NADA’s annual auto expo enthralled consumers for the 13th year running. This year, the expo played host to a broad spectrum of premium and electric vehicles.
--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
The NADA Auto Show 2018 held from September 11 to 16, saw enthusiasts flood into the Bhrikutimandap Exhibition Hall. The 13th iteration of the vehicular extravaganza had participation from over 70 brands. The event’s final footfall was estimated to be 65,000. The brands and dealers present at the auto show recorded transactions worth Rs 5 billion. These figures are indicative of the show’s tremendous success this year.
A fraction of that success can be attributed to the heightened fascination and enthusiasm brought about by the premium and electric cars segment. The expo saw a litany of brands highlight their top tier offerings in those segments including but not limited to Ford, Toyota, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Kia, Honda, Hyundai, and Renault. The showstopper of the event, by virtue of exclusivity, was Jeep, making its first foray into Nepal. Below are the top five premium cars that caught our attention at the NADA Auto Show 2018.
The latest version of Toyota’s 7-seater SUV was one of the prime attractions at the show. The Japanese automobile giant’s plush SUV comes endowed with a plethora of features, sumptuous interiors and a polished, chrome-accented body. For those reasons and more, the top-end variant of the Fortuner carries at an eye-watering price tag.
However, with a list of features that consists of a 7.0 Infotainment with Sat Nav, intelligent key for smart entry, vehicle and hill assist control, vehicle stability control, whiplash injury lessening safe front seats, multiple driving modes and bi-beam LED headlamps, potential buyers can rest assured their outlay will present them with a powerful, stylistic and feature-packed luxury SUV.
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 4WD AT Rs 1, 72, 50,000
The perennially mispronounced French automaker’s multiple award-winning crossover SUV, 47 international awards to be precise, attracted quite a few eyeballs at the expo. The revamped interiors ensure the car maintains its premium standing while they have given the exterior a minor facelift and it emerges as dazzling as ever. High-performance PureTech and BlueHDi engines establish the 3008 as one of the most efficient vehicles in the segment.
Further, the car is decked out with features such as enhanced park assist, panoramic glass roof, 8.0" capacitive touchscreen, advanced grip control, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping technology and speed limit recognition. It even provides a wireless charging dock for your smartphone.
Peugeot 3008 SUV- GT Line (with sunroof): Rs 1, 30, 00,000
The hulking vehicle proudly referred to by Ford as ‘our most capable SUV,’ was likewise on exhibit at the show. Ford’s claim is backed up by the variety of features packed into the car. The SUV is renowned for its off-road capabilities and this edition is no different. A terrain management system that comes with a sand mode, snow/mud mode and a rock mode, a powerful 3.2l engine and a hill launch assist and hill descent control combine to produce an SUV that can blaze through all types of terrain and conditions.
Further, features such as leather-upholstered seats, active noise cancellation, electronic panoramic sunroof, seven airbags and a semi-auto parallel park assist will ensure your drive through trepid terrains remains luxurious and safe. The ‘Titanium 4x4’ is the top-end variant of the Ford Endeavour.
Ford Endeavour Titanium 4x4 Rs 1, 71, 00,000
The Forester was one of the most feature-packed products on display at the expo. Subaru has made every effort to impress in a bid to establish their position in the segment. The Japanese manufacturer has devoted a lot of thought in developing the safety systems of the car. Safety features such as standard Eyesight driver assist technology, Subaru DriverFocus distraction mitigation system, SUBARU STARLINK safety and security, LED steering responsive headlights and high beam assist are a testament to their focus towards safety.
The commitment to providing a high-quality product to its customers is evident in the well-designed interiors as well; the Forester has a panoramic moonroof and even built-in Wifi hotspot connectivity. Customers can acquire the top end variant - Forester 18MY 2.0i Automatic Transmission (Premium) - which packs a few more bells and whistles.
Forester 18MY 2.0i Automatic Transmission (Premium) Rs 1, 20, 00,000
One of the measures to ascertain success is when the name of the brand becomes synonymous with the product. Jeep, by virtue of its standing in the market for over 75 years, has attained that landmark. The US automaker Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler Automobile) developed the initial iteration of the vehicle during the Second World War and it grew into the primary transport vehicle of the United States Military. It was the world’s first mass-produced four-wheel-drive car and was the bedrock for the evolution of vehicles that are now referred to as SUVs.
Jeep enters the Nepali market with the all-new Compass, one of the more affordable offerings presented at the show, although, in the premium segment, affordable is a relative term. The Compass is a winner from an aesthetics standpoint; the svelte, aerodynamic design combined with Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille affords the Compass an air of authority and luxury. On the interior, premium features such as heated leather trim seats, heated steering wheel, an 8.4" infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility further forward the luxury narrative. Jeep claims the Compass comes equipped with 50+ safety and security features, 30+ premium features and 20+ pioneering technologies.
Jeep Compass Limited 4x4 (O) Rs 96, 50,000
Electric vehicles are the future. The world at large has been stung by the eventual repercussions of global warming and escalating fuel emissions are a significant contributor. Companies across the globe are pouring a lot of resources into developing affordable electric vehicles. The door to the future was nudged open by Tesla and now the world is following suit. In 2017, a study found Kathmandu to be the 5th most polluted city in the world. The study considered 269 cities across the world and air pollution was the principal determinant. Nepal too would benefit from the proliferation of electric vehicles. The brands at NADA Auto Show 2018 recognized the fact and exhibited numerous electric vehicles; both cars and scooters. Below are three standout electric cars from the show, in no particular order.
The Soul has already made a dent in Nepal’s electric car market and its latest offering looks to improve upon what has come before and deliver a more compelling package to potential buyers. The car comes equipped with a charging station that can charge up the car in 10-12 hours. On a full charge, the car can travel up to 212 Km, ensuring day-to-day travel in the city is well taken care of. A Kia representative at the expo said the company would launch 4 separate charging stations across the country in the next couple of months.
The car also comes stocked with a JBL speaker system, sunroof and six airbags.
Kia Soul EV - Rs 55, 00,000
Hyundai’s latest electric car Ioniq, a portmanteau of ion and unique, can boast of being the most fashionable electric car on display at the show. Its stylish grille dovetail with angular head lamps and tail lamps to produce a sleek, futuristic package. Under the hood, the Ioniq comes with an 88kW electric motor paired with a 28kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which gives up to 280km on a full charge, which takes around 9-10 hours on a standard socket. However, the Ioniq can be charged up to 80 percent in 33 minutes at a fast charging station.
The Ioniq’s interiors are a blend of simplicity and class. With comfortable seats, a power sunroof, 5" LCD audio system and even wireless charging, the car offers a relaxed experience. Ioniq has four paddle shifters that let the diver chose from one of four levels of regenerative braking. It excels on the safety front too, considering the car’s seven airbags and the blind spot detection system. The Hyundai Ioniq is available to purchase in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric variants.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric - Rs 53, 00,000
The French automobile manufacturer’s pint-sized Zoe is an optimal companion for Kathmandu’s narrow streets. As is the norm for electric cars, the Zoe has a futuristic design language on both the interior and the exterior. It also offers the greatest driving range among the cars listed here, with drivers afforded the luxury of covering 400km on a full charge.
Much like the Ioniq, the Zoe comes equipped with regenerative braking, which is the transference of the kinetic energy generated via braking to the car’s electric motor. It also has a heat pump, touted to be a more efficient method of cooling and heating the cabin. Zoe’s trademark Chameleon Charger offers significant benefits on the charging front. The 22Kw battery can charge up to 80 percent in 1 hr 45 mins. The Zoe is a proven quantity in international markets, considering its been the highest selling electric car in Europe for three years in a row. The top end variant comes with leather upholstery, rear parking cameras and heated front seats. Advanced Automobiles, the authorised distributor of Renault in Nepal, is yet to officially launch the electric car in the domestic market.
With new entrants such as Jeep hogging the limelight, a member of Nepali automobile market’s old guard also made its presence felt with the latest iteration of their popular SUV, the Honda CR-V.
On the outside, the CR-V retains its signature bold design language and its slanted rear. The style quotient has certainly been upgraded on the exterior as a whole, with fog lamps, HID headlamps and a ‘shark fin’ antenna adding to the appeal.
The interior is adorned with leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and the gear knob as well. An array of features such as heated front seats, multi-angle rear-view camera, blind spot information system and rain-sensing wipers add further sheen to the already compelling product. Honda’s safety suite, Honda Sensing, with its myriad features such as adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation system and collision mitigation braking system is also incorporated on the higher end variants.
Honda CR-V - Rs 1, 26, 00,000