Top Rank: 15 most important Malaysian car launches of 2020 - Honda City, Proton X50, and more!

Eric · Dec 17, 2020 11:30 AM

From affordable A-segment sedans to large D-segment saloons, let’s recap and a take a look at some of the most important car launches of 2020.

Keep in mind that 2020 has been an unprecedented year, considering that the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the entire economic sector, not just the automotive industry.

2020 Honda City (GN2, GN3)

RM 74,191 - RM 86,561

Who can forget Honda Malaysia’s marketing campaign for the all-new 2020 Honda City back in August – one that fired shots at the Toyota Vios, Toyota Camry, and Perodua Bezza.

V variant pictured

Petrol-powered variants were launched in October, while the sophisticated e:HEV variant is expected to go on sale in January 2021.

The naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre DOHC in the S, E and V variants

Unlike the previous GM6-generation model that featured a carried over engine, the all-new GN-series City features an equally new L15ZE 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine that does 121 PS and 145 Nm. A CVT-type automatic is the sole transmission option for the petrol-powered variants.

As for the City RS, it gets a 1.5-litre petrol-electric i-MMD hybrid system that does a combined system output of 109 PS and 253 Nm.

Honda Accord (CV1)

RM 178,203 - RM 187,390

The 2020 all-new Honda Accord was launched alongside the Honda Civic facelift.

Like the smaller C-segment Honda Civic, the bigger brother is also powered by a similar 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but with the boost cranked up.

In the Honda Accord, the engine does 201 PS and 260 Nm – 28 PS and 40 Nm more than the Civic. It also gets a CVT-type automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.

Two variants are offered – 1.5 TC and 1.5 TC-P – the latter adds the Honda Sensing ADAS suite, a 360-degree view monitor, Smart Parking Assist System, and 18-inch wheels.

Honda Civic facelift

RM 109,326 - RM 134,661

The facelifted Honda Civic made its regional debut in Thailand back in November 2018, but only arrived in Malaysia more than a year later due to pricing approval issues caused by the previous government.

Honda Civic FC facelift wheels

Despite being rather late to the party, the Civic remains as one of the best-selling C-segment sedans in Malaysia, outselling rivals such as the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla Altis. As of September 2020, the Civic has managed to secure a 79 percent share of the C-segment sedan market, a clear lead over its rivals.

2020 Honda Civic FC facelift variants

Features that are new to the facelifted Civic include the Honda Sensing ADAS suite, 60:40 split folding rear seats, and Honda LaneWatch. The facelifted Civic’s exterior design has also been altered, but you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference at a glance – it’s that subtle.

Hyundai Kona

RM 115,888 - RM 143,888

Now this is a rather surprising launch from Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM).

The media drive for the Hyundai Kona was held way back in 2017 in New Zealand, and HSDM showcased the car at the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (2018 KLIMS).

After which, the Hyundai Kona practically went under the radar until August 2020, when spy shots of the Kona surfaced, fuelling speculations that HSDM will be introducing the Kona after all.

In Malaysia, the Kona gets the choice of two powertrains: a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine (150 PS, 180 Nm) and a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine (177 PS, 265 Nm).

While prices are a tad bit more than the Proton X50 and Honda HR-V, but with its stylish looks, exclusivity is guaranteed and there’s no mistaking it for anything else on the road.

Nissan Almera (N18)

RM 79,906 - RM 91,310

The all-new 2020 N18 Nissan Almera is perhaps one of the highly-anticipated new models, and rightfully so, as the previous N17-generation model was nothing to write home about.

For the first time ever, the Nissan Almera gets a turbocharged engine and a CVT-type automatic transmission, as well as stability control and six airbags. In fact, AEB is standard across the range!

Impressive? No doubt, as it will have to fend off the equally-new Honda City and soon-to-be introduced Toyota Vios facelift.

Mitsubishi Xpander

RM 91,359

With prices starting from the RM 91k mark, the Mitsubishi Xpander goes head-to-head against established rivals such as the Honda BR-V and Perodua Aruz.

Top left to bottom left: cargo box with lid, centre console space, glove box and under-seat tray.

While the Xpander may not be as powerful as the BR-V, or offer as many airbags as the Aruz, where it shines is practicality – the Xpander is by far the most practical MPV in its segment.

Not only does it get 18 cup holders throughout the cabin, the Xpander also offers a storage tray under the front passenger seat as well as a two-tier boot floor – useful to store things away from prying eyes.

Perodua Bezza facelift

RM 33,456 - RM 48,356

Introduced in January 2020 (before New Normal was a thing), the updated Perodua Bezza brings a refreshed exterior design as well a slightly improved interior. Perodua has also given the 2020 Bezza its improved Advanced Safety Assist 2.0 (ASA 2.0) AEB suite.

As before, the Perodua Bezza is powered by either a 1.0- or 1.3-litre petrol engine. The former is available with a five-speed manual, while the latter is an auto-only affair.

With prices ranging from RM 35k to RM 50k, the Perodua Bezza is not cheap for an A-segment sedan, but it does offer a whole lot more features than its rival, the Proton Saga.

In addition to features like LED headlights and LED tail lights, upper variants Bezza also offers keyless entry with push start button, leather upholstery, and AEB – all of which are not available on the cheaper Proton Saga.

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Proton X50

RM 79,200 - RM 103,300

Ever since Geely introduced the Binyue back in 2018, speculations were ablaze, stating that it would eventually end up as a Proton, and fast forward to 2020, it eventually did.

With prices starting from just under the RM 80k mark, the Proton X50 comfortably undercuts all its segment rivals, including the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Mazda CX-3.

But don’t let its cheap price fool you, as the Proton X50 is very well equipped. Not only does it get two brand-new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines (150 PS, 226 Nm or 177 PS, 255 Nm), it also gets more safety equipment than the larger Proton X70.

Biggest problem with Proton X50 is lack of lower thigh support

It’s all fine on paper, but getting into a comfortable driving position in the Proton X50 may not be easy for some, as the seat’s shorter-than-average base means that it lacks thigh support.

Proton X70 CKD

RM 94,800 - RM 122,800

Production of the locally-assembled (CKD) Proton X70 started roughly at Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant one year after the model went on sale.

Not only has Proton managed to bring prices down, they have also improved the X70 along the way, giving it a new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, a new two-step reclining function for the rear seats, power tailgate, and ventilated front seats.

2020 Proton X70 CBU Handling

The Proton X70 CKD also gains Proton’s suspension tuning, improving the SUV’s handling without compromising ride comfort.

Toyota Hilux facelift

RM 108,880 - RM 146,880

Spy shots of the facelifted Toyota Hilux started to surface the internet back in April, while getting completely unmasked a couple of weeks later.

Not only does it get a redesigned exterior design, more importantly is that the Hilux now gets the Toyota Safety Sense ADAS suite, adding features like Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Yaw Assist, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Toyota has also fettled with the Hilux’s 2.8-litre turbodiesel, as it now outputs 204 PS and 500 Nm – 27 PS and 50 Nm more than the pre-facelift model.

Toyota GR Yaris

Ever since Toyota unveiled the stonking little GR Yaris at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, we’ve been patiently waiting for its arrival. Even our neighbours in Thailand have just received the model.

Now, if the rumour mills are to be believed, then we might be seeing the GR Yaris in Malaysia as soon as 17-December – the date that UMW Toyota Motor kept teasing us with.

Unlike traditional rally-homologation specials (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series, Subaru Impreza WRX STI), the GR Yaris is quite the opposite – it is a rally car homologated for the streets.

Powering the GR Yaris is the G16E-GTS, a 3-cylinder, 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. It is the world’s most powerful 3-cylinder engine that produces a maximum output of 272 PS and 370 Nm.

Don’t expect the GR Yaris to be cheap. In Japan, the GR Yaris is priced from JPY 3.96 million (~RM 148k) to JPY 4.56 million (~RM 170k), with the more expensive variant costing more than the larger C-segment Honda Civic Type R, which is priced from JPY 4.5 million (~RM 167k).

Volkswagen Arteon

RM 220,043

Handsome just isn’t enough to describe the Volkswagen Arteon. Its unique front fascia in which the headlights and front grille are neatly integrated, frameless windows, and sloping roof line make for one of Volkswagen’s best-looking models to date.

Under the sleek bonnet is Volkswagen’s tried-and-tested 2.0-litre TSI mill that does 190 PS and 320 Nm. Power is routed to the front wheels via a 7-speed wet-type dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG).

With prices hovering slightly above the RM 221k mark, the Volkswagen Arteon is not cheap. In fact, it is priced above the BMW 218i Gran Coupe (RM 219k) and just slightly below the Mercedes-Benz A200 Sedan (RM 222k).

While the BMW and Mercedes-Benz may be seen as a more premium offering by some, neither cars exude the flair of the Arteon.

Volkswagen Passat R-Line

RM 203,411

Is the regular Volkswagen Passat too plebian for your liking? Perhaps the recently-introduced Passat R-Line could solve that.

The Passat R-Line gets a sprinkling of Volkswagen’s R-Line goodies, such as restyled front and rear bumpers, larger 19-inch Verona alloy wheels, Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), and an electronic differential lock (XDS).

Under the hood, the Passat R-Line is identical to the lower rung Passat Elegance, featuring a 2.0-litre TSI mill that does 190 PS and 320 Nm. A 7-speed wet clutch DSG automatic transmission is the sole option.

We are currently collecting votes for the WapCar 2020 Car of the Year. Do drop by on 18-December to vote for your favourite car!

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