Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lexus LX (URJ201W)

When the Lexus LX first emerged in the USA in the 90's, it was nothing more of a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser 80 with some slight differences whatsoever until it became known as the Land Cruiser Cygnus, a Toyota Land Cruiser with Aristo-esque headlamps that went on sale on Japan from 1999 to 2007. With the arrival of Lexus to the Japanese market in 2005 and the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 two years later, the Cygnus was vanished from the lineup and Toyota can't bring the newer Lexus LX, which is essentially a Land Cruiser 200 with a bigger engine output, to the Japanese market for numerous reasons. However, this year, everything's changed because while in the process of celebrating Lexus' 10th anniversary to the Japanese market and with Toyota's Land Cruiser 200 recently given a facelift, this new Lexus LX has finally arrived to the Japanese market for the very first time.

2016 Lexus LX

This is not a joke. What you're looking at is the real deal because while this updated version recently unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, looks like Japan will be the first to get the latest model by next month at a wallet-slaying 11,000,000 Yen. Almost  four million more than the high-spec Toyota Land Cruiser 200! So, what do you get at this luxo-barge of a mammoth?

2016 Lexus LX interior

Being a Lexus, the LX features a more strikingly aggressive body design, a well-trimmed interior, Lexus' signature Remote Touch, new Lexus Climate Concierge system which handles the room temperature, available Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System, seating for eight people, dual monitor rear entertainment system, high-tech features, and lots of other stuff that makes the LX a Land Cruiser 200 fit for sheikhs and politicians alike.

It even comes with a brand new safety packaging called the Lexus Safety System +,which works like the Land Cruiser's new Toyota Safety Sense P. The Lexus Safety System + features a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection Function, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, and Radar Cruise Control. This new kind of safety package is aimed at promoting the uptake of safety tech and it will be implemented on future models until the end of 2017. Remember, this new Lexus LX is the first to implement such safety tech. Quite clever, I dare say?

2016 Lexus LX

2016 Lexus LX

Now it's time to take a look at the performance of the first-ever LX and while it has the same off-road capability as the Land Cruiser 200, what's under the hood is not what it seems to be in the eyes of an average Japanese offroad enthusiast. This engine, a 3UR-FE 5.7L V8 engine, is the biggest engine offered to the Japanese market and while this nation still bracing more on eco-cars, looks like the bigger behemoths are still lurking around. Anyway, this V8 engine develops 377PS of power output, 534Nm of torque, and fuel consumption of a disappointing 6.5km/L. As for the gearbox, the LX comes as standard with an 8-speed Super ECT.

Because the LX was suitable for the rough terrain it traverses as well as city driving, it's been given lots of driving tech such as Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, Turn Assist, Active Traction Control for better grip on slippery surfaces, Hill-Start Assist Control, VGRS, Drive Mode Select and the 4 Wheel Active Height Control Suspension and Active Variable Suspension, which allows the driver to set it lower or higher, depending on the road conditions. For a more car-like feel should go for the low mode while for offroad capability should go for the high mode. Again, that's clever stuff I dare say.

With the Lexus LX finally available in Japan for the very first time, looks like some Japanese offroad enthusiasts have been given a choice between this or the recently facelifted Land Cruiser 200 but because the LX is more expensive than the Land Cruiser, some might better off with the LC200 instead but in terms of overall luxury, the LX has a more executive touch than any other luxury Japanese cars offered. What you're looking for, ladies and gentlemen, is a first-class RV fit for a politician or shiekhs alike. Although the design looks more repelling than attracting, it still has the gizmos that make others think like they're working for Japanese intelligence.

Available Colors: White Pearl Crystal Shine, Mercury Grey Mica, Sonic Titanium, Black, Starlight Black Glass Flake, Sleek Ecru Metallic, and Deep Blue Mica.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation


On the August 21, 2015 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Daddy's had a little something on your next date...

- Away ng Away gags

- Introducing a different kind of stunt double...

- Antonietta meets Alessandra De Rossi!

- More words to live by from Tata Lino!

- This man gave his son a perk he'll never forget...

- IKAW AT ANG INA takes on...picturing a picture!

- An example of how difficult home management is via laundry.

- An interview with a very senseful political candidate.

- Tsugi o Chorva!

FH2 Storm Island: Manic at the classic Mini


For anyone interested in small but nimble hatchbacks offered in the world of Forza Horizon 2, the original Mini Cooper is still one of the best choices if you're in a mood for some David and Goliath clashes on and off the road, looking for something cheap and tough that can go places and outsmart the big boys. Between you and me, this old Mini isn't half bad to drive and improve at all. With the modern Minis are bigger and more German than what it used to be, there's nothing in this world that can beat the original, British-built, Mini Cooper.

Penned by Sir Alec Issigonis for its design, collaborated with John Cooper for its performance, and its stardom made it a star in its own rights thanks to Mr. Bean, The Italian Job, The Bourne Identity, and many others, this original Mini Cooper has won the fans' hearts out with its small sizing fit enough to slip through the bigger cars like if there's no one saw it coming. Even though it was made for housewives in mind, the original Mini made famous for its racing pedigree from track racing to rallycross, proving that small is great.

Sure, this Mini loves to take on challenges it can throw at, but what about challenges that are much tougher than it looks? Well, since I'm in a middle of my Storm Island survival, I decided to make my old Mini Cooper as rally worthy as it were during its golden days.

mini (2)

That getup reminded me of something but anyway, time to find out how my Mini survived Storm Island's worst...

Wow, even for a small size, the old Mini's not afraid of whatever nature's thrown at it, even severe weather storms. Looks like this old-timers still has the guts to win races, even at bad weather conditions. With two wins left before the Finale, my survival on Storm Island continues...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Let's Do The News! (August 21, 2015)

- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered his troops to be on war footing after a crossfire with the South Korean unit across their heavily fortified border, according to state media.

- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation and has called an early election. Tsipras was only elected seven months ago and he said he had a moral duty to go to the polls now a third bailout had been secured with the EU creditors.

- Returning to the Bangkok bomb blast, policemen investigated that the man who allegedly committed the blast went to the bombing site by tuk tuk. Meanwhile, the Thai government held a ceremony for the victims of the deadly blast in the heart of the Thai capital.

- Onto the Tianjin blast, the top Chinese leaders have called for a thorough investigation to the cause of the deadly blasts. The blast killed 114 people while over 60 remain missing.

- Bugatti is joining the Vision Gran Turismo range and it will unveil their entry at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.

- Madame Tussauds London previews their upcoming wax figures of all of the James Bond actors featuring Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan, and they'll be joining alongside a wax figure of current Bond Daniel Craig. They will be appeared this October, in time with the upcoming 007: SPECTRE film, for a limited time.

- TV presenter Paolo Bediones apologizes for his video scandal last year and he reveals the culprits behind the scandal were demanding three million pesos.

- The string of controversies happening on Iglesia Ni Cristo has no negative impact on the Felix Manalo biopic, which depicts the life and times of the INC founder and stars Dennis Trillo as Felix Manalo himself and Bela Padilla. An official from INC says that they're not forcing anyone to watch the said biopic just to turn it into a blockbuster hit or for profit because that's not part of INC's objectives.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Let's Do The News! (August 20, 2015)

- Continuing conflicts in Yemen has pushed it to the risk of famine according to a UN official. Over 21 million people in Yemen are in need in help as aid agencies are unable to reach areas affected by the ongoing violence involving Houthi rebels fighting with government troops and allies.

- Some reports told that huge amounts of ammonium nitrate may have caused the deadly explosions in Tianjin, China as week ago. So far, the confirmed death toll has risen to 114 with over 60 people remained unaccounted for.

- South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China next month to attend a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of what the Chinese calls a win against the Japanese occupation during the Second World War.

- Japan's Kounotori 5 unmanned space cargo ship, which has successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on Wednesday, is flying without problems and taking supplies to the International Space Station.

- Despite the Supreme Court's decision to post bail, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile remains under hospital arrest in the Philippine National Police General Hospital. The Highest Court failed to release its resolution on Enrile's bail petition.

- While you gamers are enjoying the Persona 4: Dancing All Night rhythm game, a spin-off from the Persona role-playing series, the folks from Good Smile Company has unveiled a Phat! figure of Rise Kujikawa as seen on the game. This figure is priced at 10,800 Yen plus tax when arrived by February.

- The brand-new Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe has been officially unveiled and it's available with a choice of two versions with the S model delivering 510HP of power from its 4.4L TwinTurbo V8 engine.

- As Sef Cadayona preps himself for his upcoming comedy series, Juan Tamad, the young Kapuso actor admits he'll never step into the shoes of the channel's comic legends such as Ogie Alcasid or Janno Gibbs.

- Luis Manzano agrees that his mom, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, is not prepared for a higher government post.


FH2 Storm Island: The Gauntlet #03


If you happen that if you won eight championships in your Storm Island journeys, that means you have access to the third Gauntlet event and should you win this Gauntlet challenge, you can advance to the next tier and continue on your quest to the Island Finale. For this Gauntlet, you'll be driving a MINI Monster Energy ALL4 Racing X-Raid onto the East Valley Rush race. Like most Gauntlets you've faced, the severe weather conditions and nighttime may hamper your visibility, thus exercising extreme caution while driving through the rough terrains as you need to prioritize different strategies to outrun your opponents in such an extreme weather.

MINI's ALL4 Racing is based on the Countryman, which is one of my least favorite Minis ever, in an effort to challenge Mini in the world of the Dakar Rally. Powering this rally raid car is a 3.0L BMW Twinpower Turbo Diesel engine developing 320PS of power and 800Nm of torque. Top speed is around 180kph. The gearbox is a Sadev 6-speed low-range gearbox suitable for rally raid in mind while coupled with an AP Racing Clutch and a Xtrac differential. The brakes are air-cooled in the front and air and water cooled at the back. The chassis is made of spaceframe and carbon kevlar body, resulting to a weight of 1953kg. With all of the essential equipment armed and ready, the ALL4 Racing is a Mini perfect enough for the rough terrains it traverses.

Okay, now let's see how did I fare this MINI well in this Gauntlet challenge.

With this Gauntlet cleared, I now scored 9 wins and I need three more to access the Island Finale. I have to keep going...

FH2 Storm Island: Second Drive with the Audi S1

Previously, I once took a drive with the Audi S1 hot hatch in Forza Horizon 2 and even though this isn't a hot hatch I was hoping because the dynamics seem to be all wrong despite its small sizing, it managed to clench a win against the foreign Johnnies. Looks like the S1 wanted me another challenge because racing on normal roads is not enough and now it wants to take on another challenge, this time in Storm Island.

Yes, Audi did name this thing well, I'll give them that, but because this is Storm Island, some necessary modifications have been made to survive the harsh terrain this pocket rocket will be traversing. As for designing this hatchback for the modification, I'd decided to ditch the old Indigo stuff and instead doing this...

s1 s1 (2)

Now, some of you may ask, "why did you have an image of a little girl in your Audi?" This little girl in my Audi is Miria Akagi from THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS and she fits perfectly on my little pocket rocket as I please. With the ingredients set, the Audi S1 faces the inevitable as it survives Storm Island's worst.

The S1 managed to survived the worst locations in Storm Island despite its small size. It's a good job Audi name this one after their Quattro rally car and even though this S1 wasn't made to be a rally car but rather a city car spiced for the occasion, it's not half bad driving through the rough terrain with the proper equipment installed.

Speaking of which, I got enough trophies to take on another Gauntlet before continuing my quest to the Island Finale.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Let's Do The News! (August 19, 2015)

- According to recent investigations, the bomb attack that killed 20 people at the Erawan shrine at Bangkok was carried out by a certain terrorist network. Investigators are still trying to trace the main suspect, a man in a yellow t-shirt who was caught on cam leaving a backpack at the shrine.

- The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the Flibanserin, a female enhancement drug dubbed as the female equivalent of Viagra.

- Russian leader Vladimir Putin is visiting Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia last year, in an effort to justify his nation's annexation of the said peninsula. He arrived on Monday to discuss how to develop the local economy but his visit drew criticism from Ukrainian citizens. Even the nation's leader, Petro Poroshenko, called his visit unauthorized and it's a challenge to the civilized world.

- Japan's Defense Ministry is set to request a record-high budget for the next fiscal year to help improve the nation's ability to defend its remote islands' amid the increasing maritime activities by the People's Republic of China.

- Believe it or not, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares is a big fan of AlDub, as seen on Eat Bulaga for a month now, and he's now lawyering AlDub's biggest fan club, which felt saddened over the continuous postponed meetings of Alden Richards and Yaya Dub.

- A certain election lawyer warns that it's too late to file a disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe for next year's elections.

- Speed limits imposed on the Nurburgring will be lifted by next year after big changes will happen on the infamous Green Hell.

- The Philippines' biggest road trip of your life is happening and is giving you the chance to experience the best road trip ever called Juanderlust. Many will enter, only one will win the perfect road trip; 80 destinations in 80 days.

- Mercedes-AMG previews their next-gen C63 Coupe in their first teaser clip.

- The next-generation Hyundai Avante midsize saloon was teased via an official sketch.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Let's Do The News! (August 18, 2015)

- The Bangkok bomb attack last night is described as the worst attack in the nation, according to Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha. The attack killed, as of now, 21 people, while numerous bystanders are severely wounded. The culprits are not yet identified by the police are investigating one suspect seen on security footage at the shrine. The bomb targeted at a major tourist attraction known as the Erawan Hindu shrine and it was detonated at around 1900 hours Thai time when the shrine were crowded.

- In a BBC interview, Iran Vice President Masumeh Ebtekar wants her nation to work with other nations in the Middle East to promote peace following last month's nuclear deal.

- Seismologists warned that there is still a high possibility that a large-scale eruption on Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, will occur. Officials say they will keep the eruption alert level for the volcano at 4 on a 5-point scale, meaning that all residents must evacuate at all costs.

- Typhoon Goni, known locally as Ineng, has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. As of 0400 hours Philippine time, the typhoon was located 1,600km east of Luzon, packing max sustained winds of 170kph and gusts of up to 205kph. It is likely to move west northwest at 25kph, according to PAGASA. Visayas and Mindanao will experience rains brought by the habagat it enhances while Luzon will experience rains by Thursday until weekend.

- Tourism has returned on track to South Korea after the three-month MERS outbreak that killed 36 people and sickened nearly 200. Last weekend, South Koreans celebrated the nation's liberation day and locals and foreigners are roaming around the streets without the fear of the virus and wearing a face mask. Believe it or not, a super-sale occurred last weekend over the shopping site of Myeongdong. Even though the outbreak is well and truly finished, this thing isn't over yet because the outbreak developed health awareness as show by the use of hand sanitizers in every tourist site and establishment.

- Producers, rejoice. Chihaya Kisaragi from THE IDOLM@STER is joining Kotobukiya's Cu-poche lineup of miniature figures. She'll be out this February 2016 for 4,200 Yen.

- Mercedes-Benz is teasing their upcoming S-Class Cabriolet model.

- Once again, Ford Motor Company is reportedly removing the Taurus sedan from its lineup and wants customers to buy a Fusion or any crossover. It's a shame that there was a new generation model unveiled in China a few months back.

- Kia Motors is teasing the all-new Sportage crossover bound for Frankfurt Motor Show debut.

- In preparation for the upcoming 007: SPECTRE film, Omega watches unveiled a limited edition Seamaster 300 SPECTRE watch, which will be available this September with a limited run of 7,007 pieces. This special watch, as seen in the upcoming Bond movie, features a bi-directional, Rotating diving bezel made from black, polished ceramic, LiquidMetal 12 hour scale, a 5-stripe black and grey NATO strap, and the 007 logo engraved on the strap holder.


Toyota Land Cruiser 200 (URJ202W) 2016 Facelift

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

Sheikhs of the world, rejoice. It's the new Land Cruiser...well, sorta. Anyway, this is the second time Toyota's full-size SUV, popular among the oil kings and the sheikhs of the desert regions, has been given a facelift but the latest facelift has more treats in store so let's dig in.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser interior

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser interior

For the 2016 facelift, the Land Cruiser 200's exterior has been modestly revised with a new front design as well as a mildly refreshed rear view that keeps this flagship SUV updated for big things to come but some might react that the new design might look unpleasant for a normal driver but at least that's how big SUVs are made of. The design has to be big, chunky, and unpleasant to the eyes of ordinary drivers because having one of these is like you're in charge of the hacienda or a town or whatever you're ruling at. The interior's heavily revised as well with new panelling, new instrumental panel, new steering wheel, dual screen rear entertainment system, media player that plays CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, HDMI port, available Toyota Premium Sound System, and of course, integrated with Toyota's T-Connect telematics service. Even though this eight-seater SUV is made for the rich and powerful playboys in mind, it's still usable as a family car and seating arrangements is still on the LC200's list. Just think of the lifestyles people would do if they had one of these.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

Because all Land Cruisers are made to tackle the rough terrains drivers are traversing with, the Land Cruiser 200 comes with the Multi-Terrain Select with five different modes based on terrain responses such as ROCK, ROCK & DIRT, MOGUL, LOOSE ROCK, and MUD & SAND. It even features Crawl Control, Variable Gear Ratio Steering, Active Height Control Suspension with Adaptive Variable Suspension System, and the most basic feature of them all is KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System). The Multi-Terrain Monitor has been updated so it now comes with an Under Floor View and a Front View Rotation Display along with many other views suitable to check its offroad situations. You may now check what's going if you ran into something muddy or whatever.

It's still powered by the 1UR-FE (4.6L V8) engine that produces 318PS of power and 460Nm of torque. With its Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) and 6-speed Super ECT, it is capable of achieving a fuel economy of 6.9km/L based on Japan's JC08 Test Cycle.

For the 2016 Land Cruiser, Toyota introduced the new Toyota Safety Sense P and because this is an all new safety tech, it might be best to talk about this one. The Toyota Safety Sense P features a more high-tech millimeter wave radar which detects pedestrians and vehicles alike. If it senses a potential collision with pedestrians, it will slow down by 30kph. With cars, the speed reduction goes up to 40kph. It even comes with Radar Cruise Control which detects preceding vehicles and determines their speed. It will adjust its speed accordingly to maintain a safe distance between the cars. There are many other safety tech featured in the new Toyota Safety Sense P but it's best to leave it for a while.

The 2016 Land Cruiser is available in ZX, AX, AX G Selection, and GX trim models and prices start from 4,728,437 to 6,825,600 Japanese Yen.

Available Colors: White Pearl Crystal Shine, Silver Metallic, Grey Metallic, Black, Attitude Black Mica, Dark Red Mica Metallic, Copper Brown Mica, Beige Mica Metallic, and Dark Blue Mica.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Monday, August 17, 2015

Let's Do The News! (August 17, 2015)

- Back to the aftermath of the Tianjin explosions, the citizens of Tianjin, whose homes were damaged by the fire, have staged protests to demand compensation from the government.

- Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the president of Egypt, approved strict new counter-terrorism laws to combat jihadist insurgency. These laws provide protection from legal consequences for military and police officers who have used force and impose the death penalty for anyone found guilty of setting up or leading a terrorist group.

- The Malacanang Palace has issued a statement over the passing of former senator Butz Aquino. You can read it by clicking here.

- The Malacanang Palace authorizes the Department of Justice to further investigate kidnappings of Iglesia Ni Cristo members for allegedly spreading misinformation about corruption in one of the Philippines' most influential religious groups.

- An aircraft carrying 54 people on board crash landed in a remote Indonesian region of Papua on Sunday, according to officials, which became the latest in the string of aviation disasters in the ASEAN region. The Trigana Air flight lost contact has been found at Camp 3, Ok Bape district in the Bintang Mountains regency, according to reports. No one knows who survived the latest plane crash.

- Senator Bongbong Marcos is expecting the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's comments regarding his revised Bangsamoro Basic Law anytime soon following the MILF Chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal associated Marcos' substitute bill to that of a soul-less person.

- Word from Acura during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance that the production of their upcoming NSX hybrid supercar is rescheduled for next year and may be sold as a 2017 model year. They're also spilling more details about their upcoming hybrid supercar as well as their collaboration with Cosworth for their performance.

- A special edition Lotus Exige 360 Cup has been unveiled and it's limited to 50 cars available throughout Europe, each costing 62,995 Euros. This special model features a 10HP raise to its Toyota-derived 3.5L V6 supercharged engine, generating 355HP of power, and the car weights just 2,491lbs.

- YEA-HUH! The trailer for Regular Show The Movie is now on!

- During the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, the blokes from Disney revealed details for their upcoming projects such as Toy Story 4, Cars 3, Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

FH2 Porsche Expansion: The Spectacular 918 Spyder!

Yes, it's that time of the day again when I got myself a one-way ticket to the Horizon Finale. I once finished the finale and looks like I am now doing it again, this time in a different vehicle, specifically from the DLC portfolios. Of course, every car is welcome to the finale but for my second attempt, I have sealed my fate in this.

918 (3)

918 (2)

What I have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a Porsche 918 Spyder, which is part of the game's Porsche Expansion pack. However, it's not just any other 918 Spyder, this is my 918 festooned with all the 765 Production idols from THE IDOLM@STER series, made to celebrate the series' 10th birthday. Awww, too soon?! Still, as told in the portfolio, they will continue to make new dreams out of this!


But first, what is the Porsche 918 Spyder? From concept to reality, this is Porsche's first ever PHEV hypercar designed and engineered to compete against the revolutionary McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Like the P1 and the LaFerrari, the 918 Spyder features a 4.6L V8 engine bolted to the middle and three electric motors working together to generate over 880bhp of power output. May not be much than the P1 and the LaFerrari and neither is the top speed of 210mph but unlike the McLaren and the Ferrari, the 918 is an all-wheel drive hypercar and thanks to this powertrain, its 0-60mph time is 2.6 second, which is better than the other two. It's mated with Porsche's 7-speed dual clutch gearbox which perform seamlessly in shifting gears. Fun fact that the 918 set the fastest production car lap at the Nurburgring in under 6:57, faster than almost any other known car in the world.

Anyway, no need to explain more about what's what about the 918, time to carry out the 918's biggest wish, especially mine, to create new dreams as it undergoes the Horizon Finale with all of its might. Obviously, the Horizon Finale is a very tough race indeed so extensive improvements have been made to make it more competitive against the foreign Johnnies. With all set, the final encore commences...

That was one heck of a battle but after all this, me and my 918 finally won the finale with everything or nothing at its dispersal. I'm so happy that these cars worked so hard to push new dreams for everyone in the name of driving pleasure here at Forza Horizon 2. The 918's work in Horizon is well and truly done because it got what it truly deserved but not for me.

To celebrate the occasion, I've orchestrated a little party piece...

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