Now in its eleventh year, the Car of the Year Philippines, organized by the Car Awards Group, Incorporated, has just concluded its 2014-2015 Awards. Unlike previous awards, where the winners were announced in the first quarter of the following year, this year’s COTY-P awarding was held just a month after the conclusion of the annual Testfest.
“Voting for the 2014-2015 COTY-P and TOTY-P was tough. The continually increasing improvements, value and competitiveness each new model brought to their respective classes made discerning between standout and mid-pack very difficult,” said Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI) President Ferman Lao.
The Truck of the Year awards were a clean sweep for Ford, whose new Ranger Wildtrak variants took both the Best 2WD Pick-up of the Year and Best 4WD Pick-up of the Year awards. The powerful Ranger Wildtrak 3.2, with its all-new six speed manual transmission, claimed the overall Truck of the Year award, repeating the win of the automatic Wildtrak 3.2 variant of the previous year.
The overall Car of the Year title went to the new MINI Cooper S, which also claimed the Best Luxury Compact Car of the Year Award. This is the fastest MINI tested at COTY-P so far, with performance rivaling that of sports cars from past TestFests. It is also more luxurious and rounded than MINIs past. This combination of power and luxury simply blew away the competition this year.
Significantly, however, this year’s test featured a record number of contenders in the more affordable small car categories, perhaps reflecting the changing face of the market. Of the nearly seventy official entries for the year, over forty cars were subcompact or smaller. The big winners in these entry-level classes were the Toyota Wigo, which won Best Micro Car of the Year and the Hyundai Grand i10, which won Best Mini Car of the Year, beating out eight other contenders.
In the subcompact class, the Kia Rio 1.4 Sedan took honors as the Best Basic Subcompact Car of the Year award, while Honda took home two honors, with the Honda City 1.5 E winning Best Subcompact Car of the Year and the Honda Jazz 1.5 V winning Best Premium Subcompact Car of the Year, a growing category featuring subcompacts over 800,000 pesos in price and loaded with features once found only in mainstream compact cars.
Mazda swept the Compact Car classes, with the Mazda 3 1.5 S Sedan claiming Best Compact Car of the Year, and the Mazda 3 2.0R Hatchback earning Best Premium Compact Car of the Year, which features compacts with larger displacement engines and more luxuries than your typical family car.
The most impressive car tested so far at COTY-P, however, has to be the Rolls Royce Ghost, which is the Best Ultra-Luxury Car of the Year, with both the muscle and the luxury to back up that claim.
A newly revitalized Nissan, on the other hand, achieved a hat trick this year. The Altima swept the midsize classes, with the Altima 2.5 and 3.5 V6 earning Best Midsize Car of the Year and Best Premium Midsize Car of the Year. The Nissan X-Trail 2.5 AWD on the other hand, claimed Best Compact Crossover of the Year.
The Kia Soul diesel won Best Compact Crossover of the Year, in a new class indicative of changing trends in the market. The Ford Explorer Sport EcoBoost V6, on the other hand, claimed Best Large Crossover of the Year. The new twin-turbo V6 engine was impressive in both qualitative and technical testing at this year’s Testfest.
The Suzuki Ertiga1.4 AT claimed Best Subcompact MPV of the Year, packing three relatively spacious rows of seats in a surprisingly compact package. The BAIC MZ40 claimed Best Micro-Van of the year. It may not look like much, but it actually impressed on the technical track, with secure handling and braking, a far cry from Chinese micro-vans that have entered COTY-P in the past!
Best Large SUV of the Year Award went to the Toyota FJ Cruiser, whose powerful V6 and fascinating design impressed the judges thoroughly. Best Midsize SUV of the Year went to the newly released Isuzu mu-X 4×2 AT, the manufacturer’s newest model series.
Special Awards included the CAGI Motorsports Award, which was given to Toyota for the Vios Cup, a big step in revitalizing the local racing scene. The SpeedLab Tuner’s Choice Award went to the Honda Jazz, for its modification-friendliness and potential for sizzling performance. The AAP Road Safety Award went to the Volkswagen Touareg, a large vehicle with exceptional active safety in terms of braking and stability, as well as excellent electronic driver’s aids, which gives it handling shaming much smaller crossovers.
The Brother’s Burger Value for Money Award went to the stylish and capable BYD F0 GL-i, while the Filinvest Lifestyle Award went to the luxurious Rolls Royce Ghost, which costs over fifty times as much as the small hatchback! The Manila International Auto Show Design Award, on the other hand, went to the Volkswagen Beetle, as much a style icon today as the original was over sixty years ago.
The Caltex with Techron Green Award went to the Honda Accord 3.5 V6, whose variable cylinder management gives it exceptional economy for such a powerful car. The new Spyder Philippines Innovation Award goes to the Ford Ecosport 1.5 DCT, whose groundbreaking design has opened up crossover ownership to a wider audience on the local scene.
The Car of the Year Philippines 2014-2015 season would not be possible without the support of Caltex with Techron, Filinvest City Alabang, the Manila International Auto Show, Worldbex Services International, SpeedLab, Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), Brother’s Burger, Victoria Court, Team Spyder, Columbia Sportswear, MG Madrid & Company, Icubus Solutions and Winner Graphics.
The Car Awards Group, Inc. is supported by the following media partners: Business Mirror, BusinessWorld, Daily Tribune, Malaya Business Insight, Manila Bulletin, Manila Standard Today, Manila Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, World News, AQ, Brand Magazine, C! Magazine, Gadgets Magazine, Motorcycle Magazine, PowerWheels Magazine, Speed Magazine, TopGear Philippines, Autoindustriya.com, AutoLocoPinas.com, CarGuide.ph, Interaksyon.com, Kotse.com, ManilaSpeak.com, Motioncars.com, SprocketPH.com, Auto Focus, Auto Review, Motoring Today, Stoplight TV, FM, Inside Motoring on DZRJ 810 AM, and #TheMotoringPage on Mellow 94.7 FM.