5 Most Popular PI Cars in Singapore

Valerie Tan
15 Jun 2015

Top of the J-Pop

The extraordinary cost of cars in Singapore exerts a toll. Whereas in previous years, the top 5 PI cars would have all been continental makes, in 2014, the top 3 PI cars were all Toyotas.

Parallel importers (PI) account for a significant share of the car-sales market in Singapore. According to The Business Times, the number of parallel imported cars rose in 2014 as Certificate of Entitlement (COE) quotas increased, and with the Japanese Yen falling, the prospects of parallel importers here are expected to keep improving.

Not that there's much reason to suspect that they'll ever decline, of course. Despite all the upsets in recent economics theory, sales of PI cars here prove, more than ever, that luxury goods, characterised by demand which increases more than proportionally as income rises, continues to exert "price-competitive" pressure on official dealers. And that's a good thing for car-buyers, as they can afford to buy "more car" for their buck.

But the extraordinary cost of cars in Singapore exerts a toll. Whereas in previous years, the top 5 PI cars would have all been continental makes, in 2014, the top 3 PI cars were all Toyotas. Japanese marques have always been Singapore’s favourites, but this year they are coming out with arms swinging to prove that they are the cars to own for both lean and fat-years, even in the more expensive tier of MPVs and SUVs.

Now, with the shift back to Japanese brand cars and a favourable exchange rate helping our bank accounts out, let’s take a moment to look back on which JDM cars (Japanese Domestic Market) our strong economy has helped make popular on the roads. Here they are, in no particular order:

Honda Vezel

With an attractive sporty exterior, aggressive headlights and spacious interior, the Honda Vezel is a subcompact crossover that was first introduced into the Japanese market in 2013. The design of the Vezel is based on the Honda “Urban SUV Concept” - the name Vezel is a play on the word 'bezel' - the oblique faces of a cut gem. By substituting the “b” of “bezel” with a "v" for "vehicle", the Vezel alludes to a finely crafted gem with sharp - aggressive - edges to catch the eye, stealing its way into the hearts of many car enthusiasists with new families to bus around. Its smooth ride and rich suite of features, such as keyless entry, auto start and stop, brake hold and brake assist, helped as well.

Superb fuel consumption, always a strength of Honda, served as another plus point for the Vezel: for its size, it boasts great fuel economy and has earned rave praise from its owners.

The Honda Vezel also features a roomy boot, with rear passenger seats that fold down for even the bulkiest Ikea purchases.  

Toyota Harrier 

One of the most popular SUVs around, the Toyota Harrier is just one plastic badge removed from its more expensive cousin, the Lexus RX. Featuring the same stylish exterior, plush and high-quality finishing on the inside and sophisticated dashboard toys, the Harrier is the PI car to beat, without breaking the bank.

The Harrier does fall a little behind its swankier cousin in engine performance, but with its luxurious, spacious cabin, and whisper-quiet noise insulation, would anyone really notice? It still delivers a smooth and quiet ride, good road handling and outstanding fuel economy, proving that the premium you pay for the Lexus badge may buy you nothing more than a sense of prestige. 

Toyota Alphard

The Toyota Alphard is a full-size MPV that that doesn't compromise on space, luxury or style.

With an emphasis on ride comfort and storage, the Alphard is a family-oriented MPV that offers business-class cabin comfort. Captain and Ottoman seats enable the first 4 passengers to enjoy Lazy-Boy recliner sofa-style comfort, albeit in the confines of a four-wheeled vehicle.

Its versatile seating configuration adapts to most family transport scenarios, offering up to 10 different seat configurations that maximise comfort without compromising storage.

Not least, the Toyota Alphard is an ego booster with its commanding road presence, inspiring confidence in even the most easy-going stay-at-home mum.

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