COTY-P recently took sport and sport utility vehicles to new limits with its second SUV testfest. Again held at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal on February 18-19, 2006, the the evaluation featured 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 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. No different from the route used for the three testfest weekends in January 2006, 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 weekend of February 18-19, 2006 saw 13 vehicles (12 SUVs and one luxury car) all with a total value of over P 27M - offer themselves for testing and assessment the Mazda Tribute 3.0L V6, the Hyundai Tucson 4x2 CRDi, the Honda CR-V 2.4L i-VTEC, the Kia Sorento CRDi, the Nissan X-Trail 250X 2.5L (with Hyper Roof Rail), the Toyota Fortuner 2.7L G VVT-i (gas), the Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L SOHC V6 4x4, the Dodge Durango Limited 4.7L Magnum V8, the Mercedes Benz ML 350, the Volvo XC70 Cross Country, the Isuzu Alterra 3.0L CDi 4x4, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and the Chrysler 300C 4.7L Magnum V6. The SUVs present duked it out in three categories, all based on price classification best Entry Level SUVs (Php 1.4M and below), best Luxury SUVs (Php 1.401M-Php 3.999M) and best Ultraluxury SUVs (Php 4M and above). The Chrysler 300C, although a relative latecomer to the testfest, made its mark among the COTY-P members present in the Luxury Car category.

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.

Next weekend (February 25-26, 2006), COTY-P will hold a testfest for vehicles that were not able to make it to their respective testfest weekends at the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, Rizal. The unveiling of the Car of the Year - Philippines will be 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.