The 37th Bangkok International Motor Show was quite an interesting one, not because the floor was packed with models standing next to the cars of your dream (it’s okay if you’re into that sort of thing, though), but because it promises us that more exciting things are coming our way in the not-too-distant future.
So without further ado, here’s a list of cars that we can all look forward to seeing in Malaysia.
First to make its Malaysian entry is the facelifted Subaru Forester, now locally assembled at Edaran Tan Chong Motor’s assembly plant in Segambut. Three trims will be offered – 2.oi, 2.oi-P and 2.oi XT. Pricing starts from RM144,000 for the base trim (naturally aspirated boxer engine) and goes up to RM205,000 for the turbocharged (XT) variant. Only the XT is fully imported from Japan, whereas the 2.0i and 2.0i-P are CKD.
If this piques your interest, do give our review of the pre-facelift model a read. Other Subaru cars exhibited at the show were the BRZ and the Viziv Future Concept. In the future, cars based on the Viziv will pack a hybrid powertrain, mating a downsized turbocharged engine to either one or two electric motors.
The Honda booth was something else. It was crowded with visitors, potential buyers (we saw a Malaysian making his downpayment), curious competitors and a sea of salesmen and saleswomen. It’s all thanks to the new, 10th generation Honda Civic.
The folks at Honda Malaysia confirmed plans of locally assembling two new models this year, but chose not to reveal them at the time. However, we have reasons to believe that the duo could be the new Civic and Accord facelift, based on what we were told. Also present next to the Civic was the Honda BR-V.
Toyota and Lexus
Just across the Honda booth was Toyota, and immediately you could tell that it’s quieter and less hectic, mostly because there aren’t any new cars to draw the crowd’s attention. Hiding in the deepest end of the corner was the Altis ESport, a done-up version of the RM112k ESport variant which was introduced exclusively to the Thai market earlier this year.
If you’re wondering what Toyota’s show-stopping model was, we guess it’s none other than the C-HR concept. The updated Vios was also on display, but aesthetically it looked identical. As reported earlier, the Vios now gets a new 1.5-litre Dual VVTi engine and a CVT transmission with seven virtual ratios. There will no longer be a manual variant on sale, but this time VSC is also included in the package.
Others in the mix are the new Toyota Hilux, Fortuner and Lexus RC 200t. It’s unclear at this point if the 2.0-litre turbocharged RC will find its way into Malaysia. Right now, two variants are on sale – the RC 350 at RM526k and RC F at RM782k.
Things at Mitsubishi get a little bit more interesting because of two things. Firstly, the blue Triton. Why isn’t that colour offered here, guys? Off stage were the outgoing Attrage, facelifted Mirage and the Pajero Sport. The seven-seater Outlander was nowhere to be seen, presumably omitted from the Thai market because that duty is managed by the Pajero Sport.
Now, the Pajero Sport is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-litre clean diesel MIVEC engine that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes 179 horsepower 3,500 rpm and a chunky 430 Nm of torque from 2,500 rpm. It’s quite a looker too, though the rear requires a bit of getting used to.
Three trims are available in Thailand (all powered by the same engine); the GLS-LTD, GT and GT-Premium, and customers get to choose between five exterior colours.
At Nissan, the updated Almera was launched for the Thai market, but that came with a unique bodykit and several other minor enhancements. What’s more interesting is the Nissan X-Trail Hybrid, one that is powered by a 2.0-litre MR20DD four-cylinder engine that makes 144 hp and 200 Nm of torque. Together with a single electric motor, the X-Trail Hybrid gets slightly more power, with 177 hp driving either the front wheels or all four wheels.
Next to it was the Nissan Sylphy Turbo. Underneath its hood rocks a 1.6-litre direct injection four-cylinder engine, turbocharged to make 188 horsepower and 240 Nm of torque. Transmission choice is the same here – XTronic CVT with six-speed manual mode.
Another car to look forward to this year is the new Mercedes-Benz W213 E-Class. It made its debut at Bangkok and will arrive sometime this year. Local assembly is also in the pipeline.
BMW and MINI
BMW Thailand showcased a rather interesting product that is the 330e plug-in hybrid. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre TwinPower turbocharged engine paired to a 87 hp, 250 Nm electric motor. Together, they produce 248 hp and 420 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic torque converter.
On the other side of the aisle was the MINI Convertible. It’s unclear at this point if these two will make it to Malaysia, but the 330e seems to be quite a promising proposition.
Well, that’s all we have for now, folks. We’ll keep you updated with more pictures and bits and pieces of info along the way. Meanwhile, enjoy the gallery and video we’ve put together for your viewing pleasure!