Michelin mulls switch to 17- and 18-inch tires for Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5

Like most single seaters, Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 run on rather small 13-inch wheels fitted with high sidewall tires. But come 2016, the series might make the big switch to 17- and 18-inch diameter tires thanks to a partnership between Michelin and Renault Sport.

“We first proposed the change to the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) in 2010 when there was a possibility of our returning to Formula 1,” said Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Director.

Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing, larger diameter tires offer several benefits over their 13-inch counterpart. A smaller sidewall will produce less yaw (or flex), allowing for greater precision and improved steering response. This improves cornering performance, making the Formula cars faster and surprisingly, far more enjoying to drive. But the most important reason behind the switch is that 17- or 18- inch tires allow Michelin to develop new technologies that can be transferred to mass-produced road tires.

Michelin Formula Renault

“We believe it is impossible to transfer technology from small-diameter tires with tall side walls, yet motorsport can play a significant role in speeding up the development of future road-going solutions. We need racing tires to have a similar profile to road tires to be in a position to develop new technologies,” Couasnon added.

Unfortunately, the idea was ignored by Formula 1 at the time.

Michelin and Renault Sport Technologies, however, share the same vision that innovative technologies in motorsports should be made available to the motoring public. That’s why they’ve begun a feasibility study of switching to 17- and 18-inch tires for Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5.

Since January 2015, the 2 companies have been collecting data over several hundred kilometers in testing. From this, they hope to understand how the tire behaves and how it affects the car’s design, especially when it comes to suspension design.

Michelin Formula Renault

“A 13-inch tire with a very tall sidewall contributes to a car’s damping. The change to 18-inch tires with a smaller sidewall would certainly require a comprehensive revision of the cars’ suspension systems,” remarked Couasnon.

Early tests in Valencia showed that a Formula Renault 3.5 could shave a second per lap around the Spanish track with the new 18-inch tires. If that’s not an indication of performance, we don’t know what is. Hopefully, Michelin and Renault Sport Technologies can continue development in the months ahead and make the big(ger) switch by 2016.

And if that happens, they might even be able to tempt Formula 1 in following in their footsteps.

Michelin Formula Renault Michelin Formula Renault

Philippine-built ZüM E-Trikes ferry delegates of 2015 APEC Summit

One can’t help but feel proud that E-Motors Inc., a 100% Filipino-owned social enterprise, is the Green Electric Mobility Partner of the APEC 2015 Economic Leader’s Summit. And as the host country, we’re transporting foreign ministers and delegates in ZüM E-Trikes.

More specifically, the ZüM E-Trikes were used at the APEC 2015’s Ministerial Meetings held in Boracay last May 23 to 24. There, it ferried world leaders, industry experts, representatives from the private sector, and delegates from the 21-economy strong APEC.

The electric 3-wheeled vehicles were all locally manufactured/assembled by E-Motors Inc. Each one retails for around P295,000 to P320,000, seats 6 passengers + driver, and has a 60 km range on a full charge. According to specs, it should take 6 to 8 hours to fill up the battery, which only costs around P60. Best of all, it does all of this without emitting any emissions.

Being the Green Electric Mobility Partner, this goes hand-in-hand with APEC’s theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” for 2 reasons.

The first is that E-Motors Inc. contributes to the economy. Not only do they help create jobs through its local manufacturing hub, but also by providing a means of livelihood and transportation in provinces. That’s because ZüM E-Trikes allow its users to (1) earn a decent living by utilizing it as a PUV and (2) provide much needed transportation in their area.

Secondly, the ZüM E-Trikes lowers our carbon footprint as a zero-emission electric vehicle. This platform showcases the Philippines’ own efforts to help address the global issue of Climate Change Mitigation, which the APEC member countries continues to provide a solution for.

“We are honored to be part of the solution not only to lower carbon emissions but to provide a profitable means of livelihood for many Filipino entrepreneurs using our ZüM E-Trikes,” says Ms. Elizabeth H. Lee, E-Motors Inc. President.

Guillermo Luz, co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council and Private Sector Coordinator for the National Organizing Committee remarked, “The ZüM E-Trikes delivers 2 key messages about the country – we are concerned about the environment and climate change and support electric vehicles. We also support the emergence of more local manufacturing in the country.”

Joining E-Motors Inc. in support of the APEC 2015 goals of inclusive growth and climate change mitigation are logistics giant 2GO Group Inc. and US-based HJEA International. Other companies who are part of the effort include BizNewsAsia Magazine, Malayan Insurance, Motolite, SL Agritech, and Globaltronics.

Taming a pocket rocket called the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

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Under that hood is a 3-cylinder displacing ‘only’ 999cc. But can the Fiesta EcoBoost prove that a turbo charger is in fact the ‘replacement for displacement’? Luckily, Ford Philippines graciously lent us this pocket rocket for a weekend with a full tank.

With the mean streets of Metro Manila as our playground, I was on a mission to find out.

The 2014 redesign of the Fiesta looks great and isn’t cutesy-looking like most cars in the subcompact class. The shrunken ‘Aston Martin’ face and flowing lines of the body hint at subtle aggression. The spoiler on the rear hatch gives it a sporty-ish vibe and the 16-inch multi-spoke wheels resemble a set of Volk Racing Artisan Spirit wheels if you squint hard enough.

2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

As for the interior, the deeply bolstered leatherette seats with fabric inserts are comfortable and supportive even after a few hours behind the wheel. It’ll also easily fit 5 people comfortably and a decent amount of cargo with the seats folded. The gauges are quite attractive and easy to read. Although it did take me a while to figure out the radio with SYNC connectivity.

The plastic steering wheel with fake ‘stitching’, however, was a bit of a letdown. This is the part of the car you touch the most and Ford could have used some better material.

But what I really wanted to know if it drives as well as it looks.

2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

Its EcoBoost engine and the 6-speed PowerShift transmission are a tag-team combo that puts the Fiesta EcoBoost in a league of its own. This little powerplant makes 125 hp and a whopping 170 Nm of torque from as early as 1,400 rpm. Add to that a dual-clutch transmission that not only changes gears faster than any human could, but is also more efficient than a conventional torque converter.

PowerShift transmissions, however, are not that smooth at low speeds. Still, it’s not bad considering its advantages.

On power, the 1.0L 3-cylinder EcoBoost definitely drives like a much bigger engine. Although the turbo needs a few seconds to spool up, it really starts to go once it hits the torque band. There’s a sweet spot between 4,500 and 6,500 rpm and the gear ratios of the transmission are perfect for keeping it there.

2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

Sadly, Sport mode, with +/- buttons on the side of the shifter is slow to respond and not very intuitive. Ford claims it has a top speed of 200 km/h which I have no doubt it can do.

Sweet!

In 6th gear, it’ll cruise at 100 km/h with the engine turning at only 2,000 rpm. Fuel economy, as we found out, is also quite okay. Ford claims 26 km/l, but we measured 11 km/l in a combined cycle and that’s not bad. The small displacement means it only sips gas when crawling through traffic. But like any turbo engine, it’s quite thirsty on a lead foot… as low as 6 km/l if you drive it as fast as we did.

As for the suspension, the Fiesta EcoBoost is quite firm and sporty. There was enough stroke to soak up the worst of road conditions without bottoming out. The brakes didn’t have the strong initial bite and over-assisted feel most Japanese cars have, but they are powerful and direct.

2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

At P898,000, the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost is definitely on the higher end of the subcompact car price race. However, the EcoBoost and PowerShift combo puts it in a totally different class in terms of performance, making it the only pocket rocket in its price range.

Even with its small 1.0L 3-cylinder engine, a feisty turbo makes it as powerful as cars with larger engine displacements. But none will be as fuel efficient or as fun as the Fiesta EcoBoost.

2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost2015 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost

The winners (and losers) in Rd 1 of the 2015 Philippine GT Championship

The big boys of circuit racing are back! That’s because last May 16/17, the Yokohama Philippine GT Championship held it’s inaugural race of the 2015 season at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

The race format for the weekend remains the same as last year, with a 10-lap Sprint Race on Sunday morning followed by a 15-lap GT Race in the afternoon. Competitor classes are also the same which are separated according horsepower rating: GT 300, GT 200, GT 150, and GT100. And because Philippine GT shares its grid with the the Philippine Touring Car Championship (PTCC), the drivers in GT 200, GT 150, and GT 100 are also classified as Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3, respectively. This means they get to compete in 1 race, but win 2 trophies from separate organizations.

2015 Philippine GT Rd 1

With Yokohama Tire Sales Philippines, Inc. still the official tire supplier of the series, all drivers are requried to run their rubber. The more powerful GT 300 cars are required to use ADVAN A050 tires, while GT 200, GT 150, and GT 100 can use either the A050 or ADVAN Neova AD08R performance tires.

The morning 10-lap Sprint Race was an outright victory for lone GT 300 driver Veli-Matti Kaikkonen in the Häfele Mitsubishi Evolution VIII. Still, he pushed hard to leave everyone behind with a 21.269 second advantage. As for last year’s GT 150 champion Richmon Dela Rosa, his modified Honda Civic Del Sol moves him up to GT 200 where he managed to beat reigning GT 200 champion Paolo Mantolino to claim 1st in class. Walter Zamora, who also moved up a class higher, finished 3rd.

2015 Philippine GT Rd 1

Thankfully, Philippine GT had a new driver join the ranks of local professional motorsport. Patrick Dela Rosa, younger brother of Richmon, inherited 1st place in GT 150 during his debut after a close battle against Dindo De Jesus. Although De Jesus crossed the line 1st, he was later penalized for gaining an advantage by driving off track. Finishing in 3rd was Bong Perez in the neon yellow Honda Civic.

Ivan Diaz dominated the GT 100 Class finishing ahead of Joginder ‘King’ Sin who finished in 2nd place. Meanwhile, last year’s champion Edwin Rodriguez returned with a brand new Mazda 2 SKYACTIV race car to claim 3rd. But with a bit more R&D, we’re sure that Rodriguez can fight for the lead in the next round.

2015 Philippine GT Rd 1

It was business as usual for Kaikkonen, the Dela Rosa brothers, and Ivan Diaz, who once again dominated their respective classes the afternoon’s 15-lap GT Race.

Paolo Mantolino, who was able to repair his broken 3rd gear, again suffered gearbox issues but was still able to somehow finish 2nd in GT 200, ahead of Walter Zamora in 3rd.

Bong Perez was able to improve his performance finishing 2nd in GT 150 ahead of Dindo De Jesus in 3rd.

Finally, Joginder “King” Sin once again ended up in 2nd place in GT 100, while Edwin Rodriguez who started from the pit-lane once again finished in 3rd place.

2015 Philippine GT Rd 1

Unfortunately, only 10 cars lined up on the grid during the season opener as opposed to last year’s larger group of 17 cars. With help from the Philippine Race Car Driver’s, Inc. (PRCDI), we hope to see this number grow as the season goes on. But who are losers of Round 1? Technically, no one. With the number of competitors per class, all the drivers were able to go home with trophies in hand.

The 2015 Philippine GT Championship returns to the Clark International Speedway (CIS) on June 20/21 for Round 2. The races are sanctioned by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), sponsored by Yokohama Tires Sales Philippines, Inc., Sparco, and Aguila Auto Glass, with support from the official dyno provider, Speedlab.

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Audi’s new R8 LMS wins Nürburgring 24 Hours

In just 10 weeks after its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the new Audi R8 LMS has already won the 2015 Nürburgring 24 Hour race last May 16/17. This marks the R8’s 3rd victory at the famed Nordschleife in 4 attempts.

Audi entered 4 brand new LMS-spec R8s in the SP9 GT3 class. The new machine runs on a 5.2L V10 with 585 hp (same as production), is 25 kg lighter than the old car yet 39% stiffer, and has a new aerodynamic concept that includes a fully lined underfloor and integrated diffuser. All this has been achieved while having about 50% of the R8 LMS being based on the road-going model. It’s also one of the first cars to meet the new 2016 GT3 regulations.

Audi 24Hr Nurburgring

The No. 1 car of Audi Sport Team Phoenix was driven by last year’s winners Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow, René Rast, and Markus Winkelhock. Unfortunately for them, an accident while Mamerow was behind the wheel forced them to retire after leading the race.

Likewise, the No. 4 machine driven by Mike Rockenfeller failed to finish when the German driver spun on an oil spill and was hit by another car that was trailing behind.

Audi 24Hr Nurburgring

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s No. 29 R8 LMS, on the other hand, managed to see the chequered flag in 7th place. But that was after Pierre Kaffer and his teammates Christer Jöns, Nicki Thiim, and Laurens Vanthoor staged a strong comeback with good lap times no thanks to an accident that lost them 3 laps.

Then there was the No. 28 Audi Sport Team WRT driven by the German Christopher Mies, Swiss Nico Müller, Swedish Edward Sandström, and Belgian Laurens Vanthoor. Despite the tough battle between the BMWs and Porsches, their R8 LMS ran superbly while brilliant pit stops helped them build a significant lead. And after 156 laps, the team managed to cross the line 1st overall and in class with a 40.729 second advantage over the BMW Z3 GT3 in 2nd.

Adding to the excitement, this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hour race saw the most number of lead changes – 35 times to be exact, which is a record that stood for 45 years.

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One man and his secret BMW collection

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Stories tell of a secluded California full of classic BMW’s, owned by a man known only as ‘The Collector’. Just who is this mysterious person? A short film from #BMWstories gives us a closer look at The Collector and his secret passion.

“We never had a lot of money growing up,” recounts The Collector. “When I was 17, I was homeless.” His story seems like a far cry from where he is today: owning a mouthwatering BMW collection, along with a whole selection of rare BMW parts.

Nothing can really prepare even the most well-seasoned BMW connoisseurs for the sheer amazement that comes with stepping into The Collector’s garage. Various Bimmers built between 1960 and 1988 are present, from the 1600 to the original E24 M6. There are even a handful of ultra-rare specials made by tuning house Alpina, as well as an AC Schnitzer widebody 2002. There are currently 45 cars in the collection, with 10 more serving as parts donors.

The Collector’s love for BMW dates back to the late ’80s, lovestruck as an E30 M3 passed him on the freeway. In the heyday of the DTM racing series, the M3 battled for position with its main rival – the 16-valve Mercedes-Benz 190E. Today, The Collector has a silver M3 as part of his garage, which he drives regularly.

“I buy the cars because I want to enjoy the cars. Not just from a visual perspective, but also enjoying driving them,” he says.

The E30 M3 isn’t the only car in the collection with racing heritage. The Collector’s most prized possession is a 700 RS, the first of only 2 built (the 2nd car is owned by BMW themselves). Hans Stuck, the legendary German racing driver, won his last German Hillclimb Championship using the very car that is part of The Collector’s garage today.

The Collector believes that each individual part of a car has its own story, be it a key chain or an entire engine. “I’ve always loved to collect little things that intrigue me,” he says, adding that the treasure hunt for all-original cars and rare parts is what attracts him to the automotive hobby.

Managing such a large collection of rare cars, requiring equally rare parts to service them, is no easy task for just one person. The Collector has assistance from a full-time shop manager, whom he says is “like a little brother.”

For unknown reasons, The Collector wishes to remain anonymous. It somehow adds to the appeal of the 6-minute long video – there’s an air of mystery that seems to captivate, as if telling people to listen to the whole story. The film only scratches the surface, and the curiosity it leaves behind is a persistent feeling.

Perhaps the closest we get to understanding The Collector is his shop manager’s description of him: “his soul is BMW.”

Subaru WRX STI takes SP3T Class win at Nürburgring 24 Hrs

In the past 7 years, Subaru Tecnica International (STI) has won the Nürburgring 24 Hour race twice in the SP3T class. But last time they stood on the top spot of the podium was way back in 2012, or at least that was the case before the 2015 race ended.

The team returned to the Nordschleife with the WRX STI NBR Challenge – the same car that finished 4th last year no thanks to a broken drive shaft. This time though, they suffered no serious problems in the race, which allowed them to finish 12 laps ahead of the of the Lexus RC, Audi TTs, 1st in SP3T and 18th overall.

Still based on a production WRX STI, the NBR Challenge race car runs on a Subaru Boxer 2.0L turbocharged flat-4 from the WRX. The reason for opting with this smaller unit is to comply with SP3T class rules that only allow for turbocharged engines displacing 1.75 to 2.0L. And while everyone else is shifting to either FWD or RWD, Subaru stayed with their trusted Symmetrical AWD drivetrain.

Subaru Nurburgring 24 Hours

The machine was then shared between Carlo van Dam from the Netherlands, Marcel Lasée and Tim Schrick from Germany, and Hideki Yamauchi from Japan.

Starting from pole in SP3T, the WRX STI NBR Challenge was already 39th overall out of 152 competitors after only 12 laps. By lap 35 they were up to 29th place and 22nd after lap 63 as the night sky fell. With only 5 hours to go, the team had an 8 lap advantage in SP3T and sat in 20th overall. And after 24 hours of non-stop racing, Subaru crossed the line 1st in class, completing 143 laps and covering approx. 3,629 km.

What’s more impressive is the fact that No. 114 WRX STI NBR Challenge was never overtaken by the other cars in SP3T and never lost its lead.

Subaru Nurburgring 24 Hours

Subaru Nurburgring 24 Hours

Subaru Nurburgring 24 Hours

Toyota has now sold 1-million vehicles in the Philippines since 1989

As far back as August 2014, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has been consistently selling around 10,000 units per month. So it was no big deal when they moved 9,457 units last month. But the big story was that they breached the 1-million sales mark in the country.

You see, Toyota has been operating under TMP since 1989. They’ve been locally-manufacturing completely knocked-down (CKD) and semi knocked-down (SKD) vehicles in their former Bicutan assembly plant and current Sta. Rosa facility in Laguna. The list of models include the Corolla, Corona, Crown, Camry, Lite Ace, and the legendary workhorses, the Tamaraw FX and Revo.

In total, TMP has now sold 615,899 units of locally-manufactured vehicles in the country. But that’s just half of the story.

Because as of April 2015, the no. 1 automotive company in the Philippines has now sold 1,000,468 units since it started operations 26 odd years ago. And that’s based on the most recent report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI).

Honestly, we’re not quite sure if they’re the first company to achieve this feat in the Philippines, but it’s damn amazing.

“Achieving this 1 Million Sales Milestone is a great accomplishment for our company and the local automotive industry. We initially forecasted that this breakthrough will only be realized by the 2nd semester of the year, but because of our continued strong sales, we achieved this feat 3 months ahead of time,” said TMP President Michinobu Sugata.

Breaking down then numbers, the Tamaraw FX, Revo, and Innova has combined sales that total to 268,065 units. The Corolla account for 213,325 units, while the Vios contributes to 157,347. We’re guessing that the other half a million units consists of the Wigo, Avanza, Camry, RAV4, Hilux, Fortuner, Alphard, FJ Cruiser, and whatnot.

Congratulations Toyota!

INFOGRAPHIC: Which of the world’s top 14 automakers owns what

In today’s highly consolidated industry, pretty much every single car brand is somehow to related to another. And it gets very confusing very quickly. But Business Insider created this automotive family tree to make it easier to understand who exactly owns what.

Although the list doesn’t include everyone, you’d be surprised that 55 of the best-known automakers are owned by only 14 nameplates. Some of the biggest include General Motors who have 9 brands under stable, while Volkswagen have 8. Ironically, the world’s largest, Toyota, only have 3 (or 4 if you count in Subaru).

It’s also ironic to think that the pinnacles of the automotive marketplace, Ferrari and Bugatti, are owned by Fiat and Volkswagen, respectively who are better known for selling affordable daily drives.

But the relationship between parent company and its subsidiaries is more than a simple game of monopoly. It’s all about economies of scale. These days, it’s getting more and more expensive for car manufacturers to develop new platforms, new engines, and new technologies. And to make the most out of a new innovation, it’s shared between all the brands in the group.

That’s the reason why a Volkswagen V6 ended up in a Porsche Cayenne, a Lexus LX is just a fancier Toyota Land Cruiser, and Citroën is a queerer version of a Peugeot. Get the idea?

We don’t want to spoil every surprise just yet. So checkout this infographic from Business Insider to get a bigger picture of the automotive landscape as of 2015.

[Source: BusinessInsider.com]

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You can now fill up with Total’s new EXCELLIUM Diesel in the Philippines

Thanks to Total Philippines, you can fill up your diesel-powered car, crossover, van, truck, or sports car (*ahem BMW*) with their new Excellium Diesel starting today. And they’ve got some good reasons why you should make the switch.

This new fuel, which is said to be formulated in ‘European laboratories’, offers 3 distinct advantages over… well, we guess your regular diesel. The first of which is Maximum Engine Protection – achieved through special detergent molecules and friction-reducing additives. Excellium Diesel also helps Improve Fuel Economy thanks to its patented formula that protects metal components, allowing the engine to last longer, run smoother, and perform at optimum levels. As a result, the new fuel is able to Reduce CO2 Emissions due to a more efficient engine operation.

Although not mentioned in Total Philippines’ press data, Excellium Diesel has a higher Cetane Index of 54 as compared to 50 in their regular diesel fuel. That means you should get a noticeable power/torque boost when driving with this premium blend.

Think of it as the equivalent of Shell’s V-Power Nitro+ Diesel and Petron’s Turbo Diesel… sort of.

Total Philippines also sells a 95+ RON premium gasoline version that’s simply called Total Excellium.

Total Excellium Diesel is now available in the following stations nationwide:

NCR | Valenzuela; Fairview; Balintawak; Zabarte, Quezon City; Greenhills; Shaw Blvd.; Makati; EDSA Pasay; Merville; West Service Road; Las Piñas; Sucat; Alabang

Northern Luzon | Solana, Cagayan; Tuguegarao; Camp 7, Baguio City; San Fernando; Tarlac; Clark, Pampanga

Visayas | Plaridel, Cebu

Win a Michelin Pilot Sport Experience drive with ‘The Right 2 Race’

Last year, Michelin sent 3 lucky souls from the Philippines to become a real race car driver for a day at the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Experience. Luckily, they’re doing it again in 2015 through the Right 2 Race (R2R) online game.

Like before, all you have to do is log on to www.theright2race.com, play the game, and win an all-expense-paid trip to the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) if you drive the fastest lap. Sounds easy, right? If they didn’t bother changing the app from 2014, the gameplay requires you to (1) Choose the ideal racing line and braking points around Sepang, (2) Save your lap via Facebook or e-mail, and (3) Get a driver’s POV live action film of your lap.

Participants can set as many laps as they want anytime between May 13 and June 16, 2015. Then, the top three (3) players with the fastest lap times will be flown to Sepang and participate in the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Experience on July 18.

If you can’t get a race seat in Nissan’s GT Academy Philippines, maybe you can try you luck here.

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport Experience is an annual motosport event where participants get to go behind the wheel of a Formula 4, Renault Clio Cup Car, Citroen C2 Rally Car, and Lamborghini Super Trofeo – all equipped with Michelin tires of course. To end the day, professional racers give shotgun rides in a Formula Le Mans (which is a rebadged LMP2 prototype) around the Formula 1 circuit. And to make things more interesting, the fastest driver of the day win an all-expense-paid trip to watch the Le Mans 24 Hour race in France.

Start putting in those fast lap by logging on to www.theright2race.com.

Honda now has a Brio-based 7-seat mini MPV called the Mobilio

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If you’re a party of 7, the cheapest Honda you could buy before with that many seats will set you back a good P2.348-million for an Odyssey. But now, they have a new, more affordable 7-seater that goes by the name Mobilio and prices start at only P807,000.

This is Honda’s first-ever entry into the mini MPV market, going up against the likes of the Toyota Avanza, Chevrolet Spin, Suzuki Ertiga, and some say even the much-bigger but aging Toyota Innova. Honda, however, is confident that they’re able to set themselves apart from the others by “avoiding a boxy look typical in the segment.”

Oooh… shots fired.

Honda Mobilio

As it’s loosely based on the Brio’s platform, the all-new Mobilio does share a fairly similar front end to the subcompact. But this is a much bigger machine, measuring 4,398 mm long, 1,683 mm wide, and 1,603 mm tall – making it 776 mm longer and 133 mm taller than the hatchback. With the extra canvas, Honda’s designers toyed with the theme “Progressive Private Jetliner” concept to sculpt the rest of the Mobilio. And what they ended up with looks like a miniaturized Odyssey, with the added “lighting bolt” belt line, floating rear pillar, and integrated rear spoiler.

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) even offers a sportier RS version (which apparently stands for Road Sailing) as part of the regular line-up. It gets aesthetic upgrades such as an exclusively-designed front grille, front bumper, and 15-inch alloy wheels. Meanwhile, the add-ons include a side sill garnish, tailgate spoiler, rear bumper with exhaust pipe finisher, and the all-important RS badge.

Honda Mobilio

Honda likes to call their new baby a ‘Multi-Purpose Utility Vehicle’ or MUV, adding the word ‘Utility’ probably because of its very flexible seating configuration. Aside from ample legroom in the 2nd and 3rd rows, the seats also tumble, fold, and even slide 90 mm forward/aft. This allows for added space, easier passenger access, and increased luggage volume. As a result, the all-new Mobilio could serve both as a comfortable people carrier and cargo hauler.

But is it really a true 7-seater? The Brio is marketed as a 5-seater, so adding an extra row technically increase the Mobilio’s capacity to 7. We’ll let you, and your waistline, be the judge of that.

The dashboard is mostly carried over from the Brio, including the 7-inch touch screen infotainment unit with navigation. But you only get that with the top-of-the-line RS version. The mid-range V variant gets a 2-DIN unit with Bluetooth audio and hands-free telephone (HFT), while the entry-level E is fitted with a simpler 1-DIN radio. Thankfully, the entire range gets rear A/C to help keep rear passengers cool.

Honda Mobilio

This ‘MUV’ relies on a 1.5L i-VTEC engine sourced from the City for propulsion – one that delivers 120 hp and 145 Nm of torque. At a glance, that makes the Mobilio the most powerful people mover in its class. It’s also the only mini MPV to offer a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Earth Dreams Technology for the better-equipped variants. But there is also a 5-speed manual transmission available for the entry-level Mobilio.

Safety features include driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seats, and Immobilizer, which are all standard equipment across the range.

When Honda developed the all-new Mobilio, they had one main goal in mind and that was to “surpass what other MUVs have offered.” Hopefully, they got it right.

The all-new Honda Mobilio is now on sale starting at P807,000 for the 1.5 E MT. The 1.5 V CVT, on the other hand, is listed at P877,000 and the top-of-the-line 1.5 RS Navi CVT goes for P967,000. Available colors are Alabaster Silver, Taffeta White, Crystal Black Pearl, Sunset Orange, and White Orchid Pearl.

Inquire, book a test drive, or buy the all-new Honda Mobilio through AutoDeal.com.ph.

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