Like the previous years, 2017 was a good year for the automobile industry with a recorded 18. 4% increase in sales, according to a report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The report showed that 425,673 units were sold last year, surpassing the targeted 400,500 units, and in comparison with the recorded sales of 359,572 units in 2016. In December 2017 alone, it was noted that sales rose to 33.4%, with 45,494 units sold compared to 34,104 units sold in the same period in 2016.

The spike in sales was attributed to the imposition of excise tax on automobiles under the  Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which started January of this year. While this might be a looming challenge for the industry, CAMPI officials said they remain confident that the market will be able to adjust to the new law. 

Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of 2017’s standout cars:

Honda Civic Type R

An eye-catcher at the 2017 Manila International Auto Show, Honda Civic Type R is reported as the first-ever Civic Type R model to be sold locally. More than its stunning sporty exterior, this vehicle is notable for having a 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine with a maximum power output of 310 PS at 6,500rpm, and peak torque of 400 Nm from 2,500rpm to 4,500rpm. Its Three-Mode Drive System namely: +R Mode, Sport Mode, and Comfort Mode enables the user to select through different characteristics that suit their driving conditions. These stellar features, matched with a comfortable interior cabin, make this vehicle a standout.

Mazda CX-5

The all-new Mazda CX-5 boasts of being equipped with G-Vectoring Control, a system known to enhance driving feel and improve passenger riding experience. Also notable is its Skyactiv technology, which is known to deliver high performance yet emits ultra-low NOx emission that complies with stringent Euro 6 standards. To match what is in the inside, the Mazda CX-5 is designed with the Kodo: Soul of Motion, a design language that catches the eye and moves the soul.

Mitsubishi Montero Sport

True to its claim of being “built to success,” this well-loved midsized SUV bagged awards including the Best 4WD SUV in the Car of the Year Awards and Best Mid-size SUV in the 2017 Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards. Dependable on both city driving and on rough terrain, Mitsubishi’s Montero Sport, specifically the GT variant, had a notable make over in 2017. Worthy to mention are its safety features including the forward Collision Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System, and blind spot warning. These features coupled with the first-of-its-kind Euro-4 compliant 2.4L Clean Diesel engine with Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Electronic Control system, sleek exterior, and comfortable interior design, the new Montero Sport surely delivered a performance.

Morris Garage MG3

Catering to millennials, MG3 is more than its stylish, sporty exterior. This vehicle with features that passed European safety standards, comes with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine capable of 105hp at 6,000rpm and 135Nm at 4,500rpm. Moreover, it has become a choice for those looking for affordable yet fun, sporty, and trustworthy hatchback road buddy.

Nissan Juke

“Built to stand out,” as it claims, the Nissan Juke’s playful range of colors are a head-turner. But more than its exterior, this vehicle, which is a cross between a sports car and an SUV, has standout features including the world’s first I-CON System that gives the user the freedom to easily switch from various driving modes. With this iconic system matched with a powerful 1.6L engine, Nissan Juke becomes reliable partner on the road.

Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki Celerio, which caters tothe adventure-seekers, is one of Suzuki’s best-selling vehicles since 2016. Apart from being awarded with Best Fuel Rating under the Over-All Gasoline Category at Department of Energy’s Euro 4 Fuel Eco Run in 2016, Suzuki Celerio bagged the Best Value for Money award in the standard mini category at the Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards 2017. Celerio is notable for fuel-efficient engine and patented Total Effective Control Technology (TECT); generous cabin and luggage space; and for having a spacious leg room and higher head room for utmost comfort during trips. — Romsanne R. Ortiguero