Small and outstanding — that’s how the Toyota Wigo impressed car enthusiasts who voted to make it the “Automobile of the Year (AOY) – Standard Category” at the 2018-2019 Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards (AFPCA). The Toyota Wigo was also “Sedan of the Year” for the third year, since 2015.
The prestigious title was awarded to the Toyota Wigo last Oct. 18 in ceremonies attended by top officials of auto companies in the country at the ceremonies hosted by Sunshine Television, producer of the Auto Focus show.
The second star of the evening was the Lexus NX300 compact SUV/crossover which won the top title in the Premium/Luxury class. The same model had also bagged its first Model of the Year award.
The People’s Choice
This is the 14th year of the awards program which is organized by Sunshine Television and Marketing Services Inc. (STV). Since 2005, the AFPCA is an annual public poll to determine the country’s most popular automobile brands and models.
The program cites Model of the Year awardees in 5 Standard and 4 Premium/Luxury classifications and the Automobile of the Year in separate Standard and Premium/Luxury categories from over 180 models in the 2018 AFPCA Official Entry List.
The other Standard Model of the Year awardees are:
The Ford Mustang registered its first victory in the Sports Car category.
The Nissan Navara took the 2018 Pickup of the Year award, its 4th such award after also having won it in 2008, 2010, and 2011.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport was proclaimed the 2018 SUV/Crossover of the Year, which also won its Model of the Year title in 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2017. As a five-time winner, the Montero Sport becomes the newest entry in the elite Auto Focus Model of the Year Hall of Fame.
For the other 3 Premium/Luxury Model of the Year awards, the Audi R8 V10 made its debut as a Sports Car of the Year victor.
In the Van/MPV classification, the Honda Odyssey notched up its 3rd straight win.
The stand-out in the Premium/Luxury MOY batch this year is the Lexus IS350, which bagged the Sedan of the Year crown, its 5th consecutive MOY title, which also elevates it to the AFPCA MOY Hall of Fame.
Media’s Choice Awards
The winners of the 2018-2019 Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards were also announced in the four features — best on-board features, styling, performance and overall value. A select group of recognized motoring media professionals and practitioners comprised the AFMCA Voters’ Panel.
The 45 winners are:
Best Design – Standard: 7 Awards
Chevrolet Spark (Mini); Mazda 2 (Subcompact); Mazda 6 (Midsize Sedan); Civic R-Type (Sports Car); Ford Ranger (Pickup); Hyundai Grand Starex (Van); Mitsubishi XPander (MPV)
Best Design – Premium/Luxury:
BMW 5-Series (Midsize Sedan); Porsche Panamera (Large Sedan); Lamborghini Aventador (Sports Car); Toyota Alphard (Van); Mercedes Benz B-Class (MPV)
Best Engine Performance – Standard
Honda Brio (Mini); Mazda 2 (Subcompact); Honda Civic R-type (Sports Car); Mitsubishi Pajero (Large SUV/Crossover); Isuzu DMax (Pickup); Nissan NV350 Urvan (Van); Toyota Innova (MPV)
Best Engine Performance – Premium/Luxury:
MINI 3-Door & 5-Door (Subcompact); BMW 5-Series (Midsize Sedan); Porsche Panamera (Large Sedan); Porsche Cayenne (Midsize SUV/Crossover); Toyota Alphard (Van); Mercedes Benz B-Class (MPV)
Best Safety Features – Standard:
Volkswagen Golf GTS (Compact Sedan); Ford Expedition (Large SUV/Crossover); Hyundai Grand Starex (Van)
Best Safety Features – Premium/Luxury:
Mercedes Benz A-Class (Subcompact); Volvo S60 (Midsize Sedan); Volvo XC60 (Midsize SUV/Crossover); Volvo XC90 (Large SUV/Crossover); Mercedes Benz V-Class (Van); BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer (MPV)
Best Value-for-Money – Standard:
Toyota Wigo (Mini); Toyota Camry (Midsize Sedan); Suzuki Jimny (Subcompact SUV/Crossover); Isuzu MU-X (Midsize SUV/Crossover); Isuzu DMax (Pickup); Nissan NV350 Urvan (Van)
Best Value-for-Money – Premium/Luxury:
Lexis IS350 (Compact Sedan); BMW 5-Series (Midsize Sedan); Lexus LS500 (Large Sedan); Lexus NX300 (Compact SUV/Crossover); Toyota Land Cruiser 200 (Large SUV/Crossover); Peugeot Traveler (MPV)
The Awards Night was graced by top officials of the country’s car manufacturers and distributors, the auto industry’s two lead organizations, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers & Distributors (AVID), as well as motoring media professionals.
The prestige of the awards is boosted by the well-organized voting system and of course, the respect the car industry has for its founder, Ray Butch Gamboa, the head of STV.
The unique scoring system attributes 80 percent value to public votes from the July 1 to September 30 online poll and 20 percent to sales of the unit.
Official sales volume data for the AFPCA was furnished by STRADCOM Corporation with the official sanction of the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The data covered only “Completely built” and “New imported” units that were put in for new registration with the LTO from January-September 2018. The gray market and used vehicles were excluded.
By Pinky Concha Comlenares