SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
the past few years, Bangladesh has enjoyed an unprecedented level of economic
growth, despite the challenges that the country has faced. Positivity has
fuelled the growth of an aspiring country, and with it, inspired new facets to
middle class life—a steady work-life balance, a home, a motorbike and a car.
The automobile has taken its place among the necessary items of a good life in Bangladesh. Middle class aspirations have validated the growing automobile sector in the country, and in rising up to meet the demand, we have begun assembling cars and motorbikes locally. To counter the failures of a public transport system, we have localised ride- sharing services. To reduce the effects of climate change, we’re slowly turning to hybrid and electric vehicles. All over the country, the automobile is becoming a symbol of economic growth and the success of our nation.
MITSUBISHI’S LATEST CROSSOVERS
READY TO MAKE A BIG SPLASH
Limited, sole distributor of Mitsubishi vehicles in Bangladesh, recently hinted
at introducing two new crossover vehicles in the country. Given the reputation
of Mitsubishi vehicles and the crossover craze rocking the globe, Rangs is
hoping the new models will be big hits when they are launched.
First up is the oddly named Xpander—probably a hint at the massive leg and head room you’ll find in this 7- seat MPV.
Popular in South East Asian markets like Indonesia (where it has won several awards) as a family car, the Xpander looks to appeal to a younger crowd through a revamped exterior design that incorporates Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield frontal treatment. Huge bumper mounted headlights flank the ‘shield’ grille, with thin strips of Daytime Running Lights rising up from the grille to almost halfway down the front fenders. It’s not exactly pretty—Mitsubishi was going for a butch look to make it as aggressive as possible, and it certainly draws attention to the vehicle as its rolling down the road. It borrows quite a lot of styling cues from the Pajero Sport, but those elements work much better on the squared off Xpander.
Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.5 litre MIVEC 4 cylinder, powering the front wheels with a 4-speed automatic. Despite being a 7-seat MPV, the power figures seem a bit diminutive—103 HP and 104 lb-ft of torque does seem to be a little low. However, for regular family use, especially in Dhaka, throttle response and fuel efficiency are crucial—an Indonesian reviewer managed 9 km/I easily on the crazy jam-packed streets of Jakarta, and reported that the Xpander’s response was fantastic.
The Eclipse is a familiar name for any Mitsubishi fan—for four generations from the late-80s to the mid-00s, the Eclipse name was attached to one of the most popular sport compact cars in North America. It got featured in movies like The Fast and the Furious and in games like Need for Speed: Underground and made the sleek coupe a household name. And now, it’s back…as a crossover SUV.
Before you throw a fit and denounce the existence of a holy being in the sky, the Eclipse Cross is a genuinely well received crossover. Everyone knows the world is shifting towards SUVs and CUVs and all other kinds of UVs (cue global warming jokes…not) and dubious naming practices aside, Mitsubishi has been a maker of capable SUVs for decades.
The Eclipse Cross, powered by a 1.5 liter turbo 4-cylinder (putting out 161 HP and an impressive 184 lb-ft torque) is a move towards a softer, more comfortable brand of crossover. It’s designed to be efficient, hassle free motoring for someone looking for an SUV ownership experience without the strings that come attached with it. The fact that only the front wheels get driven by the 6 speed auto means it’s not a car that’s expecting to be driven off road, but the tall-riding Eclipse Cross can do most of what you ask of it.
We’ll have reviews of both cars up when they arrive. Watch this space.
EASY GATEWAY TO GERMAN CAR OWNERSHIP—AUDI A3 AND 02
For a country that gets barred from truly interesting cars thanks to the restrictive displacement based tax-structure, Bangladesh is doing quite well with luxury vehicles. Audi currently offers two fantastic cars between 50 and 70 Lac Taka—the A3 sedan and the Q2 crossover—making them ideal candidates for your first German car purchase.
The A3’s 1.2 litre turbo 4 cylinder puts out 110 HP and 129 lb-ft torque, routed to the front wheels via a 7-speed gearbox. For a price of Taka 50 Lac, the A3 is a brilliant prospect for any enthusiast.
For those wanting a small crossover, the Q2 is prime positioning. The Q2, costing Taka 66 lakh, comes with a 1.0 litre turbo 3 cylinder, putting out 116 HP and 148 lb-ft of torque.
Both offer the kind of equipment you’d come to expect from a German luxury marque—LED lights, leather, 6 airbags along with a bunch of safety equipment, a proper infotainment system and more. If you’re in the market for a German vehicle, go check them out.