Mirai, Toyota's first hydrogen-powered production car, has attracted more than 1,500 orders in its first month on sale in Japan

TIVOLI UNVEILED

This is an official photo of the Tivoli, Ssangyong's new compact sport- utility vehicle that is slated to arrive here in the second half of the year.

The first new model to be launched after the merger between Ssangyong and India's Mahindra & Mahindra, it is the result of 42 months of development and an investment of 350 billion Korean won (S$430 million). The car offers 423 litres of luggage space and is powered by a 1.6-litre engine (either petrol or diesel) mated to a six-speed autobox.

STRONG DEMAND FOR HYDROGEN CAR

Mirai, Toyota's first hydrogen-powered production car, has attracted more than 1,500 orders in its first month on sale in Japan. Toyota had expected to sell only 400 units by year-end.

About 60 per cent of the orders came from government/fleet customers and the rest from individuals.

ORDERS ROLL IN FOR MAZDA2

Mazda agent Trans Eurokars Mazda sold more than 60 Mazdas at last week's Singapore Motorshow. Most of the orders were for the Mazda2, a svelte hatch that was launched at the show. The 1.5-litre subcompact has a rather modest engine output of 115bhp and weighs just a tad more than 1,000kg. Equipped with a six-speed autobox, it gets to the century mark in 10 seconds. The Deluxe variant goes for $122,800.

SOLID, ROOMY FORD MONDEO

The most underrated sedan here must be the Ford Mondeo. The new model is no different. Unveiled at last week’s Singapore Motorshow, it was completely overshadowed by its more glorious cousin, the Mustang.

Yet, the Mondeo promises to be steadfast in its values – solid in build, with lots of room and vroom. It is available in four- and five-door forms. The engine variant here is a 2-litre turbocharged with a six-speed automatic gearbox. It retails at $173,999. The 1-litre, a manual, is not coming here.

CROSS BETWEEN VAN AND HATCH

The new Corsavan from Opel/ Vauxhall looks more like a tall hatch than a goods vehicle. Yet, it is able to carry more cargo. Maximum payload has gone up by 21kg to 571kg, with a flat loading capacity of 920 litres.

But at just 4.02m long and 1.94m wide, it is compact enough to fit into tight parking spaces and negotiate the narrowest city streets.

Engine choices range from a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol to a 1.3-litre turbodiesel.

The Corsavan has car-like features such as electronic stability programme, cornering brake control, drag torque control and active roll-over protection. It has six airbags.

FACELIFTED B-CLASS LOOKS PROMISING

The Mercedes-Benz B-class is not among the most inspiring cars in town. But the facelifted model of the current generation seems a tad more promising – going by what we witnessed at last week’s Singapore Motorshow.

The standard of fit and finish seems better, with interior trim noticeably more cheerful than the drab greyness that characterised the model.

Despite its boxy shape, the car has a class-leading drag-coefficient of 0.25. How it actually performs on the road remains to be seen.

VW POISED TO PIP TOYOTA TO TOP SPOT

Volkswagen should overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest vehicle maker this year, says a recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The German giant ended last year just slightly behind Toyota, with sales of 10.14 million units versus the Japanese company’s 10.23 million. The report says Volkswagen will reach its 2018 goal of being No. 1 ahead of time, “largely because of its leadership in the booming Chinese market”.

NEW CAYENNE LAUNCHED HERE

 

Porsche’s latest Cayenne was launched at the newly renovated ballroom of the Grand Hyatt this week, making it the first new car to be launched this year outside of the Singapore Motorshow. More than half a million Cayennes have been sold worldwide since the first model was launched – to much shock and awe – 12 years ago.

The new car is an evolutionary step up, with minor physical enhancements that add up to a more statuesque machine. All variants boast improved acceleration and all but the Turbo offer better fuel economy. There is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid variant, the second such sport-utility vehicle here after the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.