Cars we would like to see on the road
With the impending tax increase on cars and SUV’s next year, car dealers are expecting an influx of buyers gradually forming a beeline to beat the adjustments of the retail price. Despite the increase, the domestic automotive market remains resilient and robust compared to its ASEAN neighbors with first and second quarter sales increase figures of 38.4 percent or 61,094 units sold, which is an improvement from the same period recorded during the same period last year.
Filipinos seems to be unfazed with the tax increase as a steady stream of consumers flow in and out of car dealers. Given this sales phenomena, this writer is optimistic about the car industry and is excited to see new car models joining the fray next year. Relative to the industry’s healthy stance, this writer have compiled a list of cars that I want to see on our local roads next year.
Subaru BRZ STi
Subaru has always been known as a manufacturer who pushed the boundaries of performance. With the impending launch of the Honda Civic Type R in the domestic market, the only manufacturer who can step up the plate to counter Honda’s prize fighter, pound for pound at present is Fuji Industries.
Initially developed for expansion of Subaru’s performance division Subaru Tecnica International (STI) in the United States, this STi tuned BRZ variant made quite a splash and was very popular in other markets outside of Japan as well. The STI Performance Concept is a showcase for the engineering prowess and tuning capability of STI, featuring the racing engine developed by STI for the BRZ Super GT racecar, suspension and chassis components and aerodynamic upgrades. This special edition veers away from the garden variety BRZ with its aggressive aerodynamic styling starting from the front fascia, down to the massive rear wing and splitter that generates enough down force to hug fast corners.
Mazda RX8 (X-Men edition)
In true superhero fashion, the aggressively styled Mazda RX-8 X-MEN Car, based on the production model 2004 Mazda RX-8, possesses its own unique super power-in this case, the new generation rotary engine RENESIS. In addition, its dominant presence is accentuated by an impenetrable Mutant Blue exterior which includes an X-shaped grille, a fierce rear spoiler and an enlarged trademark “X” on the vehicle’s nameplate.
On the inside, the Mazda RX-8 X-MEN Car is trimmed in imposing silver and black shades, including the door trim, seats and steering wheel. A communication device is prominently displayed on the upper center console.
X2 director Brian Singer worked closely with Mazda on the RX-8 X-MEN Car in a unique collaboration to bring the Mazda RX-8, the company’s brand icon, to the big screen with a starring role in the film. Singer revised the movie’s original script to accommodate the vehicle.
Hyundai is planning a new “N” performance line of flagship performance vehicles, and the wild RN30 is an early taste of what we might expect going forward.
The car is based on the new Hyundai i30, but with numerous body enhancements, including high tech headlights, a floating fender on each wheel, side splitters, and a large rear spoiler extending as a roof canopy propped up by a center fin. The car has been lowered 84 mm (over 3 inches) compared to the i30, and rests on 19 inch alloy wheels.
The interior features racing bucket seats with harnesses surrounded by an integrated roll cage.
The RN30 is powered by a turbocharged 2 liter inline-4 producing a full 375 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque
This Toyota concept explores the idea of a small, lightweight, and economical sports car from Toyota that would slot below the GT86. The car is rumored to weigh a mere 2160 lbs and be powered by a 1.5 liter inline-4 producing 128 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. It is also supposed to cost less than the Mazda Miata, though frankly this speculation seems really optimistic. The S-FR’s compact body is incredibly light, yet offers a smooth driving style. Not just a sports car, it pairs the simplicity of an entry-level model with an intimacy that brings human and machine closer together.
Benefiting from the unique advantages of a lightweight sports car, the concept offers smooth, responsive and direct handling that gives a real sense of communication between car and driver―one key benefit of the FR (front engine/rear drive) format.
Volkswagen Passat GT
The concept is largely a cosmetic upgrade to give the Passat a more aggressive profile, with over 20 design changes from the standard car. Noteworthy changes include a black honeycomb grille framed top and bottom by a red accent line, similar to the Golf GTI. Other changes include black window surrounds, roof, and trunk spoiler, as well as smoked taillights and LED headlights.
The interior showcases carbon fiber trim on the instrument panel and door trim, as well as duotone black and gray seating, and piano black console trim.The GT is lowered 0.6 inches over large 19” Tornado wheels covering red-painted brake calipers.
Power comes from a 3.6 liter FSI VR6 producing 280 hp backed up a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine benefits with reduced backpressure from a dual trapezoidal exhaust and a sport muffler.
With the recent entry of the Civic Type R, Honda is on its way of getting its groove back. It would solidify their presence as a performance oriented and innovative manufacturer if it decides to bring in the S660. I test drove this variant in Twin Ring Motegi when it was introduced in 2015, and the S660 features a mid-engine layout with a 660-cc, three-cylinder turbo that keeps it within the parameters of a kei car in the Japan Domestic Market (JDM).
Tipping the scales at just 1830 pounds, the S660 employs the same three-cylinder turbocharged engine found in the popular N-Box kei car. However, to improve throttle response, Honda engineers revised the turbo geometry to produce quicker off-the-line acceleration and stronger midrange torque.
Will it appeal to Filipinos as much as it appealed in the JDM market? Only Honda can answer that when it decides to bring in this cute two-seater.