Unlike the previous test day last October 17, a bright and sunny morning welcomed the 19 vehicles that we tested in the Clark Freeport Economic Zone in Pampanga. This was the 3rd day of the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) TestFest 2015.
As part of the Qualitative tests, we assessed the nominees from a buyer's point of view based on features, appearance, and overall driving experience. On the other hand, the Quantitative tests were done by the CAGI technical team on a safe, closed track using a Vbox data logger.
For the 3rd day, these are the cars and trucks that were tested:
- Chevrolet Trax LT
- Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Premium
- Haima 2
- Isuzu D-Max 3.0 VGS (4x2 MT and 4x4 AT)
- Isuzu mu-X 3.0 VGS (4x2 and 4x4)
- Kia Carnival
- Kia Forte (Sedan, Hatchback, and Koup)
- Kia Sorento
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Outback
- Subaru WRX
- Suzuki Celerio MT
- Tata Xenon
- Volkswagen Golf GTI
- Volkswagen Polo Hatchback
It was an exciting day of testing – different set of vehicles but the same set of guidelines in scoring. And just like before, we have our favorites.
The Trax has a big legroom and headroom, which was a contrast to its size. The interior packaging worked well – from seating comfort to sporty gauge clusters to the touchscreen head unit. We also tried the Siri Eyes Free connectivity with Chevrolet MyLink which was quite handy.
Driving the Trax was really painless which conformed to “City-Smart Urban SUV”, as Chevy dubbed it. All its corners were visible from the cockpit and the transmission with manual shift mode was fluidly responsive. We really thought that the Trax lived up to its hype.
The Mustang was definitely a treat to drive. The particular variant that Ford brought was the GT Premium which has a whopping 5.0L V8 engine. Its 435 hp and 542 Nm of torque on the spec sheet matched the speed and pulling power we experienced when we drove this thoroughbred.
Its muscular hood complemented the beefy power plant under it. Inside, it has the traditional rotary A/C vents and the classic “old-school” switches. It looked pretty when combined with the touchscreen head unit and LCD between the gauge clusters. The materials used inside and outside were superior which makes this iconic model worthy of its price.
The bulky exterior of the mu-X was a match to its massive interior space. It also has a top notch air-conditioning system which was felt up to the 3rd row seats. The leather-wrapped seats were pleasant to touch and to look at. The whole front panel looks fine and made with precision.
The ride with the new mu-X was impressively smooth considering that it is a truck-based SUV. The main highlight was the new 3.0 VGS engine which was very powerful. We had a chance to drive the old 2.5L mu-X model before and we definitely felt the difference on the torque on this new one.
The new Legacy's exterior design was sleeker than its predecessor. The chrome accents on the hexagonal grille and fog lamps definitely added a classy appeal. Inside, the dashboard, center panel, and leather-wrapped seats were all made of high quality materials.
On the road, the Legacy’s engine was responsive and the steering wheel had a great feedback. The lineartronic CVT also worked smoothly. Its main highlight was that the engine noise was not audible while inside the vehicle.
The Polo Hatchback conformed to the German brand's design which is simple and timeless. The seats were comfortable and there was a huge amount of space inside considering its size. The statement “less is more” perfectly describes the overall styling and that definitely caught our hearts.
Out in the open, the Polo was enjoyable to drive. We all agreed that this car was very suitable for city driving. The response of the engine and its transmission was impressive, along with its overall handling.
In total, 62 nominees have already been tested and vie to be the Car and Truck of the Year-Philippines 2015. But we're not done yet – the final testing day is set to be scheduled by the first week of November.
If you want to see the full specs, prices, and details of all the car mentioned in this article, visit the AutoDeal Car Guide.
The 2015 Car of the Year – Philippines is made possible by event partners Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks & Casino, and R. G. Manabat & Co. / KPMG, and sponsors Bose, Air Asia, HitchPro, the Manila International Auto Show, Worldbex Services International, Manila North Tollways Corporation, North Luzon Expressway, Sonax, Ultra Modular Concepts, Inc. (UMCI), Romac Group of Companies, Columbia Sportswear, SpeedLab, and LG Electronics.