Goodbye electric vehicle tax waiver, hello petrol burners; five options for Hong Kong’s drivers
Electric cars became more expensive in Hong Kong on April 1, giving car buyers cause for a rethink. When the government capped first registration tax waivers on EVs, at HK$97,000, (US$12,484) it arguably gave local drivers a licence to guzzle gas, guilt-free, and in less expensive cars. So, here are five fossil-fuelled alternatives you can rev instead.
Due to the new tax system, the option-free price of the new Tesla X SUV has risen from HK$700,000 to over HK$1.2 million, which is enough to send EV refugees across Queen’s Road East to the comfort of Infiniti Hong Kong. Its plush QX70S 3.7 AWD (HK$569,800) is one of the most opulent crossovers in town, with black lacquer or maple trim and a neat eight-inch colour touch screen. It also has a paddle shift, a power tailgate; lane departure, stability and drift warning electronics, and an around-view monitor for parking.
The QX70S 3.7 AWD also brings you back to big pistons, with a seductive 315hp V6 that has been one of Ward’s Best 10 engines for 14 consecutive years. The V6 consumes 12.1 litres per 100km and emits 282g/km in CO2, with a seven-speed automatic transmission. You look and feel rich in the stylish QX70S, and its doors are less flashy than the Tesla’s.
The cost of the popular Tesla Model S has also risen, from HK$620,000 to about HK$1.03 million. The new sticker makes the Tesla seem expensive and boosts the appeal of the new BMW 5 Series 530iA. Available in Sport (HK$739,000) and Luxury (HK$789,000) versions, the 530iA looks sleeker than ever with sharp LED headlights on 17-inch wheels. The Bavarian saloon also has the vroom of a 252-horsepower, two-litre engine that produces 350 Newton metres of torque for sprints to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. Its four-cylinder engine consumes 5.5 litres per 100km on combined runs or about 4.7 litres per 100km in town on a 68-litre tank, however, and the marque says its carbon dioxide emissions range between 136-126g/km.
The plug-in Tesla Model S 75D, on the other hand, tonnes in 5.4 seconds and is theoretically “emissions free”, but the seventh-generation 5 Series reminds EV lovers of three traditional driving pleasures: of a car that goes “vroom”; of the cachet of saying: “I drive a 5 Series BMW”; and of stepping into a cabin that is built around the driver’s “head-up” view of the road, not an “head across or down” 17-inch touch screen.
The BMW 13 94Ah was arguably the finest EV in town. Unfortunately, the 170hp Bavarian plug-in’s local price has rocketed from a subsidised “try-me-and-see” HK$451,000 to a potentially prohibitive HK$677,000. There is consolation in the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, however, which is as comfortable, stylish and more affordable at HK$399,900.
The front-wheel-drive e-tron is also a sophisticated hybrid car with a fabulous downsized 150hp 1.4-litre TFSI engine and a combined petrol-electric power of 204hp. It tonnes in 7.6 seconds and tops at 222km/h via a six-speed Stronic transmission on petrol and electric. On electric alone it tops at 130km/h and ranges for about 25km (say from Fo Tan to Central via Route 3). Comfy inside with Audi Drive Select, lots of safety electronics and a seven-inch MMI display. Audi Hong Kong says it averages 1.7 litres per 100km. If so, then Audi introduces Hongkongers gently into plug-in driving at a more affordable price.
Renault Hong Kong has sold its 240km-range Zoe ZE compacts, and lists – but does not present – its latest 400km-range replacement. This was stickered at HK$360,000 but is now hiked to “about HK$400,000” – if one exists in Hong Kong. In the meantime, Mazda dealers Vang Iek Motors offers the 155hp, two-litre Mazda CX-3 i-Plus, which has fine all-round views and lots of space for fat and tall people. It also seems one of the best-value cars on Gloucester Road, this week. For HK$274,900, the i-Plus has the marque’s I-Activesense active safety electronics and lots of extras such as a power sunroof, paddle shifts and a Bose sound system. Its two-litre engine consumes 6.1 litres per 100km and thrusts 204Nm.
The Volkswagen e-Golf also starred at October’s Hong Kong ePrix and is still listed by the marque at HK$369,980, but the dealer has “no further information” on its post-April 1 price. Instead, have a look at the Honda Jazz 1.5 RS (HK$200,880), with a seven-speed continuous variable transmission, lots of safety and hill start assist, rear-parking camera and sensors.
The interior is also roomy and with variable seating space for a bike or lie-down space for two. This 130hp Jazz looks ideal for people who make sales calls or show flats in Hong Kong. A similar car in Singaporeemits 127g/km, according to SGCarmart.com. It might be fuggier than the late e-Golf, but in Hong Kong, these days, it’s cheaper to spew.