Singapore Motor Show 2019

By Botchi Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer January 16,2019

The Singapore Motor Show returns for the fifth consecutive year at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Center.

Presented by the Motor Trader’s Association of Singapore, the display was spread out across Levels 3 and 4 of the Convention Center.

Through the five years since the event has been re-launched, the show has evolved, grown, matured and truly polished, fit to be acknowledged as one of the world’s premier motor shows, particularly in the Asean region.

Singapore MTA president Glenn Tan, who is also Tan Chong International Limited deputy chairman, has ambitious plans for the motor show in the coming years, and the challenge now is finding a venue suitable for a bigger, grander show.

Last year, roughly 55,000 guests trooped to the 2018 Singapore Motorshow. While official tally is yet to be announced for the recently concluded 2019 edition, Tan is confident that the show had more attendees this year.

While the total car market in Singapore hovers around 80,000 units a year due to strict government regulation on COE issuance and high taxes, the event nonetheless points to future automotive trends and technologies that will eventually make its appearance on cars sold in the region, thanks to the city state’s affluence and its appetite for high-tech highly fuel-efficient cars with the latest in cutting edge safety technology.

Additionally, Singapore has a very large luxury car segment, which makes it an important market for the luxury and premium sports car brands, and again points to what we can expect to land in our local market in the coming months.

We take a look at a few cars expected to break cover in the Asean region in general, and in the Philippines in particular.

1. Subaru Forester e-Boxer

This is Subaru’s first hybrid vehicle, built atop the latest Subaru global platform (SGP). An electric motor lies in-line with the symmetrical AWD system, and delivers a modest 158 hp and 188 Newton meters of torque to all four wheels.

The batteries lie in the trunk, reducing overall cargo space by 11 liters, and features a firmer rear suspension to support the added weight. Incidentally, this makes the Forester more aggressive to steer and turn on dynamic driving conditions.

There’s a big surge in power at mid-range, but the hybrid system shuts itself off at higher speeds, delivering smooth acceleration. Since the system is built atop the SGP, it’s only a matter of time before this mild hybrid system will find its way on the Impreza sedan and XV compact crossover.

The Forester e-Boxer is slated to arrive in the Philippines in 2020, according to Tan.

2. Toyota Rav4

Unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in early 2018, the all-new Toyota Rav4 breaks cover in the Asean region at the Singapore Motor Show with a new dynamic look that mimics the US-market Tundra and Tacoma pickups.

The all-new Rav4 is built atop Toyota’s new TNGA (Toyota new global architecture platform), and is powered by a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic. A hybrid version will also be made available in other markets. Expect the Rav4 to be launched in the Philippines very soon.

3. Mazda 3 sedan

Mazda unveiled the all-new Mazda 3 sedan in the Asean region. Launched last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the sedan was unveiled in Singapore this year, but the hatchback was noticeably absent.

Mazda tried their effort to create a more fluid, organic design that pushes the boundaries of style, practicality/packaging, and aerodynamic efficiency, and they have delivered in spades with the coupé-like profile of both the sedan and hatchback.

Big news is the introduction of the SkyActiv-X engine (compression/ignition engine) mated with the rest of the latest SkyActiv suite of technologies that bolster efficiency, safety and driving enjoyment.

Bermaz Auto, the Philippine distributor for Mazda, is coy about when they will launch this in the Philippines, but safe to say, it won’t be too long now.

4. Lexus UX

Lexus’ latest compact crossover, the UX, which shares its TNGA platform with the Toyota CH-R, just recently made its appearance in Singapore. It was recently launched in Manila a few days ago in conjunction with Lexus Manila’s 10th anniversary.

The UX is the Japanese brand’s new entry-level vehicle providing Lexus levels of comfort and refinement to fans of the brand, known for its relentless pursuit of perfection. Power comes from a gasoline engine with a hybrid variant as well.

5. Audi Q8 and Audi A8

The flagship luxury vehicles from Ingolstadt-based Audi have finally reached the Asean region. The Q8 is Audi’s full-scale SUV cum coupé designed to tackle the likes of the BMW X6 and Range Rover Sport, all stylish large luxurious SUVs.

The A8 limousine is the flagship sedan more commonly associated with heads of state and diplomatic VIPs. Both platforms utilize extensive aluminum alloy in their structures, plus a range of turbocharged petrol engines, and even hybrids.

6. BMW X5

The all-new BMW X5 was unveiled at the Singapore Motor Show, but what’s truly interesting is that a new 7-seater variant is coming, which makes all the difference against the likes of Audi’s Q7 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLS SUVs.

BMW Philippines has yet to make an announcement as to when the new one is coming, but safe to say, we can expect this SAV within the year.

7. Kia Stinger and Kia Niro

The Stinger isn’t a new model, but is a highly acclaimed sports sedan car from the Korean car maker, and it looks like it will reach Philippine shores this year. The Niro, on the other hand, is a new plug-in hybrid compact crossover aimed at a new generation of buyers.

Will we see this in the Philippines, now that the mighty Ayala Automotive Group has taken stewardship of the brand? Don’t hold your breath, but you never know.

8. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Eclipse Cross was unveiled in 2017 but only reached Asean in 2019. Should we get it in the Philippines, this model will help revitalize the brand once again as a sexy, sophisticated manufacturer of stylish crossovers.

The Eclipse sits in-between the ASX and the Outlander meant to woo buyers away from the traditional sedan market who do not want a body-on-frame LCV-based vehicle, but still drive a raised, and thus, more versatile vehicle.

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