Welcome to Thailand Car Reviews

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Thailand Car Reviews

Thailand’s car market is quite unique in the world. In many ways Thailand is very lucky to have a large range of affordable and locally made Japanese cars to choose from. Because the tax rate for new cars is so low (just 2.5%) this makes it easier to Thai families to afford new cars. Thailand’s cost of living is quite low making it possible for even poorer families to afford a car. Thailand is also one of the world’s favorite countries for expats and retiring foreigners.

To find out which car would best suit you read through the reviews  below.


Nissan Tiida 2011 Review

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Nissan Reviews

Model: Nissan Tiida, 2011, 1.8 ( pictured with custom body kit)
Price: 799,000 Baht
Engine Size: 1.8 liter
0-100 kph: 10 secs
Fuel Economy:
7.5l per100km
Competitors: Mazda 3, Ford Focus, Honda Jazz

Nissan Tiida finally gets a needed facelift.

When the Nissan Tiida was first released several years ago, I felt like hitting the designers over the head. What were they thinking? The previous Nissan Sunny/Pulsar was a very competent and decent looking car appealing to both men and woman of all ages. When the Tiida was released it polarized customers and resulted in a large reduction in sales.

The pity is; under that Dull and ugly body work is quite a nice car. The new facelift has finally given the Tiida a decent makeover. In fact with the right custom body kits it can look downright sexy.

The 2011 Nissan Tiida has a lot going for it: Nice quality interior and responsive engine make this car a pleasure to shoot around the city. The cargo space with the back seats folded down is impressive. The back seats are also a nice place to be with heaps of leg room for even tall passengers. offering more leg room than other cars in this class. The backseats are also quite wide and acomodate 3 people quite comfortably, even more so than a Toyota Altis for example.

There are a couple of downsides needing mention:

The ride over bumps is better than a Ford Focus but still not as good as it could be. While driving on the highway the car didn’t seem to settle down when driving over certain bumpy roads. The Tiida would mildly bounce up and down continuously over certain stretches of road while a constant dull thud almost as loud as the Ford Focus could be heard from the suspension. These suspension issues are quite mild and may not even be noticed by many drivers. I would recommend a test drive to anyone considering this car.

At just 799,000 baht for the 1.8 liter model this car does provide excellent performance and value for money in this price range and beats Ford Focus in most areas. It is also 200,000 cheaper than a Mazda 3 and only 100,000 baht more than the smaller bodied and engined Honda Jazz.

The other issue with the Nissan Tiida is resale value. This car can lose quite a bit of its value in the first 3-4 years. This would not be an issue for someone keeping the car for a long time. Also this means you can pick up a second hand car at a great price. Adding a body kit could turn that dull and even ugly Tiida into a Sexy Hothatch. With a bit of makeup even avaerage looking girls can be nice to look at. The same principal applies here. And the best thing is there is a great car under that skin so worth the effort of adding the “makeup”

Well worth a try.

SCORE: 8/10

See also: Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and Honda Jazz

Toyota Prius 2010 review thailandModel: Toyota Prius, 3rd Gen 2010, 1.8
Price: 1,250,000 Baht
Engine Size: 1.8 liter + electric hybrid motor
0-100 kph: 10 secs
Fuel Economy: 3.9l per100km
Competitors: None really

Toyota has finally released a small affordable Hybrid for the Thai market – the New Toyota Prius Hybrid, 3rd Generation.

With a new 1.8 liter engine the Prius now has improved performance as well as improved fuel economy. With a fuel consumption rating of just 3.9 liters per 100 km Prius is the most fuel efficient car on Thailand roads. In fact this fuel economy is comparable with the many motorcycles you see all over Thailand.

The interior space is very nice and modern with interesting design features such as the front console separating driver from front seat passenger. The front wind screen design is also quite useful for visibility as well as swept back for superior aerodynamics.

Smooth and quiet the Prius cruises through the streets just as well as any other modern car. The digital Speedomoter is a nice reminder you are in a “Futuristic” vehicle. The Prius has all the other features of the latest Toyota models: auto climate control, auto everything else – too many items to mention.

Perhaps better than a Toyota Camry for city use the Prius is shorter and narrower than the Camry. Both suffer from lack of boot space. Not a big deal for those with limited storage needs or those with a second car. If you can make do with the limited boot space or you have a second car then a Prius is a great option for yourself and the planet. And hopefully soon you will be able to upgrade your Prius to a Plug-in Hybrid requiring only electricity to do most of your daily chores.

As many automotive writers have mentioned Hybrids are an in between technology of Petrol/Gas  burning cars and full electric vehicles. In the next few years you will see a lot more electric cars come ino the market as well as “plug-in hybrids” which can be charged and run for 40km+ on electric power alone before needing a petrol engines help. Its a shame Toyota doesnt have the right batteries to do this now. The technology is there and has been for around 5 years but various political and patent issues are slowing it down.

If toyota had the plug in technology working now with a bigger boot I’d give this car a 9 / 10 score

SCORE: 8.5/10

Honda Jazz 2010, 1.5 V, Review

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Honda Reviews

honda jazz review Model: Honda Jazz 2010, 1.5 V (with sports body kit)
Price: 660,000 Baht
Engine Size: 1.5 liter
0-100 kph: 10.5 secs
Fuel Economy: 6.6l per 100km
Competitors: Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta

Is it possible to have a small city car that is not only affordable but has plenty of space? Space, what? How can a small car have lots of space? I thought they were using some kind of Magic room technology out of Harry Potter or perhaps some future space technology from Star Trek. But no, its just clever design.

How do you make a box look sexy? And how do you make it comfortable, fun to drive and ride better than a small car should? I dont know but lthe Honda engineers seem to have worked it out.

In fact this car has more space than any other car in it’s class. That alone would be enough for many car buyers. But that was not enough for Honda. They wanted it to look good. Drive like a Honda, Slide through corners like a Honda and Ride like a bigger car. And thats exactly what they did.

The previous Jazz was already very popular. I had thoughts of buying the previous model for my Grandma due to its tall design and easy access. I’d never thought about buying it for myself until now.

The new design finally caught my attention and made me take a closer look. I was plesently surprized the find the interior nice and roomy with a modern and funky design. Not plush but not cheap either. But surely it couldnt have enough space inside? When I got into the car I found all kinds of storage spaces for odd and ends, cup holders which are often missing in small cars.

Everywhere I looked in the back there is storage space for anything. The back seat folds away as well as folds forward to create a large flat carry space accessed from the hatch back door. You’ve heard the saying it can carry everything including the kitchen sink? Well thats exactly what we tested. We were in the process of building a house and went to the local homepro to buy a whole load of finishing items including: All light fittings for the house, kitchen cabnet doors, a bunch of other large odds and ends and… yes, a kitchen sink. The hatch back door allows you to load high and wide boxes that a sedan would be unable to accomodate. And we still had room to spare.

The other pleasant surprise was while driving over train tracks and other rough road works. I was prepared for the usual rough small car ride and bumps. Well the Honda Jazz ate them up with minimal fuss, a lot easier than you would expect from a small car in this class.

Its hard to find any fualt with this car. Its not perfect but close enough to it to make it a serious contender in the small car market.

Since this is a car review I am going to nitpick a few things:

>> Would be nice to have a plush leather option.
>> Would also be nice to have a bigger engine option above 1.5. If this car could do 0-100 kph in around 8 seconds it would be one of the best hot hatches ever made.
>> The car doesnt fly or have an electric engine option yet.

SCORE: 9 / 10

Also see: Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris

Model: Toyota Corrolla Altis 2010, 1.8 G (with sports body kit)
Price: 919,000 Baht
Engine Size: 1.8 liter
0-100 kph: 9 secs
Fuel Economy: 7.3l per100km
Competitors: Honda Civic 2010 1.8, Madza 3, 1.6-2.0

Why is the Toyota Corrolla/Altis the worlds best selling small/medium size sedan?

For most people a car is just a means to get from A to B in reletive style and comfort with reliability and good re-sale value. This is where the Toyota Altis ticks all the right boxes.

It’s easy to drive, Comfortable and quiet, looks nice from most angles and is very fuel efficient at around 7.3 l/per 100 km

This is the forumula at play and explains its success. But does this formula suit you? If you do a lot of city driving as well as highway driving then the Altis may be exactly what you need. Slim design makes it easier to drive through Thailand’s many narrow city streets. It’s 1.8l engine is not only frugal but also gets up and goes when you plant the accelerator. Its not hard to get ahead and stay ahead of both city and highway traffic. Both comfortable in the streets and highway.

There is not a lot seperating this car between it’s bigger brother the Toyota Camry. Slightly narrower, about 50cm less in length providing slightly less rear leg room and boot space. The Altis’s boot is only about 10% smaller in capacity compared with the Camry. So if you are not carrying long legged passengers in the back on a regular basis you would rarely want for more space from a city car.

There are a few drawbacks as with any car. To most people they are very minor, however we will mention them here for your own consideration:

If you are looking for the very latest interior and exterior style you may prefer the Honda Civic. If you prefer a steering wheel that provides good feedback and communicates to you what the wheels are doing you may also wish to look elsewhere. The Altis’s steering feel is quite numb but it is accurate and sharp. This is no road carver like a Mazda 3 or Honda Civic. But it is competent at what it does.

With the new Sports body kit (front skirts, rear skirts, rear spoiler) the latest 2010 Toyota Altis has brought its looks closer to the more stylish Civic and Mazda 3.

In conclusion: Simply the best no fuss city commuter available for the driver not concerned with futristic styling and road carving abilities.

SCORE:  8.5 / 10

See also: Honda Civic 2010. 1.8 and Mazda 3, 2.0 reviews