Some More 2012 Kia Rio

We can’t seem to get enough of this car. Usually subcompact sedans look frumpy but this is not the case for the Rio. Both the sedan and hatch look great. Lets hope Kia brings in both variants here.

7 year warranty? Wow, I bet that wont happen here in PHL…same with most of the other bells and whistles EU and US will get…lucky bastards.

For more info on the new Rio click here

Kia Rio5 Introduction

The Kia Rio British Challenge

Kia Rio Sedan

Advertisements

2011 Suzuki Swift Testdrive

I recently had a chance to testdrive the newly launched 2011 Suzuki Swift and although it was just a brief drive, it revealed quite a lot.

At first glance, the new Swift looks like the previous model but closer inspection shows significant changes. Most noticeable are the larger swooping head and taillights. It has also grown a bit with bulging rear haunches (see specs below). With these “improvements”, the new Swift still looks as attractive as ever. Its style is gender neutral so neither of the sexes will be ashamed to be seen in it. Why fix what is not broken, right?

The K14B 1.4L M/T VVTi engine of the Swift proved to be quite peppy. While hauling 5 passengers, the car was able to easily zip around and overtake. According to the Suzuki representatives, despite losing 0.1L displacement from the previous model, they were able to retain the torque and power, while improving on its fuel efficiency. True enough, the quick drive around the busy Ortigas area yielded 9.4L/100kms or 10.63km/L (according to the onboard fuel consumption meter display). The car is fairly new with only 300+ kms on the odometer so expect this to improve some more.

One thing I immediately noticed was the quiet cabin. Even when accelerating with 5 passengers on board, the engine was barely audible. The gas and clutch pedals are soft so changing gears through traffic won’t be a hassle. The front discs and rear drumbrakes are capable enough at stopping the car anytime. As expected, the Swift’s steering is light and its sporty suspension tuning is on the stiff side which makes maneuvering effortless. This of course leads to a little bit of a bumpy ride, but maybe the 185/55R16 tires overinflated to 35psi had something to do with it.

Suzuki is not targetting single-car families for the Swift. It is perfect as a 2nd/3rd car for a married guy/gal…or for single people who need to go around the city, whether to go to the office or on a date. I say this because the cabin is quite cramped. Although it has gotten bigger compared to the last gen, it still lacks room in the back. I could not fully move the driver seat back for a comfortable driving position as there was no more knee/legroom for the person behind. You can forget about roadtrips with the whole family as well, as cargo area is almost negligible. For those with babies, the only way you can fit a stroller in the back is if you fold the 60:40 seats.

Too bad, I was not able to tinker with the steering wheel audio controls and the i-pod/usb connectivity, as well as enjoy the 6-speaker setup due to time constraints but these features are definitely a plus. It also has all power windows/locks/mirrors, foglamps, keyless entry with immobilizer, ABS and Airbags as standard. Color choices are Ablaze Red, Snow White Pearl and Star Silver Metallic.

With this quick drive of the Swift, I conclude that it will retain its niche position in the hatchback subcompact segment. With its competitive pricing of 729,000 for the 5-speed M/T and 769,000 for the 4-speed A/T (still only 4-sp??), this car definitely is a worthy contender. Unfortunately, it wont be enough to dethrone the Jazz and the Fiesta as the kings in this category. Its a nice car to have if you value fun more than practicality.

Positive:
– Stylish looks
– Quiet cabin
– Peppy engine
– Effortless steering

Negative:
– Cramped space for rear and cargo
– A/T only 4-speed

Specifications:
Overall Length: 3,850 mm
Overall Width: 1,695 mm
Overall Height: 1,510 mm
Wheelbase: 2,430 mm
Min. Turning Radius: 5.2 m
Min. Ground Clearance: 140 mm
Engine: K14B 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve
Displacement: 1,372cc
Bore x Stroke: 73 x 82mm
Max Output: 94hp @ 6,000rpm
Max Torque: 130Nm @ 4,000rpm
Luggage Capacity: 900L (max volume)
533L (rear seatback folded – VDA Method)
210L (rear seatback raised – VDA Method)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 42L

Apologies for the grainy pics. This was taken at high noon with a crappy mobile phone camera

2011 Suzuki Swift – an Evolution, not a Revolution

I recently was able to closely inspect the new model Suzuki Swift and was pleasantly surprised.

The new model is like a grown up version of the last gen Swift. It still looks good and generally retains the shape of the old one but has gotten bigger (almost 100mm in length and 50mm in wheelbase). It is also wider and higher with new swooping headlights as well as bigger taillights.

New Suzuki Swift

Inside, the cabin shows a vast improvement. The dashboard now has a more stylish layout and finish. Although still quite cramped behind compared to the Honda Jazz, I would say it is now at par with the Fiesta and Yaris in terms of leg and shoulder room. The cargo hatch is quite small but has a “hidden compartment” where you can store your valuables. You can also increase capacity with the 60:40 folding rear seats.

Suzuki Swift interior

Only 2 variants are available locally. A DOHC 1.4L M/T (PhP 729,000) and a DOHC 1.4L A/T (PhP 769,000). Both have ABS, EBD/EBA, foglamps, steering wheel controls, Airbags, USB Dock and 16″ wheels.

The swift sold here in PHL is CBU from Japan, which can prove to be a big advantage compared to its rival subcompacts. Although this will not beat the Jazz and the Fiesta’s sales volume, Im pretty sure the new Swift will sell well and continue to have a loyal following.

2012 Kia Rio sedan – Taxi no more

Just a month ago, the world saw the debut of the Kia Rio hatch at the Geneva Motor Show and most people agree that its a stunner. Now that the New York Autoshow is approaching, spyshots of Kia’s b-segment sedan have started to crop up. It is confirmed to be launched at the Big Apple event.

As expected, the next generation Kia Rio sedan looks quite different from its hatch version. It looks like a mini Optima, elegant with sharp corners, whereas the hatch’s design is curvy and radical. Engine specs for the sedan, which will surely reach our shores will most probably be similar to the recently released Hyundai Accent (1.4L & 1.6L). Unless Columbian Autocar Corp., Kia’s local distributor, totally bungles it, the pricing should be similar to its Hyundai cousin.

Given the vast improvement in design and performance by the Koreans, which currently has been churning out gorgeous cars, its not far fetched that the Rio will no longer be relegated to serving taxi fleets. Whereas 5 years ago, most people will not even consider buying a Hyundai or Kia, now they are one of the most desirable cars (for regular people at least). Watch out Honda and Toyota, the Koreans are coming -and this is no April Fool.

So whats new with the 2012 Honda Civic?

With pictures of the next generation Honda Civic plastered all over the web, there seems to be one common reaction…its a facelifted FD (current Civic). This was also my thought when I saw it but truth is, its not. Its the 9th generation Honda Civic.

2012 Honda Civic

Details about the new model are still not available but news is going around that the FD’s engine will be carried over with a few minor tweaks. The design is more of an evolution of the current and kinda reminds me of what the current Altis is to the last gen Corolla. I guess they also applied the “if it ain’t broke..” principle here. The taillights have the most noticeable change…whether its for the better is up to you. The dashboard is still 2-tiered like the 8th gen but the blockier center console is tilted towards the driver.

2012 Civic Interior

Being a Honda, its guaranteed to sell well but their reputation of being cutting edge in design and technology seem to have been dampened a little. Lets just hope that Honda has something up its sleeve with the new Civic or it’ll be gobbled up by its upcoming competition, namely the new Ford Focus and the Hyundai Elantra.

2012 Honda Civic