The first half of 2021 is almost up. Needless to say, car companies in the Philippines have been working hard to recuperate from their losses from the pandemic-stricken 2020.
Safeguard tariffs aside, the first half of this year saw several car launches by the Philippine automotive industry. Whether they’re entirely new cars or just updates of existing nameplates, we’ve seen an active industry in light of the current economic turmoil brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
Here’s a recap of all the new or updated cars during this year’s first half. Think of it as a half-time show as we’re expecting more launches in the remaining half of the year.
Audi RS3, RS Q8
Audi Philippines wasted no time and introduced the Audi RS3 sedan right at the heels of New Year festivities. Powered by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder, the RS3 makes 400hp and 480Nm of torque sent to all four wheels – a segment leader considering the vehicle’s size and weight.
Meanwhile, the RS Q8 made its debut just days after, which is the performance version of the Q8 SUV. Closely related to the Lamborghini Urus, the RS Q8 has its own grunt, producing 600hp and 800Nm of torque from its twin-turbo V8.
Mercedes-AMG GLB 35
Following the launch of its regular GLB counterpart last year, the high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC also made January 2021 an exciting month. Despite having the capacity to ferry seven people, the AMG GLB 35 oozes with oomph, drawing 306hp and 400Nm of torque from its turbocharged 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine – launched with a P5,690,000 sticker price.
Chery Tiggo 7 Pro
Priced as a subcompact but with a body of a compact crossover, the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro aims to undercut its Chinese rivals by providing a slew of features at a competitive price point. Chery Philippines sells the Tiggo 7 Pro for P1,198,000 – priced squarely against the Geely Coolray Sport.
Nissan Terra VL
The Nissan Terra VL updates were purely aesthetic, with these parts now dressed in glossy black: grille, front bumper, fog lamp accents, side steps, alloy wheels, door handles, and mirror caps. The rear license plate also gets a dark chrome finisher, while the interior gets dark chrome accents and dual-tone leather.
Suzuki Philippines gave the Dzire a refresh at the beginning of February 2021. Now donning a larger chrome grille and bumper accents, giving the quirky sedan a fresh look.
The 2021 Dzire is available in two variants, GL and GL+, priced at P648,000 and P708,000, respectively.
Subaru Forester GT Lite
Last year, the Subaru Forester got a souped up GT Edition that aims to bring a kitted version of the crossover right off the showroom. In February, however, Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP) introduced the more affordable GT Lite that comes with a front bumper lip spoiler, side skirts, rear bumper lip spoiler, a larger exhaust cutter, and a roof spoiler – priced at P1,980,000.
Maxus Philippines, known for its people- and cargo-hauling lineup, wants a piece of the compact crossover segment by introducing the D60. Beyond the eye-catching design, the D60 offers several cabin amenities that go with its P1,148,000 price tag.
Maxus G50 Comfort
In the same month, Maxus Philippines also introduced an entry-level version of the good-looking G50 MPV that was introduced in 2020. Priced at P948,000, the G50 Comfort comes with a manual transmission partnered with the logical cabin design that we love about the nameplate.
Geely Okavango Urban Plus
Geely Philippines, on the other hand, gave the new Okavango MPV/SUV a more equipped variant sitting at the top of the range. The Okavango Urban Plus comes with a 60-inch panoramic sunroof, adaptive drive beam (ADB) matrix LED headlamps, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel at a price of P1,478,000.
While the facelifted Mirage from Thailand is still not arriving in the Philippines, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) gave the hatchback a 2021 update. Now down to two variants, manual and CVT, the Mirage hatchback offers blacked-out trim, including noir 15-inch alloy rims.
Ford Philippines isn’t resting its laurels with its cash cow and gave the Ranger another refresh for the 2021 model year. Now donning a mesh grille across the range, the Ranger’s now-13-strong lineup has a unified look, with a starting price at just a hair above P1-million.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) joins the fray in February with the introduction of the facelifted Toyota Innova. The new Innova gets a new face for this model year, still carrying a recipe that works for Filipino families.
Volkswagen Philippines introduced a refreshed Santana sedan, donning a not-so-significant change in terms of design. With all variants now using the 111-hp 1.5-liter engine, convenient features have also been added to the range-topping SE trim, including automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a sunroof.
The new-generation BMW 4-Series coupe is finally in the Philippines, entering local showrooms in March. The two-door model has been a point of discussion because of its huge “lung” grille but ultimately, the P3,990,000 price tag should make you consider the BMW coupe if you’re buying premium.
GAC has a wide range of lineup, including the GN8 minivan that offers a luxurious take on ferrying people. The car brand wants to bring this down to a more affordable level with the GN6 MPV with a price tag of P1,480,000.
Lexus IS 300h
At P2,978,000, the Lexus IS 300h aims to offer hybrid mobility at a more affordable price point and compact package. The hybrid 2.5-liter four-pot mill produces a total of 220hp and 221Nm of torque, the same power plant found in the pricier IS 300h Premier.
Probably one of the biggest launches in the first half of 2021 was the arrival of the all-new Isuzu D-Max. Now on its third generation, the venerable pickup truck gets a substantial upgrade in terms of design, comfort, and technology – all in a starting price of P987,000 for the RZ4E 4×2 LT MT.
Ford Ranger FX4 Max
Ford Philippines further beefed up the Ranger lineup with the introduction of the all-new FX4 Max variant. Combining work and play, the new 4×4 variant aims to be both a workhorse and off-road toy with its Fox monotube shock absorbers and higher payload capacity as compared to the Ranger Raptor – with a price tag lower than that of the Ranger Wildtrak 4×4.
Toyota Vios GR-S
Another range addition came from TMP with the introduction of the Vios GR-S. Infused with Gazoo Racing DNA, the Vios GR-S comes with aesthetic updates that make it stand out from the bestseller’s range, along with a new 10-speed CVT.
Another huge launch in H1 2021 was when Nissan Philippines introduced the refreshed Navara lineup. Along with the updated design, NPI also added the PRO-4X variant to add off-road chops into the intelligent pickup truck.
As a flagship model, the Lexus LS offers the best offering from the Japanese luxury automaker. Lexus Philippines wants to extend the range with a more affordable LS 500 variant at P5,928,000, along with a bevy of updates across the range.
Honda City Hatchback RS
Honda Cars Philippine, Inc. (HCPI) has bid goodbye to the Jazz but not without a worthy replacement, the City Hatchback. Available with a sole RS variant, the City Hatchback offers the same practicality as the five-door model at a price of P1,115,000.
Mazda BT-50 Pangolin Edition 4×2
Mazda’s mission to save the Pangolins in Palawan was made available for the more affordable BT-50. The BT-50 4×2 Pangolin MT is priced at P1,350,000, while the 4×2 AT variant sells for P1,395,000.
Volkswagen Philippines has announced the T-Cross earlier than expected and with a hefty discount in tow. The new subcompact crossover wants to offer tech features in a youthful package, priced at P1,068,000 this June.
Nissan Philippines fulfilled its promise made years ago and finally launched the LEAF EV back in May. With a promise of greener emissions and full electric mobility, the LEAF is priced at P2,798,000.
Despite a slight setback with the launch of its newest, MIPI soldiered on and debuted the Evoltis 7-seat crossover in May. Known as the Ascent in North America, the Philippines is the only Asian country to sell the three-row model, priced at P3,480,000.
Another Subaru model to break the daylight in H1 2021 was the facelifted Subaru XV. The refreshed model came with a new face and tons of features, with the now-sole variant selling for P1,908,000 with an P80,000 introductory discount this June.T
Triesenburg Auto Corporation (TAC), the official distributor of JAC passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in the Philippines, gave the S2 a minor update for 2021. Priced at P748,000, the subcompact crossover got minor design updates and new 9-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Suzuki Vitara AllGrip
Suzuki Philippines has phased out the front-wheel-drive variants of the Vitara and introduced a more rugged, all-wheel-drive model called the Vitara AllGrip. The lineup change, however, came with a huge price update, now starting at P1,458,000.
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class is a luxurious family hauler, but Auto Nation Group has made it even plusher with the addition of second-row captain’s chairs called Luxury Seats. The V-Class starts at P4,690,000.