The Car of the Year- Philippines (COTY-P) triumphantly closed out the last weekend of February with a "make-up" session for vehicles that were not able to make it to their respective testing dates. Again held at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal on February 25-26, 2006, the evaluation featured 12 vehicles from four different manufacturers with a total combined retail price of over P 29 million.

BMW Philippines came with an impressive lineup of vehicles in nearly every segment the 730 Ld (long wheelbase, diesel version), the 530i Executive, the 320i Sport (E90), the 120i Sport, the X3 2.0d (diesel m/t) and the X5 3.0d (diesel). The 730Ld quickly got most of the attention from the motoring journalists and COTY-P members present at Forest Hills, due to the fact that COTY-P members had their first and perhaps, their only chance to test BMW's ultraluxury saloon. The fact that six vehicles showed up for COTY-P's last testfest weekend prompted Philippine Star's Jeff Reyes to quip that the said weekend should be a BMW party.

Not to be outdone were General Motors, which brought along their Chevrolet Aveo 1.5L and their Chevrolet Optra 1.6L wagon. Ford toted their Escape XLT 3.0L and Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 SUVs, while Mercedes Benz was determined not to be left out with their answer to the 120i Sport - the B 170. The event culminated in an impressive, neat and arranged display of German and American automobile craftsmanship at one of the cul-de-sacs within the Forest Hills test course.

As with the previous testfest weekends, all 12 vehicles were subjected to quantitative probing and qualitative analysis. In the instrumented test, entries were subjected to a 0-60 kph acceleration test, followed by a test of 60 kph to zero braking ability. Each vehicle's performance was logged on a current model GTech meter and a computer.

The qualitative test gave journalists and COTY-P members alike the opportunity to drive each vehicle in a predetermined route around Forest Hills to gauge different automobile aspects, mapped out and designed by rally veterans Raul Asuncion, Barry Ortiz and Joey Lanuza. No different from the route used for the five previous testfest weekends, the technical course featured the following: 1) Short straightaways for braking tests ; 2) A 35-degree incline that tested a vehicle's torque; 3) Off-camber turns, downhill esses, and a notorious dip in the road that can lift a driver off his or her seat at only 50 kph, all for suspension inspection; 4) A series of fast and slow corners that tested a gearbox's responsiveness; and 5) Three to four cul-de-sacs that tested a vehicle's turning radius. "Virtually every aspect of car performance can be evaluated here, save for sustained high-speed driving. This course, though small, is definitely not boring, even if you're not driving flat out," said COTY-P president Manny de los Reyes.

The vehicles were rated and tested by COTY-P members and fellow motoring journalists from different broadsheets, magazines, TV shows and websites. "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 Mr. de los Reyes.

With the conclusion of the 2005 COTY-P testfest (sponsored by the Manila Motor Show, BPI, Rockwell Land Corp., Automobile Association of the Philippines, Fusion R Motorsports, Philippine Allied Corp. [official distributor of Bridgestone tires in the country], Federal Express and EStandard Insurance), motoring journalists and motoring fanatics alike will have to wait with bated breath for the unveiling of the Car of the Year - Philippines on March 30, 2006 at The Rockwell Tent, The Powerplant Mall, Makati City. The public unveiling of the winner will coincide with the opening of the Manila International Motor Show on April 7, 2006 at The World Trade Center, Roxas Boulevard.