With the onset of the new excise tax law for the Philippine Automotive Industry, car manufacturers harnessed all favorable conditions for them to come up with a car that's unbeatable in value. All of them have succeeded, and one of which is General Motor's Chevrolet Optra.

Surprising everyone including the price-conscious cynic turned car enthusiast, General Motors successfully overcame the all-time barrier to car purchase: the hefty entry fee. Now, here is a car that's amiss with nothing except the high price. From styling, to performance, to safety, General Motors is short of announcing to the world that the Optra is the perfect outcome of their world car development.

Call it an international beauty, if you may, for the new Chevrolet Optra is the perfect fusion of all good virtues thriving under GM's tutelage. Additional perks such as the Pininfarina-designed body, the British-tuned suspension, and the American fit and finish extending beyond the bowtie logo will make one assured of the investment made in the Chevrolet Optra.

For 2004, General Motors Philippines (GMPh) releases a new Optra variant, the 1.8 LT. Those left wanting with the 1.6 LS variant will be quenched with a more potent 1.8 liter power plant. Rated at 121 Hp and 165 Nm of torque, it is quite meager compared to other cars in the playing field, but overall power is adept over various driving conditions. Coupling this new engine with the gated four-speed automatic transmission makes driving chores a breeze.

Taking this vehicle for a drive around town really made its European nature known. Mumbling a European marque upon maneuvering this thing was almost imminent, as it is responsive, well weighted, and firm. Springing duties of the car courtesy of an all-independent suspension setup is also on the firm but forgiving side. As expected, acceleration is quicker thanks to the addition of two hundred cubic centimeters at the hood.

General Motors have virtually covered every crucial base on car design and development with the Chevrolet Optra. If one is not yet convinced of it as a worthwhile and attractive vehicle package, one is advised to wait until one is gracing the world's best race tracks sometime in 2005.