The Most Important Cars Of The Singapore Motorshow 2020 (updated w/ video)

Derryn Wong
Toyota Corolla Altis

Here are the new cars most worthy of your attention at the 2020 Singapore Motorshow


Published 09/01/20, updated 10/01/20 with video

The Singapore Motorshow is back for the new decade, and if you don’t have the time to visit Suntec from this Thursday to Sunday – or have just five minutes on the show floor – here are the new cars you really should take note of. 

1. Toyota Corolla Altis
2. BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
3. Mazda CX-30
4. Skoda Scala
5. Volkswagen T-Cross
6. MG HS

Important Disclaimer: This article contains information about cars that are being previewed at the motorshow that is, they are not homologated yet and not on sale in Singapore yet. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has strict rules regarding these cars – they cannot be displayed without a ‘NOT FOR SALE’ sign at the Motorshow, nor can they be advertised in any media by their respective brands.

Setting aside the whys and wherefores, and the ability of savvy Singaporean consumers to make their own decisions and read things sensibly, we thus state here that all information regarding previewed cars below is sourced by itself from the makers’ international websites, and we have not obtained at specific information or communication from local brand representatives other than model name and an approximation of the expected time of launch here in Singapore.

Watch it now – here’s our video of the most important cars from the Singapore Motorshow 2020!


Toyota Corolla Altis

Why It’s Important: The Corolla Altis enters the modern age 

Saying this is an important car is like saying the iPhone is an important smartphone – nothing else has quite become the quintessential car as much as the Toyota Corolla Altis has, even in the SUV Age.

This is the all-new E120, which marks the 12th generation of the venerable nameplate here – the previous model was the 11th gen facelift, which we tested here. The new car is based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) as seen on the current Prius hybrid, CH-R crossover, and Camry big sedan

Pricing starts at S$96,888 with COE for the Standard edition with 1.6-litre engine, and S$103,888 with COE for the Elegance edition with the same engine. One big surprise here is that Borneo is also selling the Hybrid model (the blueish-silver car shown here), which is the range-topper, and is priced at S$120,888 with COE. 

That sounds a little expensive for a Corolla, but reports indicate that parallel import Corolla Hybrid models are very close in pricing, which gives the edge to Borneo’s officially-imported model.

The Standard and Elegance have a 1.6-litre non-turbo engine with 129bhp and 159Nm of torque and a CVT transmission,  fuel efficiency is 6.4L/100km and emissions are 145g/km of CO2, netting the car a VES B Neutral rating. 

The Hybrid has a 1.8-litre engine – we presume it to be the same unit found on the Prius hybrid since it has identical power and torque specs, that is, 97hp at 5,200rpm and 142Nm at 3,600rpm. Total system output and performance specs are TBC, we’ll update when we have more news. 

The good news is the hybrid system nets 4.4L/100km, which should be easy to replicate in real life, emissions are 98g/km of CO2, and the car has a S$10k rebate thanks to a VES rating of A2. The hybrid is around 100kg heavier than the standard car, at 1,410kg vs 1,315kg. 

The Standard model has halogen headlamps with LED taillights, keyless, a 4.2-inch active instrument system, reverse camera, auto dimming mirrors and headlamps, a powered driver’s seat, manual wipers, and air-con with Nanoe purifier system. Safety features include seven airbags and the usual basic systems to expect, including ABS, brake assist, ESP, hill start assist. 

The Elegance adds dual-powered front seats, LED headlamps, a 7.0-inch active display system, auto wipers, paddle shifters, Blind Spot Monitoring. The Hybrid model has a similar level of equipment.

It also adds Toyota Safety Sense – the advanced safety features and systems, which include the Pre-Collision System (obstacle/pedestrian/cyclist detection and autonomous/assisted braking), Lane Departure Warning/Assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The Hybrid has a similar equipment level.

You might have already seen some Corollas on the road, with authorised distributor Borneo Motors kicking off sales and first deliveries in December.

It’s slightly larger, measuring 4,640mm long, 1,780mm wide, and 1,435mm tall, which makes it 10mm longer, five mm wide, and a considerable 45mm lower, which helps it appear sleeker and more sporty, although there’s no increase to the wheelbase, which remains at the industry-standard 2,700mm.

The design obviously helps too, with a big, gaping air intake and no grille, just like the shark-like new Camry, and even the rear end has some interesting visuals going on with clear horizontal lines and an almost Lexus ES-like appearance. 

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

Why It’s Important: BMW’s stylish answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the closest thing you’ll get to a 1 Series sedan

BMW previewed its own small four-door coupe at the Singapore Motorshow, the 2 Series Gran Coupe, and it’s a stylish, sporty answer to the existence of the Mercedes-Benz CLA, which has had the segment to itself for seven years.

We have all the details on the new car in our detailed news story here, as well as five fascinating facts about the car.

The car is only being previewed at the Motorshow – it’s not on sale here yet. There are two models coming to Singapore in the first quarter of this year: The 218i, and the M235i.

The former, which is the model shown on the stand at Suntec, has a 140hp three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre engine, while the latter has a 2.0-litre turbo engine with 306hp. This information is subject to change, and is our own best guess.

Improvements include the new BMW OS 7.0 driver interface, as recently seen on the new BMW 1 Series, which is no surprise as the two cars share the same front-wheel drive architecture – the 2 GS doesn’t use the rear-wheel drive architecture the current 2 Series Coupe uses. 

With the base car being slightly more compact than the CLA and possibly lighter, we’re betting on it being a more fun to drive and sporty option in line with typical BMW brand expectations. It’s not a hugely spacious car, but we tried out the rear seats and it looks to be able to fit four adults with decent comfort.

It’s also worth mentioning that the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake debuted at the Motorshow as well, priced at S$188k with COE – read our full story for more. 

To reiterate, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe was previewed at the Motorshow and our information was obtained from BMW’s international press site.

Mazda CX-30

Why It’s Important: Mazda’s upmarket challenger to mainstream SUVs like the Qashqai and HR-V.

SUVs are, if anything, still on the upswing in popularity, which is why there are only two four-door cars in this list and we’ll have a separate story on the Motorshow’s SUVs up soon.

The CX-30 is an SUV from the Japanese carmaker that competes in the very popular Japanese small SUV segment – if you think a Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V too common, and the Toyota CH-R too weird looking, or all of them just not upmarket enough, then it’s perfect for you.

Mazda’s signature design work means the CX-30 is as elegant as a small SUV can be, and almost as pretty as the current Mazda 3 sedan. The interior is similar too, with a minimalist presentation that helps show off the increased quality and materials Mazda has managed to squeeze into the car.

The new infotainment system, which ditches a touchscreen, and has a large 8.8-inch display with rotary controller, is the best amongst the Japanese carmakers bar none, and is standard on all three models, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Interior room looks generous and the car has a sizeable 433-litre boot. 

The sole engine variant is the 2.0-litre non-turbo with 121hp and 213Nm of torque, it does 0-100km/h in 9.7 seconds, has a 196km/h top speed, and an efficiency score of 6.6L/100km.

There are three variants – Classic, Elegance, and Luxury, and pricing is  S$114,888 with COE, S$119,888 with COE, and S$129,888 with COE, respectively. This is the promotional launch price, says dealer Eurokars Mazda. List pricing is S$123,888 with COE for Classic, S$128,888 with COE for Elegance, and S$138,888 with COE for the Luxury model.

The Classic comes with the usual safety systems – plus seven airbags as standard. Elegance adds Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Monitor and Keyless. Luxury adds on all the active safety systems including adaptive LED headlights, lane departure/keeping, driver attention monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous braking. The CX-30 recently scored the highest marks for any car ever in the Euro NCAP trials. 

CarBuyer has tested it on the road in Germany and walked away impressed by its handling, and while there’s no getting around the slightly higher price tag compared to mainstream Japanese rivals, it looks like the perfect fit for someone who wants a little more oomph in their crossover without spending German-lux money.

Skoda Scala

Why It’s Important: More space than a Golf and similar tech – for less than S$100k 

Volkswagen Golf-beating space and similar technology for less than S$100k with COE? Czech this out. The Scala is a new hatchback from VW-owned Skoda, and it aims to deliver more space than a VW Golf but with a similar level of quality and technology, all for less than 100 grand with COE. 

We don’t know the exact pricing yet since the Scala is only being previewed at the Motorshow and schedule for a launch in Q2 or Q3 this year, but we would be very surprised if it costs more than a VW Polo, which currently goes for S$105k with COE. 

We’ve driven it on the road in Croatia, and found it hard to believe the amount of value Skoda is packing into the Scala – although that’s become something of a trademark of the brand now, with the Kodiaq seven-seat SUV, Karoq SUV, and Octavia RS.

Expect a 115hp 1.0-litre turbo inline three-cylinder from the Polo, and with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox pulling shift duties. The interior is very roomy, with Skoda claiming best-in-class rear headroom, and the 467-litre boot is SUV-beating, not to mention larger than most hatches’ boot space. 

The interior features an active instrument display, plus either an 8.0 or 10.2-inch infotainment system, and all Scalas will come with collision avoidance and blind spot monitors. 

SUVs may rule eyes and hearts now, but as the Honda Jazz shows, the market for a spacious, cost-effective and nice-looking hatch bucks those trends, and the Scala may just do that for Skoda. 

To reiterate, the Skoda Scala was previewed at the Motorshow and our information was obtained from Skoda’s international press site and this report written based on our experience, hence this information may be subject to change.  

Volkswagen T-Cross

Why It’s Important: A stylish VW SUV that’s perfect for town and might cost less than S$130k with COE 

VW’s sales have cooled off a little here, which isn’t a surprise given there is no longer the mainstay Jetta sedan, and it doesn’t have a leg in the sub-S$130k SUV game just yet since the Tiguan has gone upmarket and quite large now. 

The Volkswagen T-Cross will change that. It’s a compact SUV based on the VW Polo, and in other markets, competes against the likes of the Kia Stonic, Seat Arona, and Hyundai Kona. We tested the closely-related Arona last year and found it impressive – logically the VW version should be just as good, or even better. 

If you’re thinking about the similarly-sized VW T-Roc SUV, well the T-Cross is slightly smaller, even though both are in the same segment, and Singapore won’t get the T-Roc at all, so problem solved. 

SUVs live by their looks and the T-Cross strikes a fine balance between eye-catching and stomach-turning, it’s cool and cute but not overdone, and still has a little of that VW restraint. Singapore will likely get the 115hp 1.0-litre model, though a 95hp tuned-down variant may be possible depending on the VES shuffle for discounts. 

VW says there’s room enough for five aboard, and it has a useful sliding second row of seats which expands its boot space from 385-litres to 455-litres. Possible equipment options include an Active Info Display screen, an 8.0-inch and upwards touchscreen infotainment system, 300w Beats sound system with discrete subwoofer, keyless, advanced safety systems and more. 

To reiterate, the Volkswagen T-Cross was previewed at the Motorshow and our information was obtained from VW’s international press site and this report written based on our experience, hence this information may be subject to change.

Bonus Car: MG HS

Why It’s Important: A big SUV for mid-sized money and the rebirth of a brand

Eurokars Group announced it would be distributing UK-based brand MG last year and kicked off its lineup with three cars, all of which debuted at the Singapore Motorshow 2020.

There are two BEVs in the lineup, the MG 5 station wagon and the MG ZS EV, but for now the most relevant MG to normal Singaporeans is this car – the MG HS, a mid-large sized SUV priced at S$125,888 with COE.

While MG says the car is a rival to popular SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, it’s actually a significantly larger and more powerful vehicle, at 4,574mm long, 1,876mm wide, and 1,664mm tall, with a generous 2,722mm wheelbase. That puts it up, size wise, against the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota Harrier.

It also has more than enough horsepower with a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that has 160hp and 250Nm of torque, with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

We had a peek and poke at the car’s interior and were impressed by the amount of space on offer and the build quality, which looks solid, creak-free, and has plenty of equipment.

Standard on the car is a panoramic sunroof, auto tailgate/lights/mirrors/wipers, a 7.0-inch instrument display, a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

It’s perhaps not surprising that UK car magazine What Car rated it four out of five stars – and looks to be a good bargain on paper, as well as a good way to kick off MG’s return to Singapore.


2020 bmw mazda motorshow Singapore skoda Toyota volkswagen

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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