On Singapore roads, compact, four-door cars may just be the most sensible ones to drive. Here are three new models that balance style, convenience and driveability
1. KIA CERATO
Kia’s styling just keeps getting better. The new Cerato sedan is the culmination of years of improvement and understanding customers’ preferences. The result is a very smart looking urban get-around car that works just as well when ferrying kids as it does when driven up to a valet at a grand event.
Whether you view it from the front or rear, you’ll notice that the lines are well integrated to the sleek shape of the car. The light housing on the front is a bold step forward, and blends into the side contour with the front grille seamlessly. At the back, the rear lamps on both sides are linked with lights along the trunk line, merging together in effortless style.
The small quarter window in the back half of the car not only offers added vision for the driver and passengers, it also provides a lengthened grandeur to the side profile.
Inside, Kia has taken several big steps to ramp up the luxury quotient of the Cerato. The cockpit displays are simple and elegant, and ticks all the boxes of what a driver needs. Metal accents around the gear shift, on the door handles, and around the air-conditioning vents give off a sporty vibe. You can tell that ergonomics was well considered in the design, with everything intuitively located where it should be. The multi-functional steering wheel lifts the car into another category above, and provides useful controls such as audio and cruise control.The ventilated seats in front are a useful feature, especially when the weather gets hot and steamy outside. Cool air permeates through small perforations to keep your back and legs cool, even on the most sweltering of days.
One feature that Kia seldom short-changes customers is the connectivity of the on-board system. With a few taps on the large touchscreen or steering wheel controls, you can manipulate the extensive features of the audio system. Wireless charging (GT Line) is available for those who run out of juice while on the go. In the EX and GT Line, the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system allows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and provides a view of the rear through the car camera.
An upgrade to the EX or GT lines affords a smart trunk feature that allows you to set the trunk lid to open automatically whenever you are near the back for three seconds. The GT line also offers a sunroof option, as well as the Integrated Memory Seat function, where you can pre-set your preferred seat positions.
Kia’s Gamma MPI 1.6-litre petrol engine remains the heart of the Cerato. The 128PS power output should be more than sufficient to get you around town. What is impressive are the advanced driving and safety features that comes with the vehicle. Blind Spot Collision Warning (EX and GT Line), Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning (EX and GT Line), and Parking Distance Warning help to keep you from any unwanted incidents. And the Rear View Monitor offers an enlarged view of the back, complete with guidelines to help you get into parking lots.
PRICE From $90,999 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 1,591CC GAMMA MPI PETROL
TRANSMISSION 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
POWER 128PS @ 6,300RPM
TORQUE 155NM @ 4,850RPM
0–100KM/H 11.6 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR KIA SINGAPORE (Tel: 6427 8800)
2. MINI 5-DOOR
It’s been two decades since the re-launch of the beloved MINI. Earlier this year, the British hallmark introduced new features in its hatchback range. Among the new vehicles is the popular MINI 5-Door that reigns in popularity on local roads.
To the untrained eye, nothing much seems to have altered from one of the country’s most sought-after compact four-doors. But the new elements cut a path to the future while keeping a foothold on pure British sensibilities.
Head on, the front headlights with LED technology are now ringed with black inner housings, and vertical air vents where the previous front fog lights used to be are openings for the air curtains to help with aerodynamics. From the side, new wheel arches are strikingly updated, and side indicators are integrated into the side scuttles.If you’re looking to stand out, then the three new paint finishes — Rooftop Grey Metallic, Island Blue Metallic, and Zesty Yellow — should tickle your fancy. A high-gloss black treatment on the MINI logos on the bonnet and luggage compartment lid, the model lettering and tailpipes of the exhaust system, as well as the surrounds of the headlights, radiator grille, and rear lights complete the upgraded exterior.
The interior of the 5-Door has been redesigned to underscore the car’s sophistication and modernity. The use of chrome has been significantly reduced, with the air outlets now framed by black panels, and internal air vents completely reimagined to be flush with the interior surface. The sports multi-function, Nappa-wrapped steering wheel has also been re-engineered. The controls are laid out in smooth Piano Black, and its new keypad structure optimises operation of the audio and telephone functions, voice control, cruise control, and speed limiter functions.
The 8.8-inch touchscreen colour display is now standard, and is your window to the hallmark central infotainment system. The audio control unit as well as the function buttons for hazard warning lights and driver assistance systems are integrated even more harmoniously into the circular control unit.
With the new graphics display, MINI’s new operating system is more advance than ever. The desired menu items are displayed as ‘live widgets’, and can be called up by swiping the touchscreen, whereupon they are shown in enlarged form in the centre of the display. Connected Navigation is now standard with the MINI 5-Door (as it is across all variants), and drivers have access to the MINI navigation system that includes real-time traffic information, and the best possible route available at the time of request. Wireless Apple CarPlay is also available.
The MINI 5-Door is powered by a three or four-cylinder engine, with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology for performance and efficiency. The consistently optimised emission control technology, which includes a petrol engine particulate filter — complies with the strict Euro 6d emission standard. The car comes in three different performance configurations — the MINI One 5-door at 102hp, MINI Cooper 5-door at 136hp, and the MINI Cooper S 5-door, which packs 178hp.
MINI’s Driving Assistant package is now available in the MINI 5-Door as standard. Through cameras, the car is able to identify and report speed limits. Collision warning and pedestrian warning systems have braking functions to reduce the chance of accidents.
One of the coolest new features with the MINI 5-Door can be used without even getting into the car. The new MINI App available from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store lets drivers contact their vehicle at any time to check on the car’s status or prepare for their next drive. Furthermore, it allows easy access to BMW Group ecosystem, letting customers contact Eurokars Habitat directly. It’s just one large step towards the group’s vision of future mobility.
PRICE FROM $128,888 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 1,499CC 3-CYLINDER PETROL ENGINE WITH MINI TWIN POWER TURBO TECHNOLOGY
TRANSMISSION 7-SPEED STEPTRONIC
POWER 102HP @ 3,900–6,500RPM
TORQUE 190NM @ 1,380–3,600RPM
0–100KM/H 10.6 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR EUROKARS HABITAT PTE LTD (Tel: 6473 3777)
3. TOYOTA YARIS CROSS
Okay, purists may say that this is technically not a four-door sedan, and they may be right. But, the truth is, when you’re considering to buy into this genre, you cannot ignore that this is an alternative to consider.
The Toyota Yaris may be one of the most popular models to come out from the Japanese behemoth brand, but what it offers in efficiency and affordability, it lacks in, well, flair.
Enter the Yaris Cross.
As its name indicates, it is a crossover between a saloon and an SUV. If you’re looking for something in the saloon category with a bit more space in the trunk, then this is arguably a very viable option.
Certainly, the Yaris Cross offers drivers the best of two worlds. The high clearance and easily accessible trunk are the epitome of convenience. The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform is further able to reduce weight and increased rigidity with a low centre of gravity to provide agile handling and ride characteristics of the Yaris saloon series.
Visually, the Yaris Cross is a strong contender for one of the smartest looking cars on the road in its price range. At the rear, its square-shaped central portion and large back-door opening accentuates its high functionality. The fender, with a generous overhang, also expresses powerful robustness in the same way that the front does, and shows off the vehicle’s distinct Yaris DNA when combined with the horizontal rear tail lamps and rear screen. The vehicle also hints of a similarity with its big brother, the Toyota Harrier, with the smart rear lights stretching across the breadth of the trunk door. All in all, the end result is a delightful mashup of the original Yaris and Toyota’s mid-price SUV.The car is equipped with a new-generation hybrid electric vehicle system that uses a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre Dynamic Force Engine based on the TNGA philosophy. The Atkinson-cycle engine is designed to reduce friction and mechanical losses while providing high torque at low engine speeds and improved fuel efficiency. In addition, the Yaris Cross also has a lithium-ion hybrid battery located beneath the rear passenger seat to offer a highly responsive and quiet drive.
Comfort, convenience and performance aside, the Yaris Cross doesn’t hold back in offering drivers a wide range of driving assistance and safety features. Toyota Safety Sense, the brand’s sophisticated suite of cutting-edge safety systems, is an integrated part of the car’s offerings. Lane Tracing Assistant to keep the car centred; Pre-collision system with Pedestrian Detection viz-a-viz the camera sensor; Automatic High-Beam that uses the in-vehicle camera to automatically switch from high beam to low based on visibility and on-coming vehicles; Lane Departure Alert; Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.This comprehensive list of features is just one of the many aspects that help make the Yaris Cross a highly attractive option for those looking for an urban compact four-door.
PRICE FROM $108,888 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 1,490CC 3-CYLINDER, IN-LINE, PETROL ENGINE PAIRED WITH PERMANENT MAGNET SYNCHRONOUS MOTOR
POWER 91HP @ 5,500RPM
TORQUE 120NM @ 3,600–4,800RPM
0–100KM/H 11.4 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR BORNEO MOTORS SINGAPORE (Tel: 6631 1188)