2016 New cars
What to expect from the big marques this year, everything from an Ecocar up to a 1,500hp hypercar.
Honda is set to launch the 10th-generation Civic in Thailand, even though today’s ninth-gen model has been on the market for less than five years. The all-new one comes with a bold face and a fastback-style profile to quell criticism of dull looks in the predecessor. While a new 1.5-litre petrol-turbo engine has been announced for the US, today’s E85-friendly 1.8-litre may be carried over for tax reasons albeit a CVT auto replacing the dated five-speeder.
Toyota has confirmed that it will not leave the Honda HR-V enjoying the spills in the compact SUV sector. The C-HR concept will morph into a showroom-ready car at March’s Geneva Motor Show with the Prius’ 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid. Thai sales can’t be confirmed yet, although many executives at the Thai Toyota office are hungry for the HR-V’s runaway success. A potential engine for Thailand could be the Corolla’s 1.8-litre E85-compatible petrol engine.
Mitsubishi is another maker that doesn’t want to miss the compact SUV bandwagon. As previewed in the eX concept, Mitsubishi aims to go a step ahead of rivals with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid after seeing success with the Outlander mid-size SUV in Europe, Japan and the US. The compact SUV would help Mitsubishi pick up lost grounds with the soon-to-be-discontinued Lancer C-segment saloon.
The Hyundai Elantra has been redesigned with less wavy design cues to comply with the brand’s latest design DNA. The 150hp 2.0-litre engine and six-speed auto still live on, but there’s a new 128hp 1.4-litre petrol-turbo and seven-speed dual-clutch auto sitting on the entry-level front. Hyundai is reportedly planning to continue sourcing the new Elantra from Malaysia via Afta perks.
Ford is set to finally launch the facelifted Focus in Thailand at the Bangkok Motor Show March. The most notable design change is the Aston-like front grille already applied in the smaller Fiesta. Expect an E85-capable engine or possibly a 1.5-litre Ecoboost version for Ford’s C-segment contender.
Now that the Thai Chevrolet office has announced it wishes to focus only on pickups and SUVs, speculation is mounting that a new compact crossover will hit the market this year. A possible candidate is the Honda HR-V-chasing Trax which could get the E85-capable 1.8-litre engine from today’s Cruze’s C-segment saloon.
Nissan’s style-led Juke is set to enter its second generation this year. Some styling cues could be influenced by last year’s Gripz concept car, which also revealed a potential plug-in electric hybrid option. Design in the new Juke is once again set to take a precedence — just how the Mazda CX-3 is doing.
The Nissan March, Thailand's first Ecocar player, is set to be renewed this year. As seen in the Sway concept car, the next-gen B-segment hatchback is set to adopt the brand's latest V-motif front grille. It's still not clear yet whether Nissan will go for turbo and direct-injection technologies to meet Ecocar Phase II rules.
Honda will sell an SUV in the 700,000-800,000 baht bracket in the guise of the BR-V, which was previewed at last month’s Bangkok Motor Expo. Equipped with the City’s 1.5-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic, the BR-V is positioned below the HR-V despite being able to accommodate three rows of seats for seven persons.
Mitsubishi will soon put the facelifted Mirage into Thai showrooms after previewing it last month. The small hatchback comes with more chrome accents and sees its 78hp 1.2-litre three-cylinder motor tweaked for better economy of 23.8kpl matching Ecocar Phase II regs.
Toyota is set to launch the all-new Innova next month. The Hilux Revo-based MPV gets crisper design cues and more car-like features. Engines are reportedly a 2.0-litre petrol and 2.4-litre diesel, the latter used in the Revo pickup and Fortuner SUV. Likewise, the six-speed automatic is shared with all three derivatives.
Toyota is preparing to facelift the Vios B-segment saloon. The 1.5-litre engine is set to get dual VVTi tech, while a CVT automatic is expected to replace today’s four-speeder.
After previewing a concept version of its first SUV at last month’s Motor Expo, MG is preparing to launch the production-ready model called GS. Most likely to make its Thai debut at the Bangkok Motor Show in March, the GS will target the likes of the CR-V. On the top of the range will be a 2.0-litre petrol-turbo producing over 200hp, while a smaller and less potent variation is being planned for more sales.
The Hyundai Tucson has entered a new generation with crisper design cues. There’s a new 176hp 1.6-litre petrol-turbo unit designed to better the predecessor’s 166hp 2.0-litre non-turbo unit, although the 184hp 2.0-litre diesel-turbo is carried over. Hyundai is planning to source the Tucson from Malaysia for the first time to ensure competitive and unsubsidised prices against the Honda CR-V.
A facelift of the Mazda CX-5 makes a belated entry in Thailand this month. To abide with this year’s new excise rules, Mazda will give E85-compatibility to the 2.0-litre petrol engine (as in the 3 and CX-3) and probably a lower output version of the 2.2-litre diesel-turbo motor. The brand’s latest infotainment also comes to Mazda’s CR-V fighter.
The Subaru Impreza will enter its fifth generation this year with sleeker looks and more driver-assist technologies. Both saloon and hatchback bodies have already been previewed by concepts late last year. As with today’s fourth-gen model, the Thai Subaru agent might opt for just the racy WRX and STI rather than going mass-market in the C-segment.
Jaguar is capitalising on the SUV boom with its all-new F-Pace. With lightweight aluminium body expertise drawn from the XE and XF saloons, the brand’s first-ever SUV will be positioned as a sporty alternative to the Porsche Macan using four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Expected to launch in Thailand before mid-year, the F-Pace focuses more on on-road ability rather than off-road credentials sister-brand Land Rover is boasting.
Porsche has confirmed that the Cayman and Boxster will be launched later this year with a midlife facelift and new 718 nomenclature. More importantly, though, is the downsized 2.0-litre flat-four engine, which is essentially the 911’s new 3.0-litre version albeit two less cylinders (500cc cylinder head). It has also been announced that the open-top Boxster will be price-positioned at just above the Cayman coupe for the first time.
Alfa Romeo has returned to its rear-wheel-drive roots with the all-new Giulia junior executive saloon. The first model to go on sale is the BMW M3-chasing Quadrifoglio boasting a Maserati-tuned 510hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. Expect to get one through independent channels rather than via the dormant Thai Alfa Romeo office.
BMW’s M division has slotted a new high-performance coupe below the M4. The M2 Coupe is based on the two-door 2-series and replaces the 1M Coupe. The M2 Coupe gets some suspension bits from the M4 but not the S55-coded 431hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six. Instead, the M2 Coupe comes with a 370hp version of the brand’s more widely used N55-designated unit. Both six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are available to choose from.
After launching the Model S saloon in Thailand last year, the new Tesla distributor is eyeing to introduce the Model X SUV later this year. When specced in P90D form, power from the entire electric drivetrain amounts to 762hp to help for a remarkable 3.2sec 0-100kph acceleration time. Driving range is claimed at some 400-500km.
Mercedes-Benz has renamed its GL flagship SUV as the GLS, in line with a new badge strategy for its 4x4s. The GLS gets massaged looks and is still expected to come to Thailand as an import with a V6 diesel-turbo engine. BMW will be launching an answer for the GLS this year called X7, although no official picture has been released yet.
Cadillac, Chevrolet’s sister nameplate for the luxury car market, has unveiled two new global models: the CT6 saloon and XT5 SUV. Although not represented in Thailand yet, some Caddys have garnered interest in the grey market. The V6-powered XT5 may stand a better chance of selling in the country due to the upward SUV trend.
Mercedes-Benz Thailand hopes to introduce the all-new E-class at the Bangkok Motor Show in March after a world debut in Detroit this month. As teased earlier, the E-class will come with a similar, high-tech interior as in the bigger S-class, as well as a host of driver-assist technologies. A plug-in petrol-electric hybrid is also being lined up for Thai assembly at a later stage.
BMW’s second-generation X1 will become a more crucial doorstep for new buyers to the brand. The entry-level SUV switches from rear-drive to front-drive, although the packaging is improved to make the cabin roomier than ever. As the E20 tax privilege is now history since the start of this year, BMW is set to highlight diesel power in the guise of sDrive18d featuring 150hp 2.0-litre, automatic transmission and FWD.
Mazda’s all-new CX-9 SUV gets a redesign and a new petrol engine. In place of the 275hp 3.6-litre V6 is a downsized 227hp 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder for improved economy and CO2 emissions. The seven-seater will continue to be available as an import with prices lowered to around 3 million baht.
Although on sale in world markets for almost a year, the Lexus RC coupe makes a belatedly entry due to the new CO2-based taxation. The model chosen for the raid on the BMW 4-series Coupe is the RC200t featuring 240hp 2.0-litre petrol-turbo and eight-speed automatic.
Mercedes-Benz will add extra assault on BMW’s two-door 4-series with the all-new C-class Coupe. Although Mercedes can opt for the 248hp C300 to chase for the RC200t, it’s most likely that the local office will choose lower models for lower prices. They include the 211hp C250 and 184hp C200, both using the same 2.0-litre petrol-turbo block as the C300. For outright sales, there’s the C180 employing 156hp 1.6-litre petrol-turbo.
More turbo variants of the Lexus are coming on stream this year. After the debut of the GS200t and RX200t at last month’s Motor Expo, Lexus will extend the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to the facelifted IS and NX compact SUV. Unlike the eight-speed unit in the IS200t and GS200t, the NX200t and RX200t get an older six-speed transmission.
Volvo will finally bring its all-new XC90 to Thai shores in the first quarter. Diesel power is expected to come from a new modular four-cylinder engine, although it can’t be confirmed yet as to whether Volvo will go high-tech with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid or not. It’s also unknown as to whether the S90 saloon, using the same scalable platform, flexible engine and streamlined electrical architecture as the XC90, will come to Thailand this year in time.
Mini is most likely to use the Bangkok Motor Show in March to launch the new Convertible model, following the Hatch, 5-door and Clubman in their latest generations.
Land Rover is also expected to use the same time frame to introduce its first-ever compact SUV with a rag-top. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is based on the three-door model, has four seats and rollover protection for all.
After releasing a teaser image of the Q1 baby SUV early last year, Audi has recently confirmed that the real article will be called Q2 instead. The sporty crossover will be positioned below the BMW X1-rivalling Q3.
Volkswagen’s Beetle Dune, basically a jacked-up version of the style-led icon, is set to generate some interest in the grey market should the Thai VW office choose to overlook it. The Beetle Dune is also available with a soft-top.
The S207 will be Subaru’s swansong for the WRX STI in its current generation when order books open in March. With only 400 units planned, the S207 sees 328hp 2.0-litre flat-four turbo engine, Brembo brakes, quicker steering, bespoke tyres, adjustable suspension and torque-vectoring, apart from an array of visual upgrades around the car.
The Ford Focus RS will be available for delivery in the second half, although via unofficial channels. For the first time, all-wheel-drive is being used to handle the 350hp power generated from a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-pot engine. Like the Subaru WRX STI, punters must be content with a six-speed manual gearbox in the Focus RS.
The Mercedes-Benz SLK has been facelifted, renamed as SLC and given nine-speed automatic across the range. Apart from the volume models like the SLC180, SLC200 and SLC300 for the 4-5 million baht bracket, there’s a new range-topper with AMG power. The SLC43 gets 367hp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 in place of a V8. Despite a lower excise tax than the outgoing SLK55 AMG, the SLC43 will still cost north of 5 million baht.
Maserati will launch its much-awaited SUV in Geneva this March. Deemed crucial to the company’s growth, its first-ever 4x4 will be related to the Ghibli and Quattroporte and not to any Jeep products from the Fiat-Chrysler Automotive venture as initially thought. Initial engines for the Porsche Cayenne rival include V6 and V8 petrol heads.
Apart from giving its iconic sports car a midlife facelift, Porsche has replaced the 3.4- and 3.8-litre flat-six engines for the regular Carrera and go-faster S models with a newly developed twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat-six producing 370hp and 420hp accordingly. The engine switch also applies to the Carrera 4 all-wheel-drive, Cabriolet and Targa models and will help Thai prices fall under new CO2 rules. The Turbo versions still use the twin-turbo 3.8-litre but with higher outputs of 540hp and 580hp for the S.
With a new technical collaboration in place with Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division, Aston Martin is preparing to launch a successor to the DB9 stalwart. Tipped to be called DB11, the front-engine luxury GT is expected to draw some inspiration in design from James Bond’s DB10 movie car. Expect the usual V12 engine, plus the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from AMG.
BMW has revealed a go-faster version of the M4 called GTS. The stripped-out coupe gets a roll cage for additional use on the track, 69hp increase in power of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six and some improvements in handling. The M4 GTS is aiming to convert punters of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Jaguar is expected to extend the SVR treatment to the F-type Coupe. The 550hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 of the regular R model is reportedly said to produce at least 575hp in SVR spec. As is the norm with other souped-up sports cars, expect some improvements in handling, as well.
American media reports are suggesting that Lexus will show a production-ready model of the LF-LC concept car in Detroit this month. Intended as a rival for the BMW 6-series, the new flagship coupe from Toyota’s upscale nameplate may wear either the LC or SC badge.
Porsche is allegedly planning to introduce the second-generation Panamera this year. The Mission E concept Porsche, shown in Frankfurt last year, could provide some design clues for its new four-door fastback. An all-electric version for the Panamera is said to follow in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz has facelifted the SL roadster with design cues similar to those on the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car. Although the V8 engines are carried over, power of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 in the SL400 has increased by 35hp to 367hp. The price for the SL400 will fall in Thailand in line with a tax reduction from 50% to 35%.
Bugatti has confirmed that its Veyron successor will be called Chiron. Slated for a world debut at March’s Geneva Motor Show, the hypercar is expected to draw some inspiration from last year’s Vision Gran Turismo concept car. Reports suggest that the Veyron’s quad-turbo 8.0-litre 16-cylinder engine will be pumped up from 1,200hp to 1,500hp with a 0-100kph time in 2.3sec and top speed of 450kph.
Bentley is preparing to make first deliveries of its all-new Bentayga before midyear. Billed as the most expensive SUV at some 25 million baht, the extra-opulent 4x4 barge initially comes with 608hp 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 and eight-speed automatic before plug-in V8 petrol-electric hybrid comes on stream at a later date.
Like Bentley, Rolls-Royce is gearing up distribution of the Dawn convertible after its world debut in Frankfurt last September. The Dawn is largely based on the Wraith coupe and gets the same 570hp 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 and eight-speed automatic transmission.
Ferrari has produced a limited edition model of the F12 front-engine supercar. The F12 TdF pays homage to the Tour de France road races and sees power of the 6.3-litre V12 rising from 740hp to 770hp. There’s also a 110kg reduction in weight and a new rear-wheel steering system to improve the car’s handling.
Ford has built a successor for the GT40. Simply called GT, the American supercar is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 producing nearly 600hp. Gearbox is via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Ford says much emphasis has been put on handling and driving enjoyment for both the road and track.
McLaren has taken the wraps off another model in the Super Series range. The 675LT Spider is essentially the open-top version of the fixed-top Coupe and utilises the same 675hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Only 500 samples will be made worldwide. It’s all sold out now, so chase for an existing deposit.