The BMW X2 is a subcompact SUV launched in Manila in late April
They say electric cars are the future of mobility, but don’t count out sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups just yet. Global sales of electric vehicles may have surged 25 percent in 2017 compared to the year before, but SUVs and the smaller crossovers are still kings of the road, making up more than one in every three cars sold worldwide in the same period.
In the Philippines, a total of 473,943 automotive units were sold in 2017. Of that number, about 65 percent, or 306,116 were commercial vehicles (which groups SUVs and pick-ups) compared to 167,827 passenger vehicles (35 percent).
No wonder then that carmakers are still scrambling to offer their own versions of SUVs and crossovers to a market hungry for these rugged, larger vehicles.
Over the last couple of weeks, two of the world’s biggest car brands launched new versions of the SUV here in the Philippines. While the price range varies wildly—one is in the luxury category, and the other is in the lower end of the segment—both models share at least one thing in common—they’re intended to appeal to first-time buyers of SUVs.
BMW says the X2 is for people who want to veer away from the conventional
BMW categorizes its crossovers and sports activity vehicles (SAVs) under its X models. The German marque has a full range of vehicles under this category, from the X1 to the recently announced X7, but the X2 is their latest offering. Launched at the BMW Joyfest at the Bonifacio Global City, the compact SUV appeals to a younger, more free-spirited crowd.
There are three distinctive design details immediately noticeable in the X2, particularly for BMW fans. The first is the brand’s iconic kidney grille, which has been reshaped here to widen as it slopes down. Officials note that this is the first time this detail is found on a modern BMW.
The second is the placement of the BMW logo or “roundel” on the side just above the fuel cap. BMW Philippines Marketing Director Karl Magsuci says it’s a tip of the hat to the classic BMW coupes of the 1970s, including the 2000 cs and the 30 csl.
Lastly, the X2 comes in seven exterior paint shades including two new colors, Misano Blue and Galvanic Gold.
Under the hood, the X2 offered here in the country (the xDrive20d M Sport X) comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four diesel engine.
To make driving easier and more enjoyable, the X2 offers features like Parking Assistant, which automatically identifies suitable parking spaces and can take over steering duties for the parking maneuver; Comfort Access System, which can sense the unique BMW key even remotely and can unlock the vehicle with a touch on the door handle; and 470 liters of luggage space, which can fit everything from bags of groceries to a full mountain bike.
Magsuci says the X2 is really for people who want to veer away from the conventional.
“They want to be trendsetters,” he says.” “They want to lead the way. They want to stand out. They don’t want to be part of the norm. They are the people who would dislike what everyone would like. They’re the ones wearing pink when everyone else is wearing white, grey or silver.”
The BMW X2 xDrive20d M Sport X model retails at Php 4.3 million.
The Rush is Toyota's entry-level SUV and comes in a 5-seater and 7-seater models
Toyota is throwing its hat into the small, entry-level SUV segment with the Rush. The Japanese car giant already has much of the market cornered with the bestselling Fortuner, but clearly it feels the compact SUV segment is underserved. The Rush is already on the road in Indonesia, so it seemed like the Philippines is the logical next big market for it.
Cristina Arevalo, Toyota’s first vice president for brand and product development, shared the marketing brief the company used to market the Rush.
“We wanted to communicate that, in the midst of the ordinary, the extraordinary is within reach,” she said. “We want people to ‘break away from the everyday.’”
The Rush is powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four dual VVT-I gasoline engine, which is similar to the one found on the Vios. There’s a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic, as well as a five-seater and seven-seater. How much it costs would depend on which one you get: the 1.5 E five-seater MT starts at Php948,000, the 1.5 E five-seater AT is at Php988,000 and the 1.5G seven-seater AT is at Php1.07 million.
Other features include a smart entry system, push-button engine start/stop, 17-inch alloy wheels, power sockets and 13 bottle-holders spread out around the cabin, and, for the seven-seater, double-folding seats for additional cargo space.
“The Toyota Rush captures a segment in the SUV or commercial vehicle segment,” said Toyota Motors Philippines Vice Chairman Alfred Ty. “This is a new product line unavailable in the past. Either you want a bigger model with a bigger (price tag), or you want something (smaller) to fit your budget. This one can answer both. So affordability is there.”
Paul John Caña is the managing editor of Entrepreneur PH