The Top 10 Cars of PIMS

The 8th Philippine International Motor Show, or PIMS, may be over, but the impact that the show left is indelible. After missing out on the 2020 edition due to the pandemic, the public has been hankering to see shiny new sheetmetal back at PIMS’ World Trade Center stomping grounds. 

And the show didn’t disappoint. All 13 car brands—three of which were newly minted CAMPI members (Hyundai, Geely and Chery)—had something new or exciting on display or available for test drive. Toyota, which launched probably the most number of new cars this year, didn’t reveal all-new models at PIMS, but more than made up for that with its impressive display of environmentally-friendly hybrid models, exciting performance-oriented cars in its GR lineup, and a showcase of its industry-redefining Toyota Mobility Solutions.

Mazda, too, didn’t launch all-new models, but had what was arguably the most impressive physical exhibit with its multi-level “waterfall” layout that was strongly reminiscent of its displays in the Tokyo Motor Show. Foton, meanwhile, showcased both lifestyle- and entrepreneur-inspired exhibits for its various commercial vehicles—punctuated by the humungous EST-A 6×4 Tractor Head that reminded everyone of Optimus Prime.

Pure electric cars, hybrids of all kinds, gasoline- or diesel-powered cars and trucks, all in just about every body type—they were at PIMS 2022. Needless to say, the public came in droves.   

So which cars stole the show? I asked each member of the PhilStar Wheels team—Ulysses Ang, Kap Maceda Aguila, Jacob Oliva, Vincent Villa, and myself—to name each of our Top 10 pick. We compiled our answers, tabulated them, and here are the results:

10.   Honda BR-V

Nominated by three writers (Uly, Kap, and Vincent), the all-new Honda BR-V is a significant upgrade—in styling and in features—from its predecessor. We can’t wait to test Honda’s new subcompact 7-seat MPV and see exactly how much it has been improved.

9.  Nissan Kicks e-POWER

Also garnering three votes—from Jacob, Vincent, and this writer—out of a maximum of five (but with higher average rankings compared to the BR-V), the Nissan Kicks e-POWER was one of the most in-demand test drive vehicles throughout the event. People were truly interested in Nissan’s unique new e-POWER EV technology, which propels the car exclusively via electric power but uses a gasoline engine to charge the battery like a generator, thereby eliminating the need to plug the car in for recharging.

8.  BMW iX

Likewise garnering three votes (from me, Uly and Jacob), the futuristic BMW iX heralds the Bavarian brand’s interpretation of electrified mobility. The fully electric iX looks like a concept SUV but is one you can drive already. Pure magic from Munich.

7.  Honda HR-V RS

Underscoring the eminent goodness of Honda’s subcompact crossover, four out of five writers (Uly, Kap, Vincent, and me) voted for it. Not only is the HR-V a solid car, the availability of the RS variant adds more excitement to it.

6. Chery Tiggo 8 Pro 2.0 Turbo AWD

Earning the nod of no less than four out of five writers (Uly, Kap, Jacob, and me), the all-wheel drive Tiggo 8 Pro 2.0T comprehensively moves the midsize 7-seat SUV segment upward in terms of features, amenities, and performance. That it looks understatedly elegant and distinctive is the icing on the cake.

5.  Suzuki Ertiga Hybrid

A giant killer in the show and on this list, the unassuming Suzuki Ertiga Hybrid captured hearts (and unanimous votes from all five members of the team) with its promise of affordable hybrid mobility. Suzuki was careful to emphasize that this Ertiga, which is a mild hybrid as opposed to a true HEV or PHEV, is still being considered for the Philippine market. But we’re willing to bet that it will be a top seller if Suzuki PH indeed brings it to market. It could very well be the lowest priced hybrid if it does.

4. Mitsubishi Montero Sport and Strada RALLIART

The Philippines goes bonkers for SUVs and pickups—and the Wheels team is no exception. Yet another recipient of unanimous votes from all five writers, the RALLIART twins look like they just arrived from the Dakar Rally—rugged, mean-looking, and highly capable of traversing anything man or nature can throw at them. The return of the iconic RALLIART name was warmly welcomed by car enthusiasts reminiscing about the great all-conquering racing Mitsubishis.

3. Mazda MX-5 MCP Edition

Considering it’s not a new model and is only a limited-edition variant, we expected the Mazda MX-5 MCP 25th Anniversary Edition to be higher up the list numerically—not among the Top 3. But such is the allure of this timeless, ageless roadster that its relative rarity, a new color (and a few new trim and spec differentiators) are enough to vault it over much newer and arguably more intriguing models. We are always practical, but we can dream. And as dream cars go, this is about as close as it can get to parking one in our driveway.

2. Hyundai IONIC 5

Car of the Year in Germany, UK, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Estonia, Hyundai’s fully electric IONIQ 5 is a certified show-stopper wherever it goes. Not only is it a pure electric vehicle that’s straight out of Back to the Future, it also boasts V2L (vehicle-to-load) technology that allows it to deliver up to 3.6kw of electricity to charge your gadgets and power your appliances even in the middle of a forest.

1. Kia EV 6

Sharing the same V2L EV platform as its Hyundai IONIQ 5 corporate sibling, the Kia EV 6 boasts equally head-turning styling and performance that allow these Korean twins to match the finest from Tesla. The EV 6 has a driving range of up to 528 kilometers, boasts ultra-fast charging of a mere 4.5 minutes for a 100-kilometer range, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a quick 7.3 seconds.

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