2019 was a busy year for the automotive industry. In fact, we saw a little over 50 all-new and updated cars over the past 12 months. A hectic year, yes, but an eventful one nonetheless.
But just when you thought that 2020 will be a little calmer, think again. With what we've seen being launched around the region (and the world), we can expect a lot more new cars coming soon to a showroom near you.
Just how many new cars are we expecting? So far, we're anticipating 23 all-new and facelifted models inbound. Here's what we think, and know, what's coming.
Ford Explorer / Ranger Wildtrak X
Despite being shipped all the way from the US, the Ford Explorer has been a surprisingly popular choice in the mid-size/large crossover market. It's no surprise then that we're expecting the all-new model to land here. Sure, Ford Philippines is keeping their cards to their chests right now, but it's the likeliest given that Ford's current lineup is mostly new or updated aside from the Explorer. If not, it could mean a totally different surprise. Perhaps Ford might also bring in a new variant of the Ranger via the Wildtrak X. Launched last year, the Wildtrak X sits below the Raptor and is armed to the teeth with various off-road upgrades like an air snorkel, brush guard, fender flares, and bigger wheels and tires.
GAC isn't stopping for the new car onslaught just yet. They'll be adding two more models to their range, and one of them is an MPV. It's called the GM6, and it slots below the much larger GM8. It presents the newest design language from the Chinese automaker, and it's interesting to see how GAC will approach the MPV market with this two-pronged strategy.
Besides the GM6, GAC will also be launching the GS5 crossover in the country pretty soon. GAC is catering to the local consumers' need for more ground clearance, and it's clear that the company has been listening. By adding another crossover to the line-up, GAC is keen to establish their presence in the market, and they aren't about to slow down their momentum.
For the ASEAN market, the City is perhaps one of the most important, if not, the most important car Honda makes. The fifth-generation sedan was introduced late last year and there is no doubt that we'll be seeing it in showrooms this year. We think they absolutely nailed the styling, and that turbo engine seems promising. However, that turbo mill isn’t likely to be sold here. Instead, what we might get is the direct-injected version of the 1.5-liter mill which makes 10 more horsepower and torque than the current model. Will it still be assembled in the Philippines? Here's to hoping it still will be.
Honda CR-V facelift
Honda first showed the new look CR-V in North America a couple of months back, featuring new bumpers, lights, and wheels. No major mechanical updates reported, at least in the gas engine front. Given that Thailand has been our barometer for launch dates in the Philippines, we'll have to wait for it to be revealed over there first before we can get our hands on it. Once it's out there, it won't be a long wait until we see it in our showrooms.
Last but not least, from Honda that is, is the next-generation Jazz. Shown during last year's Tokyo Motor Show the hatchback's redesign was radical to say the least. For now, it's all hybrids for Jazz, but we don't think that the gas-electric powertrain will be offered here. Instead, we might see the 1.0-liter turbo that will also see service in the 2020 City. Sure, the new look has been divisive, but we still hold the Jazz in high regard since the current-generation is a genuinely good little runabout. We expect a lot from this fully redesigned model.
The local pick-up truck wars will soon be on the uptake once more when the all-new Isuzu D-Max makes its way to the country. First revealed at the 2019 Thailand International Motor Expo, it gets a more stylish look inside and out, as well as a more high-tech cabin. There’s also a new top-of-the-line engine option in the form of the 3.0-liter 4JJ3-TCX. Fans of the 1.9-liter RZ4E will be glad to know that it has been carried over. With pick-up trucks continuing to grow popular, the 2020 D-Max is something that will surely be waited with anticipation.
Always wanted a Wrangler with a bed at the back? Jeep has heard your cries and will soon be bringing in the Gladiator. Set to arrive in mid-2020, the all-new pick-up truck will feature Jeep's 4x4 technologies, heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, and locking differentials. Fox shock absorbers, front and rear skid plates, and heavy-duty steel bumpers will also be available on the Jeep Gladiator. A 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 will likely be the engine choice for the PH-spec Gladiator although a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 might also be offered once it arrives here.
Land Rover Defender
Climb every mountain and wade through any body of water with the 2020 Land Rover Defender. After first making its world debut last September 2019, the British marque has announced that it will be making its Philippine debut some time this year. What's more is that it will be launched in both the 90 and 110 series body styles. The boxy shape may have been retained but it now has a more modern look. It also has a plusher interior which can be specified to a customer's trim or color of choice. Only one engine option will be available for the PH-spec Defender, a 3.0-liter, mild-hybrid inline-six that benefits from an electric supercharger and twin-scroll turbocharger.
For those who still think the Alphard isn't luxuious enough, you're in luck. Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota, will soon be bringing in the LM. In fact, there's a line for it here already. If you you ordered one, the wait won't be long anymore. It's got splashes of chrome and a huge spindle front grill to remind everyone there's a Lexus coming their way. But what could be its most intriguing features are the four-seat configuration complete with captain seats, a partition that separates the front and rear of the cabin, and a huge entertainment system. This is one vehicle you'd want to be lounging in while in traffic.
Pick-up trucks are hot sellers here and Maxus knows that. So this year, they’ll be bringing in their T60 to the country to go face to face with the establishment. What we meant by the establishment is the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max (all-new also coming soon), Mitsubishi Strada, Nissan Navara, and the Toyota Hilux. From what we’ve seen, engine specs look up to par with the current competition, and it will be interesting to see how it fares against its rivals.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 4x4
The four-wheel drive Mitsubishi Montero Sport is coming in the first quarter of this year. That's exactly what the folks at MMPC (Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Philippines) told us when we asked them why there was no 4x4 variant when the updated model was launched late last year. We've told you why there wasn't one offered upon launch, but Mitsubishi themselves said that they've rectified the emissions technicality. So for those who want to take the revamped Montero Sport off-roading, it won't be long wait now.
Mitsubishi Xpander Cross
When the Mitsubishi Xpander was launched, they said that it had the highest ground clearance in its class, at least at the time. That title has since gone to the Toyota Rush, but Mitsubishi wants to reclaim that crown. They plan to do it with the Xpander Cross and, yes, they have confirmed that it will be sold in the country. With its (slightly) more rugged looks and higher ride height, we won’t be surprised if we’ll see a lot of these on the road soon.
After making its public debut at the 2019 Thailand Motor Expo, expect the Almera to arrive in the Philippines sometime in 2020. The all-new model features revised styling all both inside and out. In fact, it now looks similar to the larger Slyphy and Altima with a prominent V-motion grill and a more upscale design. Considering the current Almera being sold locally is already old, expect to see the replacement very soon.
Nissan Juke or Kicks
There’s no word whether Nissan Philippines will be selling the second-generation Juke locally or replace it with the Kicks instead. Recently, the Kicks was spied undergoing testing in Thailand. And what is usually sold in Thailand often ends up being offered to the Philippines as well. While nothing is certain yet, it does indicate that Nissan has plans to launch the Kicks in the ASEAN region. The question now is which model we will be getting. Considering the Juke has already made a name for itself here, it is still possible for the second-generation model to arrive.
Last year, Nissan Philippines announced that the all-electric LEAF will be arriving in the country sometime in 2020. It would be one of the first few electric vehicles offered locally together with the Porsche Taycan. In fact, it could even help jump start the much needed EV infrastructure in the country. However, the automaker has remained tight lipped as to when the EV will arrive and how much it will cost. One thing for sure is that it will be 100% exempted from excise taxes.
Nissan’s biggest SUV offering was given a major makeover last year. However, Nissan Philippines has been tight-lipped as to when the updated Patrol will arrive in the country. Considering its competitor, the Toyota Land Cruiser has already undergone several updates, it shouldn’t be long before the Patrol makes its way to showrooms and garages inside gated communities.
Much like the Almera, the Slyphy currently offered by Nissan Philippines is a bit dated. The model currently offered was first launched in Thailand back in 2012, making it already 8 years old this year. Fortunately, an all-new model was launched last year and featured a radical redesign with more aggressive looks. Inside, the cabin has been upgraded as well giving it a more luxurious appeal. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long before it arrives.
Yes folks, you read that right. We will soon see the Porsche Taycan on our roads soon. This particular Porsche is perhaps one of the most interesting luxury cars to be launched this year, given the fact that it’s, well, pure electric. No other luxury marque here has announced plans to unveil an EV ether, making Porsche the first to do so here. Perhaps this, along with the Nissan LEAF, might just kick start an electric revolution here.
Subaru Ascent (Evoltis)
Last year, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Chong International Glenn Tan, revealed that the Subaru Ascent would be arriving in the Philippines with a different name. Now at the 2020 Singapore Motor Show, we learned that the large 7-seat SUV will be arriving in August later this year. It will also be sold as the Evoltis, dropping the Ascent name for our market. A 7-seat offering from Motor Image will certainly give customers more options to choose from in the market.
Subaru Forester GT
Motor Image previewed the Subaru Forester GT Edition last year during the 2019 Subaru Palm Challenge finals. The cool looking crossover gets an upgrade in the aesthetics department but still retains the non-turbo engine. Following its official launch at the Singapore Motor Show, the more stylish Forester will be making its way to the Philippines in April and will debut at the Manila International Auto Show.
Subaru Forester e-Boxer
About a year ago, Motor Image, the official distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country, said that they will be selling the hybridized Forester in the country. Company CEO Glenn Tan himself said that too. What’s yet to be determined, however, is its launch date. Still, we believe that this is the year Subaru will sell their first hybrid in the country. We’ve driven it already and it left a good impression on us. It will be here by the third quarter of 2020, and we can't wait to drive it again.
The Honda BR-V, Mitsubishi Xpander, and the Toyota Rush might soon say hello to a new competitor in the form of a high-riding Ertiga called the XL6. Bolder and taller than a standard Ertiga, the XL6 has been billed by Suzuki as a premium MPV thanks to its different front fascia, captain-style second row seats, and all-black leather interior. Should it be available in the Philippine soon, it might spice things up in the already hotly-contested high-riding MPV market.
Onwards to 2020
Of course, this isn't the complete list just yet. Automakers will throw in a couple of surprises here and there to keep heat things up in different segments. Remember, about 50 cars were launched, some of which are totally by surprise. Judging how 2019 went, we might just see the same amount of new cars gracing our showrooms this year.
Onwards to 2020 then.