No doubt about it, the family car can be likened to one magic carpet ride transporting a bunch load of people from point A to B in a matter of seconds. While this metaphor sounds greatly exaggerated, it’s a known fact, however, that family or commercial vehicles (CV) truly do a wonderful job not only of hauling up families on long trips but they can also become reliable work fleets for storing up supplies or other loads as well.
So far, Toyota, KIA, Ford, Suzuki, and Honda are the big-name car giants specializing in producing cars categorized as being car-friendly.
According to one reliable motoring review, there are now 136 family-friendly cars to choose from in the Philippines car market, however, this article will only try to focus on two such vehicles which have been deemed fit as having the best combination of factors in terms of safety, affordability, reliability, connectivity, and other hosts of family-friendly features.
Thus in 2022, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) unleashes a sleekier automotive facelift to the third generation model of the Toyota Avanza, a reputably local multi-purpose vehicle (MVP) that caters to Filipino families both big and small.
Gone were the days of swept-back headlights and modestly minimal-looking chrome grille sported by the likes of the second generation Avanza model, now the new Toyota Avanza boast of wide-angled hexagonal chrome grille justly stapled at the front exterior giving it a sleeker but also a more menacing look that much resembles a gnashing set of humongous “Orc’s” teeth from the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy-movie fame.
Kidding aside, add to this dashing feature, of course, is a pair of split-type LED headlights attached to both the front and back exterior of the car.
However, one of the major tweaks to this newer model is the layout or in particular, the monocoque chassis construction thus enabling the car to now run on a front-wheel-drive configuration with reduced body weight for better dynamic driving performance.
And thanks to the engineering marvel of Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota, the new Avanza models get ramped up with two different dual VVT-i (variable valve timing) engines. The first smaller engine is a 1.3-liter with an output of 98-PS and 122-Nm of torque while the larger one is a 1.5-liter with a max output of 106-PS with 138-Nm of torque. The J and E variants are mated to a five-speed manual while the G and E use a new continuously variable transmission. (CVT).
Meanwhile, cabin amenities include a redesigned dashboard with a nine-inch (seven-inch for the E variant) infotainment display that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and even USB charging ports placed at the rear while the seats are tastefully reconfigured to what Toyota calls a ‘long sofa’ mode, wherein the rear seats dovetails with the one’s upfront to recreate some sort of a La-Z-Boy experience.
The G trim variants also flaunt a 4.2-inch TFT display, a tilt- and telescopic-adjustable steering wheel with audio controls, and a push-button start system for ease of ignition.
And lastly, for the budget-conscious, the price of the 2022 Toyota Avanza starts at P813,000 for the 1.3 J MT class; P928,000 for the 1.3 E MT unit; P984,000 for the 1.3 E CVT model; and P1,039,000 for the top-spec 1.5 G CVT variant
FOTON GRATOUR MINIVAN 1.5 8-SEATER
Meanwhile, US News & World Report, a prominent US media company that produces an annual ranking award in such diverse categories as "Best Cars for the Money" and "Best Cars for Families”, an award duly given each year to classes of cars from the US mainland has once again handpicked 9 classes of cars for 2022 that were accorded as winners while some, particularly the Accord, Accord Hybrid, Avalon, Highlander Hybrid, and Odyssey have earned the highest possible ease-of-use rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety due to their much-improved latch car-seat systems.
Not to be outdone, however, we also have a clear winner here in our hands in the humble form of the Foton Gratour 1.5 8-seater minivan.
But what makes this car truly special? Well, for starters, FOTON Motor Philippines Inc. (FMPI) has given its thumbs up to make this car the official carpooling transport soon so we’ll be seeing a lot of action there.
But the main thing is, that the pros far outweigh the cons in describing this bland-looking vehicle. First off, the refurbished seat configuration can carry up to eight people at a time because of a long wheelbase naturally providing ample legroom and cargo space. Strategically integrated fog lights give high visibility during traffic conditions. A thermally insulated cabin replete with front and rear air conditioning units for a more comfortable ride while safety measures include 3-point seatbelts, standard and master control lock, and a remote control key.
Major features also include antilock braking, electronic door locks, multi-spoke 14-inch alloy car mugs, 10-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, multifunction steering wheel, airbags, backup sensors, and antilock braking.
while under the hood, the Foton Gratour is powered by a 1.5L DAM 15 DR gasoline engine producing an output of 114 PS at 6,000 rpm and 150 Nm peak torque at 3,000 rpm.
A rock bottom price of P580,000 hits the spot for this minivan, easily confirming its status quo as a valued people-mover while being easy on the pocketbook as well.
Also read: Exclusive report: All-New 2022 Toyota Avanza Expected to Debut in Indonesia in November