Mini wins Car of the Year; Ford Ranger bags Truck of the Year plum

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The Mini Cooper S bested 70 other vehicles tested by the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), enabling it to bring home the much coveted title of Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). The Awards Night was held on November 24, at the Filinvest Tent in Alabang, Muntinlupa. This Cooper Mini S was the fastest and most luxurious Mini tested at COTY-P, so far, which blew away the competition.

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Meanwhile, Ford dominated the Truck of the Year Philippines (TOTY-P) category with the Ranger Wildtrak variants winning the overall title. The Ranger Wiltrak 3.2, with its all-new six-speed manual transmission, also won the titles’ Best 2WD Pickup of the Year and the Best 4WD Pickup of the Year.

“Voting for the 2014-2015 COTY-P and TOTY-P was tough,” said CAGI president Ferman Lao. “The continually increasing improvements, value and competitiveness of each new model brought to their respective classes made discerning between standout and mid-pack very difficult,” Lao added.

According to Lao, the recently concluded Test Fest featured a record number of contenders in the more affordable small car categories, reflecting the changing face of the market. Of the 70 official entries for the year, over 40 cars were subcompacts. The big winners in these entry-level classes were the Toyota Wigo, which won Best Micro Car of the Year and the Hyundai Grand i10, which won Best Mini Car of the Year, beating out eight other contenders.

In the subcompact class, the Kia Rio 1.4 Sedan took honors as the Best Basic Subcompact Car of the Year award, while Honda took home two honors; with the Honda City 1.5 E winning Best Subcompact Car of the Year and the Honda Jazz 1.5 V winning Best Premium Subcompact Car of the Year; which is a growing category featuring subcompacts over PhP 800,000 in price and loaded with features previously found only in mainstream compact cars.

Mazda swept the Compact Car classes, with the Mazda 3 1.5 S sedan claiming Best Compact Car of the Year, and the Mazda 3 2.0R Hatchback earning Best Premium Compact Car of the Year.

The most impressive car tested so far at COTY-P, however, has to be the Rolls Royce Ghost, which won the Best Ultra-Luxury Car of the Year.

Nissan, on the other hand, achieved a hat trick this year. The Altima swept the midsize classes, with the Altima 2.5 and 3.5 V6 earning Best Midsize Car of the Year and Best Premium Midsize Car of the Year. The Nissan X-Trail 2.5 AWD on the other hand, claimed Best Crossover SUV of the Year.

The Kia Soul diesel won Best Compact Crossover of the Year, in a new class indicative of changing trends in the market. The Ford Explorer Sport EcoBoost V6, on the other hand, claimed Best Large Crossover of the Year.

The Suzuki Ertiga1.4 AT claimed Best Subcompact MPV of the Year, packing three relatively spacious rows of seats in a surprisingly compact package. The BAIC MZ40 claimed Best Micro-Van of the year.

Best Large SUV of the Year Award went to the Toyota FJ Cruiser, whose powerful V6 and fascinating design impressed the judges thoroughly. Best Midsize SUV of the Year went to the newly launched Isuzu mu-X 4×2 AT.

Special Awards included the CAGI Motorsports Award, which was given to Toyota for the Vios Cup for revitalizing the local racing scene. The SpeedLab Tuner’s Choice Award went to the Honda Jazz, for its modification-friendliness and potential for sizzling performance. The AAP Road Safety Award went to the Volkswagen Touareg, a large vehicle with exceptional active safety in terms of braking and stability, as well as excellent electronic driver’s aids, which gives it handling shaming much smaller crossovers.

The Brother’s Burger Value for Money Award went to the stylish and capable BYD F0 GL-i, while the Filinvest Lifestyle Award went to the luxurious Rolls Royce Ghost, which costs over fifty times as much as the small hatchback! The Manila International Auto Show Design Award, on the other hand, went to the Volkswagen Beetle, as much a style icon today as the original was over sixty years ago.

The Caltex with Techron Green Award went to the Honda Accord 3.5 V6, whose variable cylinder management gives it exceptional economy for such a powerful car. The new Spyder Philippines Innovation Award goes to the Ford Ecosport 1.5 DCT, whose groundbreaking design has opened up crossover ownership to a wider audience on the local scene.

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