- Published: Thursday, 12 January 2017 17:08
Cars are expensive in Singapore, but these five will help you get the most from your motoring money...
SINGAPORE — The doors are open at Suntec and the Singapore Motorshow 2017 is officially underway until Sunday. Car dealers will be doing their level best to rack up sales while, on the other side of the fence, bargain hunters will be on the lookout for the best deals.
If you’re one of them, and you’re planning to hit the Motorshow in search of your next car, here are five machines priced $110,000 and under (and in some cases, significantly under) that we think are worth a closer look. Cars may be universally (and depressingly) expensive in Singapore, but these five help you to get the most from your motoring buck...
Price: $109,999 with COE
We’ve written about Kia’s new hybrid car since it was previewed before the Motorshow (making it the first new car to be launched in Singapore in 2017), and it’s also on our list of eco cars to watch out for at Suntec. But even if you disregard the fuel-sipping hybrid drivetrain, the Kia is a compelling car that’s worth a hard look if you’re at the Motorshow.
For the price it’s fairly lavishly equipped, with a suite of safety systems like blind spot monitors and the ability to warn you about traffic if you’re reversing out of a parking spot. There are seven airbags and the majority of the body is made of high strength steel, which provides rigidity without excess weight.
The interior’s a bit plain, but the Niro is very roomy in the back and it has plenty of cargo room: 427 litres when the rear seats are down, and the ability to swallow a mountain bike whole (without removing the wheels) when you fold them.
Kia execs seem certain that the Niro is one of the best hybrids on the market, but for the price, it’s simply one of the best buys of any kind.
Mitsubishi Space Star
Price: $81,999 with COE
Elsewhere it’s called the Mitsubishi Mirage, but one way to understand the Space Star is to think of it as the prettier, more playful sister to the Attrage, the four-door car beloved by Uber drivers everywhere. That tells you what to expect: a tiny turning radius (4.6m) to make city driving a cinch, and a damn frugal 1.2-litre engine that sips just 4.3L/100km on average. It costs $2,000 more than the Attrage.
For something at this price, the Space Star is generously equipped, too. Keyless entry and engine starting is standard, along with automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. Unusually for the class, it has six airbags. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has audio controls, and the sound system is factory fitted.
The generous equipment list is courtesy of the car’s European spec; the signal stalk is on the left hand side, like for cars on the Continent.
One thing’s for sure, if small hatchback cars are this price level are supposed to come with no equipment, someone obviously forgot to tell Mitsubishi.
Nissan Pulsar 1.2L DIG-T
Price: From $106,300 with COE
An old name returns (the badge stretches way back to 1978), but if you’re unfamiliar with the Pulsar, think of it as Nissan’s answer to the VW Golf (with a slightly bigger boot). That means five doors and five seats, though instead of crisp Germanic lines the Pulsar has nicely sculpted body contours, along with signature Nissan styling cues like boomerang-shaped lighting elements.
There’s a basic “Lite” model and a “Premium” version that adds $3,000 to the price. The extra money buys you a bigger touchscreen interface (6.9” instead of 5.8”), full leather upholstery and GPS navigation. Nissan importer Tan Chong has additional discounts for financing, trade-in and insurance that total up to $4,500, so you could conceivably book a Pulsar for $101,800 with COE. During the Motorshow itself the company is throwing in $200 of petrol vouchers, free solar film and a free dashboard camera.
The Pulsar actually shares its major mechanical underpinnings with the Renault Mégane (the French connection is there because Nissan and Renault have a corporate alliance), but what’s under the bonnet should be familiar to Nissan fans: it’s the same 1.2-litre DIG-T engine that powers the Qashqai, which means it has a fuel-saving direct injection cylinder head and a turbocharger. It sends 115 horsepower and 165Nm of peak torque to the front wheels via Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
The CVT probably blunts the performance somewhat (0 to 100km/h takes 12.7 seconds) but it does a lot for fuel economy: the Pulsar averages just 5.1L/100km. It all adds up to an interesting car that combines some French DNA with a frugal Japanese drivetrain, and a name that carries some history.
Renault Mégane Sedan 1.5T dCi
Price: From $109,999 with COE
Two Mégane body styles are being unveiled at the Motorshow, but it’s the Sedan that is bound to make the bigger splash here. For one thing, Singapore is still largely a four-door market. For another, it’s the Sedan version of the car that seems to work better with the Mégane’s wide new face.
We tested it with the 1.5-litre turbodiesel that powers a number of models in the Nissan-Renault Alliance (including the Infiniti Q30) and even a few cars from Mercedes, but it’s in here that the engine has somehow found a bit of refinement. From inside the cabin, at least, it no longer clatters like someone at the factory forgot to tighten a few bolts.
A full $30,000 CEVS rebate helps with the Renault’s pricing, and a basic model lists for $109,999. Add $5,000 for the Privilege spec, which includes extras like a blind spot monitoring system, additional chrome trim, a larger touchscreen entertainment system (8.7” instead 7”), different driving modes and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.
In case you were wondering, the five-door hatchback costs $114,999 for the GT Line model (1.5T dCi) and $138,999 for the Mégane GT, which has a 1.6-litre turbo engine with 205 horsepower.
Inside, the new Megane actually feels quite posh in places, with soft-touch plastics up front (the back of the car is a different matter).
Low, low fuel economy will be something the Mégane Sedan will count on to win buyers, with a fuel consumption figure of 3.7L/100km. You’re unlikely to get close to that in real world conditions, but diesel is cheaper than petrol anyway, so the Mégane could still be one of the cheapest cars to feed.
The new car replaces the Renault Fluence and revives a name that was once popular here, along with an attribute that has been a bit of a Mégane Sedan tradition: a huge boot.
BONUS CAR: Suzuki Ignis 1.2L
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