The usual suspects
Motoring’s best of 2022 led by Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and BMW.
published : 26 Dec 2022 at 10:18
newspaper section: Life
writer: Kingsley Wijayasinha
During 2022, Life reviewed a large number of new automobiles and motorcycles that are for sale in Thailand. Here are our top picks.
Both all-new and updated models are included that are judged on various elements, such as design, performance and equipment level as well as value for money.
Nissan Terra 2.3 VL 4WD
1.499 million baht
Pros — Improved engine performance, good ride quality, attractive pricing
Cons — Mediocre performance, no sunroof, low-res camera
The Nissan Terra got a minor change in 2022 along with upgraded equipment plus highly attractive price tags for the three variants offered. The top version is priced at 1.499 million baht, which is much lower than other PPVs in the market.
The front end has been totally redesigned and features new LED lighting while the interior features stylish burgundy upholstery, larger displays, comfier seats and more soft-touch areas. The tailgate is now powered and comes with kick gesture operation.
A new 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine provides improvements both in terms of performance (190hp and 450Nm) and fuel economy (13.1kpl), and the 4WD system is also capable too.
The Terra is easy to drive and offers a comfortable ride for occupants, in addition there’s also a large TV screen mounted on the ceiling.
Porsche 718 Boxster T
5.99 million baht
Pros — Fun-to-drive, build quality, affordable
Cons — Must pay extra for some basic equipment
Although this is one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy, the 718 Boxster T still offers as much driving pleasure as the costlier models while being user-friendly enough to be an everyday driver.
There’s up to 300hp from the turbocharged flat-four engine that propels the car from 0-100kph in 4.7sec and to a top end of 275kph. It goes around corners well too thanks to precise steering and sporty suspension.
The interior features high-grade materials but the only complaint is that some basic features (like parking assist, foldable side mirrors and Apple CarPlay) are not included and need to be purchased in a separate package costing you another 430,000 baht.
Ford Ranger Double Cab Wildtrak 4x4
1.299 million baht
Pros — Outstanding design, plenty of equipment, class-leading ride quality
Cons — Old drivetrain, confusing display menu
Ford has made sure the new Ranger pickup truck is the most advanced in the market, whether in terms of design or features.
The new front-end design features unique C-clamp headlights while the interior highlights include a fully-digital instrument panel display as well as a 12-inch centre touchscreen.
The bi-turbo 2.0-litre engine (210hp and 500Nm) and 10-speed transmission have been carried over from the previous generation, but have gone through improvements for better emissions as well as durability.
There’s also the Ranger Raptor which may not make much economic sense with its fuel-thirsty V6 turbo engine, but if you want the ultimate performance pickup, this is it.
BMW 520d M Sport
3.599 million baht
Pros — Driving dynamics, high-quality interior, great fuel economy
Cons — Stiff suspension, slightly outdated styling
Here’s a classic model from BMW that still hasn’t been electrified, and one that offers that original “Sheer Driving Pleasure” we all look for.
While the G30 may not be the most aggressive-looking 5 Series, it does offer a sleek bodyline with a good level of elegance both inside and out. The materials and build quality are top-notch, and the cognac leather upholstery also looks great.
The 2.0-litre turbo diesel pumps out 190hp and 400Nm which is pretty standard, with 0-100kph in 7.5sec and a top speed of 235kph. The diesel is super-efficient, offering a fuel economy of 20kpl.
Steering and suspension are excellent, reminding you that this is an executive car that offers a high level of driving pleasure as well.
Honda Civice:HEV RS
1.259 million baht
Pros — Quick acceleration, comfortable ride, advanced features
Cons — Synthesised engine sound, pricey
The hybrid version of the Civic gets slight exterior changes compared to the 1.5 turbo introduced a year earlier, and comes with full options including rear air vents and split-folding rear seat backrests.
The hybrid powerplant comprises a newly-developed 2.0-litre engine mated to an electric motor, capable of producing a combined 200hp and 315Nm of torque while offering an average fuel economy of 25kpl. Acceleration from 0-100kph takes 7sec while the top speed is 180kph.
The steering and suspension tuning is pretty good, and apart from the good handling, there’s also a synthetic engine sound generator that makes the Civic Hybrid sound like a Type R model.
The console and air vents feature a honeycomb design that looks great, and it also comes with active noise control that helps lower cabin noise.
Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+
5.57 million baht
Pros — Looks great, sporty performance, great pricing
Cons — Limited rear headroom, some harshness in the suspension
The CLS is one of the coolest-looking Mercedes, and this one gets the AMG treatment both in terms of design and performance.
The 48V mild hybrid powertrain consists of a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six producing 435hp and 520Nm and a starter-generator that pumps out another 21hp and 250Nm.
It can accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.5sec and reach a top speed of 250kph. There’s also a variable all-wheel-drive system that maintains high stability as well as air dampers offering a smooth ride.
The interior is luxurious although cabin space and comfort is not a strong point of this low-roof saloon. CLS 53 occupants get sporty bucket seats, even at the rear.
Toyota Yaris ATIV Premium Luxury
Pros — Attractive design, intelligent safety, great suspension
Cons — Old engine, average interior space
The new Yaris ATIV not only replaces its predecessor but also the 1.5-litre Vios that is being discontinued, so Toyota made sure that it’s good enough to compete in a higher segment as well.
As a result, it has larger dimensions and comes with a high level of luxury and safety features, although the old 1.2-litre engine with just 92hp and 110Nm is no match for the performance of a 1.5-litre engine.
The handling is surprisingly good, thanks to special tuning, with beefy steering and lively suspension offering drivers a great time on winding roads. Brakes are discs both front and rear.
Interior highlights include a digital instrument display, 9-inch touchscreen, high-quality materials and lots of intelligent safety features.
Pros — Attractive design, sporty handling, good value
Cons — Small instrument display, battery drains quickly
The MG4 is an affordable electric vehicle that costs less than 1 million baht (869,000 baht for the D trim) and is an attractive choice for those who want to try an EV for the first time.
The five-door hatchback design is sporty and eye-catching, while the interior adopts a modern minimalist theme — the instrument display should be a little larger though.
The 51kWh battery offers a range of 350km (WLTP) while the rear-mounted electric motor develops 170hp and 250Nm.
The MG4 offers sporty handling too, thanks to the lower centre of gravity and suspension setup. It’s rear-wheel-driven and is capable of oversteering during hard cornering.