Five cars that help Hong Kong entrepreneurs make the right calls and deliver business
Hyundai Elantra , Volkswagen Passat and Renault Kangoo ZE pack convenience, speed and affordability
Cars might be the best office property for small businesses in Hong Kong. Equipped with internet, Bluetooth and infotainment connectivity, they can soon become mobile sales, demonstration or meetings spaces that expand a small operation’s business horizons. Hyundai makes entrepreneur-friendly cars and the sixth-generation 1.6-litre Hyundai Elantra (from HK$164,900) looks a presentable, hard worker with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 4.5-seater, 126-horsepower Elantra tonnes in 11.6 seconds, tops at 195km/h and consumes a showroom-estimated 6.9 litres per 100km/h at “combined” runs on a 50-litre tank. Like most Hyundai, the 4.57-metre, Elantra is well-finished, comfortable and offers rep-friendly electronics found in more expensive Japanese and European cars, such as automatic light controls, power steering, rear-parking camera assistance, an electronic tail-gate and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a 407-litre boot.
The four-door, 4.5-seater Volkswagen Passat was named the 2015 Car of the Year in Geneva and reminds Hong Kong entrepreneurs that a business or practice can now look as good and run just as well on 1.4 litres as on two. The Volkswagen Passat CC has corner-office styling and raises a question in some firms: “Why do we still put our Hong Kong people in overpowered autobahn cars?” The 4.767-metre 1.4-litre Passat 1.4 TSI ACT (from HK$299,980) has a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox that enables 100km/h in 8.4 seconds, a top speed of 220km/h and 5.1 litres on petrol on combined runs. It also looks businesslike on 18- or 19-inch wheels, with smart light emitting diode lights and a competitive interior with fine legroom, music and connectivity. Design highlights include air vents across the dashboard; a “Climatronic” air conditioning system and an ergoComfort, back-friendly driver’s seat. Its Park Assist sensors assess spaces and manoeuvres the car into them, the marque says. Accountants might like the 150hp engine’s active cylinder management device that uses two cylinders at low speeds.
The latest, fifth-generation Audi A4 does the business as a bleisure car, particularly if your life involves children, pets, large musical instruments and/or a sideline business involving the delivery of art, food, interior design or fashion. The latest A4 is bigger than its predecessor, at 4.726 metres, with a 2.82-metre wheelbase promising more head, shoulder and legroom, and a 505-litre boot that can be expanded to 1,510 litres with the rear seats folded back. There are also lots of second-hand A4s for sale online, from HK$42,000 for a 2005 two-litre version to HK$160,000-plus for 2012 or later versions. If you prefer a new car, the basic Audi A4 30 TFSI (HK$379,900) has a 150-horsepower, 1.4-litre engine that is said to consume 5.3 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres on combined runs and a new seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
Alternatively, you can whirr your wares to customers in an electric Renault Kangoo ZE (HK$329,800 before taxes on electric vehicles rose on April 1 – now price on request). Little vans such as the 4.282-metre Kangoo make sense because they can be driven like a car but become mobile billboards as well as carry lots of stuff. So if your clientele is, say, focused in low-rise, upmarket estates, key blocks or beach and restaurant areas, then the well-styled and very Frrrrench Kangoo ZE could attract new business. This 88hp electric version promises a range of about 130km and a 650kg payload behind a steel bulkhead. Rechargeable on a home wallbox (HK$8,000) in under nine hours, the ZE has a 2,697mm wheelbase and a load bay behind a steel bulkhead. Fitted with stability, eco- and hill-start controls, the van has central remote locking and an anti-intruder device, a front 12-volt power socket and useful grey side protection moulds. Kangoo ZE also has Bluetooth connectivity and Renault ZE Voice alerts for cyclists and pedestrians at speeds under 28km/h. Norway’s postal service has ordered 240 of the electric vehicles. Worth a look now that Hong Kong has a new chief executive and might encourage eco driving.
The 1.5-litre Mazda 3 GVC saloon (from HK$249,900) pumps 120ps through a six-speed automatic transmission and offers adequate comfort for four adults. The 4.58-metre, four-door saloon has a sunroof, an impressive infotainment system and an i-stop Engine Start-Stop System. Still a fine workhorse with paddle shifters, the Mazda3 has light emitting diode lights, a keyless start, rear-parking cameras and lots of safety on 18-inch wheels. Its fuel consumption seems competitive at 17.9 km/litre. Anything bigger seems overweight in increasingly competitive, congested Hong Kong.