by John K. Lindgren
Pattaya Today’s Life & Leisure Automotive top choices for the best passenger cars, pickup truck and SUV.
“Many are driven, but few are chosen”
In spite of lackluster sales 2016 many new models were launched in Thailand. Here are our top picks.
In the four-door sedan, also known as subcompact segment: MG5 1.5 Turbo. A “Brit Dynamic” styled family motorcar assembled in Rayong by Thai CP Group in a joint-venture with China’s state-owned SAIC Motor Corporation. Today the new kid on the block MG Sales (Thailand) Company Limited has 44 dealerships across Thailand, 17 in Bangkok plus all major provinces. MG5 1.5 Turbo offers value for money. Spacious, leather upholstered, well-equipped cabin with 7-inch touchscreen navigator iOS and Android compatibility. Under the hood a muscular 1,500-cc petrol turbo power plant pumping out 129 hp and drinking 95 pure petrol, gasohol, E20 and E85. The top spec variant comes with sunroof and DRL (Daytime Running Light). Price: 759,000 baht.
Pattaya Today’s Japanese executive saloon choice, the luxurious all-new Honda Accord Hybrid TECH iMMD. This Accord is equipped with full Hybrid intelligent Multi-Mode Drive with a 2.0-liter i-VTEC petrol engine and electrical motors delivering both performance and outstanding fuel economy or 23.8 km/l with carbon emissions of 99 grams/km. The Hybrid TECH model boasts cosseting leather upholstery, glossy piano black and wood-grain appointments. As with the standard Accord saloons, the interior is comfortable and spacious with seating up to five, including plenty of rear-seat legroom, shoulder room and headroom. Want more room and overhead scenery? Engage the one-touch power moon roof in the ceiling. The cockpit features an eight-way adjustable power driver seat, passenger seat and a cool RES (Remote Engine Start) plus Honda SENSING is a suite of advanced active safety technologies featuring Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS) to name a few. This top-of-the-line high-tech Accord retails at 1.849 million baht. www. honda.co.th
In the premium SUV division: BMW X1 18d xLine the all-new Deutschland compact SUV fully restyled combining athletic design with compact exterior dimensions, without compromising on flexibility or on the generous amount of space in both rows of seats. BMW deluxe interior is fit and finish including the delicious Dakota leather upholstery and power seats. No scratchy plastics here! All soft touch. Teutonic simplicity yet high technology like the Beemer iDrive infotainment system with an 8.8-inch touchscreen with crisp and fast graphics. Under the hood (bonnet) a state-of-the-art German 4-cylinder 2.0-liter fuel-efficient turbocharged diesel. Definitely the best of the current compact premium SUVs in the Kingdom. Price: 2.499 million baht. Check out the new X1 at BMW German Auto Pattaya multi-brand showroom down Jomtien beach direction Sattahip. www.bmw.co.th
Here in the Thai Kingdom pickup trucks are categorised as commercial vehicles. Hence the low tax 3 percent compared to passenger cars 17 to 30 percent. The Thai assembled pickups are used both for business and personal purposes. Consumers like them because they are useful, sturdy and have good resale value. These days the one-ton pickups come with four doors and they’re called crew cab, space cab and double cab. They’re also loaded with cool apps and creature comforts. Pattaya Today’s choice: Ford Ranger Double Cab 3.2L Wildtrak TDCi 4×4. “The Mother-Trucker”. Big, bold with a 3.2-liter 200 hp, turbo diesel and 4×4 drive option. In-your-face exterior with orange metallic paint job and sturdy 18-inch wheels. The cabin is passenger car like with leather/fabric seats, soft touch instrument panel creating a plush yet durable well-appointed space. The Ranger 4×4 3.2L Wildtrak is the most impressive pickup truck on the market. Built at Ford Auto Alliance plant in Rayong. You’ll see many of them on the roads. Price: 1,189,000 baht.
Finally, the entry-level city car: Suzuki Ciaz RS a sporty looking compact sedan fetching around half a million baht depending on trim level. Inside comfortable charcoal black leather seats. The rear passenger area is spacious, especially the legroom thanks to the long wheelbase 2,650 mm.
Cockpit: A chunky multifunction steering wheel, posh chrome trim running across the dashboard and extending to door panels add upscale feel to this top-of-the-line Suzuki four-door saloon. In all a handsome, practical, roomy and economical family saloon with cool features like keyless entry, start and stop button and 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Suzuki Ciaz’s power plant is a 4-cylinder 1.2-liter petrol unit pumping out 91 hp. Torque: 118 Nm. Transmission: Automatic 5-speed CTV. Consumption circa 20 km/l. E20 compatible. Price: Manual shift GA without radio (who needs a radio?) 484,000 baht. Pattaya Today recommends the range topper RS at 675,000 baht.