2007 Bangkok International Motor Show - Yawn


"Drive thru the nature." I still don't know what they mean. I was expecting to see a few alternative fuel vehicles, maybe a few hydrogen fuel cell demonstrations, but apart from a single Prius at the Toyota exhibit there was very little reason to believe that any of the automakers understood what the theme was supposed to be about.

After being disappointed with the lack of interesting (i.e. new) vehicles at last years Thailand Motor Expo, I had hopped that this year's "Motor Show" would offer more. So today I went to have a look.

We knew to expect at least two new vehicles, and they were there, but ....

Entering the main hall through one of the many entrance points, I found myself at the Volvo area, and glancing past the anonymously styled V70, and a few other boring looking Volvos I could see a small, blue Volvo rotating slowly on its turntable, it was the C30. It was very much alone, but for one Thai man with a camera. It looked interesting for a minute, sitting above the other Volvo cars, but soon I concluded that it was nothing special, and at THB 2.8 - 2.9 million in CBU form, there will not be many takers for the baby Volvo in Thailand.

Think about what else you can buy for that sort of money! Even other Volvos look more appealing. For example, over to the left of the C30, on the edge of the Volvo exhibit sits a V60. At THB 2.3 million it easily upstaged it's young sibling, although the V60 is near the end of its life, it still looks good, particularly with all the additional goodies that it has received for the show. Volvo also have a number of special offers, low or zero interest rates, and free extras fitted to cars purchased during the show.

Past the V60 and across the isle, and suddenly I found myself in the middle of a very busy exhibit, perhaps the most popular of the day: Chevrolet. Nestled in behind the usual Optras, Aveos and of course the re-badged Isuzu trucks, were three examples of the other new arrival, the Captiva. Unlike the Volvo C30, the Captiva was available to climb into, and play around with, but given the popularity of the car you had to wait your turn.


My first impression of the Captiva is that it represents extremely good value for money. Of course you have to ignore the fact that it will depreciate much faster than a Toyota or Honda, but on paper the Captiva looks like solid competition for the CR-V. The Captiva looks bigger and bolder than the CR-V, but it also looks good from most angles, unlike the CR-V which is best viewed from a great distance!

The Captiva feels better built than other Chevrolet offerings to date, with a more upmarket feel thanks to higher quality materials used in the interior. Having said that it still feels a bit behind the CR-V as Honda has the edge on quality.

But function; that's another matter. With 7 seats, the Captiva will be an option as a large family car, and at the price it will probably take a few sales off the Toyota Wish, and perhaps even the Fortuner. Unlike with the Fortuner, the rear seats fold flat into the floor in the Captiva, leaving an unobstructed boot space. The middle row will also fold flat, leaving a very useful - albeit high - load space. Unlike the Wish with sliding middle seats, the Captiva's middle row seats are fixed in place. I tried the back row and barely fit in. Middle and front seats were more comfortable, but if I had to spend a lot of time in the car, I'd be happier with the Wish for comfort levels, but the Captiva is not bad by any means.

Where the Captiva is going to get attention is with the price of THB 1.15 million for the 2.4 LS FWD, the base front wheel drive model. This is a decent price point for a vehicle of this size. The price does jump to THB 1.45 million for the 2.4 LT AWD model, but again this is reasonable value considering the specification level.

I did ask about the availability of the 2.2 liter diesel engine, and was promised that it would be coming to Thailand either late this year, or sometime next year.

Anything else of note?

Not really. But there was this really cool "water sign" over at Mercedes-Benz:

And the alarm kept going off on this ugly and annoying SsangYong:

Click on any image to see a bigger version. I'll add some comments to the images over the next few days.

If you want to check it out, the show runs until the 8th April and if you have a seat in the 24 million baht Bentley, then it'll probably be worth the 80 baht entrance fee.