The Philippine auto industry is slowly and steadily accelerating in 2021, thanks to increasing demand for mobility and transport of goods, new model introductions, and innovative ownership schemes. The first half of the year saw a healthy roster of model launches, and the second half may see even more launches. Here are some of the cars to look forward to in 2021:
Mitsubishi Mirage G4
Mitsubishi’s core offering in the personal mobility arena will be seeing a facelift later this year. The new Mirage will now feature Mitsubishi’s trademark Design Shield look up front, with LED daytime running lights. The new look helps to lower drag for better fuel mileage. Hopefully, we will see the Mirage with active safety features like forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and automatic high beam, as in the Thailand model. Could Mitsubishi also surprise us with a crossover-look Mirage Cross? Watch this space.
Nissan will be introducing the all-new Almera. The new Almera will feature a sleeker, sportier look. We are expecting the Almera to pack a 1.0-liter turbocharged inline 3-cylinder engine, mated to a CVT, as in other ASEAN markets. The Almera will also get improved safety with available forward collision warning and forward emergency braking.
Nissan’s best-selling Terra 7-seat SUV will get heavily revised looks this year, as well as updated interior. All-LED headlamp clusters will flank Nissan’s trademark V-motion grille. The interior will showcase a sleek new instrument panel with nicely integrated 9-inch touchscreen. The infotainment system will likely feature Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bose speakers, flip-down rear video screen, and wireless phone charging. The 2.5-liter turbodiesel with 190ps and 450Nm will pair with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission.
Mazda released a special edition of the current BT-50 dubbed the Pangolin, as an environmental initiative. This year, we’re expecting the all-new BT-50. The new truck will be a collab with Isuzu Motor. BT-50 will be based on the Isuzu D-Max and will be manufactured by Isuzu in Thailand. Mazda will showcase decidely un-trucklike elegant design by changing most of the truck’s body panels. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 190ps and 450Nm is expected to power the new BT-50
Audi is set to join sister brand Porsche in offering an all-electric vehicle. When the e-tron’s powetrain is switched to “boost mode,” the SUV can accelerate to 100kph in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 200kph. The e-tron’s 408ps can be apportioned to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Range on a full charge is 417km.
If you like the lines of the Audi e-tron but prefer something more conventional—and affordable, the A3 will fit the bill. The all-new A3 will be longer and wider than the current model, while keeping the same wheelbase. It will be available in sedan and hatchback body styles. The typically well-designed cabin includes a large 12.3-inch digital instrument display. Engines will include an inline-3 cylinder with 111ps, up to a 310ps / 400Nm unit in the new S3.
Toyota Land Cruiser LC300
Rumors that the LC200 would be the final Land Cruiser proved to be groundless, as an all-new Land Cruiser was recently introduced. The LC300 will feature a 3.3-liter V6 twin-turbo diesel, expected to lessen the Land Cruiser’s thirst for dinosaur juice. The 305ps engine will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Toyota’s ultimate off-roader will be able to take you to the middle of the desert and back, while you enjoy four-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and wireless charging. Toyota Philippines is reportedly already taking reservations for the LC300.
Expect the striking new Isuzu MU-X later this year. The all-new MU-X promises larger cabin space, more comfortable seats and ride, and more premium finishes. Bi-LED projector lamps will be up front, and a sporty crease line is rendered on the side panels. Isuzu engineered a lighter body with the use of high-tensile steel plates, by relocating the chassis cross-members, and by using a plastic liftgate, which is powered. With revised front and rear supension, the new MU-X promises a more comfortable ride and more stable handling. 20-inch wheels will be available for the first time on the MU-X. Power will come from a 1.9-liter turbodiesel with 150hp / 350Nm or a 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 190hp / 450Nm. Fuel tank has been enlarged to 80 liters, for greater range.
Nissan may launch the long-awaited all-new Nissan Z sports car. Strongly reminiscent of the original, the new Z features the unmistakable silhoutte, as well as styling cues from various generations of the Z, including teardrop-shaped headlamps and full-width black panel with taillights at the rear. The new Z will be powered by a twin-turbo V6 paired with—thankfully, a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Mercedes-Benz will be releasing a refreshed version of the E-Class sedan. The new car will feature Avantgarde Line exterior with central star on the grille even on the entry-level model. The interior highlight is a new steering wheel which will have touch panels rather than the usual buttons. The new four-cylinder diesel engines will feature integrated starter-generator units which will allow the engines to switch off when not needed, aiding the fuel efficiency. The E-Class will also feature for the first time the new generation of Mercedes inline-six petrol engines, with up to 370ps.
Lexus’ all-new NX subcompact SUV range will include the brand’s first plug-in hybrid model. The NX features a sporty interpretation of the spindle grille, a full-width “blade” lighting unit at the rear, with LEXUS spelled out for the first time. The cabin will have a huge 14-inch touchscreen, together with 7-inch digital multi-instrument display and 10-inch head-up display. Lexus promises responsive acceleration and handling thanks to a more rigid body and lower center of gravity. Powering the NX will be a choice of gasoline and gasoline-electric hybrid systems. The highlight is the plug-in hybrid system in the NX 450h+. A high-capacity lithium-battery allows an all-electric range of 57km (manufacturer estimate). The gasoline engine kicks in to drive the car directly and recharge the battery when needed.
Volkswagen Multivan Kombi
VW is bringing back a venerable nameplate, updated for the 2020s: the Kombi. The Volkswagen Multivan Kombi is a three-row van with seating for 7 in 2+2+3 seating. The second-row captains seats can swivel 180 degrees for a mobile conference or family gathering. VW Multivan Kombi is powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engien with 150ps and 340Nm, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Price is P3.650M