2018 may have gone by in a blink, but it was a year that was loaded with important launches and events in the local automotive industry. Amidst the large number of refreshed models, new offerings, and industry news, here are some of our favorite highlights from 2018.
The much-awaited replacement to the Mitsubishi Adventure had everyone buzzing at the beginning of the year. When it was finally launched, the Mitsubishi Xpander went beyond everyone’s expectations, offering excellent value for money in an increasingly competitive compact seven-seater crossover segment.
Ford Ranger Raptor
It could be argued that the introduction of the Ford Ranger Raptor marked the start of the country’s pickup frenzy this year, forcing other manufacturers to either quickly update their pickup models with new aesthetics and body kits, or introduce new models altogether. And with its supremely imposing presence on the road, it isn’t hard to see why.
The launch of the Chevrolet Malibu early this year flew under the radar for most people. It’s a shame, really, as the completely redesigned Chevrolet Malibu proved to be one of the more surprising drives of the year, with a full suite of convenience and safety features, combined with one of the more comfortable and engaging drives in the segment.
In their quest to fill the gaps between every segment imaginable, Toyota introduced the Rush as a sportier, fresher take on the aging Toyota Avanza. Loaded with convenience and safety features (6 airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, hill start assist, and a seven-inch touchscreen pumping audio to eight speakers to get started), the Toyota Rush is just another reason why picking a winner from the compact seven-seater crossover list is so difficult.
It took a while for Nissan to enter the highly competitive and immensely popular seven-seater SUV segment, but 2018 was the year they finally did with their Nissan Terra, and the wait was definitely worth it. It proved to be an extremely well-rounded offering with a comfortable ride, excellent handling, a powerful engine, and all the right creature comforts.
With a price tag that tops out below P700,000, the Suzuki Dzire is 2018’s greatest blessing to first-car buyers. It features solid build quality and a lot of important safety features that come standard such as ABS with EBD, brake assist, and two airbags. It also features a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with built-in navigation. When it comes to options in this price range, it honestly doesn’t get any better than this.
The country’s most popular passenger vehicle got updated this year, bringing with it some important upgrades. Besides its updated styling, the new Toyota Vios features better NVH, better safety with seven airbags, ABS with EBD, and traction control as standard, and improved body rigidity.
While the EcoSport carried a seemingly minor update to its exterior styling, it’s the changes inside and under the hood that make all the difference. For 2018, Ford gave their popular crossover a large eight-inch touchscreen which features Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system. Besides the interior amenities, the EcoSport’s drivetrain has been greatly improved as well, with a new six-speed automatic transmission, and Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine added to the lineup.
New Volkswagen models
Volkswagen’s decision to completely revamp their lineup came with a few raised eyebrows from the motoring public, but the German company quickly proved that they knew exactly what they were doing. From the entry-level Santana and Santana GTS, to the extremely well-equipped Lamando, and the value-for-money proposition Tiguan, Volkswagen has combined their trademark exceptional build quality with extremely approachable price tags.
We’ve also seen an increase in impressive vehicles from China this year. BAIC’s BJ20 SUV is an impressive offering, but newcomers such as GAC Motor, JAC Motors, and new models from MG Philippines are proving that Chinese made passenger cars can finally stand toe-to-toe with the rest of the competition.
By Chris Van Hoven