The second generation Toyota Vios has been with us for a little over 3 years now. Ever since its advent in 2007, this subcompact sedan has been one of the best-selling cars in the Philippine market, selling over 11 thousand units in 2009 alone. Not that it’s losing popularity, but every now and then, Toyota has been adding special versions to the existing line of Vios’ to spice up the brand. They began with the release of the Vios Limited Edition back in 2008 with the Vios S shortly after in 2009. Now in late 2009, Toyota has introduced yet another addition to the Vios family, the Vios TRD Sportivo.
Ever since its debut onto rally racing 16 years ago, the Subaru Impreza was a born winner. It helped propel infamous names such as McRae, Burns, and Solberg to win championships on the world rally scene conquering tarmac, gravel, and snow. Officially introduced back in early 2008, the Subaru Impreza landed on the Philippine shores to conquer yet another challenge - making a mark onto the local subcompact car market. In its five-door trim, the Subaru Impreza hatchback already built a strong foundation for the Impreza’s namesake and has been doing so for the past year. To keep the fire burning, on April of 2009, Motor Image Philippines launched the hatchback’s twin brother, the Subaru Impreza sedan.
The week after I test drove the Volvo XC90, NBA star Shaquille O’Neal scored 45 points during a Phoenix Suns win. This was the 49th time Shaq scored at least 40 points in a game but the remarkable thing was it came a week before he turned 37 years old - rather geriatric in a league where some high school phenoms go straight into from high school. The last time Shaq scored at least 45 points was in 2003 when he was still wearing a Lakers jersey.
Coincidentally, the Volvo XC90 was launched also in 2003. This makes the XC90 a senior citizen in the cut-throat luxury crossover segment where it faces stiff opposition from the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL class, not to mention the usual suspects from the US, Japan, and the rest of Europe. Can the stylish Swede, like Shaq, defy time and still turn in a dominating performance?
Just over 10 years ago, owning a 4x4 meant driving around in an uncompromising beast that was built to climb over boulders, cross through rivers and be tough enough to wage war against a communist army but other than that, they were completely useless in the city streets. They were too big to fit into the mall parking lot, too tall to climb into and had features that people would only find useful in the desert or jungle. The tides of time surely brought along something that the market truly needed. The Toyota Rav4 was first introduced back in 1996 as a sporty compact SUV, tailor made for a younger generation who always thought that the Land Cruiser was too much of a Goliath and a brute.
Gorgeous, glamorous, gentlemanly, gold or whatever adjective, pronoun or noun you could think of, it will always be a mystery to all of us what the “G” badge stands for in Toyota’s vehicle line-up. Having driven the memorable manual Vios 1.3J just a few months back, I was up to my neck in excitement when I got the news that I’ll soon get my hands on the full-option automatic 1.5G variant. I reminisced how much fun I had with the base model Vios and could only anticipate the thrill of getting to test drive its classier twin brother.
It’s in every little boy’s nature to bring his newest toy not to share it but to show it off to his friends - and that’s exactly how I felt driving the Dodge Nitro. With the same aerodynamic drag coefficient as a brick, it’s big, boxy, blue and most importantly, stunningly beautiful. Dodge never meant it to be humble nor modest as they built the Nitro for one sole purpose, and that is to turn heads.
Nothing compares to the sense of pride and bliss that comes with buying things “brand new”. The time and effort spent saving up every penny is greeted by the sweet pleasure of a purchase that finally comes with an official receipt. And buying a brand new car is no different. There’s always that trill of driving away from a dealership in a special handpicked vehicle with no plates. You don’t only get a worry-free fresh vehicle but it’ll also come with the coveted “new car smell”. But for the budget-stricken average-earning citizen, getting his or her hands on a brand new car would seem to be a far-fetched dream. More often than not, they find themselves settling for second-best with a second-hand car. Fortunately enough, with the QQ’s entry in to the entry-level car market, Chery has given hope to those who have always dreamed of owning a spanking new car.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to test drive the 1.3 J Vios as I personally associated it as a form of public transport, but luckily the test unit came in an attractive metallic red rather than the dreaded taxi white color. I didn’t expect too much from it as the J variant was the lowest end available. With nothing else to do, I simply drove the Vios for a long weekend ride out of town. After the trip, I couldn’t believe how much fun I had in a car that costs so little.