By Kap Maceda Aguila

THE MANILA International Auto Show (MIAS) is a well-known summer draw and, rightfully so, becomes an effective soapbox from which car brands announce and tout their accomplishments. It is also a favorite platform for unveiling vehicles. This year’s MIAS featured a handful of attention-grabbing rides worth saving up for (or at least salivating over). We compile here a handful (in no particular order) which we thought you probably noticed as well. Do you agree?

MIAS Standouts 1

Bumblebee is back. The new iteration of one of America’s iconic muscle cars elbowed its way back into the country through the MIAS. The storied nameplate has sold an excess of five million units since its debut in 1967, capturing the imagination of car lovers all over the world. Rumbling under the hood is a 2.0-liter DOHC VVT direct-injection turbo good for 275hp and 398Nm, and drivers can access the aggression through an eight-speed AT with paddle shifters. Worthy of the robust performance, the Camaro receives Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers for enhanced stopping power.

Bearing LED headlamps, heritage-inspired taillamps, and muscular flanks, the Camaro is also complemented with the RS package for added sportiness. It wears five-spoke 20-inch machined wheels, LED tail lamps, decklid spoiler, polished honeycomb grille, illuminated Camaro sill plates, RS badge, and black front and rear Chevrolet bowtie emblems.

The sixth-generation vehicle features a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, black leather interior panel, and custom leather-trimmed dashboard and console. The driver’s bucket seat has eight-way power adjustment and is ventilated with both cooling and heating, while the passenger bucket seat features six-way power adjustment with cooling and heating as well.

MIAS Standouts 2

There’s a new alpha-dog SUV at Hyundai. The Palisade, badged as a 2020 model, comes just four months after its global debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Motivating the burly vehicle is a 2.2-liter CRDi e-VGT GLS engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The hefty yet elegant-looking ute wields 197 horses, with the grunt expressed through Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel-drive system for driving stability with variable power delivery to the rear wheels to optimize traction over different surfaces.

A large hood and eye-catching, cascading mesh-type grille underscore the image of strength and luxury. Rear cargo room is a spacious 509 liters. Luxurious accoutrements within the seven-seater (including second-row captain seats) abound — such as fully automated, multi-zone air-conditioning, seven USB ports (including a multimedia terminal), and a powerful audio system hooked up to six speakers.

MIAS Standouts 3

The secret’s out. Kia Philippines continues to increase its presence in the market releasing a duo of famous nameplates: the Forte and the Stinger. The Stinger is the “visionary product of the Kia GT Concept,” a compact executive five-door fastback touting muscular form and robust performance. Powered by a 3.3-liter V6 twin-turbocharged gasoline engine direct-injection dual CVVT which serves up 365hp and 510Nm (from a low 1,300-4,500rpm), acceleration is sprightly, as it attains 100kph from standstill in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is at 270kph.

Driving it are the rear wheels, and the driver accesses the power through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Stinger sports a MacPherson strut and stabilizer front suspension and a five multi-link at the rear. Electronically controlled dynamic suspension is integrated with Drive Mode Select, which adjusts steering boost, shift points, throttle and suspension mapping. A Dynamic Torque Vectoring system comes standard. Braking is powered by a four-piston Brembo caliper disc fitted on all wheels.

MIAS Standouts 4

Situated below the Cherokee and above the Renegade in Jeep’s trail-worthy portfolio, the new Compass expands the local portfolio of Jeep with “an unmatched combination of attributes that includes legendary and best-in-class 4×4 off-road capability, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, premium and authentic Jeep design, superior on-road driving dynamics, and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology offerings.” It’s expected to be another contender for people on the lookout for a unique sport utility vehicle.

Jeep’s trademark seven-slot grille is reinterpreted elegantly on the Compass, which boasts half-hexagon arches and an upward-tapering D-post for added dynamism. Jeep also describes the outside as “expressive and emotional with a wide stance and exceptional glass-to-wheel proportions.” Engineered as a single unit are the upper body and frame, resulting in greater stiffness and mass efficiency. “Extensive use of high-strength steel and… structural adhesives” further distinguish it. To be sure, there are styling cues borrowed from its more capable big brother in the Grand Cherokee, even as it shares a platform with the Renegade.

Inside, the Jeep Compass reflects decidedly premium styling “highlighted by sculptural surface elements and precise technical detail,” all adding up to a consistent Jeep experience. The company makes mention of multiple storage solutions throughout the cabin, along with colors and textures to “complement a lifestyle of adventure.”

MIAS Standouts 5

MG 6
Morris Garages (MG) continues its local onslaught with the 2019 MG 6 fastback sedan — a good-looking yet affordable sedan equipped with an expectedly frugal 1.5-liter, turbocharged gas engine promising 164hp and 250Nm. It is equipped with a seven-speed TST with manual Tiptronic function, and boasts a well-designed and appointed interior. A seven-inch virtual instrument cluster sits between the analog speedo and tachometer, while a large eight-inch LCD infotainment display system on the center console has Apple CarPlay and highlights hands-free connectivity.

It leverages MG’s sporty heritage in various ways, including a flat-bottomed steering wheel with multi-function controls. Two variants, Alpha and Trophy, are available.