The new cars, trends, and highlights at the 7th Philippine International Motor Show

It may only come around once every two years, but the Philippine International Motor Show always puts on a good spectacle, and 2018 was no exception. There were groundbreaking reveals, concept cars, and for those with fuel in their veins; performance cars. If it's the variety you wanted, it's exactly what the show offered.

Highlights? There was a lot, and there was a certain trend in the show too, which was also a reflection of the global market today. So what are the highlights and trends of the 2018 Philippine International Motor Show? Read on.

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SUV, crossovers everywhere

It goes without saying that a lot of Filipinos like their cars with a bit more ground clearance and it was clearly shown at this year's running of the show. No matter which booth you visited, you were greeted by some form of high-riding vehicle, be it a pick-up-based SUV or a car-based crossover. Needless to say, crowds flocked to them.

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Toyota displayed the Land Cruiser, among other high-riders, while Nissan went all out and showed the X-Trail, Terra, and Patrol. Mazda made waves with the updated CX-9 and Mitsubishi displayed a fully kitted-out Montero Sport, along with a precariously suspended Outlander PHEV. And let's not forget Isuzu with two new variants of the Mu-X, the LS A/T, and the Luxe.

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Luxury brands strut their stuff

Speaking of Jaguar, Land Rover, and BMW, the luxury marques that came on board went out in full force. Banking on crossovers and SUVs, Jaguar and Land Rover dished out two of their best-sellers, the F-Pace and the Range Rover Velar. They were then joined by the E-Pace, Jaguar's 'cub', and the imposing Discovery.

Over at BMW, it was a mix of performance and practicality with a variety of M cars, crossovers, and one category buster. The M models consisted of the 600 horsepower M5 and the M2 fitted with performance goodies. BMW's crossover display meanwhile featured the X2 and the all-new X4. Last but not least is the 6 Series Gran Turismo, a mix of a wagon, fastback, and large luxury sedan.

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Performance headliners

With rising fuel costs and vehicle prices going nowhere but up, you would think that there would be fewer performance cars available, but you'd be quite surprised with the line-up at PIMS. From a mild-sounding 184 horsepower to a fire-breathing 600, there were all shapes and sizes of performance cars on display at PIMS 2018.

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Mazda pulled the covers off the updated MX-5, now packing about 20 more horses than before, and Nissan surprised the crowd with the Juke Nismo, showing that a small crossover can have performance credentials. Speaking of Nismo, also present were the 370Z Nismo, and the mighty 600 horsepower GT-R Nismo.

That said, the Europeans wanted in on the action too and BMW delivered. There, they had the light M2 Coupe with performance parts, packing nearly 400 horsepower, while the M5, on paper at least, matches the GT-R pound-for-pound with 600 horsepower as well.

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Aggressive concepts

There were a total of five concept cars on the stands this year, all of which delighted the crowd with their aggressive, forward-thinking styling. Headlining the Honda booth was the Small RS Concept, blending in sporty looks in a pocket-sized package. Over at Toyota, they had the funky TJ Cruiser wherein the crowd would ask if it was for sale. As for Mitsubishi, the e-Evolution concept gave the local audience a taste of things to come from the Diamond Star brand with its electric motors and clever all-wheel drive system.

But it was Nissan that had concepts that could be said to be within reach of the buying public. These were the Navara Warrior X and the Terra S. The Navara Warrior X had butch fender flares, a raised ride height, and enough off-road ready parts to leave the LTO with their heads scratching. As for the Terra S, it's a lot less 'in your face' than the Warrior X, but it was still imposing nonetheless. That model emphasized more on luxury with white leather seats, embroidery on the said seats, and much more. The best part is, that Nissan could even consider bringing in these variants as production models.

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A quiet revolution

For all the flashy new cars seen in PIMS, there is one vehicle that may prove to be vital for a certain manufacturer. That automaker is Isuzu, and they have shown the VT02 concept.

You may be thinking, why is it significant? It's not even an SUV, crossover, or sporty car. You see, the VT02 aims to be the L300 of this generation. In short, Isuzu wants to be the backbone of local business with it. The Isuzu VT02 is designed to be a people carrier, equipment hauler, and just about everything the customer will need it to be for business.

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Show stopper

But perhaps one of the biggest stars of this year's motor show was the Suzuki Jimny. The moment they pulled the covers off the small SUV, the crowd was drawn in by its bright colors and retro styling. Drawing in more crowds to the Suzuki stage were performances by Bamboo, Autotelic, KZ Tandingan, and other popular OPM artists. Even as the days went by, people just kept taking double takes at the Jimny, taking loads of photos and poking around the baby off-roader.

Suzuki Philippines says that the next-gen Jimny here will be here by next year. The one displayed on the show may be as close as it gets to the local version coming soon. If the crowds are anything to go by, it looks like it will be a hit for the brand here.

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Has TRAIN slowed down PIMS?

Looking at the crowd this year, attendance seems thinner than the one in 2016, but it hasn't dampened the enthusiasm for those who went. There were smiles everywhere, and sales were still being made nonetheless. If anything, PIMS has excited the public with what to expect in showrooms in the coming months. CAMPI president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez has expressed optimism in 2019, and judging by the reception, things are looking up for next year.

So, are you ready to take out that checkbook for a new car?