Change and the fact that it is eminent is an idea that gets thrown around quite a lot nowadays. This is also true when it comes to the cars we see on the road. In our market, which cars are available to us is largely dictated by what makes and models our importers and dealers feel they can currently make money on. But, how can we get a taste of what the future has to offer? To get a feel of what changes are in store, we look at what cars are on display in a motor show. While we were at Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) 2016, this is just what we did.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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The future of Philippine motoring is Electric – While the Outlander PHEV is not 100% electric, it features an electric motor and batteries that can be charged from electronic charging stations. PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle system. This means that the vehicle can get power from a 2.0 liter petrol engine or from two electric motors depending on the driving conditions. All this translates to a fuel efficient and energy saving vehicle. However, for all its advantages, electric vehicles have one drawback, range. To solve this, the Outlander PHEV relies not just on the batteries stored beneath the floor but also on petrol to make sure that you won’t be caught stuck in the middle of nowhere without a place to plug in.
Continuing with the electrical theme of the future and its possible drawbacks, another challenge with electric or hybrid vehicles is that, thanks to the Prius, they are thought to be success of the tree hugging hippie culture that has plagued the automotive industry. That is not so with the Lexus LC500h. Lexus introduces its Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid Platform which is the love child of two ideas we hardly see together. If fuel consumption and power had a baby, it would produce something similar to the LC500h. What it does is it tries to make the electric motor work during acceleration and keeps engine revs close to driver inputs. This results to a Hybrid that focuses on giving a more engaging driver experience
Toyota NEW Supra
The future of Philippine Motoring is mysterious – if there was any one car that sparked curiosity, it would be the Toyota Supra. It is the reincarnation of a beloved icon which first went into production before I was born. From 1978 to 2002, Toyota has been making the Supra and 12 years later after the last unit has rolled off the production line, the next interpretation of this legend was introduced. Currently, if one were to ask for specs on the Supra, we can only provide SPECulations. Some say, it’s going to be a hybrid, or that it’s going to have an engine from a very fast Lexus, all we know is, it’s going to have a semi-automatic, dual-clutch transaxle.
The future of Philippine motoring is Chinese infused – We have always had Chinese manufacturers however, car buyers have never really taken them seriously as competition for Japanese or Korean cars. However, in PIMS 2016, we saw that there is one Chinese manufacturer that wants to up the ante. BAIC, pronounced (according to the marketing staff present) as ‘bike’, showcased some vehicles that some may actually want. The X424 is pretty much a Jeep copy but, at only Php1,488,000, is less than half the price of the real deal. That does get tempting. It has a very Spartan interior and may be down on power compared to an actual Jeep but, it has some features that one might expect from a rugged, military based off-roader. It has a 5 – speed Manual with a 4×4 transfer case and the ability to remove the roof and fold the windscreen down. Why? So that you don’t have to shoot through your windshield or lean out the windows when you have to take your rifle out to pursue drug dealers.
Peugeot 208 GTi
The future of Philippine motoring is European – in the past we have always had to make do with low spec versions of cars we lusted after. That’s why we were very excited when the Hyundai Accent came out with its CRDi version. It was the closest thing we had to a hot hatch. Thanks to Peugeot being now in the Philippines, this is now no longer the case. The 208 GTi is the modern iteration of a real hot hatch classic and having it available in the domestic market is one of the best news we pinoy car guys could ever get. The current model has turbocharged 1.6 liter motor which boasts maximum power at 200 HP. Coupled with a close ratio 6-speed manual transmission. We are in for a fun future.
In the recent PIMS we saw that electric and hybrid vehicles are almost at our shores. How long before they become the norm remains to be seen. However, we don’t have to rely just on importers and dealers to decide our future for us. We consumers can steer the future of the industry based on what we want. In the end, our importers will only bring in what we buy. Be it electric, hybrid, Chinese, or European, our tomorrow it doesn’t have to be bleak and boring if we don’t want it to be. Whatever change we want will not happened if we wait. Change will start with what we want today. So, this begs the question, what future do you want?