Welcome to the first daily round-up of Antiyita 2017! I’m your host, Gavin Anderson, the world’s most metrosexual automotive journalist, covering on behalf of Splendid Auto Monthly who are here at the Anikatian capital for the first time ever.
North East Asia is fast becoming one of the largest car markets on the planet, with many rapidly developing nations are seeing increasing demands for cars. Some experts are predicting that within 20 years, there will be a European-sized car market in China, let alone the rest of the region. It’s no wonder then that car makers are vying to get early footholds in this market, and we’ve seen a glimpse of that over the past two days as a multitude of big announcements have been made.
Antiyita’s ever growing car show is now playing host to more companies than ever before, and its importance is very clearly being shown now more than ever. The only question left now is: what has the automotive world got on offer?
In honor of the late Robert Miles, today’s music of choice is the eternal Children (Dream Version).
Before the show began, two further teasers were made by automakers. Monolith gave us a showcase of their 1991 Artisan Turbo, a hyper-pickup that was in essence a road-going Dakar truck. The significance of this will hopefully soon be revealed. Zavir then gave us a date - May 12th - for a new car almost definitley called the ‘Spider’. Well for gods sake, how can any car fan not be excited when the car in question has got the word ‘Spider’ in its name!
Sinistra kicked things off by arriving in style with a fleet of their two new sedans, the Arctic and the Sentry. The Arctic is an unusual affair for an executive sedan in that it has sliding rear doors (a little unnecessary we feel) and looks over designed at the rear. The 3.8l i4 on the SE-4 trim is also very unusual, and hardly the smoothest of engines. We can’t fathom how anyone at the company thought that “Economical” was an appropriate label for this car either; it isn’t. Prices are good, however, and its decently quick too. It feels fairly normal for a road car, without a huge amount to note other than its massive size makes it a little hard to maneuver.
The Sentry is a little more promising, given this Midsize-compact hybrid comes an array of variants and looks far better than its larger brother. Prices are very good, running costs are very reasonable and its only downside seems to be a slight lack of comfort compare to its rivals. It also drives very well; the GT-3 trims are sharp (perhaps even too sharp for some) but they are no doubt very fun to drive and really make the most of every bit of that 174 horses under the bonnet. The Sentry is therefore an unusual choice in this market, but that might be why its a good car to go for.
Newcomers Mekong made their Antiyita debut yesterday, revealing the Dang-Yeu compact and Vui-Ve supermini. Aimed at being the cheapest things money can buy, the two cars have big ambitions beyond their current South East Asia market places. They’ve certainly tried very hard with the styling, though they aren’t exactly lookers by any means (the Vui-Ve in particularly looking positively dorky), and the names are still taking some time to get used to, but at those prices, can you really complain? Plus, unlike many similar companies, the engines aren’t god-awful; they’re all copies of Erin designs.
The Dang-Yeu is just about the most simple compact I’ve ever been in. Think mid-80s equipment levels dressed in modern design, and you’re not far off. Everything feels very cheap too, as you’d expect, though it’s hard to forget about it. The same goes for the Vui-Ve, which improves itself greatly thanks to the high roof line that provides plenty of interior space. Sadly that comes back to bite it, as it drives pretty rubbishly; it leans a lot and is slow. The Dang-Yeu is far more competent, and can quite happily keep pace with regular compacts (though it’s far from exciting). But once again, that price tag makes all the difference. It’ll be interesting to see how these sell in Anikatia if they do come here next year as planned.
Then came the big one. Rennen launched the hotly antitcpated Angeles R, and wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a performance midsize that looks this competent and well styled. More impressive still is the performance; 472 horsepower under the bonnet from its 3.3l Turbo V6, AWD and some clever aero mean it’ll keep pace with a Himmel E.O. in a straight line and certainly scare one in the corners thanks to its active suspension. We cannot wait to drive it, especially because - lo and behold! - it has a manual gearbox! Something about that really impressed me; on a car with tons of electronic gear, carbon ceramic brakes and miles of luxury stuff inside, it has a manual gearbox. Forget the silly colour names, the Angeles R knows what’s going on.
LaVache seemed to follow suit with a super-tuned version of the Ramjet. Called the RT5 R, it features a huge wing, carbon fibre body details and 595 hp. Massive race-derived wheels and “Nürburgring-tuned suspension” class this thing as a track car for sure, though the promise of an 8-speed automatic* gearbox is brilliant. Even OAPs will be able to blast around this on a track day now!
Little esle is known about the car, but the $68k asking price is very decent and we’ve no doubt that it’ll compete with most sports car very easily.
Cornaldie debuted the Asia-specific Avalore midsize, marked for a 2018 release date. I’m split on the looks; it could either be something very ahead of its time, or just too confused for its own good. Certainly not bad in anyway, it’s just quite strong by my standards. The specs though quickly make you forget that; it’s a very competent and well rounded offering for this market. The S trim impressed most, with a 2.0l Turbo i4 under the bonnet that ensures good performance and good economy. The comfort was where this car really shined though; its insanely good at smoothing out bumps and superbly well furnished inside.
The GT250 trim is a pretty good offering for a sports sedan, though we feel its very limited by the 2.2l turbo i4 engine. It no doubt drives very well, feeling sharp at lower speeds and benefitting from the all-round double wishbone suspension. But compared to its rivals, it doesn’t offer enough for this section of the market, and its aggressive styling does not reflect how powerful it is.
Overall though, Cornaldie have done well with the Avalore, and if you can get used to the looks, the S trim is a solid and very comfortable mid-size offering.
Shromet announced their entry into the Anikatian market with the Parvus mid-size crossover. While the exterior isn’t quite as “striking” and “dynamic” as Shromet wants us to believe, it’s still a very handsome car and certainly one of the better looking SUV’s I’ve seen this year. On this particular trim, a 4.1l V6 producing a healthy 310 hp was found, which should make this thing decently quick, plus its 8 speed auto should make it a breeze to drive. 24 mpg is quoted; not the best, not the worst, we’ll have to wait and see how much that impacts everyday ownership when we drive it ourselves. There’s also plenty of luxury, which for its £32480 starting price makes it particularly good value for money. How they’re making it that cheap, we don’t know.
Another company making its entry into Ankiatia was AL Autos, who were showing off the Rursus and Latissme. The former is an i6 powered 2 door coupe, a welcome return for a style of car we haven’t seen in a while. It feels a bit overworked at the front, but the back is far more promising, if simple. 477hp to boot though is a very nice touch, courtesy of that 3.1l i6 turbo. 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, top speed of 170mph: it ticks all the sports coupe boxes. No word on prices as of now, but we expect it to be well positioned in the mid-range sports car market.
The other car, the Latissme, is near 600hp SUV, decked in opulent luxury and weighing about as much as a small moon. That 584 hp 4.5l Turbo V8 is therefore very, very necessary to get this thing to move. Thankfully, they also provide a lot of equipment to make it stop too, highlighting the large amount of safety equipment this thing packs. I get the impression that the designers attempted to cram in every last feature on the market in here, meaning it does feel a little over the top. But you cannot deny the enthusiasm. It’s a good offering for the luxury SUV market, no doubt.
Dimension closed the day with an announcement that they were partnering with Microsoft for the next Forza Motorsport installment, and that further announcements would be coming. More to follow.
And that does it for most of the press days! We’ll be following up over the next few days with more coverage of this show’s new releases, as well as reviews and comments on what’s been released. For now, I’m off to find some local cuisine and whatever the Aninkatian equivalent of ‘vodka martini’ is. Bye for now!
- Clarified that press days are the only days to release new cars
- Corrected the ‘8 speed manual’ on the LaVache to ‘8 Speed Auto’
- Corrected the AL Autos section