The Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), the organization of motoring journalists behind the Philippine Car of the Year (COTY-P) Awards Group, exhibited its excellence in execution recently with its second executive car testfest. Held at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal on November 25-26, 2006, the testfest featured five vehicles introduced as 2006 models the Toyota Camry 3.5L V6, the Honda Accord 3.0L V6, the Subaru Legacy 2.0L station wagon, the Mazda 6 2.3L (the 2005 COTY-P and the defending champion in the 2005 COTY-P executive car category) and the Mitsubishi Galant 240M.

As with the previous COTY-P testfest weekend (held November 11-12, 2006, also at Forest Hills), the third COTY-P luxury car testfest featured two phases: an instrumented test and a qualitiative test. In the instrumented test, all seven entries were subjected to a 0-60 kph acceleration test, followed by a test of 60 kph to zero braking ability, with each vehicle's performance recorded on a current model GTech meter (supplied by Speedlab) and tabulated on a computer. Making sure motoring journalists followed the rules and regulations of the testfest were Applied Leisure in Sales and Operations (ALSO) group members (and former rallye racers) Raul Asuncion, Joey Lanuza and Barry Ortiz.

The second phase was a qualitative test where journalists drove each vehicle - to gauge matters such as ergonomics, ride, handling, ventilation, safety, audio system performance and visibility - in a predetermined route around Forest Hills. "The testfest course for COTY 2006 at Forest Hills is longer (specifically six kilometers long) and more challenging with many steep uphill and downhill segments, twists, bends, esses and curves. There is a flat straight of 400 meters where the acceleration (zero to 60) and braking tests are done. For cars, the testfest course is the moment of truth as it brings out the best - or the worst - in performance, handling and drivability. The course is isolated and distant from the golf course with no houses beside it, so the test drivers generally do not disturb anyone," said 2006-2007 CAGI president Aida Sevilla Mendoza.

The recently concluded executive car testfest followed a price-based classification scheme implemented for the 2005 COTY-P testfest. In the November 11-12 2006 compact car testfest, models considered were compact cars introduced as 2006 models and priced at P 750,000 to P 1.099 million.

The November 25-26, 2006 executive car testfest featured vehicles introduced in 2006 and priced at P 1.1 million to P 2.599 million
All five vehicles were rated and tested by COTY-P members and fellow motoring journalists from different broadsheets, magazines, TV shows and new media. "COTY-P testing is for all of us and not just for any one publication or radio/TV program. It would really be nice to look our counterparts from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. in the eye and say that we are part of the Philippine Car of the Year. Our system here is still a far cry from those of the European, North American and Japanese COTYs but they have had decades more experience. But we have to start somewhere. Also, several local media outfits (print and broadcast) have their own respective car awards but this does not mean that results will conflict or that one group's tests are better than the other. Even in Europe, America and Japan, various media have their respective awards but they all unite to form their respective countries' COTY. We should be the same," said 2005-2006 CAGI president Manny de los Reyes.

The next testfest (January 6-7, 2007) at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club will shine the spotlight on the luxury car (P 2.6 million to P 3.99 million) and ultraluxury car (P 4 million to P 6 million) segments. The unveiling of the 2006 Philippine Car of the Year will be on Thursday March 7, 2007 at the Rockwell Tent, The Powerplant Mall, Makati City.

The 2006 Philippine Car of the Year is supported by Philippine Allied Corporation (Bridgestone), the Automobile Association of the Philippines, Petron, Rockwell Land, Sony Ericsson, the Manila International Auto Show, Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, eStandard Insurance, SGV and Co., and the Manila North Tollways Corporation.