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Bangkok Surprise – 31st Thailand International Motor Expo

Last November, the 31st Thailand International Motor Expo 2014 opened its doors to waves of both international and local spectators, at the Impact Challenger Convention Center in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok. The exhibit was organized by Thai company Inter-Media Consultant Co. Ltd. and showcased the biggest automotive brands and the corresponding reveals of some of their latest locally-available products. The show is also testimony to the fact that Thailand wishes to put things back to its paces, despite the recent challenges in growth of the Thai automotive industry. Out of the more than 17 brands and hundreds of cars on display, these eight were the great standouts.

Subaru Outback

Taking center stage at Subaru’s pavilion is the all-new 2015 Outback. Thailand served as the venue for the regional launch of this flagship crossover along with its sedan sibling, the Legacy. The latest Outback combines passenger car-comfort with the long-distance touring and load space of a sport utility vehicle. In Thailand, the Outback is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine with 175 horsepower and 235 Nm of torque. It also comes with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as well as a generous 220-mm ground clearance and X-MODE.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost

In time for the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, Ford showed off the all-new 2015 Mustang for the first time in the ASEAN region at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. There, Ford showed off the new EcoBoost version of the iconic muscle car. In that guise, it pumps out 310 horsepower and 434 Nm of torque from its turbocharged and direct injected 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. This means it can rocket to 100 km/h in just a little over 5 seconds and can obliterate the quarter mile in just 13.9 seconds. Dressed in the Premium package at the show, the Mustang EcoBoost comes with beefier brakes, 19-inch dark alloy wheels, and suspension tweaks for added handling performance.

Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo showed off a bit of their fast and sexy side with the S60 Polestar STCC (Scandinavian Touring Car Championship). Driven by Thed Björk of the Volvo Polestar Racing team, the purpose-built racing car is based off the family-friendly S60. In its racing guise, the S60 Polestar STCC has a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)-equipped V6 engine that produces some 420 horsepower.

Mitsubishi Strada/Triton

One of Mitsubishi’s best-selling and most important products, the Triton (Philippine market Strada) gets its first major update in nine years. The exterior features the brand’s new design language which was successfully previewed with the GR-HEV Concept. As such, the Triton carries a more SUV-like styling with a heavily chromed front grille and a more stylized rear end. Inside, the Triton takes on aesthetic cues from newer Mitsubishi models and has convenience features such as dual-zone climate control and a push-button engine start/stop. Under the hood, the Triton is powered by the all-new 4N15 clean diesel engine. This aluminum block engine pumps out 181 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque. It’s also rated to be Euro-4 compliant.

Hyundai HND-9 Concept

First showcased at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show, the Hyundai HND-9 Concept is a sneak peek at what the future Genesis Coupe could be. It’s a further evolution of the company’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design philosophy and was penned at the R&D Center in Namyang, Korea. The HND-9 Concept has a powerful look thanks to its visually dramatic aesthetic. The long hood and sculpted lines offer a modern interpretation of the classic coupe. Powering the HND-9 Concept is a 370-horsepower 3.3-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) that’s been turbocharged. Heart-stopping Brembo disc brakes provide the stopping power.

Nissan NP300 Navara

Not wanting to be outgunned in the pick-up race, Nissan brought out its bad boy, the NP300 Navara. The bold and sleek pick-up features the new V-shaped grille, LED headlamps, and a functional bed spoiler
at the back. Underneath the NP300 Navara is a full-length, fully-boxed frame for enhanced rigidity. The YD25DDTi 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine, delivers world-class performance in two states of tune: 190 horsepower, 450 Nm of torque and 163 horsepower, 403 Nm of torque. It is also available with a class-leading 7-speed automatic transmission. Inside, the NP300 Navara is passenger car-like in its creature features with dual zone climate control, push button engine start/stop, rear view monitor, and much more.

Honda HR-V

Readying its assault in the growing sub-compact crossover segment, Honda pulled off the wraps to its much-awaited HR-V. Dubbed “Premium Sport Crossover”, this Jazz-based crossover gets a unique powertrain in Thailand. It swaps out the Jazz’s 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine for a burlier 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine shared with the
Civic. This means it pushes out a healthy 141 horsepower and 172 Nm of torque. This engine is still mated to a CVT. It’s easily the largest among its platform-mates (City and Jazz) and sits in the same size range as the Subaru XV. The Honda HR-V is packed with class-leading features including LED headlamps, push button engine start/stop, rain-sensing wipers, HDMI mirroring, and more. It also promises stellar luggage space thanks to the same ULTR (Utility, Long, Tall, Relax) seats found in the Jazz.

Words and photos by Ulysses Ang