Bangkok 2024: Neta V-II – heavily-revised budget EV gets new design, Apple CarPlay, AEB, from RM71k

Bangkok 2024: Neta V-II – heavily-revised budget EV gets new design, Apple CarPlay, AEB, from RM71k

We continue our coverage of the 2024 Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) with a car that is looking for some form of redemption. This is the Neta V-II, a heavily revised version of the Neta V that was launched in Malaysia back in October.

The V sells reasonably well in Thailand, but in Malaysia with its RM100,000 price floor for fully-imported EVs, the Chinese electric hatchback is finding itself to be a bit of a hard sell. Yes, it’s the cheapest of its type in the country, but when a much more substantial and well-equipped BYD Dolphin is barely a few hundred ringgit more, you can see why it hasn’t flown off the showroom floor. I mean, when was the last time you saw one?

Think of the V-II, then, as an attempt to redress the balance somewhat, giving the V a more sophisticated design and adding loads of kit that should’ve come with the car in the first place. The rather bulbous shape remains – as does much of the front end, upswept window line and black D-pillars – but the new front bumper with a larger “starlight” grille and (fake) corner air inlets give the car a more focused appearance.

Bangkok 2024: Neta V-II – heavily-revised budget EV gets new design, Apple CarPlay, AEB, from RM71k

But the biggest changes can be found at the rear, where the gawky inverted L-shaped taillights have given way to far more agreeable full-width units, sitting above a cleaner rear bumper with slimmer reflectors. Chrome accents around the lower perimeter complete the exterior revisions.

There are fewer visual updates on the inside, which is still blocky looking and features the headline 14.6-inch portrait touchscreen, a slimline 12-inch instrument display and a floating centre console. You do, however, get a slew of new functions, including the addition of Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto, unfortunately) and a Qi wireless charger. But perhaps the biggest improvement is the inclusion of height adjustment for the front seats, addressing a key complaint of the outgoing model. The steering column is still fixed, however.

Another area where the V-II gets a substantial upgrade is in terms of safety. You get plenty of driver assists on the high-spec Smart variant where there previously was none, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a front departure alert and automatic high beam. You still only get two airbags, however, so crash safety still isn’t this car’s strong suit.

Bangkok 2024: Neta V-II – heavily-revised budget EV gets new design, Apple CarPlay, AEB, from RM71k

There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with how the Neta V actually drove, so the mechanicals have been left well alone. The V-II continues to be powered by a single front motor that produces 95 PS (70 kW) and 150 Nm of torque, and despite a slightly smaller 36.1 kWh battery, the range has actually increased slightly to 382 km, still on the lenient NEDC cycle.

Where the V-II still has an advantage over its immediate competition is in charging. It can accept up to 100 kW of DC fast charging, topping up the battery from 30 to 80% in 30 minutes; AC charging, meanwhile, takes eight hours for a full charge using a 6.6 kW wallbox. The V-II is also notable in that it features a vehicle-to-load function at up to 3.3 kW.

Despite the redesign and added kit, the starting price has been retained at 549,000 baht (RM71,200) for the base Lite version, rising up to 569,000 baht (RM73,800) for the Smart. Will the Neta V-II come to Malaysia soon? We certainly hope so, and the starting of CKD local assembly in the first quarter of next year seems like a perfect opportunity to introduce it, allowing it to be priced under RM100,000 for the first time.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.




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