Whether it’s the vehicle excise tax or the panic buying that occurred before the price increases kicked in, 2018’s new vehicle sales slumped after more than a decade of continuous growth. Nonetheless, the auto industry remains positive it will bounce back this year. That has likely a lot to do with the new vehicles that are coming our way.
Ford Everest Bi-Turbo
If 2018 was the year of the Ford Ranger Raptor, 2019 may very well be the year of the Everest. Ford’s best-selling SUV is set to get a powertrain upgrade soon in the form of the very same 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo under the hood of the Ranger Raptor. Just like the current Ranger that already benefits from this, the Everest will receive the new engine in its top trims, with the Bi-Turbo reserved for the 4×4 Titanium and the 2.0-liter turbo for select trim levels of the 4×2. Both will receive the tempting 10-speed automatic that will allow it to return even better fuel efficiency. That means we’ll have to bid farewell to the 3.2-liter, but rest assured, the 2.2-liter TDCI will still be around.
BMW 3 Series
The seventh generation of the top-selling sedan of Bavaria is set to arrive this year. The new sporty sedan will boast of a new look that blends both sport and commanding presence. Knowing BMW Philippines, buyers can expect a power yet efficient diesel powerplant under the hood. Yet what’s must interesting about it is actually the software. BMW veterans are likely familiar with the iDrive infotainment software. Version 7.0, which will be installed in the 3 Series hopes to take it a level further, replacing the dials with a fully digital display to better prioritize information. It also allows the driver to input commands more easily whether via the dial, a touchpad, voice, or gesture controls.
Recently acquired and managed by Ayala Corp., the company behind Volkswagen and KTM, Kia hopes to make a splash in the coming year with the arrival of several new models. While Kia Philippines has not confirmed which models specifically, we certainly hope that one of them will be the Kia Stinger. The Stinger is a large performance sedan that has been making waves in markets abroad. The five-door fastback will go head to head against the Camry and Accord. This rear-wheel drive sporty sedan could potentially shake up the established competition and will certainly live up to Kia’s “power to surprise” motto.
Honda Brio RS
Technically, we’ve already seen what the Brio could look like. The current Mobilio, which is based on the Brio, is already bearing the new face. It’s only a matter of time before the same look is applied to Honda’s smallest sedan and hatchback. The Brio RS concept first debuted in Bangkok, and is already being built in Indonesia. Since imports from our fellow ASEAN-neighbor have very low duties, there’s very little reason not to bring in the new Brio RS. It may come in a smaller engine than we expect, as current tax laws in Indonesia are favorable to engines 1.2-liters in size or smaller. Nonetheless, it’s still very much the same practical small car, with the sportier look to match the sporty handling we already love.
For those that fell in love with Mazda’s concept cars, the Vision Coupe and Kai Concept, you’re in for a treat. One of them, the Kai Concept will become a reality in the form of the new Mazda 3. Already launched in the US, the new Mazda 3 boasts of the same sleek and seamless design as the concept, doing away with character lines completely and instead showing off its beautifully sculpted surfaces. Foreign markets will receive the Mazda 3 with a SkyActiv-X engine; the revolutionary engine that further promises even more power and efficiency. Unfortunately, due to very few providers of Euro 6 fuel in the country, we may still get it with the conventional SkyActiv-G engines. Nonetheless, this should do little to diminish the appeal of Mazda’s new design.
With small seven-seater MPVs topping sales charts last year, it’s a very good bet that we’ll see even more this year. One of the brands eager for it is Suzuki, which is one of the few brands to survive 2018 sales slump relatively unscathed. You can bet that they will be keen to boost their sales even further with the arrival of the new Ertiga, boasting of a new look and features. This model will definitely be larger, lighter, packed with more features, and sip fuel conscientiously with (rumor has it) a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine.
It may look familiar, but underneath Subaru’s Forester is an all-new vehicle. It’s built upon Subaru’s new Global Platform, designed to make the car stiffer, handle better, and even safer in a crash. Naturally, the new Forester will receive all the latest tech, being Subaru’s EyeSight safety suite which is composed of software that mitigates accidents and ensures the driver is alert of his surroundings at all times. Powering it is a 2.0-liter engine paired to a CVT transmission. Not to fret, Subaru has retained the full-time all-wheel drive and has even upgraded X-mode 4×4 to better handle rougher terrain in the top-of-the-line trim. Expect to hear about the new Forester this month.
By Iñigo S. Roces