Seamless tollway travel at last

MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2016 - 9:00am

The benefits of the takeover of the management of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) by the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) are now being experienced by motorists traveling to the north.

Within three years the MNTC management is projecting a complete resurfacing of the SCTEX with a more durable and much smoother layer together with the installation of CCTV cameras and emergency phones to cover the entire distance of the scenic expressway leading to Subic.

But first on MNTC’s agenda of improvements for motorists’ convenience and ease of travel is the integration of the SCTEX and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) toll collection system, which has been marked by multiple collection plazas that make tollway travel inconvenient and time-consuming.

This was revealed in a media tour and demonstration of how the collection integration of the twin expressways would be put in effect in time for the coming historical influx of motorists come Holy Week, which comes this year by the end of March.

The P650-million NLEX-SCTEX Integration Project would reduce the present five toll plaza stops from Balintawak to Subic to just two while the four toll plaza stops from Balintawak to Tarlac similarly to just two, which is claimed to effectively cut travel time by a good 30 to 35 minutes.

With the project now 85-percent complete, the integration design include the dismantling of the Dau and Mabalacat toll plazas, where motorists traveling to Subic or Tarlac would simply just pass through come Holy Week, when traveling to the North would then be a breeze.

Hats off to the MNTC.

VW Philippines sees a more exciting year

If industry observers took a second look when the known conservative Ayala Group decided to face up to the challenge of taking on the Volkswagen brand despite its decades-long absence, a third and a fourth look may perhaps now be more worth their while, what with the very meaningful words coming from no less than Volkswagen Philippines’ amiable president and CEO John Philip “JP” Orbeta when he addressed the journalists during a recent appreciation dinner for the motoring media, “As we endeavor to provide the motoring public a more exciting and dynamic Volkswagen Philippines in 2016, we shall enjoy the full support of the Ayala Group in light of our full integration within the Ayala corporate family.”

It is the view of some keen industry observers that with such declaration of investment confidence from a family known for long haul business involvement, the statement means that the Volkswagen brand in the country is in for an even more dynamic and highly competitive stance. And the array of models, which are in the pipeline for this year’s launch that were mentioned during the well-attended event despite that evening’s traffic, the speculation may not be far from reality.

Casually but confidently launched simultaneous with the Media Thanksgiving Party was the new Jetta sedan Comfortline and Trendline diesel and petrol automatic transmission variants together with the upgraded versions of the Polo Sedan and Tiguan.

Also visibly noticed was the lifestyle addition to the Volkswagen BGC dealership — the V By Ilustrado Restaurant, which serves continental cuisine and gourmet sandwiches.

Indeed, Volkswagen is a brand to watch out for.

The Nissan Juke’s ride, drive and surf

With a surfer’s haven like San Juan, La Union as a final destination, 20 brand new units of the Nissan Juke set out for a two-day ride and drive, and even possibly surf, with motoring journalists onboard, to test the compact crossover’s mettle and some media members their own aquatic balancing prowess at the Kahuna Beach Resort.

Leading the driving and surfing sojourn was Nissan Philippines president and managing director Antonio “Toti” Zara who declared during the event, “This January 2016, we are pleased to announce that the new Nissan Juke is officially available in the Philippines in all Nissan dealerships nationwide.”

This compact crossover SUV that competitively sells for P980,000 has the Integrated Control System (I-Con) as one of its unique technological features. It is described as a versatile, multi-colored system that allows drivers to change both the drive and climate modes at a touch. In Drive mode, the I-CON system offers three different settings — Normal, Sport and Eco. Under Normal mode is the perfect combination of performance and efficiency that is best for everyday driving. The Sport mode adjusts the steering, transmission and throttle response for a more responsive driving. Meanwhile, the Eco mode maximizes the new Juke’s performance in fuel efficiency. The Climate mode allows the driver and passengers to customize the interior temperature and direction of airflow to suit their individual preferences.

Take note that the Juke is now available in the market.

Online viewing for auto enthusiasts

The TV show Motoring Today, which airs every Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock on Solar Sports can be watched online anytime of the day together with all its past episodes on www.motoringtoday.ph.

While Auto Focus, which airs Thursday evening at 10 o’clock also on Solar Sports can be watched online also with all its archived past episodes on www.autofocus.com.ph.

Solar Sports can be viewed on Channel 70 on Sky Cable, Channel 35 on Destiny and Channel 55 on Cignal TV.

Happy Motoring!!!

Email: sunshine.television@yahoo.com / motoringtoday-star@stv.com.ph.

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