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MPVs and Pick-up Make their Mark at the Recent COTY Testfest


After testing a handful of different SUVs two weeks back, the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) now focuses on the prime movers of the automotive industry. Pick-ups and Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) now take center stage in this weekly gathering of motoring journalists from different publications.

Pick-ups and MPVs remain to be one of the most competitive segments in the local automotive industry. The former body type was designed to be everyone's workhorse, willing to take on any load, and, in the case of four-wheel drive pick-ups, will take on any terrain presented to it. The latter body type, on the other hand, also contains a decent amount of testosterone but is more geared to ferry more than five passengers at one time.

Just like the recent test fests, folks comprising the Applied Leisure and Sales Operations Group (ALSO) took charge of the quantitative evaluation of each vehicle present in the said test fest session. All vehicles were subjected to 0-60 kph times and after reaching 60 kph, they will then be subjected to the braking distance test, which were the time spent and the distance it took for the vehicle to decelerate from 60 kph back to zero. The figures were then churned out by the GTech Pro Meter as supplied by Speed Lab and were recorded for tallying purposes.

After the quantitative tests, the CAGI members now drove the vehicles one by one over a prescribed course that will let them evaluate the different parameters of the car in a subjective fashion, such as the car's acceleration, braking, steering, ride comfort, exterior fascia, build quality, and many other qualitative factors.

Vehicles that made to this recent test fest include the last year's winners for the pick-up, entry-level MPV, and luxury MPV segments, which were the Ford Ranger, Toyota Innova, and Mitsubishi Grandis, respectively. The Ford Ranger, which is all-new for 2006, now sports a three liter turbo diesel equipped with Common Rail Direct Injection Diesel (CRDi) Technology. These plethoras of technologies enable the new Ranger to possess a whopping 380 Nm of torque just below 2,000 rpm, making it faster than ever. However, not to be left behind is the very stunning Strada pick-up from Mitsubishi, which also has a new 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine, also with common-rail technology.

For the entry-level MPV segment, last year's winner, the Toyota Innova, faces stiff competition with its own stable mate, the Toyota Avanza. This new offering from Toyota will seat seven people and \is really intended to be the mass-market vehicle of choice of the public transport sector, just like its big brother of yesteryears, the Tamaraw FX. It has a 1.5-liter VVT-i engine that promises outstanding fuel economy as well as class-leading power.

For the Luxury MPV segment, on the other hand, Mitsubishi's Grandis never failed to demonstrate the qualities that made it the last year's winner in this segment. This seven-seater minivan has a 2.4 MIVEC engine coupled to a smooth shifting automatic transmission. An onboard audio/video system and a DVD player help increased passenger comfort and convenience significantly.

The 2006 Car of the Year as organized by the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) is sponsored by the Automobile Association of the Philippines, Manila International Auto Show (organized by Worldbex Services International), Manila North Tollways Corporation, Bridgestone Tires, FedEx, Petron Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Standard Insurance, San Miguel Corporation, Rockwell Land, and Forest Hills Golf and Country Club in Antipolo, the venue of this year's test fest. Stay tuned as CAGI wraps off this year's test fest and unveil the winners in March 2007, wherein the winners will be displayed at the upcoming Manila Internation Auto Show slated on 29 March-1 April 2007 at the World Trade Center.
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