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Our favorite surprises at PIMS

A recap of the year’s most-awaited motor show



2019 Suzuki Jimny


The 7th Philippine International Motor Show has come and gone, leaving us automotive enthusiasts with a lot of exciting new products to think about. Some we’ll have to wait for, while some are available right as you’re reading this. As the dust of the barrage of automotive information settles, we take some time to pick out some of our favorite highlights from the show.


One of the biggest teases of the show came from Nissan as they introduced two new additions to their NISMO lineup in the form of the 370Z NISMO and Juke NISMO.


Nissan 370Z NISMO

The 370Z has already achieved cult status worldwide as a highly capable sportscar, and its GTR-inspired fully integrated NISMO body kit enhances its already aggressive stance while optimizing front and rear downforce. Powered by a 350 horsepower 3.7 liter DOHC V6 engine, the 370Z’s NISMO additions add function to form. A refined four-wheel independent suspension NISMO brand strut tower brace enhances body rigidity and a pair of high performance dampers help minimize road vibrations.

The Nissan Juke also receives the NISMO treatment in the form of an aerodynamic body kit, adding a sportier edge to its unique styling characteristics. The 370Z NISMO, standard 370Z, and Juke NISMO will be introduced in the later part of 2019.

Nissan also presented special versions of their Navara and Terra models with the Nissan Navara Warrior X and Nissan Terra S Special Edition variants. The Nissan Navara Warrior X sports a special bodykit for the front and rear, as well as upgraded suspension, increased ride height, large 20-inch wheels, and custom leather interior. The Terra S featured a custom body kit, 20-inch alloy wheels, a custom paint job, and custom leather interior.


When Honda first introduced the Honda Jazz, it quickly became an instant favorite, with its diminutive size, large boot space, affordable price and economical engine making it a no-brainer choice for those looking for a practical car. Succeeding iterations of the Jazz made it larger, and fancier kit made it more expensive, leaving the slot it once occupied open for the Honda Brio to take over.

There’s little question then why Honda’s Small RS Concept excites us so much. Touted as a possible future Brio (Honda wouldn’t confirm for now), the Small RS Concept’s aggressive, sporty styling and updated interior shows promise of what could possibly be the most exciting small hatchback yet.


Toyota came in full force presenting their entire lineup; but at the center of it all was their TJ Cruiser Concept, which is what Toyota envisions the future to be like. The TJ Cruiser aims to combine the best of all worlds into one car, as a hybrid that features the luggage carrying capacity of a cargo van with the rugged design and functionality of an off-road SUV. Sounds like the perfect car for Philippine roads to us.


Isuzu VT02 Concept


Isuzu’s current lineup, with their impressive Blue Power engines are already well-known, but Isuzu featured an interesting concept in the form of its VT02 lightweight truck. Newly developed by Isuzu through adopting commercial vehicle technologies, the Isuzu VT02 aims to maximize loading efficiency, tight turning performance, and fuel efficiency. Its small dimensions make it an ideal business solution for small to medium enterprises and an ideal replacement to aging commercial vans being used today.


One of the most anticipated releases of the year, the next-generation Suzuki Jimny made its local debut at PIMS, and it didn’t disappoint. Having garnered a near-cult following in its 20-year existence, the outgoing third generation Suzuki Jimny won automotive hearts with its compact dimensions and legitimate off-road capabilities. The incoming fourth generation Jimny looks to continue that tradition with a separate body and frame, solid live axles, and a 4×4 transfer case with high and low gearing. Already available in Japan, the fourth generation Suzuki Jimny is already garnering a lot of praise, so we can’t wait for it to finally reach our shores.


Participating at PIMS for the first time, United Asia Automotive Group, Inc., the official distributor of Foton in the country, showcased a range of passenger and commercial vehicles. Catching our eye were the two Foton Gratour models, the IM6 seven-seater minivan and the TM MPV, and the Toplander Xtreme SUV, each powered by Euro-4 compliant Blue Energy engines. The Foton Gratour is sure to attract large families looking for a practical, affordable car with its sub-P500k pricetag, while the Toplander Xtreme is geared for the worst Philippine weather situations, accessorized with a snorkel, rain gutters, tow hitch, and large all-terrain tires.


Besides the impressive BJ20 SUV and M50S MPV which were recently revealed last September, BAIC Philippines introduced their latest premium MPV, the M60. Despite the M60’s premium amenities such as plush two-tone leather seats, large infotainment system and peppy 1.5 liter turbo engine, it comes at a very reasonable price tag at P998,000. On the outside, the M60 is given a dose of rugged flair with body cladding along its profile, a large grille, wrap around tail lights, and a diffuser integrated into its rear bumper. We’re excited to see how this model fairs in the battle for value-for-money supremacy in the 7-seater MPV segment, but it looks to be on track to be a winner.

Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven


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