The class of 2024

The innovative vehicles confirmed or likely to arrive in PHL this year

By Dylan Afuang

IF YOU’VE BEEN following the goings on in local auto industry — hopefully through “Velocity” and, in which case, we extend our sincerest gratitude — you may have noticed a couple of trends that have been emerging lately.

Competitive upstarts from China have been vying for space in the Philippine market alongside established players that mostly hail from Japan and South Korea. The influx of electrified vehicles (EVs) coming from the world over is stronger than ever, as legislators and automakers embark on reducing the environmental impact of our motoring.

Of course, there’s no forgetting the car world’s responses to customer preferences for crossovers and SUVs.

Validating these trends is the flurry of motor shows and vehicle launches that happened here and abroad last year. The automotive year 2024 will likely be just as vibrant.

That said, we list the innovative models that are confirmed, or those that we predict, to excite and disrupt the local market today.

BMW 5 and i5 Touring

PHOTO FROM BMW

Last year, the official local distributor of BMW vehicles kept the wagon sector alive and stayed the course to electrification. To recall, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. launched the 3 Series Touring wagon and the i5 — the latter being the electrified version of its venerated, combustion-engined 5 executive sedan. Both powertrains are marketed here.

Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but the local BMW arm does present buyers a choice of electric or gas power, or sedan and wagon body styles (with the 3 Series), so could the 5 and i5 Touring make their arrival? The 5 and i5 Touring flex battery electric or hybrid power. Unique to these, however, is the added practicality and luggage space a family-friendly wagon can provide.

BYD Seal

PHOTO FROM BYD

This rising Chinese automaker could reasonably credit its worldwide recognition to the Seal. By virtue of its impressive performance and quality, BYD’s electric sedan has gained critical acclaim. As the brand is also trying to establish a foothold in Southeast Asia, local BYD distributor AC Mobility could contribute to that goal should it launch the Seal here.

Beneath the Seal’s sleek skin is the company’s proprietary Blade Battery — designed and developed in-house — whose lithium iron phosphate material uses less rare earth components and has a longer life than contemporary EV batteries. The battery also contains a smart module placement to make the battery smaller and lighter. Range and power is rated at 570km and 312hp, respectively.

Changan Deepal S7

PHOTO FROM CHANGAN

As reported before, Chinese player Changan is boosting its electrification strategy and will move 1.2 million cars outside its home market by 2030. The company’s sub-brands — such as luxury EV brand Deepal — carry the expectation to contribute to that figure. With Changan Auto in the Philippines, operated by Inchcape, Deepal is expected to enter the local market this year.

The S7 electric SUV could herald the brand’s arrival. Poised as an upscale offering, the S7 sports a sleek exterior with LED lights and luxury interior accoutrements. This Deepal — developed at Changan’s giant facility in Chongqing — produces 258hp and 320Nm, and sports a range of 620 kilometers in its top-of-the-range form.

Chery eQ1

PHOTO FROM CHERY

At last year’s Philippine EV Summit, Chery Auto Philippines showcased its own hybrid and battery electric vehicles that it calls new energy vehicles (NEVs), true to the Chinese state’s nomenclature. One NEV that stood out — despite measuring only 3.2 meters long — was an electric hatchback called the eQ1.

If Chery would sell the eQ1 here, it would surprise buyers with a long equipment list that belies its size. Within the hatchback’s 1.6-m width and 1.5-m height, the car displayed at the show featured a huge infotainment screen, power front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. It may not appear like it initially, but the eQ1 could accommodate four people.

Ford Bronco and Mustang

PHOTO FROM FORD

The American automaker is known for its brawny Bronco SUV and Mustang muscle car, and soon, Ford Philippines will bring the latest versions of the brand’s historic nameplates. Confirming the launch is the company’s recent opening of the order books for the two models.

In exchange for P4.998 million, the four-wheel drive Bronco packs a 330-hp 2.7-liter V6 engine and the promise of superior off-road abilities. Meanwhile, the legendary Mustang returns, with its P3.999-million range-topping model bringing a five-liter V8 pumping out 486hp and 567Nm. The power is sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic and advanced suspension damping.

Geely Geometry C

PHOTO FROM GEELY

Under local Geely arm Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP), the brand’s Geometry is anticipated to join the electrification fray — with the C as the first offering here. No word on the official launch yet, but the local media have been given a preview of the C as SGAP welcomed its new president earlier this year.

With pricing projected to be below P1.6 million, the compact Geometry C is seen as a rival to the BYD Atto 3. In China, the C runs on a 70-kWh lithium-ion battery that powers one electric motor. Range is measured at 485km, while the equipment comprises a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment, head-up display, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda HR-V e:HEV

PHOTO FROM HONDA

In 2023, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) launched the sixth generation of the CR-V — that also comes in hybrid e:HEV form. This began HCPI’s offering of the Japanese brand’s hybrid models. With an electrified Honda now in the scene, could more of the kind follow suit?

We imagine the HR-V, the compact SUV’s more compact stablemate, entering the market with hybrid power. Electric motors and a lithium battery pack work alongside a gasoline engine in powering the vehicle, in order to lower fuel consumption and emissions. This technology helps the HR-V e:HEV achieve an impressive 34kpl.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

PHOTO FROM HYUNDAI

What was once seen as a value South Korean brand is undergoing a brand renaissance. Hyundai has made vast developments in electrification and design, and the Ioniq 5 represents the brand’s accomplishments. Not long after its establishment, Hyundai Motor Philippines, Inc. (HMPH) began to offer the handsome and technologically advanced EV here.

Could HMPH launch the Ioniq 5 N here, then? Whether or not that materializes, the fact remains that this is the alpha version of the normal Ioniq. Made by the brand’s N division, the Ioniq 5 N boasts an aggressive exterior kit with 21-inch alloy wheels, and 650ps that’s dispatched to all four wheels — which results in a 3.4-second zero-to-100kph time and a top speed of 260kph.

JAC e-JS4 or e-JS1

PHOTO FROM JAC

Chinese car and truck maker JAC will see a new distributor in Astara Philippines. Next to other Chinese brands GAC and JMC, and French company Peugeot, this will be the mobility company’s fourth brand in the nation.

Reports say that Astara plans to expand JAC’s dealer network — and most notably, launch electrified cars — and improve consumer perception of the brand. This prompts the question: Will the e-JS4 and e-JS1 BEVs be imported into the nation? We’ll get our answer once the partnership between the brand and distributor further develops.

Jaecoo 7 and Omoda 5

PHOTO FROM OMODA

Jaecoo and Omoda will add to the roster of Chinese players in the country, as the two firms are confirmed to mark their entry at the 2024 Manila International Auto Show in April. Both brands are under the Chery umbrella.

The Jaecoo 7 and Omoda 5 EV will be the first offerings. Featuring internal combustion power and a wealth of tech, the 7 is poised to compete with its contemporaries offering similar equipment. On the other hand, 5 is promised to be a competitively priced EV with a range of up to 450km.

Kia EV5

PHOTO FROM KIA

As we reported late last year, Kia Philippines is slated to launch the Kia EV6’s compact sibling this year. The introduction of the EV5 supports the goal of Ayala Corp. (which operates AC Mobility that distributes Kia in the Philippines) to create an EV ecosystem.

The EV5 will join the EV6 in the local roster of the brand. Contingent on what overseas markets receive, the local EV5, which is assembled in China and Korea, may come in a larger 88-kWh battery pack or a 64kWh one. With the largest battery size in tow, the electric SUV has a range of 720km.

Lexus LBX

PHOTO FROM LEXUS

As you read this, the “Lexus Breakthrough Crossover” or LBX could be right here, right now (it actually launches today — Kap). Based on parent company Toyota’s GA-B platform, it’s the Japanese luxury brand’s most compact vehicle to date. The LBX is priced at P2.968 million.

Within its compact 4.19-m length and 1.82-m width are Lexus’ hybrid and luxury hallmarks. Fuel consumption is quoted at 22.72kpl, thanks to the LBX’s combined use of a 1.3-liter gas engine and electric motor. Moving inside the LBX’s well-crafted cabin, Mark Levinson audio, changeable mood lighting, and rich leather materials cater to the occupants.

Lynk & Co. 06

PHOTO FROM LYNK & CO.

United Asia Automotive Group, Inc. (UAAGI) is now the steward of another Chinese make — Lynk & Co. Globally, what’s positioned as an upscale brand is operated by Geely and Volvo (although the two brands have their own respective local distributors), and it joins UAAGI’s roster of brands — Chery, BAIC, and Foton.

Lynk & Co., which plugs itself as a “born digital” firm designed and engineered in Sweden, has manufactured one million vehicles since its establishment in Berlin in 2016. The 06 will be launched here at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) and enable more people to upgrade their mobility.

Maserati Grecale and Granturismo Folgore

PHOTO FROM MASERATI

From the likes of BMW, Lotus, and Porsche, the choices of fast, luxurious battery electric vehicles aren’t lacking. With its Folgore range, Italian marque Maserati has joined the realm of premium EVs. Aside from powerful combustion units, the Granturismo grand tourer and Grecale SUV are also electrified and so bear the Folgore name.

The Granturismo will be locally launched tomorrow; it and the Grecale Folgore could be exciting choices. For one, the Granturismo Folgore’s 800V design and three electric motors produce 761ps and 1,350Nm — and promise a top speed of 320kph and a 2.7-second zero-to-100kph sprint. Meanwhile, the Grecale can muster 557ps and a 220kph top speed.

Mazda MX-5

PHOTO FROM MAZDA

For nine years now, the “ND” MX-5 — the current iteration of Mazda’s legacy roadster — has been present in the Philippines and around the world. And last year, while the majority of its changes weren’t immediately obvious, the Japanese automaker subtly modernized the MX-5. Fans of the roadster will welcome it here, should Bermaz Auto Philippines introduce it.

New all-LED lighting units, including DRLs that are now integrated into the headlights, are part of the so-called “ND3” makeover. Two-liter-engined MX-5 manual cars have had their engine retuned for increased responsiveness, and their asymmetric limited-slip differential and steering response have been adjusted for enhanced cornering stability.

MG Cyberster

PHOTO FROM MG

The British-Chinese brand is decisively going electrified. Distributor SAIC Motor Philippines stated that, until 2025, at least eight MG models are planned to be introduced in the Philippine market — and that includes the MG Cyberster, slated to arrive in the first quarter of the year.

In our previous report, SAIC Motor Philippines President Felix Jiang stated that the Cyberster “embodies MG’s renowned British roadster heritage, (but) for the 21st century.” The Cyberster is powered by a 77kWh battery and, with 335bhp and rear wheel drive, MG claims a zero-to-100kph time of 4.6 seconds.

Mitsubishi Xforce

PHOTO FROM MITSUBISHI

The Xforce compact crossover is confirmed to debut in June and, like the Triton pickup, it’s expected to increase Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp.’s (MMPC) market share this year. Competing in a highly contested segment, the model is specifically designed for markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Fresh from its Indonesia debut, the Xforce was heralded among the winners of the iF Design Awards 2024 that recognized vehicles for their standout styling. Being a crossover, the Xforce boasts 220mm of ground clearance and a drive mode for rougher terrain, and features that buyers expect in the segment, such as digital infotainment and driver displays, to name a few.

Mini Cooper

PHOTO FROM MINI

The brands the Autohub Group distributes here are known for EVs. There’s the premium Lotus Eletre and the mainstream Segway electric scooters. So, while nothing’s been confirmed yet on exact timing, the company that also markets Mini could introduce the new Cooper: The latest generation of the famous bug-eyed hatchback that now comes with a choice of gas or electric power.

The Cooper Electric might bring its 181-hp or 215-hp electric drivetrains that are capable of an estimated range of up to 400km. As for the conventionally powered Cooper, its turbocharged gasoline mills can produce upwards of 200hp and yield a sub-five-second nil-to-century run. Inside the new Cooper cars are OLED infotainment screens and sustainable cabin materials.

Nissan Ariya

PHOTO FROM NISSAN

The Leaf electric hatchback is widely regarded as the first mass-market EV, and the second-generation of the model is part of Nissan Philippines, Inc.’s (NPI) local roster. Since the Leaf’s introduction, the Japanese car maker has boosted its electrification strategy with the Ariya, the brand’s first battery-electric SUV.

Given its range and positioning, the Ariya could compete in the premium EV sector, if NPI decides to bring it here. Among its powertrain choices, the Ariya can come with a 91kWh battery capable of over 500km of range, electric motors placed on the front and rear axles to create Nissan’s version of all-wheel drive called e-4orce, which generates 215hp and 300Nm of pull.

Peugeot E-2008

PHOTO FROM PEUGEOT

Would buyers like an electric Peugeot? When Peugeot Philippines previewed locally last year the E-2008 — whose “e” moniker denotes it as the battery-electric version of the French brand’s compact crossover — it probably wanted to gauge public clamor for such a vehicle. Since then, the E-2008 has been revised, and what could it offer — that is, if it comes here this 2024?

The EV’s letter “E” has been capitalized to better emphasize its means of propulsion. Subtle design tweaks abound in the car’s slinky shape, with the most obvious change found in the front end’s three-pronged LED “fangs.” Range is increased to 436km, and within the stylish cockpit Peugeot cars are known for, a larger infotainment screen with better connectivity is fitted.

Porsche Taycan

PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

Subtle styling tweaks and improvements on performance have been made to the famous and sporty four-door EV from the German auto marque. Considering that the Taycan has been serving the local demand for premium EVs, we’re guessing that Porsche could bring the updated model here soon or later.

The top-rung Taycan Turbo S banners the headline updates: Porsche claims that it runs to 100kph in 2.4 seconds, power is up to 940hp, and range is raised to 678km (176km more than before). Standard across the “Taycan 2.0” family, meanwhile, are active dampers for better handling, more power boosts, and improvements in battery charging and thermal management.

Toyota Tamaraw

PHOTO FROM TOYOTA MOTOR PHILIPPINES

A truck nameplate once famed here in Southeast Asia returns in a new, modern form — and it’s also slated to be produced in the Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) Santa Rosa, Laguna, plant this 2024 to supply the model’s sale here. TMP had invested P4.4 billion for the model’s local production.

Like its predecessors, the new Tamaraw is poised to reliably serve many through commercial applications. A part of Toyota’s IMV (innovative international multi-purpose vehicles) 0 family, the truck can come as a passenger or delivery van or a pickup truck — thanks to its modular platform. A choice of gasoline or diesel engines promise reliable and efficient service.

Volvo EX30

PHOTO FROM VOLVO

Volvo Philippines introduced last year the XC40 and C40 Recharge compact crossovers — products of the Sweden-based auto marque’s transition to becoming a full-EV brand. Meanwhile, the brand’s smallest model — the EX30 — was introduced in foreign markets. This makes us wonder: Could the brand’s local arm bring the baby crossover here soon?

In typical Volvo fashion and like its larger siblings, the EX30 wears a minimalist design inside and out. The cabin, in particular, was reportedly made from sustainable and recycled materials. Powering the EX30 is a choice of single- or dual-electric motor setups — with the latter’s 428ps and 3.6-second zero-to-100kph time making the crossover the fastest Volvo so far.

Which innovative vehicle can excite the market the most this 2024?