KLIMS18: Nothing like Malaysia's own awek and amoi?

It was kinda strange doing the whole motor show thing eight kilometres from home, because it felt a lot like what photographer Sherman Sim and I do at least twice a year in Thailand and Indonesia. Also because we haven’t had a KL International Motor Show for half a decade.

But KLIMS is back for 2018, and at a shiny new home too – one that does not require river crossings to get to the other half of the venue! The car brands that were present put on a great show, giving us a decent variety of cars and entertainment.

Speaking of variety, Hyundai had it all – the Korean brand’s booth housed everything from new models for Malaysia (Santa Fe, Grand Starex facelift), cars that are coming soon (Kona 1.6 Turbo), eco-friendly tech showcases (Nexo FCEV, Kona Electric), interest gauging models (Accent) and even a performance corner with the i30 N hot hatch – that, and not the K-pop dance crew, is giving me inappropriate dreams.

However, the most significant displays were over at Perodua. The market leader showcased the X-Concept, which is billed as “The Perodua of Tomorrow”. The X-Concept is as stunning as it is surprising, but it was the kitted-up Myvi GT – Brembos and all – that generated more saliva from showgoers. Perodua’s new SUV, which will debut early next year, was present at KLIMS, albeit hidden in a box. Not long now.

Across the aisle, Proton’s booth drew big crowds wanting to touch and feel (and knock) the new Proton X70. The company’s first SUV, which launch is just around the corner (finally, December 12), was in full public preview mode in various variants and colours. Also on the way to showrooms is the refreshed Mitsubishi Triton, which wears the macho Dynamic Shield face with real purpose.

Toyota and Lexus did more than their part. The mainstream brand launched the new Toyota Camry, which doesn’t look very mainstream these days. The “Beautiful Monster” was joined by the new Vios – now open for booking – and the stunning FT-1 “Supra” Concept. Lexus’ bright white stand was contrasted by a bevy of black-clad beauties, the new Lexus ES 250 and the UX compact SUV.

The most masculine line-up belonged to Ford, which launched the RM200k Ranger Raptor pick-up truck and previewed the Mustang facelift. Over in the Naza enclave (Kia, Citroen, DS, Peugeot) sat the next-generation Kia Cerato in a curious chrome wrap, the DS7 Crossback (check out its extravagant cabin), the facelifted Kia Sportage and the Kia Picanto GT-Line.

Honda had a relatively quiet motor show, with only the HR-V RS facelift (second preview) and Mugen-kitted versions of the Jazz and CR-V on display, alongside regular showroom cars. Upstairs, Nissan showed the second-generation Leaf electric car (launching mid-2019) and the Note e-Power range extender EV. No plans yet for the latter, just testing the water.

Other interesting displays include the UiTM AVII autonomous driving project and Isuzu’s 1.9L Ddi BluePower engine, which we’re still yet to receive. D-Max and MU-X dress-up concepts sandwiched the turbodiesel.

Before we let you roam free with the ladies, there were a couple of new motorcycles on display at KLIMS 2018 as well. Boon Siew Honda launched the 2019 Honda PCX Hybrid, Honda Forza scooter and Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade at MITEC, while Benelli previewed the TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C bikes – all will be here in mid-2019.

Next to the bikes, Petronas carved out a large portion of the upper hall for itself, constructing a mini Mesra store with plenty of snacks and Starbucks coffee. It also launched the Setel e-wallet app, which you can sign up for on-spot.

That’s quite some list, isn’t it? We may be speaking in past tense, but KLIMS 2018 is still ongoing for the public this weekend all the way till Sunday night. You might even meet some of the pretty ladies below at the show…

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