New Cars SG 2021 Part 2: Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus [UPDATED]


What: Carnival large MPV
Variants: 2.2 turbodiesel 
When : Q1 2021
How much: TBA

UPDATE: We’ve driven the ginormous Kia Carnival, and you can read our review here, or watch our video below!

This is the fourth-gen Carnival MPV due here in 2021, and if you can’t remember what the third-gen one was like, that’s because it was last here 12 years ago. As our report revealed in August 2020, the new Carnival is a cavernous people mover with space for seven or eight people aboard. But to fight with seven-seat SUVs taking up all the family-mover roles, the Carnival doesn’t just look futuristic and sleek, it’s got a cabin to match.

Kia has pulled every trick in the styling book to make the car look interesting, and not simply a big box on wheels. Inside it emulates premium cars – a recent Kia trend as the Sorento shows – and we won’t be getting the soccer-team 11-seat version, but instead a choice of seven or eight thrones. There’s also lots of glass in the cockpit, with dual 12.3-inch display screens, and the usual bevvy of active safety systems and infotainment connectivity we’ve come to expect from Kia. We don’t expect it to be cheap, but we do expect it to be very worth the dosh.


What: Huracan STO coupe
Variants: 5.2 V10 
When: Q1 2021
How much: TBA

We drove the Huracan Evo in Singapore last year, and it wasn’t a monster, but this should be something else entirely. The Huracan STO is essentially a homologated version of the Huracan Super Trofeo EVO race cars, and is arguably the most hardcore road-going version of the Huracan yet. Indeed, STO stands for Super Trofeo Omologata, or Italian for homologate. 

The V10 engine that powers the Huracan STO puts out a whopping 610hp and 565Nm of torque, allowing it to go from 0-100km/h in three seconds flat. The car is also festooned with large air ducts on the front bonnet and fenders, and a roof-mounted rear air scoop that feeds air into the engine at the back. There is also an adjustable rear wing to optimise aerodynamics, and most of the body panels are made from carbon fibre, making the car 43kg lighter than the Huracan Performante.

Land Rover

What: Defender 90
Price: TBA
Arrival: Q1 2021
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged

UPDATE: We’ve driven the Land Rover Defender 90, and here’s our local test drive verdict

The short wheelbase, three-door version of the very successful Land Rover Defender is set to make landfall in Singapore within the next couple of months. The large five-door version is one of the best super-SUVs you can get now, combining a commanding, luxurious drive with a very hard-wearing and tough interior. Whether or not a shorter version of the car will find an audience here remains to be seen, but it’ll still be powered but the punchy 300 horsepower, 2.0-litre turbo which should make for a fun drive. 


What: LC Convertible coupe
Variants: LC 500
When : First half of 2021
How Much: TBA

UPDATE: Here’s our local review of the stunning Lexus LC 500 Convertible, in all its glory

One of our favourite Lexus cars ever, the LC 500, but now with a folding roof, the LC Convertible comes in only one engine variant: a stonking 5.0-litre V8 with more than 450 horsepower. Yet it’s not really a sports car, but more of a very brawny cruiser. There’s also a 10-speed automatic transmission for those times when you want to play ‘my car has more gears than yours’. Hybrids and electric cars are here in a big way, but clearly the love for a gutsy V8 engine note will have some still springing for this. 

Lexus LS

What: LS luxury limousine facelift
Variants: LS 350, LS 500, LS 500h
When : First half of 2021
How Much: TBA

UPDATE: The facelifted Lexus LS has arrived, and you can check out our review here

As announced in mid-2020, the quintessential Lexus – the LS luxury limo – gets a midlife makeover, and is set to arrive in Singapore by June 2021. The fifth-gen model debuted in 2017, and was a big shift away from the previous ‘comfort over all’ approach of the LS, with the car morphing into something far more exciting to look at, and to drive.

The engine options remain unchanged with the 3.5-litre V6 LS 350, 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 LS 500, and hybrid LS 500h, but they have been tweaked for quieter performance and reduced emissions.

Another big improvement is a new, AI-powered Lexus Teammate suite of driving assistance systems, which Lexus says can learn to anticipate a driver’s intentions and help accomplish them. While the systems will be capable of Level 2 (supervised autonomy), they can be upgraded to Level 3 (non-supervised self driving under certain conditions) at a later date.

The suspension damping is said to have been further refined as well, for an even plusher ride, along with improved noise cancellation, and new engine mounts. A new touchscreen interface with a wider 12.3-inch display – as seen in the RX SUV – is inside too, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard fit as well.

What: IS executive sedan
Variants: IS 300h hybrid
When : First half of 2021
How Much: TBA

UPDATE: We’ve driven the Lexus IS 300h hybrid, and it’s one of the best executive sedans in the market right now

With the debut of the heavily improved IS in December 2020 (check out the launch news as well as our test drive of the IS 300) the hybrid version debuts in January 2021, and completes the IS lineup in addition to the IS 300 and IS 350 F Sport. It will be powered by a 2.5-litre engine, and with the hybrid system promises a very economical fuel consumption of just 5.4L/100km. But like every IS, we still expect it to drive and handle well.

What: UX small luxury SUV
Variants: UX 300e electric
When : First half of 2021
How Much: TBA

UPDATE: The first-ever Lexus electric car has arrived in Singapore, and you can read our review here

The smallest Lexus was already the first car in its segment to offer hybrid power, and now the brand’s first production BEV, and it launches here this year.  The all-electric Lexus UX 300e promises more than 300km of range per battery charge, and is set to arrive in Singapore by June 2021. A home electric wallbox allows it to be charged in eight hours. It has a maximum power output of 210hp, and accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds. The car made its first public appearance at the end of 2019, but like so many other cars of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic got in the way, the rollout is now on schedule for 2021.

Current model Lexus ES pictured

What: ES large sedan facelift 
Variants: ES 250, ES 300h 
When : Second half of 2021
How Much: TBA

The seventh-generation Lexus ES is one of the very few front-wheel drive luxury sedans you can get in Singapore, but that matters little as rates it highly both in ES 250 and ES 300h forms. The car is facelifted in 2021, with engine options likely to be the same as the 2018 release version, which has the petrol ES 250 and hybrid ES 300h. Expect an updated active safety package similar to that in the current IS sedans and the usual cosmetic changes to the bodywork.

We could get the ES in the F Sport variant, though nothing is confirmed at this stage. The F Sport model, now on sale in the USA, features adaptive variable suspension, 19-inch darkened wheels, a distinct front bumper and grille and a rear spoiler. A performance-inspired instrument cluster, aluminum pedals and F Sport complete the look.

Lexus NX

What: NX
Variants: TBA
When : Second half of 2021
How Much: TBA

UPDATE: Lexus has announced details of the all-new NX, and here are seven things you need to know about it

The current Lexus NX crossover SUV is already more than six years old, which means an all-new second-gen model will be out this year. While the current NX was closely related to the RAV4, the next NX will share more with the Harrier SUV – check out our info on the facelifted Harrier due here in 2021 as well. 

If that’s the case, then the NX will get the space it needs to compete with the Germans. The NX was a decent car, but smaller in footprint and hence interior space than cars like the BMW X3. We can certainly expect a 2.0-litre turbo variant, as well as a hybrid model with a 2.5-litre engine, and possibly even a PHEV variant later on down the line. 

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CarBuyer Team
CarBuyer Singapore / brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.