2023 Bangkok Motor Show

  • Bangkok 2023: Ford Ranger Stormtrak slots between Wildtrak, Raptor – 20′ rims, full screen meter, e-shifter

    Bangkok 2023: Ford Ranger Stormtrak slots between Wildtrak, Raptor – 20′ rims, full screen meter, e-shifter

    There’s a new Ford Ranger in Thailand, and the Ranger Stormtrak slots in between the Ranger Wildtrak and the high-performance Ford Ranger Raptor. There’s no added performance over the Wildtrak, but the Stormtrak comes with extra equipment, and some of those are very eye-catching.

    The Stormtrak is powered by the bi-turbo version of the 2.0 litre EcoBlue turbodiesel, which makes 210 PS at 3,750 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,000 rpm. The gearbox is a 10-speed torque converter automatic, which sends drive to either the rear wheels (2WD) or via a part-time 4×4 system with an electronic shift-on-the-fly system.

    The Stormtrak’s kit list builds on the Wildtrak’s and it looks like the latter from far, but come closer and you’ll notice additional three-point LED lights on the grille wing, seemingly gripped by the C-shaped LED daytime running lights. The grille and its frame, which stretches to the chin, are in gloss black and ‘Ranger’ is spelled out on the bonnet.

    Bangkok 2023: Ford Ranger Stormtrak slots between Wildtrak, Raptor – 20′ rims, full screen meter, e-shifter

    On the sides, you’ll see 20-inch alloys finished in gloss black with a red hoop. The wheel arches and wing mirror caps are also in matching shiny black, there are Stormtrak badges on the lower front doors (tailgate too) and line decals. By the way, the tyre size is 255/55 and the wheels are two inches larger than the Wildtrak’s 18’s.

    You would have noticed that the Stormtrak has a ‘giant spoiler’. That’s actually the flexible sports bar, which can slide to the rear from its usual position. There’s also an adjustable roof rack, and buyers can add on a powered tailgate cover. Lastly, this shade of Sedona Orange is a 10,000 baht (RM1,284) special colour – the other colours are Arctic White, Meteor Grey and Absolute Black.

    Inside, the Stormtrak gets a 12.4-inch digital instrument panel, a full screen that’s much larger than the 8.0-inch item in the Wildtrak. There’s also an e-shifter to replace the traditional gear knob, and fully automatic park assist. Orange accents pepper the cabin, and the Stormtrak logo can be found on the front seats and dashboard trim.

    The Ford Ranger Stormtrak is priced at 1,264,000 baht (RM162,374) for the 4×2 and 1,399,000 baht (RM179,736) for the 4×4 in Thailand. What do you think of the enhancements over the Wildtrak? Should Sime Darby Auto Connexion bring this to Malaysia?

    GALLERY: 2023 Ford Ranger Stormtrak, Thailand spec

    GALLERY: 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrak

  • Bangkok 2023: MG 4 Electric, a funky EV hatchback priced below 1m baht – 425 km range, from RM111k

    Bangkok 2023: MG 4 Electric, a funky EV hatchback priced below 1m baht – 425 km range, from RM111k

    We’ve showed you the MG ES wagon and MG Maxus 9 luxury MPV EVs from the 2023 Bangkok International Motor Show; now here’s another electric vehicle that’s more mass market in positioning. Launched in Thailand late last year, the MG 4 Electric is a B-segment five-door hatchback called the MG Mulan in China.

    The MG 4 Electric is 4,287 mm long and 1,836 mm wide, which is 58 mm shorter but 88 mm wider than a Honda City Hatchback. Typical of space efficient EVs without bulky engines, the MG’s wheelbase (2,705 mm) is relatively long versus its footprint.

    In the metal, the MG 4 is distinctive and certainly stands out from the ICE hatchback crowd. With sharp eyes and no front grille, it also differentiates itself from the rest of the MG range, which typically have a Mazda-style fascia. It’s not a copy, but the face somehow gives me Lamborghini Urus vibes, or is it just me?

    Bangkok 2023: MG 4 Electric, a funky EV hatchback priced below 1m baht – 425 km range, from RM111k

    The rear end has more drama. The disjointed beltline rises to rear lights that are full width and wraparound. It’s part of a rear deck of a spoiler that’s so protruding, it can be a makeshift bar table. The flat surface has an illuminated pattern of random red lines. I was thinking that the MG’s rear looks familiar, and then I encountered this car at the neighbouring booth.

    The MG 4’s dashboard is very clean and minimalist in design, featuring a full-width vent strip and a squared-off steering wheel. Of course, there’s a large central screen, but what’s unique here is that the 10.25-inch landscape touchscreen has a row of physical buttons underlining it. Also cool is that “nightstand” holding the gear selector.

    This EV is powered by a 170 PS/250 Nm electric motor juiced by a 51 kWh battery with MG’s liquid cooling system. There are five driving modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, Custom, Snow – and four levels of energy regeneration in what MG calls KERS. The range per full charge is 425 km in the NEDC cycle, which will translate to below 400 km in the more realistic WLTP.

    Bangkok 2023: MG 4 Electric, a funky EV hatchback priced below 1m baht – 425 km range, from RM111k

    As for charging, the MG 4 takes in AC power up to 6.6 kW and DC fast charging is up to 88 kW; with the latter, going from 10% to 80% SOC takes 35 minutes. Leaving the car to charge overnight with the wallbox takes around eight hours and 30 minutes.

    In Thailand, there are two variants of the MG 4, the D for 869,000 baht (RM111,376) and the X for 969,000 baht (RM124,193). That’s significantly cheaper than the most affordable EVs in Malaysia, matching its ES wagon stablemate in offering a lot of electric car for the money. The ES is larger, more practical and conventionally-styled, while the 4 is smaller and more funky.

    The price difference between variants is relatively big here, and the top X justifies it by adding on luxuries such as LED lights front and back, wireless charger, 3D surround view camera, a full ADAS suite and MG’s i-SMART app connect system where you can check status and command the car with your phone. Looks like we’re missing out a fair bit of good EV value without SAIC’s MG in our market. Over to you, BYD.

    GALLERY: MG 4 Electric X

  • Bangkok 2023: Toyota Thai Taxi – liquefied petroleum gas hybrid concept based on JPN Taxi with local livery

    Bangkok 2023: Toyota Thai Taxi – liquefied petroleum gas hybrid concept based on JPN Taxi with local livery

    This is the Toyota Thai Taxi, which is a concept for a LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) hybrid electric vehicle that is currently on display at the ongoing Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS). Brought into Thailand to showcase the possibilities of alternative energy vehicles in the pursuit of carbon neutrality, the Thai Taxi is essentially a renamed version of the JPN Taxi that first made its debut in 2017, albeit wearing the country’s iconic green and yellow taxi livery.

    The Japanese has made it clear that it will adopt a multi-technology approach to achieve carbon neutrality, and for the taxi industry, Toyota Motor Thailand is exploring the feasibility of assembling the Thai Taxi in the country.

    There is good reason to consider this, as natural gas for vehicles (NGV) or compressed natural gas (CNG) in Thailand is typically cheaper than gasohol, while also leaving behind less emissions than other fuels. Existing infrastructure can also be updated to make NGV/CNG more widely available and the refuelling process is familiar.

    Electric vehicles (EVs) are cleaner in terms of vehicle emissions, but fast charging technology has not reached the stage where a battery can be recharged fully in the time it takes to fill a LPG tank. For taxi drivers, time spent at the fuel pump is time not used to ferry passengers around and earn money. As such, an interim solution to reducing carbon emissions with the Thai Taxi makes sense.

    Bangkok 2023: Toyota Thai Taxi – liquefied petroleum gas hybrid concept based on JPN Taxi with local livery

    The JPN Taxi, which the Thai Taxi is based, on features a 1NZ-FXP 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that put out 74 PS (72 hp or 54 kW) at 4,800 rpm and 111 Nm of torque from 2,800 to 4,800 rpm.

    The mill drives the front wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) and is joined by a 2LM electric motor rated at 61 PS (60 hp or 45 kW) and 169 Nm for a total system output of 100 PS. According to Toyota, the JPN Taxi with its Toyota Hybrid System II offers a fuel consumption of 19.4 km/l following the JC08 standard.

    Given its purpose, Toyota developed the JPN Taxi to be durable, with the vehicle sporting MacPherson struts at the front and trailing arm rear suspension. The side portions of the front, rear three-part bumper and headlamp lenses are also easily replaceable, while the maintainability of the engine is improved with use of a no-maintenance power water pump in the auxiliary belt system to lower repair costs.

    The general design is reminiscent of London’s hackney carriages and prioritises the passenger cabin, with access provided by a sliding door (on the passenger side with a wheelchair-friendly ramp) and three normal doors. There’s also 401 litres (VDA standard) of boot space that is enough to for two large suitcases stacked horizontally or four golf bags.

    Despite being a taxi, safety is not compromised, with the JPN Taxi coming standard with six airbags and the Toyota Safety Sense suite, the latter of which includes autonomous emergency braking and optional pedal misapplication control.

    In Japan, the JPN Taxi is offered in two variants, with the cheaper option being the Nagomi priced at 3,338,500 yen (RM112,588), while the top-spec Takumi goes for 3.564 million yen (RM120,193). If there is a business case for the Thai Taxi, we may well see it replace the Corolla – the retail price of the sedan starts at 879,000 baht (RM112,979) – as the common taxi plying the roads of Thailand.

  • Bangkok 2023: Neta V – budget EV with 384 km range, 95 PS, 101 km/h top speed; Neta S also on display

    Bangkok 2023: Neta V – budget EV with 384 km range, 95 PS, 101 km/h top speed; Neta S also on display

    Neta V

    The Neta V is currently on display at this year’s Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS), so here’s a live gallery of the fully electric crossover. Launched in Thailand last August, the Neta V is a product of China’s Hozon Auto, which has a partnership with state-owned energy company PTT.

    Priced at 549,000 baht (RM71,297), the Neta V costs the same as the entry-level variant of the Yaris Ativ (we know it as the Vios). In terms of size, it’s smaller than the Perodua Ativa we have here, measuring in at 4,070 mm long (-5 mm), 1,690 mm wide (-20 mm), 1,540 mm tall (-95 mm) and with a wheelbase of 2,420 mm (-105 mm).

    Built on the company’s HPC platform, the EV features a front-mounted electric motor rated at 95 PS (94 hp or 70 kW) and 150 Nm of torque., which is powered by a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 38.5 kWh that is good for a range of 384 km following the NEDC standard (the WLTP figure is typically around 20% lower).

    Given the output figures, the Neta V is not particularly quick as it only has a top speed of 101 km/h and a 0-50 km/h time of 3.9 seconds, making it better suited as a city car. A relatively small turning radius of 4.85 metres and 130 mm of ground clearance is also listed in the spec sheet.

    Neta V

    For charging, the Neta V can accept a max AC input (Type 2) of 6.6 kW, with a full charge taking eight hours. There’s also DC fast charging at a peak of 100 kW that gets the battery from a 30-80% state of charge in just 30 minutes, while a vehicle-to-load (V2L) system outputs up to 3.3 kW to power external accessories.

    In terms of kit, the EV comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic halogen projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, keyless entry and start, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, cruise control, an electronic parking brake (with auto brake hold, a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a reverse camera, six speakers, synthetic leather upholstery, four-way adjustable electric front seats and two airbags.

    There are no active driver assistance systems like autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist here. Instead, there’s auto brake hold, hill start assist, hill descent control, a tyre pressure monitor and passive cruise control on top of the usual passive safety systems.

    Bangkok 2023: Neta V – budget EV with 384 km range, 95 PS, 101 km/h top speed; Neta S also on display

    Neta S

    The Neta V is expected to be launched in Malaysia, with Neta Auto Malaysia showing the model on its website and social media pages. Given the affordable-for-an-EV price tag in Thailand, the Neta V could become the cheapest EV in Malaysia when and if it goes on sale.

    Sitting alongside the Neta V at BIMS is the Neta S, which is the brand’s first EV built on its Shanhai platform. The sleek sedan features gullwing doors and styling that is reminiscent of the Nio ET7, albeit sportier in execution.

    For instance, the front end features prominent intake areas, with the ones at the corners of the bumper integrating the main headlamps that are joined by ultra-slim LED DRLs. The design of the C-pillars is also rather distinctive, while the rear sports a tailgate spoiler as well as full-width taillights that extend towards the rear doors.

    Neta S

    Like the Neta V, the main highlight of the Neta S’ interior is a large, portrait-format touchscreen infotainment system on the dashboard. One difference is the digital instrument panel is located ahead of the driver on the dash rather than being further up the dash as it is in the Neta V.

    In its home market, the Neta S is offered with battery capacities of between 43.51 and 91 kWh, with the range being between 310 km to 715 km. As for powertrains, the Neta S can be optioned with either a rear-mounted electric motor that is rated at 231 PS (228 hp or 170 kW) and 310 Nm, or an all-wheel drive setup that adds a second electric motor at the back with the same outputs.

    The brand’s flagship model can be optioned with quite a few premium features, including the Neta Pilot system, which in the 4.0 version of the suite powered by Huawei MDC 610 system-on-chip (SOC), is capable of offering piloted driving (SAE Level 4 autonomy). The Neta S isn’t sold in Thailand yet, but in China, it starts from a limited-time introductory price of 179,800 yuan (RM116,454) and going all the way up to 341,800 yuan (RM220,869).

    GALLERY: Neta V

    GALLERY: Neta S

  • Bangkok 2023: Mercedes-AMG SL43 roadster gets 2.0L turbo four, 381 PS/480 Nm; RM1.5 million in Thailand

    Bangkok 2023: Mercedes-AMG SL43 roadster gets 2.0L turbo four, 381 PS/480 Nm; RM1.5 million in Thailand

    The Mercedes-AMG SL 43 roadster is on display at the 2023 Bangkok Motor Show, and the soft-top 2+2 is priced at 11.7 million Thai baht in the kingdom, or the equivalent of RM1,518,770 according to the Mercedes-Benz Thailand website.

    Here, the SL 43 is the entry model to the roadster’s AMG range, and thus packs a 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine that produces 381 PS at 6,750 rpm and 480 Nm of torque from 3,250 rpm to 5,000 rpm. This comes courtesy of an electric turbocharger driven off the car’s 48-volt electrical system, and which also feeds a belt-driven starter-generator that offers a temporary boost of 14 PS. This also enables a coasting mode, energy recovery and smoother transitions for the engine start-stop function.

    Outputs are sent to the rear wheels exclusively through an AMG Speedshift MCT nine-speed automatic transmission, enabling a 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds; top speed for the SL 43 is 275 km/h.

    Rolling stock for the Thai-market SL 43 are 20-inch wheels shod in tyres measuring 265/40 in front and 295/35 at the rear; this particular example photographed at BIMS 2023 is shod in slightly larger 21-inch units, with tyres measuring 275/35 in front and 305/30 at the rear.

    Exterior kit for the SL 43 includes Digital Light along with the Active Light System and Adaptive High Beam Assist Plus, full LED tail lamps with optical fibre technology, the AMG light display, among others.

    Safety assistance systems on the SL 43 as standard for Thailand include the driving assistance package with active distance assist, active lane keeping assist, active steering assist with hands-off warning, active emergency stop assist, active brake assist with vehicle, bike and pedestrian detection, active blind spot assist, 360-degree camera with active parking assist and the exit warning function which detects when the user’s hand approaches the door handle.

    Inside, the SL 43 gets heated AMG Performance front seats in Nappa leather which are electrically adjustable with memory function, and displays are comprised of a 11.9-inch central touchscreen display and a 12.3-inch driver’s instrument display along with a head-up display for the driver. The steering wheel is an AMG Performane multi-function unit trimmed in Nappa leather.

    Further interior equipment includes wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a Burmester sound system, a fingerprint scanner, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system, extended MBUX functions, a communications module for Mercedes me connect services, MBUS augmented reality navigation, AMG Track Pace, and more.

    Priced at 11.7 million baht (RM1,518,770) in Thailand, any Malaysian market entry of the Mercedes-AMG SL 43 will command a princely sum, though with the aforementioned 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four cylinder powertrain, that will take some of the sting out of the Malaysian capacity-based road tax. Would you have a four-cylinder SL?

  • Bangkok 2023 – Peugeot 2008 Sport Concept brings aggressive aero kit to B-segment crossover

    Bangkok 2023 – Peugeot 2008 Sport Concept brings aggressive aero kit to B-segment crossover

    The 2023 Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS 2023) is home not just to debuts of new models from manufacturers, as the show also plays host to existing models that have been given an alternative take. Here, the Peugeot 2008 Sport Concept offers us a look at what a considerable amount of aero bodywork additions can offer the B-segment hatchback.

    The subdued main colour of the 2008 Sport Concept shown here is given contrast by the bright green highlights, recalling the scheme on the production 508 PSE from September 2020. Incidentally, the high-performance PHEV variant of the D-segment model was previewed by the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered Concept the year before that; might this sportier 2008 emerge to see production?

    The 2008 Sport Concept has had its OEM rounded wheel arches redesigned to have sharper, more prominent character lines, while the widened bodywork also makes room for vents and scoops for the front and rear wheelarches.

    A more jutting chin has been fashioned for this car, where the edges at the front corners now run parallel to the light guides that extrapolate from the three-claw DRL signature. Further towards the lower section, the original lower intake gets another lower intake, before finishing at the front splitter that gets the bright green highlight around its leading edges, as do the painted wheels which feature the rally-style flat disc face.

    The widened bodywork overall means that the rear doors have been reshaped to meet the lines of the rear wheelarches, though the present panel lines suggest the rear doors could still open. More green highlights feature at the rear of the 2008 Sport Concept, where a large wing sits atop the tailgate and further aero work brings a pair of rear vents which arc all the way down to the to meet the ends of the rear diffuser.

    In Malaysia, the current Peugeot 2008 was launched in January 2022 with a single choice of powertrain, a 1.2 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that outputs 130 hp and 230 Nm of torque. This drives the front wheels through an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.

  • Bangkok 2023: MG Maxus 9 – 3-row MPV with 90 kWh battery, 540 km EV range, 245 PS; Alphard alternative?

    Bangkok 2023: MG Maxus 9 – 3-row MPV with 90 kWh battery, 540 km EV range, 245 PS; Alphard alternative?

    This is the MG Maxus 9, which is an all-electric MPV that is being premiered at the ongoing Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) and is currently available for pre-booking with a fee of 20,000 baht (RM2,594), which will entitle customers to a 40,000 baht (RM5,192) discount when the car is officially delivered.

    Don’t be confused by the name. While it has two car brands – MG and Maxus – in its name, this is very much a product of the Maxus, which is a subsidiary of SAIC Motor that coincidentally also owns MG. The ‘MG’ is there because the MPV is sold by MG Thailand, but it should be noted the MPV is simply known as the Maxus Mifa 9 in its home market of China.

    Closely related to the Maxus G90, the Maxus 9 measures 5,270 mm long, 2,000 mm wide, 1,840 mm tall and has wheelbase of 3,200 mm. For context, the Toyota Alphard is slightly smaller when compared to the Maxus 9 at 4,945 mm long and 1,850 mm wide, while also having a shorter wheelbase of 3,000 mm.

    Bangkok 2023: MG Maxus 9 – 3-row MPV with 90 kWh battery, 540 km EV range, 245 PS; Alphard alternative?

    The electric powertrain in the Maxus 9 features a front-mounted motor rated at 245 PS (241 hp or 180 kW) and 350 Nm of torque. This is linked to a ternary lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 90 kWh, which is good for a range of 540 km following the NEDC standard. The battery can be fully charged in 8.5 hours with an AC input at a max of 11 kW, or get from a 30-80% state of charge in about 36 minutes with a DC fast charger capable of putting out 120 kW.

    In Thailand, the Maxus 9 will be offered in two grades, starting with the X. This comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights with sequential turn signals, a front sunroof, a rear panoramic glass roof, faux leather upholstery, 64-colour ambient lighting, powered steering wheel adjustment, powered front seats as well as second-row captain chairs with massage and heating functions.

    The list also includes automatic air-conditioning with vents for the second and third rows, PM2.5 air filtration, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display, a wireless phone charger, keyless entry and start, powered sliding doors and tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, eight speakers and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.

    The next step up is the V grade, which adds on run-flat tyres, genuine leather upholstery, improved powered front seats with massage, heating, ventilation and driver’s side memory functions, VIP-style second-row captain chairs, a digital rear view mirror, four more speakers (for a total of 12) and nine USB ports (the base option gets seven).

    Safety and driver assistance kit are identical for both the X and V and include the usual passive systems (stability control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist), auto brake hold (works with the electronic parking brake), tyre pressure monitoring, driver monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a panoramic view monitor and all-around parking sensors.

    Customers who pre-book the Maxus 9 will also be provided with a free home charger worth 42,057 baht (RM5,457) and free installation of said charger worth 18,692 baht (RM2,425). Other benefits include an extended vehicle warranty period of five years/160,000 km on top of an eight-year, 200,000-km battery warranty. The X grade is offered in two colours – Black Knight and Pearl White – with the V grade gaining a third option that is a two-tone Granite Grey with a black roof.

  • Bangkok 2023: MG ES EV wagon – EP facelift gets more power, kit, 412 km range; still below 1m baht

    Bangkok 2023: MG ES EV wagon – EP facelift gets more power, kit, 412 km range; still below 1m baht

    The good thing about Thailand’s EV market is that there are full electric models for the masses. Well, the masses who have landed home charging, but that’s another topic. While we’re looking at slightly below RM150k for the cheapest EV in Malaysia, our neighbours can buy electric cars for below one million baht, which is now RM130k for us, but something like “RM100k” for them.

    The original affordable EV in Thailand was the MG EP, and I really liked the fact that it’s an unpretentious regular car that looks normal; it may be electric powered, but no one would have guessed – even the charging flap is hidden in the grille logo. Very practical too – a wagon is super rare even in the ICE market.

    But perhaps the EP was a bit too plain, old fashioned even. Well, that problem is solved with this facelift, which gets a new name – MG ES. MG did its wagon a big favour by removing the EP’s Roewe “VW face” for a front end that’s contemporary. The LED lights are sharper, the grille slim, and the MG badge has been moved to the bonnet, which makes the charging flap obvious.

    Bangkok 2023: MG ES EV wagon – EP facelift gets more power, kit, 412 km range; still below 1m baht

    The EP’s rear end had always looked more modern than its face, and the look has been relatively untouched save for new bumpers and LED lights with a prominent signature. The wheels are now 17-inch two-tone items; all of that plus this ES’ Scarlet Red paintjob means the old EP’s work image has been dropped for good.

    Another area where the EP was functional but too basic is the dashboard. The ES dashboard and centre console have been reprofiled and the overall look is much better now – the former has the contemporary horizontal wide look, while the latter is now much higher, clearly dividing the front seats and freeing up a large cubby below the gear selector. The larger 10.25-inch centre screen (from 8.0) is icing on the cake. Ditto the bigger digital instrument panel.

    New look aside, the kit list has been boosted as well. We’re now looking at electric front seats (was manual), 360-degree camera system (was rear only), six airbags (from just two) and the full suite of active safety and driver assist systems. The ES is a thoroughly modern car now, which is perhaps why MG gave it a fresh name.

    Bangkok 2023: MG ES EV wagon – EP facelift gets more power, kit, 412 km range; still below 1m baht

    There’s more though – it’s also a better EV. The battery is now of the lithium iron phosphate variety (LFP is an improvement over the old car’s lithium ion) and capacity is up from 50.3 kWh to 51 kWh. NEDC range is up from 380 km to 412 km as a result. The wagon’s electric motor now puts out 177 hp and 280 Nm of torque, figures that are up by 14 hp/20 Nm.

    With all that improvement to the design, kit and EV bits, you’d expect a big price hike. But no, the MG ES is still priced below 1m baht. At 959,000 baht (RM124,472), the RRP is higher than the 2022 revised price (EP Plus at 771,000 baht, RM100,180) but lower than the original 2020 launch price of 988,000 baht (RM128,348).

    Even with the facelift, the MG ES will still perhaps be a bit boring for some, but I find its “normalness” and honesty very refreshing in a sea of EVs trying hard to look futuristic. Good car and great deal, don’t you think?

    GALLERY: 2023 MG ES EV

    GALLERY: Pre-facelift MG EP EV

  • Bangkok 2023: Lexus RX 450h+ – AWD PHEV with 87 km EV range; Luxury and Premium; from RM602k

    Bangkok 2023: Lexus RX 450h+ – AWD PHEV with 87 km EV range; Luxury and Premium; from RM602k

    The fifth gen Lexus RX was launched in Thailand last November and is currently on display at the ongoing Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS), so here’s a gallery of redesigned SUV that competes against the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7.

    Two variants of the RX are available in Thailand, namely the Luxury AWD priced at 4.64 million baht (about RM602k) and the range-topping Premium AWD at 5.09 million baht (about RM661k). Both variants share the same powertrain, which is the RX 450h+ that is plug-in hybrid.

    This is a first for the RX and the system features an A25A-FXS 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 185 PS (182 hp) at 6,000 rpm and 227 Nm of torque from 3,200 to 3,700 rpm. The internal combustion engine is paired with an e-CVT and is joined by two electric motors, with the one at the front rated at 182 PS (180 hp or 134 kW) and 270 Nm.

    UPDATE: The Lexus RX 350 has been launched in Malaysia.

    Bangkok 2023: Lexus RX 450h+ – AWD PHEV with 87 km EV range; Luxury and Premium; from RM602k

    A second electric motor with 54 PS (54 hp or 40 kW) and 121 Nm completes the all-wheel drive setup, which as a total output of 309 PS (304 hp). The electric motors are powered by a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 18.1 kWh that is good for an electric-only range of 87 km following the NEDC standard. According to the spec sheet, the RX 450+ supports AC charging at a max of 6.6 kW, with a full charge taking about 2.5 hours when using a 32 A outlet.

    Performance-wise, the plug-in hybrid powertrain will hit a top speed of 180 km/h, with the first 100 km/h arriving in 6.5 seconds from a dead stop. The average fuel consumption quoted is 76.9 km/l or 1.3 l/100 km, while CO2 emissions on a combined cycle is 29 g/km.

    Now built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (GA-K), the latest RX maintains the same length of 4,890 mm as its predecessor but is now wider at 1,920 mm (+25 mm) and has a lower height at 1,695 mm (-10 mm). Of more importance is the wheelbase, which has increased by 60 mm to 2,850 mm.

    Bangkok 2023: Lexus RX 450h+ – AWD PHEV with 87 km EV range; Luxury and Premium; from RM602k

    In terms of equipment, the Luxury variant photographed comes with 19-inch wheels, acoustic glass, powered and heated side mirrors, single-element LED headlamps with auto high beam, LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps, a 7-inch TFT multi-info display, paddle shifters, multi-colour ambient lighting, three-zone climate control with nanoe X filtration, leather seat upholstery, eight-way powered front seats with driver’s side memory function and Black Herringbone Pattern Film interior trim.

    The list continues to include powered steering wheel adjustment, a drive mode selector, keyless entry and engine start, a card key, front seat ventilation a 14-inch touchscreen head unit with navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay, a wireless charger, a hands-free powered tailgate as well as 12 speakers.

    Driver assistance kit fitted to the Luxury are all-speed adaptive cruise control, Active Cornering Assist, Parking Assist System, Pre-Crash Safety System (autonomous emergency braking), Lane Tracing Assist System, Lane Change Assist with Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Parking Brake Assist System.

    2023 Lexus RX Thailand spec sheet; click to enlarge

    The Premium improves upon the base option by gaining 21-inch alloys, a panoramic glass roof, roof rails, three-element LED headlamps with auto levelling and adaptive high beam, an 8-inch multi-info display, a head-up display, semi aniline leather, 10-way powered front seats with memory function for both driver and front passenger, front and rear seat ventilation, power-folding rear seats, Ash Sumi Woodgrain Black trim, a digital rear view mirror and Auto Parking Assist.

    Nine colours are offered for the RX in Thailand, including Sonic Quartz, Sonic Titanium, Sonic Chrome, Sonic Iridium, Graphite Black Glass Flake, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Sonic Copper, Terrane Khaki Mica Metallic and Deep Blue Mica. For the Luxury, all these hues can be paired with either a Black or Hazel interior, but the Premium loses out on the option of Deep Blue Mica, with the remaining colours available with a Black or Dark Sepia interior.

  • Bangkok 2023: Peugeot 408 is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover – 225 PS, 360 Nm PHEV; RM360k

    Bangkok 2023: Peugeot 408 is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover – 225 PS, 360 Nm PHEV; RM360k

    This Peugeot might look like a concept car, but it’s now on sale in Thailand. It’s the all-new Peugeot 408, which is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover. Name sounds familiar? The previous 408 was a conservatively-styled C-segment sedan that was once CKD locally assembled in Kulim. It’s a rare sight, probably harder to spot than Lamborghinis.

    Anyway, this new 408 made its debut in June 2022 and wears Peugeot’s new lion head badge proudly on all four sides. There’s no shortage of surfacing and detailing here, which is typical of the flamboyant French brand. If you stare at those 20-inch wheels long enough, you might get hypnotised – I can’t even describe the design. Do u see a ‘Z’ or is it just me? The dashboard is a super sharp rendition of Peugeot’s signature i-Cockpit.

    The 408 rides on the Stellantis’ EMP2 platform that also underpins the 308, 508 and Citroen C5 X; the latter is also now a crossover. At 4,687 mm long and 1,848 mm wide, this lion is 64 mm longer and just 7 mm less wide than the Honda CR-V, so it’s a sizeable car. The wheelbase is a long 2,787 mm.

    Bangkok 2023: Peugeot 408 is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover – 225 PS, 360 Nm PHEV; RM360k

    In Thailand, the 408 is available as a plug-in hybrid. The powertrain consists of a 1.6 litre turbo engine with 180 PS and 250 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm, and an electric motor delivering 110 PS and 320 Nm, juiced by a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery located under the boot floor. Total output is 225 PS and 360 Nm, delivered via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    This PHEV system is capable of 63 km pure electric range on the WLTP cycle. Charging it up with 7.4 kW AC power takes one hour and 55 minutes. PureTech 130 (1.2L, 130 PS, 230 Nm) and Hybrid 180 (1.6L PHEV, 180 PS, 360 Nm) powertrain options are available in other markets.

    The Peugeot 408 retails for 2,790,000 baht here, which is equivalent to RM361,478. Like the old 408 in Malaysia, this unique beast might also be as rare as the rarest Lambo in Thailand. Price aside, what do you think of the new Peugeot 408 and its unusual format?

    GALLERY: Peugeot 408 at BIMS 2023

    GALLERY: Peugeot 408 official images


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Last Updated May 31, 2023