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Singapore Motorshow

What to look out for at the Singapore Motorshow

Those looking for a new car have plenty to choose from at this year's show

The 2016 Singapore Motorshow, like last year's event, is a retail- oriented show. So, if you are expecting wild concepts or a peek into the future of autonomous vehicles, you will be disappointed. There is not even one electric model on display.

But if you are in the market for a new car, or you want to be thrilled by stunt driver Russ Swift, or you are just a petrolhead who wants to soak in the atmosphere of a motor show, the $6 ticket is well worth it.

And there are more new models than the previous show. Here are some of them on show at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre.


AUDI

The R8 sports car is making its South-east Asian debut here. The 540bhp 5.2-litre V10 coupe is capable of hitting 100kmh in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 320kmh. And it sounds glorious.

Tamer but just as interesting is the new A4. The most popular Audi sedan is up to 120kg lighter than its predecessor and is roomier with a slightly longer wheelbase.

It is powered by a 1.4-litre TSI engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It attains 100kmh in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 210kmh, while consuming 5.6 litres of petrol every 100km.


HONDA

While the previous Legends faded quickly into the background, the latest model (above) looks set to carve a niche for itself here.

The car is a petrol-electric hybrid with all-wheel-drive. It has a 3.5-litre V6 paired with three electric motors (one in front, and two in the rear axle), giving it access to 510Nm of torque.

The car has a technology that steers itself away from pedestrians – particularly useful today when more people are glued to their mobile devices and straying onto the tarmac.


  • VIEW IT/SINGAPORE MOTORSHOW

  • WHERE: Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre, Levels 3 and 4

    WHEN: 10.30am to 10pm today, 10.30am to 8pm tomorrow

    ADMISSION: $6, free for those under 1.2m tall

FORD

Families looking for an MPV will have two choices at the Ford booth – the compact 1.5-litre C-Max and the mid-sized 2-litre S-Max.

The C-Max is a cosy people-mover with sliding doors. It may be challenging to find enough space on board for baby prams and such, though. The S-Max is better in that respect. Besides having more space, it also has more features, such as self-parking, an 8-inch infotainment monitor and voice control.

Adaptive cruise control is optional for both cars.


CITROEN

The new DS5 is a mid-sized model that should tempt those who tire of the usual premium choices.

The car boasts meticulous attention to detail in its build, a high equipment level (such as a blend of LED and Xenon lights) and an avant-garde design that is imaginative and original.


MAZDA

The stars at the Mazda stand must be the CX-3 subcompact crossover (above) and the Mazda 2 Sedan.

The Mazda 2 Sedan is a Thai-made 1.5-litre four-door that appears to be better built than most other Asian-assembled models.

Compared with its hatchback twin, it stands out because of its boot, which has decent space.

It looks stylish and not in the least like an afterthought.

Those looking for a competent and reliable small car that is easy on the pocket will find this Mazda interesting.

With a 2-litre power plant, the CX-3 should be a quick little bunny. Like the other CX models, it looks really sharp and sporty.

Take a good look at this car and rush over to the Infiniti stand to gawk at the QX80 for contrast.


KIA

The Korean make’s new Camry sized Optima executive sedan exudes a powerful presence. But its main proposition is said to be in the way it moves. With a body shell that is 50 per cent stronger than before (thanks to the use of more high-tensile steel) and a suspension optimised for both comfort and handling, the car promises to be more entertaining than its Japanese rivals. It has one cool feature to boot: wireless phone charging.


LEXUS

The new GS F (above) is probably the most visually arresting car at the show after the Audi R8. Its wheels alone are enough to mesmerise. This BMW M5 rival has a 5-litre V8 that makes 470bhp and 530Nm, allowing the serious sports sedan to reach 100kmh in 4.6 seconds.


INFINITI

You cannot miss the new QX80 (above), simply because it is the biggest car at the show. The giant is more than 5.2m long and 1.9m tall, with its wing mirrors above most people’s shoulder level. It weighs more than 2.6 tonnes and is powered by a 5.6-litre V8 that puts out 400bhp and 560Nm of torque. Do not even ask for its fuel consumption figure.


NISSAN

The Pulsar nameplate has been missing for some time now. It returns as this roomy, smart-looking Spanish-made hatch (above) powered by a spunky 1.2-litre turbocharged engine found in the popular Qashqai.


SUBARU

If an European station wagon is too loftily priced for you, the Subaru Levorg is worth considering. It is solidly built, with a beefy steering and is powered by a newly developed 1.6-litre horizontally opposed turbocharged engine which Porsche might not mind having.


TOYOTA

The fourth-generation Prius hybrid (above) is the main attraction at the Toyota stand. It qualifies for a carbon rebate of $30,000, because the car’s open market value is about $38,000.

Its chief engineer, Mr Kouji Toyoshima, says the car’s performance has risen “by two to three levels”, its battery has been made more durable and it is now fun to drive.

The car resembles Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell model, but Mr Toyoshima says fuel cell vehicles are projected to replace conventional cars in 50 to 100 years’ time.

Before that happens, there will be plug-in hybrids, which he says Toyota will introduce, but does not say when.


RENAULT

The Kadjar crossover (above) is Renault’s take on the Nissan Qashqai. But it looks more interesting, with a bigger measure of ruggedness and panache than its Nissan sibling. It is powered by 1.5-litre turbodiesel that is becoming a staple in the Renault stable.


SUZUKI

The new Vitara SUV (above) may take some getting used to for those who grew up with the angular, no-nonsense styling of previous Vitaras. But such is design evolution, even Land Rovers are soft and curvy nowadays.

The new Hungary-made Vitara, however, retains its offroad capability and is now equipped with a convenient rotary terrain select switch.

The Thai-made Ciaz sedan is also on show. It has more space than the Mazda 2 Sedan, but appears more “Asian” than the Mazda.


VOLKSWAGEN

The new Golf  Variant may be a compact station wagon, but it actually has quite a sizeable cargo-lugging area. The stowage comes with a sturdy retractable privacy screen that doubles as a parcel shelf.


VOLVO

The S60 T2 features a new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that promises to be frisky and frugal. The car comes with an 8-inch digital display, filtered climate control and Volvo’s trademark Scandinavian chic and attention to safety.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2016, with the headline 'Show and sell'. Print Edition | Subscribe