The Honda Accord and Nissan Teana did it even better. Remember when these two D-segment sedans were offered with a 3.5-litre V6?
In 2021 however, things are a little bit different, as the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat are all offered with only one engine choice.
Why is that so?
Surprise! A 2.0L variant today won't be that much cheaper
Compared to the bygone days, D-segment sedans nowadays are quite sophisticated, offerings features such as advanced driving aids like adaptive cruise control (ACC) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), fancy infotainment system, and digital instrument clusters.
The situation is further aggravated by our Ringgit, which isn't as strong as it was before.
As such, with each new iteration of a D-segment sedan offered in Malaysia, it’s not surprising that prices also increase accordingly.
When UMW Toyota Motor introduced the TNGA-K-based Toyota Camry in 2018, it was priced from RM 189,900 for the sole 2.5V variant.
Little do most people know, but UMW Toyota also offers the lower spec Camry 2.0G upon special order, though limited only to UMW Toyota's regular Japanese corporate clients, whose company guidelines limit some of their company car purchases only to models with engines no bigger than 2.0L.
Sounds tempting? Well, not really.
While the lower spec Camry 2.0G is only RM 10k less, it loses out on a lot stuff (no TSS, smaller wheels, bulb-type reverse and signal lights), making it rather poor value for money.
For most private buyers, this is not a very good deal and it's the reason why UMW Toyota doesn't introduce the 2.0L variant here.
Malaysia’s D-segment sedan volume is shrinking
In Malaysia, there are currently six D-segment sedans competing for an ever-shrinking pie.
Needless to say, the already-shrinking market cannot sustain that many models, let alone multiple variants of the said model.
As such, car manufacturers have to play their cards diligently and offer a powertrain option that is best for the market. In our case, most car companies are betting on higher specifications, more powerful engines, since the difference in prices is not that much.
Since prices of cars have crept up anyway, it's better for companies to just focus on the higher variant.
Honda offers two variants of the Accord, both powered by the same turbocharged 1.5-litre engine (201 PS, 260 Nm). It is the same for Hyundai and Toyota, as both offer only one variant of the Sonata (180 PS, 232 Nm) and Camry (184 PS, 235 Nm), respectively.
Volkswagen offers two variants of the Passat and both are powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre engine (190 PS, 320 Nm). In fact, the same engine is also fitted to the swanky Volkswagen Arteon.
The only outlier is the Mazda 6. Bermaz Motor offers no less than four variants of the Mazda 6 spread across three engine choices and two body styles. Quite a bullish approach for the ever-shrinking D-segment market, but the reality is that sales of the Mazda 6 does not come anywhere close to the Camry or Accord.
The recent sighting of the all-new, second-generation Peugeot 508 is also worth a mention, as it is a long time coming for the Peugeot. The new-generation Peugeot 508 was supposed to be introduced under Nasim, but recent change of events meant that the model will be introduced under Berjaya Auto Alliance Sdn Bhd (BAASB) instead – the new company that is responsible for Peugeot vehicles in Malaysia.
With all said and done, don't expect multiple engine options from this point onwards. The Toyota Camry is due for a facelift later this year, but it will remain only as a 2.5-litre. The 2.0-litre can be safely ruled out for the Malaysian market.