Cars We Can Have: Plus six more for 2011
Somehow, previewing five cars for 2011 didn’t quite seem enough, so to make it 11, we scrolled through recent world introductions and dug up six more cars that will (almost surely) greet you at Philippine showrooms sometime during the year:
Here are the first photos of the all-new Picanto. The car looks like a dead ringer for the Toyota iQ, at least from the front—the “tiger grille” notwithstanding. Heavily scalloped sections and creases on the doors disguise the car’s height. The new car is longer, both in overall length and wheelbase. A five-door will likely be the only body style available in the Philippines, although a “sportier” three-door will be available in other markets. Engines will be 1.0 and 1.-2 liter units. The car will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Advantage: Thrifty engines with bargain pricing should make this an interesting entry-level choice.
Guesstimated arrival: Third quarter 2011
As the BMW X1’s size is very close to the outgoing X3’s, the new X3 will conveniently be able to grow as well. It still will not be close to the full-size X5, but will have considerably more room. 83 mm longer and 28 mm wider than the outgoing car, the car will also have a decent 550 liter-luggage space with all five seats up, and 1600 liters with rear seats folded. The car promises a change from the popsicle-stiff ride of the old car while retaining the responsive handling that made the X3 such a fun drive, SUV or not.
Advantage: Silky inline-6 engines, good for 6.7-seconds 0-100 km/h time, 5.5 seconds in the turbo version, combined with an 8-speed automatic
Guesstimated arrival: First quarter 2011
Chevrolet’s subcompact will get into a sportier groove when the new model rolls around. With more interesting styling, the new Aveo will be longer and wider than its predecessor. The motorcycle-inspired instruments first seen in the Aveo show car and in the Spark make its way to the production car. Chevrolet promises a stiff chassis and tight handling, to make its driving performance best in class. 1.2 liters gives 86 bhp, 1.4 liters 100 bhp. In the USA, the nameplate changes to “Sonic,” but here, it will still be badged Aveo.
Advantage: Standard ABS and stability control (probably), six speed automatic (maybe)
Guesstimated availability: Second quarter 2011
Lexus’ first compact car has an ace up its sleeve: it’s a hybrid. With a combined 134 bhp from electric and gasoline propulsion, it’s not exactly a scorcher, but it should return the unparalleled fuel economy that Lexus/Toyota hybrids are known for. Fully independent suspension, including double-wishbone rears, promise a more responsive drive that previous hybrid offerings from the Big T.
Advantage: Fuel-sipping hybrid drivetrain.
Guesstimated availability: First quarter 2011.
In line with its “One Ford” brand initiative, the Blue Oval is aiming to present just one model for its nameplates worldwide. Thus, the super-sized new Ford Ranger, introduced in Australia and destined to be built—in Thailand. The new Ranger will be 90th percentile of the North American F-150 pickup. (Remember those?)The huge bump in size will effectively axe the Ranger nameplate in the USA, although Australia and Southeast Asia will receive this new workhorse/plaything.
Advantage: Ginormous proportions
Guesstimated availability: Third quarter 2011
Just like the current Civic, the Subara Impreza still seems new and competitive. And just like the Civic, an all-new model is just around the corner. Looking to maintain its competitive edge, Motor Image aims to bring in the all-new Impreza this year. With its “mini-Legacy” looks, and expected upgrades in interior space and quality, it just may propel Subaru into the mainstream market. Better have more dealers and service centers ready, Motor Image.
Advantage: As before, boxer engines and all-wheel drive, coupled with a larger car and better-looking (if blander) exterior
Guesstimated arrival: Fourth quarter 2011
Plus some cars that will receive facelifts and upgrades:
The Subaru Forester will get cosmetic changes and one very important piece of new equipment: a brand-new boxer engine. The new one will feature chain driven camshafts instead the old belt drive, resulting in—don’t hold your breath—identical power and torque. The good news is that they will be available at lower rpm, which will improve fuel economy. A CVT gear(less)-box will be the standard transmission.
Going all 3 Series with its new face, the facelifted C will receive engine upgrades, including 306 bhp from the C 350’s 3.5-liter V6. (To think that 300+ bhp used to be exclusive to the supersedan category.) The interior will receive the most attention, with internet connectivity being its main differentiator (at least in Europe).
Mitsubishi Montero Sport
The Montero Sport will receive the variable-geometry turbo for its diesel engine that has been available in Australia and regions. Torque will be a respectable 400 Nm. This is expected to solidify Mitsubishi’s new strangehold on the entry-level SUV market.
And one that will be sorely missed:
With the new WRX sporting the wide-body look, Motor Image is not too keen on bringing in the new model, lest it kill off the STI. They are right to be concerned, as the WRX has proven near-equal and, in some real-world driving conditions, superior to the STI in performance. We don’t agree, as we think that the STI caters to a more hardcore market than the WRX. Perhaps it’s a matter of simplifying the lineup before the new car arrives. Still, can’t you let us have some (more affordable) fun, Motor Image?