During the COVID-19 pandemic various pick-up trucks came sprouting left and right after a certain tax was taken out by the government. They saw them (pick-up trucks) as a big help in the transportation of various necessities and essentials.
The streets then, and even now, are still flooded with eye-popping pick-up trucks from various manufacturers even though there are talks that the government is bent on rescinding tax exemptions on it.
These days, it seems like a new trend in the local motoring scene is moving towards these MPVs or more popularly called the multi-purpose vehicles, or multi-utility vehicles. These are cars that are for passengers and also for freight transport. They are 7-seaters wherein the last row seats can be folded in order to give you more trunk space when you need to haul cargoes.
If you notice it, most major car manufacturers are rushing to introduce their respective entries to the MPV segment of the market. And it is really gaining popularity these days.
Mitsubishi has its Xpander while Toyota has its Innova, Sienna, Avanza, and Rush and Nissan has its Livina. Suzuki has its Ertiga, Foton has its Gratour, Peugeot has its Traveller Premium, Mercedes-Benz has its V-Class, BYD has its E6, and there is the Haima.
During the recent Philippine International Motor Show, the Korean car manufacturer Hyundai unveiled two of their MPVs such as the Staria (considered as a big MPV) and the Stargazer. Yes, the Stargazer was formally launched last Tuesday during a gathering of media people at the Samsung Hall of the SM Aura in Taguig City. The next day, a public/online launch was held through the Hyundai Facebook page.
The entry of Stargazer into the already crowded MPV local market is very exciting news as this car is expected to slug it out against its rivals.
We haven’t tested it or even driven it yet but by just looking at the number of advanced driver-assistance technologies and features that it has, the Stargazer will be there punching at this early.
For us, the 5-Year or 200,000-km (whichever comes first) warranty and the wise pricing scheme implemented by Hyundai on its three variants—1.5 GLS Premium IVT – P1,218,000; 1.5 GLS IVT – P1,128,000; 1.5 GL IVT – P998,000—are simply a good stroke to immediately penetrate the market. Mind you, these all three variants are all automatic transmission, with no manual.
By the way, in case you are wondering why the very popular Starex is no longer in its lineup of vehicles here, the answer is that the new Hyundai management had already stopped selling it. Instead, Hyundai had already presented the Staria as its newest replacement to the ever-popular Starex.
A Hyundai exec that we talked to last Tuesday said that present Starex owners are still allowed and accepted in all their Hyundai dealership for maintenance. Or they can even look for the Staria, which is a futuristic replacement for their Starex, whose price range from P1.5-million to a whopping P2.9-million.
Back to our main issue, which is the looming battle of the MPVs in the local market, we heard that one or two more car manufacturers are keen on entering their respective entries just before the year ends. Well, good luck to you all!