Words by Jade Lu | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua
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Last Saturday, January 26, 2013, was the final day of the qualitative testing for the 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). It was a day for big brutes once again, as Hyundai sent the Santa Fe R-2.2 GLS 6AT 2WD and Premium 4WD, which were matched by Toyota’s Fortuner 4x2 G DSL AT and Hilux 4x2 G MT and Mazda’s CX-5 and BT-50. The Honda CR-V made its reprise with the 2.0 S and 2.4 SX variant, this time made in Thailand with local specs (Honda sent the Japan-made CR-V last time).
It was the fitting ending for this chapter. The cars weren’t too exciting to leave us done and fulfilled at the end of the day; they were mellowed down to leave us wanting more. Of course, “more” would come to us during the technical testing at the Clark International Speedway on February 25 to 27, when the cars will once again converge for the acceleration, braking, and handling tests. But until that comes, we were satisfied enough with the cars we’ve driven to keep us at ease until the end of February. Hopefully, the sky will stay clear of rain clouds and strong winds until then.
With that last hurrah, here are some final words from our writers about the cars of Day 9:
Words by Jade Lu | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua
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The end is near - for the qualitative testing dates, at least. The second to the last 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P) qualitative test fest day was held least Saturday, 19 January, and things were looking pretty bright despite the gray skies. And who wouldn’t be excited? We were testing six lovely sportsters and two tough trucks. The members of the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) couldn’t wait to get their hands all over these beauties; we didn’t know where to start!
Hyundai brought in the Genesis Coupe’s 2.0T 6MT and 3.8L V6 8AT variants, set side-by-side with Toyota’s 86 Aero AT and MT, not to be outdone by MINI’s Cooper S Coupe and Cooper S Roadster. Contrast these low riders with Isuzu’s D-Max 4x4 AT and 4x2 MT, and we had a ball.
After the final qualitative test day this coming Saturday, 26 January, all models from the previous and this coming weeks will once again be put to the test by CAGI’s Technical Team, this time on track for the technical phase of the COTY-P. That would be held in the end of February at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).
For now, here is what our writers had to say about the hardy two-door contenders from last Saturday:
Words by Christopher Kho | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua and author
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On a regular day, we'd have around 8 to 10 cars to drive at the Qualitative Testing for the 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). But this was no regular day. Last January 12, 2013, the boys and girls of the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) found themselves face-to-face with 17 shiny new cars and they had to drive every single one of them. Though the experience was fun, we were all left battered and bruised by the day's end. Still, we got to drive big, small, and everything in between.
The smallest of the bunch were all four variants of the all-new Mirage from Mitsubishi. Following on its trail are the trio of Chevrolet Sonics, in both hatchback and notchback (sedan) forms. Then there were the heavyweights. Chevrolet brought three Colorados with 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains; Foton stepped up with their own all-new Thunder 4x2 and 4x4; and Mitsubishi fielded their 3.0L V6-equipped Montero Sport. But I guess it goes without saying that the crème de la crème were from newcomer Peugeot, who brought their entire line-up: the 3008 crossover, 5008 mpv, 508 sedan, and RCZ sports coupe.
Words by Jade Lu | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua and Christopher Kho
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If there was one thing the Kotse.com crew looked forward to when the New Year started, it was this. On the very first Saturday of 2013, the boys and girls of the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) gathered at the Eton Centris parking lot for the sixth round of the 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P) Test Fest.
The first models on the chopping block for 2013 looked like they were ready to take us a long, long way from home. We’d be ready to take these fine examples on a road trip at the drop of a hat. Chevrolet was first to arrive with the Trailblazer LTZ 4x4 A/T and the Orlando LT A/T. Toyota sent us the Avanza 1.3E, Avanza 1.5G, Prius C, and Camry 2.5V. Hyundai’s dynamic duo of the Sonata 2.0 GLS 6AT Limited and Tucson Theta II T2.0 Limited 4WD left us all wondering what new treats these models have in store.
Words by Jade Lu | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua
We have finally reached the final day of the 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P) qualitative testing for 2012! It was our privilege to test the latest car models from different manufacturers, and that made each test day special. Last Saturday’s was quite unique, as all the cars we tested were from Ford: Explorer EcoBoost 2.0 XLT, Fiesta 1.4 AT Sedan, Focus 2.0L Sport + and Titanium +, and the Ranger 2.2L Duratorq 4x2 AT and MT.
With only six cars to drive that day, we were relatively more relaxed and could take each car for a leisurely ride, especially the Explorer. There was even time to demonstrate the Ford Focus’ Active Park Assist feature. There were much ooh’s and ahh’s. It goes without saying: A day testing a one-make lineup really makes one understand the brand as a whole a bit better.
Words by Christopher Kho | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua and author
Now that we've finished a third of the Qualitative Tests, it's finally time to take on the big boys of the 2012 - 2012 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). At the break of dawn, nine behemoths lined up at this year's official test venue at the Eton Centris, Quezon City last October 20, 2012. It was a tough battle between the Americans, Japanese, British, and surprisingly, the Chinese. Summing up all their values, we had more than P20 million worth of sheet metal to play with that day. 
CATS Motors, Inc. returned with their luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and Dodge Durango Citadel. Also making their second appearance at testing this year is Honda, this time bringing the all-new CR-V 2.0 LX and 2.4 EX. And despite being a Japanese automaker, the Odyssey 3.5 V6 AT and Pilot 3.5 V6 AT that Honda brought with them were undoubtedly American. Meanwhile, all eyes were on the firenze red Range Rover Evoque. Priced at well above P5 million, this compact crossover was a toy we all couldn't get our hands off. But the real surprise of the day were the Great Wall Hover H5 and Wingle H5. First tested in 2010, the two Chinese utes came back after a fresh facelift and a new CRDi engine.
Words by Christopher Kho | Photos by Hans Gerald Chua and author
Honda and Subaru are no strangers to the Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). In fact, both Japanese automakers have won the prestigious award twice in the past. The Accord took the prize in 2004, followed by the previous generation Civic in 2005. Then, it was Subaru's turn to take a back-to-back title with the Impreza STI in 2008 and the Legacy 2.5L GT in 2009. So, it was a chance for these Japanese giants to face-off once again at the third day of the Qualitative Testing for the 2012 - 2013 COTY-P, last October 13, 2012 at Eton Centris in Quezon City. Of course, we didn't forget about the trio of American brutes brought by CATS Motors Inc.
Words and photos by Christopher Kho
Blessed with good weather, the members of the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) once again assembled at Eton Centris, Quezon City for yet another day in the search for the 2012 - 2013 Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P). Last week's test proved that traffic around the designated test route stayed light throughout the day, which gave us the liberty to drive and enjoy each of the cars a bit longer, knowing that we wouldn't be wasting so much time in a standstill. So, with only six beautiful cars on the list, the second day of the Qualitative Testing was one worth enjoying. 
Dominated by the Koreans, the day's list included lightweights from both Kia and Hyundai, plus one rather luxurious Scandinavian sedan from Volvo. Kia brought all three variants of their Rio: the 1.2 LX MT sedan, 1.4 EX AT sedan, and the 1.4 EX AT hatchback. Not to be outdone, Hyundai finally went public with their long-awaited Accent 1.6 GLS CRDi VGT hatchback. They also brought along the cute little EON 0.8 GLS that will go up against last week's Alto K10. Finally, Volvo spoiled us in absolute luxury with their new turbo-diesel-powered S60 D3.
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