranger Raptor.

On the other hand, the Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI) spiced up the MIAS with the all-new Spark and refreshed Trax. They also celebrated 100 years of Chevrolet trucks and launched the classy throwback Centennial Edition of the Colorado.

Lastly, Dodge Philippines challenged the market with the 707-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat that greeted the gates of the 2017 MIAS.

The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) slightly increased its toll fee, specifically P0.25 per kilometer. If you’re traversing the entire NLEX from Balintawak to Sta. Ines, you will have to add additional P18 to the previous rate.

Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), on the other hand, opened its latest entry/exit point in Pangasinan — the Pozorrubio toll gate. The additional 10 kilometers can cut the travel time to Northern parts of Luzon by at least 30 minutes.

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