Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chana CM8

What brand new car will you buy if you have 500,000 pesos to spare?
A funky single person can buy a Kia Picanto for 500,000 pesos while a family person planning to have 4 kids and a nanny can buy the Chana CM8 for 495,000 pesos.

P or C

Pinoys have come to know the Kia Picanto and this car has already earned a good reputation in Europe. But who and what is Chana?

Chana is the latest Chinese car company to offer its product portfolio in Pinoy shores. They've been making cars since the 1920's and has partnered with Ford, Suzuki and Mazda to manufacture their brands in China. So they have the capability to make excellent cars that meet the high quality standards of the big American and Japanese car brands that paired with them. They also make vehicles sporting their own emblem and the Chana CM8 is one of them.

This mini-MPV is slightly longer than the Kia Picanto and shorter than a Honda Civic or Mitsubishi Lancer but boasts of 7 seats (2-2-3 seating configuration) , 2 sliding doors, hatchback, 14" alloy wheels, dual air-con, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, 4 speakers, keyless entry, power steering/door locks/windows, fog lamps, third brake lights and a potential to carry bigger loads than what the Civic or Lancer can carry with it's trunk closed. A gas range, a washing machine or a stationary excercise bike can easily fit in it.


Lets do a comparison with other cars around it's price range.

  • The Chana CM8 is cheaper than a Kia Picanto and can seat more people and carry more load. If you want a Picanto equivalent, check out the Channa Benni. It's a 5-seater sub-compact that costs 438,000 pesos and comes with significantly more features than a Picanto such as ABS, driver side airbag, keyless entry, anti-theft system, fog lamps, rear wiper, rear window defogger and alloy wheels.
  • The Chana CM8 has the same seating capacity as a Suzuki APV Type II but is 280,000 pesos cheaper and consumes less gasoline with its 1.3L engine.
  • The 1.3L engine of a fully laden Chana CM8 has the same kilogram load per horsepower as a fully laden 1.6L Suzuki APV Type II and a fully laden 1.1L Kia Picanto. Kg per Nm of torque is also flat across all three vehicles so you can expect the same engine response.
  • If you have a fear of cars sporting the emblems of Chana, Kia or Suzuki, go for the common and proven Toyota Avanza 1.3L J variant for 592,000 pesos. It also seats 7 people and has more horses and torque per Kg of load but you have to live with manually opened windows, manual door locks, no keyless entry, no MP3 player, 14" steel rims and no fog lamps.

500k car comp

The Chana CM8 seems to be a practical car for a family man buying his first brand new car. But Chana still has to prove its durability and reliability in Pinoy roads as well as it's resale value. Let's wait and see.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tracing my old cars

My first car was a red 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer GLXi. I learned to drive using this car. It was then replaced by a white 1997 Honda Civic VTi. This was the car I used to court my wife and the car I used to bring my wife to the hospital to give birth to our daughter.

Old Car

Both of them have long been sold to others and for a long time now I've been wondering what happened to them.

  • Are they still driving along happily somewhere?
  • Are they now sporting funky looks with outrageous paint color like electric pink, yellow green, banana yellow or one of those fancy paints that change color depending on how the light hits them and the angle of the observer?
  • Did they fell victim to car crash, then chopped up to be sold as surplus parts?
  • Were they used in action movies to be blown up to bits in stunt scenes?

I always look at the plates of similar cars that I come across while driving, hoping to someday see my old friend Lancer and Civic. But I haven't seen any of them so far.

Then LTO introduced their new SMS/text messaging service that gives you an instant status check of a car's registration and a person's driver's license. It gave me a means to know how my previous cars are doing. Well, this is what I discovered.

They are still both alive and driving along somewhere in the Philippines. Yehey!
My old red Lancer is still red and had just acquired it's 2008 LTO registration last February 22, 2008. This car is almost 20 years old and still working.
My old white Civic is still white and still has a valid 2007 LTO registration that was acquired last August 13, 2007. Both cars have no LTO apprehension record and are not on LTO's alarm list.
Good for them.

Here's how you avail of LTO's SMS service.

To get the status of a vehicle, text LTO VEHICLE xxxyyy to 2600 where xxxyyy is the vehicle's plate number without any space or dash.

To get the status of a driver's license, text LTO LICENSE zzzzzzzzzzz to 2600 where zzzzzzzzzzz is the driver's license number.

You can use this service to instantly check if the second hand car you plan to buy is in LTO's alarm list or if you have an outstanding LTO record that would hinder you from renewing your driver's license. Each text will cost you 2.50 pesos.
How are your previous cars doing?