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Thanks to little competition, Mazda's year-old CX-5 looks great in the Thai car-based SUV market

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The SUV market in Thailand is usually the domain of pickup-based variations like the Toyota Fortuner, as such, for they are privileged with a special excise tax of just 20%. 

That explains why the country's largest carmaker has never taken any interest in building and selling the RAV4 compact SUV in Thailand, because its price would overlap the Fortuner in the 1-1.5 million baht range.

However, not all mass-market brands sell pickups. For example, Honda specialises in passenger cars and has no choice other than selling the CR-V, a car-based SUV sharing mechanicals with the Civic compact saloon. Despite the CR-V needing to be taxed in the higher bracket of 25-35%, depending on engine size, it's a popular SUV in Thailand as buyers appreciate the comparatively higher levels of driving dynamics than those found in pickup-based models.

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