Here at Go Flat Out, we’ve been busy on a lot of things lately, which has dragged us away from our keyboards and our time to write stuff, but now, here we are, once again ready to deliver exciting content, so hold onto your seats as we deliver some exciting cars this December.
In the past few weeks from our absence, a lot of car launches have happened. This plethora of new vehicles being launched are positive signs pointing at our nation’s economic growth, and as more people buy new cars, more people want different choices. Here are 8 car launches that have happened over the past few weeks.
Ford launched their facelifted Ford Explorer, just days after launching the facelifted Ford Focus. The facelift for now only applies to the turbocharged V6 Sport variant, and easy to notice is the new, squarer fascia. Squared LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights bring a more sophisticated front end design. Inside, many have criticized Ford’s lack of buttons for the interior panel design, relying instead on laggy touch sensitive controls. Many customers have complained about this, and therefore it’s a welcome touch for Ford to bring back the buttons inside the cabin.
Power under the hood of the Explorer Sport remains unchanged, still producing 365 hp and 475 Nm of torque, mated to a 6-Speed Automatic. However, the changes under the sheetmetal are more pronounced. An “enhanced sound package” with engine subframe mounts reduce noise from the engine and the road, while the engine subframe mounts further reduce vibrations passing through the cabin. What is an already quiet car in the first place is even made much more quieter.
Just like the Ford Focus, new convenience and safety tech is added to make the Explorer even more competitive. A 180-degree front parking camera is added to make parking even easier, enhanced active park assist for those who can’t actually park, and a hands-free liftgate wherein a simple foot gesture is needed to open up the car’s power trunk.
Two SUVs were launched by Lexus. First is the all-new Lexus RX, Lexus’ best selling vehicle prior to the launch of the sporty IS sedan. The Lexus RX is the best selling car in the United States, and similar to their country which are mad for SUVs, Lexus also enjoys relatively huge sales numbers from the RX. What was once a conservatively designed SUV, the new RX sheds all of its bland design for something that is aggressive and loud.
Of course, here at Go Flat Out, we prefer the F Sport variant. The ubiquitous mesh spindle grille is hard to be ignored by passer bys, and the Lexus RX’s black D-pillar give it a floating roof effect in the rear. Inside, the RX’s cabin is plush and beautifully designed. Lexus’ first ever application of laser-cut wood is applied in the non-F Sport versions of the Lexus RX.
Lexus RX 350 Premiere: P4,068,000
Lexus RX 350 F Sport: P4,938,000
Lexus RX 450h: P5,978,000
On the other hand, the Lexus LX arrives just in time for the 2016 elections. What better way for
corrupt politicians to flaunt their candidacy than to flaunt them in a Lexus LX 570. For a facelifted model, a lot of changes were made to the exterior and interior design of the LX. The design is striking as ever, with a bold, brash spindle grille right at front of this massive SUV. Gone are the design similarities between the Land Cruiser and the LX, therefore if a politician want to remain under the radar, they simply can’t just replace the badge anymore. Inside, plusher interior materials with a more desirable design. Lexus’ climate concierge, which debuted in the Lexus LS flagship sedan, makes it through this Lexus LX.
Lexus LX 570: P7,648,000
Third time’s a charm, and therefore as a Lexus fan myself, I am truly charmed by the arrival of the facelifted Lexus GS. Now complete with the GS F, the Lexus GS sports midsize sedan is further made more exciting thanks to a bolder, more aggressive spindle grille, and interestingly designed tail lights. The Lexus GS in F Sport trim somehow follows the design cues found in the Lexus LF-Gh concept released in 2012, which previewed the design direction Lexus is going for the GS, its first car to bear the brand’s spindle grille. The most anticipated arrival, however, is the Lexus GS F. While down by around 100 hp compared to the BMW M5 and its other high performance German rivals, the Lexus GS F is the last of the breed to have an old-school approach in designing a high performance midsize sports sedan. The GS F is powered by the same naturally-aspirated 5.0 liter V8, which sounds astronomical compared to the competition with turbochargers.
Lexus GS 350 F Sport: P5,288,000
Lexus GS 450h: P5,778,000
Lexus GS F: P7,588,000
Nissan has launched the facelifted Almera, now with a more affordable 1.2 liter base variant, catered to the taxi needs of our country. At 78 hp, it isn’t powerful, but its enough for the duties of providing basic transportation to the people. The new 1.5 VL AT variant, however, introduces leather seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel to the Almera, which were absent before.
Almera 1.5L VL AT: P880,000
Almera 1.5L V AT: P845,000
Almera 1.5L E AT: P762,000
Almera 1.5L E MT: P726,000
Almera 1.2L MT: P630,000
Audi has launched to the Philippines the all-new, all legendary TT, packing plenty of innovative features the 4-ring brand is known for. New generation models for Audi tend to bring modest but welcome changes to a car’s design, and for this Audi TT, they have done a really good job to the car’s design. For the S Line variant, Matrix LED headlamps, which first appeared in the Audi A8, makes its way here to the Audi TT. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the Audi TT is its Virtual Cockpit Display. In place of analog gauges is a 12 inch TFT LCD screen, which can display Google Earth 3D navigation. The display is fully customizable, and can either display mainly navigation, or entertainment options, while still displaying cohesively the rev counter and speedometer.
Other nifty interior design elements include an intelligent way to display climate control information. The temperature indicator for the climate control is placed in the middle of the Audi TT’s round vents, which not only look good, they also free the need for an additional dot matrix screen dedicated for the climate control. All these solutions have led Audi to design an interior that is not only beautiful and minimal, but also functional, since the layout is almost devoid of unnecessary screens and buttons.
The Audi TT is also 50 kg liter than the previous model, tipping the scales at 1335 kg. Combined with the 2.0 liter direct injected and turbocharged petrol engine, producing 230 hp and 370 Nm of torque, the Audi TT will surely be a hoot to drive to whoever is fortunate enough to fork out P4 million.
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI: P4,480,000
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI S Line: P4,990,000
Peugeot is aiming to have a pie in the sales market share by slowly but surely expanding its line-up. What has been absent in Peugeot’s line-up? A true rival to the compact class or the C-segment, such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Volkswagen Golf. Here it is, the gorgeous Peugeot 308. The 308 follows the brand’s corporate design language, in which it highlights a somewhat German-like approach in the design, rather than the quirks that one usually finds in a French car. Up front, standard across all trim levels are full LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights, a slim and elegant grille, and a nice set of alloy wheel designs. Interestingly, the wagon has been offered in the Philippines as well.
The Peugeot 308 is powered by either a 1.6 liter THP turbocharged, direct-injected, producing 150 hp and 240 Nm of torque, or a 1.6 liter HDI diesel, producing 120 hp and 300 Nm of torque, which is most likely going to be the popular choice. Both engines are mated to only one transmission choice. A 6-Speed Automatic.
308 1.6 THP Allure Hatchback: P1,490,000
308 1.6 HDI GT Line Hatchback: P1,890,000
308 1.6 HDI Allure Station Wagon: P1,690,000
308 1.6 HDI GT Line Station Wagon: P1,890,000
Mercedes-Benz is lesser known in the Philippines as a purveyor of crossovers and SUVs, unlike BMW, wherein SUVs are one of BMW’s best selling vehicles. Its distributor, the Auto Nation Group, wants the public to know that they also have an excellent line-up of SUVs in the Philippines, and so, they have launched three crossovers in one day. The Mercedes-Benz GLC compact crossover, the GLE midsize crossover, and the GLE coupe, which is the rival to the BMW X6 in what is a segment gimmick that fuses SUV elements with the desirable design of a coupe. Not my words. It’s from what they say in their advertisements.
These three crossovers are now under Mercedes-Benz’s new naming scheme. The GL nomenclature is followed by an A, B, C, and so on, and this reflects in their sedan line-up. For instance, the C-Class sedan is closely related in terms of market positioning with the GLC. The GLC is what used to be the GLK, and the GLE is what used to be the M-Class.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC has one engine choice. A 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged and direct injected engine, producing 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque and is mated to a 9G-Tronic 9-Speed Automatic. The GLE, meanwhile, has two engine choices. A 4-cylinder 2.0 liter diesel engine produces 204 hp and a massive 500 Nm of torque, and a 3.0 liter V6 diesel producing 258 hp and also an Earth-shattering 620 Nm of torque. Both are mated to a 9G-Tronic 9-Speed Automatic, and 4Matic All Wheel Drive is an option for the GLE 250d.
GLC 250 4Matic: P4,090,000
GLE 250d: P4,990,000
GLE 350d 4Matic: P6,390,000
GLE 350d Coupe 4Mati: P6,880,000
Just months after the car’s global release, the all-new Hyundai Elantra has landed in the Philippines. Featuring the brand’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the Hyundai Elantra follows the more conservative but more timeless approach of the Hyundai Sonata’s design. Gone are the swoopy lines from the first iteration of the Fluidic Sculpture, now replaced with more solid and elegantly sculpted shoulders.
Hyundai is aiming to make the Elantra feel more premium as ever. The interior design incorporates plusher and more premium interior materials that masks the sedan’s purpose as a mainstream compact sedan well. Hyundai promises the best NVH and refinement in the compact class, and so they added a substantial amount of sound deadening material to the doors, and the rest of the car’s body. Structurally, the car consists of 53% more high strength steel, which substantially increases the car’s rigidity, delivering better handling and as Hyundai is aiming, a better ride.
Now that the ASEAN-Korean free-trade agreement will come to fruition next year, expect the Elantra to be priced very competitively next year, as prices are still unannounced.