The Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI), an association of motoring journalists behind the annual Car of The Year-Philippines (COTY-P) awards, welcomed the new year with its third luxury car and ultraluxury car testfest. Held at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal on 6-7 January 2007, the testfest featured three vehicles introduced as 2006 models, with pricetags worth five or six times a motoring journalist's normal salary the Audi A6 3.0L TDI (turbodiesel injection), the Chrysler 300C V6 and the Mercedes Benz E280.

As with the previous COTY-P testfest weekends (held 11-12 November 2006 and 25-26 November 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 and Joey Lanuza and outdoorsman Ernie Reyes.

The second phase was a qualitative test where journalists drove each vehicle - to discern matters such as ergonomics, ride, handling, ventilation, safety, in-car entertainment 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, s-shaaped turns, curves and an occasional dip to test performance, handling and driveability. There is a flat straight of 400 meters where the acceleration (zero to 60 kph) and braking tests (60kph to full stop) are done. The testfest course is the moment of truth as it brings out the best - or the worst in every car that shows up for testing. Also, the testing area is isolated and distant from the golf course with no houses beside it, so no one is disturbed," said 2006-2007 CAGI president Aida Sevilla Mendoza.

The recently concluded high-end car testfest followed a price-based classification scheme implemented for the previous testfests. The Chrysler 300C V6 (P2.65M) made it to the luxury car segment (P2.6M to P3.99M). The Audi A6 3.0L TDI (P 5.350M) and the Mercedes Benz E280 (P4.88M) duked it out in the ultraluxury car segment (P4M to P6M). 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.

The next testfest (20-21 January 2007) at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club will showcase the entry level (P1.599M and below) sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The unveiling of the 2006 Philippine Car of the Year will be on Thursday 7 March 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.