Did your doctor tell you to get more exercise? Jogging didn’t appeal? Too cold for swimming? Then try going to motor shows.
At our Bangkok Motor Show (incidentally the 40th such show) I had walked from the hotel to the Challenger Hall twice before the event was officially open. Of course, this was mainly due to poor preparation on my part, in forgetting to take the thumb drive with me. Returning to my room in the Novotel I then found I had brought the wrong set of keys from my office, the set with no thumb drive attached. Turning back to the Press Room I did the usual begging thing and a spare thumb drive was found.
It was a promotional USB drive and after the euphoria of thinking I was now able to proceed, I found it wouldn’t play on the Challenger Hall computer. It did however tell me to scan the thumb drive. With my digital age ability, this was an impossibility. Normally I get my 13 year old son to do these tasks, but he was in school. More begging and a computer savvy chappy got it all up and running.
And so it was into the show and more walking. I was informed by someone a lot younger than me that the exhibition hall was 600 meters in length, so up and back was one km. This meant that by lunchtime I had already covered 4 km, and I hadn’t even got to the car accessories section.
Returning after a quick coffee and a sandwich I entered the exposition hall again and was waylaid by the Rolls-Royce stand. There it was, in all its obese grandeur, the SUV to eclipse all other SUV’s – the huge R-R Cullinan. Like a middle-aged matron, displaying her necklaces willed to her many years before. A Toyota Fortuna with bling and steroids. But it does have dinky hub caps that always stop the correct way with R-R the right way up. That’s worth another million baht over the Fortuna.
SUV’s are the current fad, especially expensive ones. SUV’s that are used to pick up children weekdays and groceries at the weekend. Off-road? Only mis-judging and driving over the kerb in the supermarket car park.
You can of course go the cheapie road and get a Porsche Cayenne or a Bentley Bentayga or Maserati Levante. By comparison, the Isuzu MU 10’s of the plebian SUV set.
While on the automotive weight watchers, it is interesting to see that cars follow people. Obesity is the name of the game. One of my favorite cars of a few years back was the Mazda MX-5. A true sportscar for the masses. Small, light, perfectly balanced, with just enough power to make driving fun. It has become so fat that it is now more of a sedan.
One concept group which took the interest of the local motoring press was the MINe City EV. This is an all-Thai project, using an electric motor generating 160 BHP and giving a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour. The battery is Lithium-ion 30 kWh which can power the MINe for up to 200 km.
The charging time is 1 hour per 1 charge or DC Quick Charger mode takes 15 minutes to charge to 80 percent. Standard service charges are 50 baht for one hour, 80 baht for two hours, 110 baht for three hours and 150 baht for four hours.
The car has a length of 3.3 meters, width 1.7 meters, height 1.6 meters, and weight 900 kg.
What else was there at the Bangkok International Motor Show, which caught my attention? The best looking cars were definitely on the Aston Martin stand, other than their jewel, the Valkyrie. Designed by Adrian Newey, this had a nominal value of 300 million baht and only 25 examples will be built. Don’t believe it. Especially the one on the stand which did not have an engine at all (supposedly a 6.5 liter V12 developing 1,100 BHP) using F1 technology in the suspension and brakes.
When the car does have an engine, it can (reputedly) cover zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 402 km/h. Well past take-off speed for your average Boeing.
One car that did arouse much interest was the new (10th generation) Honda Accord which, for my money at least, is the top affordable limousine style vehicle at the show, outshining the Toyota Camry or the Nissan Teana. Styling is today, whilst Camry and Teana are looking dated.
Honda gives you two engine choices, the first being a 1.5 liter V-Tec Turbo developing 190 BHP and torque of 243 Nm while the second engine choice is 2 liters with two electric motors developing 215 BHP with switchable modes being electric battery, hybrid or engine power alone.
If you are in the market for luxury and style, have a good look at the Accord.