Japanese car launches of 2016

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mirage20160524Fast Times rounds up all the new models from Japanese brands launched this year

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UNTIL the time brands like Volkswagen and Peugeot rule our streets once more, Japanese carmakers will continue to supply Filipino car buyers with a deluge of models to suit nearly every budget and need.

Here are the models they rolled out this year:

1. Mitsubishi Montero Sport – Reeling from a public-relations nightmare in 2015 stemming from cases of alleged “sudden unintended acceleration” with its old Montero Sport, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) opened the New Year with the launch of the all-new Montero Sport. Featuring a 2.4-liter MIVEC inline-four turbodiesel mated to an eight-speed automatic, the new Montero Sport soon shot to the top of mid-sized sport-utility-vehicle (SUV) sales charts.

2. Toyota Fortuner – Hot on the heels of its fiercest rival, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation (TMP) also started the year with its all-new, second-generation Fortuner. The Fortuner is the second model to come out of Toyota’s Innovative Multi-Purpose Vehicles or IMV line-up.

3. Honda Pilot – Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) launched the all-new, third-generation Pilot in February, with the company saying that its new SUV promises to deliver more utility, more advanced technology, and more premium attributes and amenities than ever before. With a 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine, eight seats and all-wheel-drive, it takes on other premium large SUVs like the Ford Explorer.

4. Toyota Innova – TMP also debuted its all-new, second-generation Innova multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in February. The new model completes the company’s IMV triumvirate, which includes the Fortuner and the Hilux pick-up truck that debuted last year. Like the other two, it is available with either a 2.4-liter inline-four petrol engine or a 2.8-liter inline-four turbo diesel.

5. Suzuki Ciaz – Poised to take on B-segment stalwarts like the Toyota Vios, Hyundai Accent, and Ford Fiesta, the Ciaz entered the fray in April with a commodious interior and trunk, fleet-footed driving dynamics, and very competitive pricing. Fast Times has published reviews of both the top-specification GLX and the entry-level GL manual.

6. Suzuki Ertiga – Sans the usual fanfare of a car launch, Suzuki Auto Philippines debuted a facelifted version of its top-selling Ertiga mini-MPV in April on its official website. The new model now incorporates technological upgrades from the Ciaz, along with cosmetic and engine changes.

7. Honda Civic – HCPI launched in late April an all-new version of one of its most important models, the Civic compact sedan. Now longer, lower, and wider than the somehow lackluster previous model, the 10th generation Civic not only gets a new exterior and interior, but also features the company’s first turbocharged VTEC engine in the top-of-the-line RS Turbo.

8. Mitsubishi Mirage – MMPC also debuted in late April an updated version of its highly popular Mirage hatchback. Besides getting product endorsers Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza of “AlDub” fame, the revised Mirage gets cosmetic changes, as well as additional standard equipment.

Don’t be surprised if more Japanese-branded cars are introduced in the Philippine market before the end of the year.

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