We already have an idea based on overseas test drives, local previews from some car makers in the preceding months and also what have been shown in the recently concluded KL International Motor Show 2018.
The list below is not exhaustive but offers a look at a broad spectrum of new models that are set to make 2019 another exciting year for the car business.
Perodua's eagerly anticipated sport utility vehicle (SUV) is speculated to be based on the latest Toyota Rush, which sports a 1.5-litre (2NR-VE) 16-valve DOHC engine produces 105PS at 6,000rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4,200rpm that gets sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission.
With an electric power steering, a Dual VVT-i engine and Automatic Start-Stop functionality, the Rush is able to achieve up to 15.6km/litre in terms of fuel efficiency to qualify it as an Energy Efficient Vehicle.
The same should hold true for the Perodua SUV, which will definitely have sporty exterior looks from a Malaysian design team as well as Perodua signature interior features like the shopping or "teh tarik (pulled tea)" bag hooks on each front seat-back, and a anti-theft handbag hook on the side of the front passenger seat ( as seen on the Axia and new Myvi).
The Perodua SUV is also likely to have features already seen on the new Myvi such as LED headlamps with Follow Me Home function and manual levelling, Auto-off headlamps, LED rear combination lamps, powered adjustable wing mirrors, acoustic windshield glass, push-start ignition, and keyless entry.
There could be design elements taken from the Daihatsu DN TREC concept, which CarSifu reported in Oct 2017 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The fourth generation of the BMW X5 is significantly larger than its predecessor and has a host of chassis systems making their debut in a BMW X model – such as two-axle air suspension, Integral Active Steering and the Off-Road package – thus enhancing the car’s versatility, dynamic ability and comfort levels.
The new X5 comes as standard with LED headlights, and folding down the 40 : 20 : 40 split rear seat backrest increases boot capacity from 645 litres to a maximum 1,860 litres.
Other new features designed to maximise well-being on board the BMW X5 include multifunction seats, cooled/heated cupholders, the Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge, Dynamic Interior Light, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, the Rear-seat entertainment Professional system with 10.2-inch touchscreen display and glass applications for selected controls.
The X5 comes as standard with Dynamic Damper Control, and it also has a two-section tailgate for ease of loading.
Folding down the 40 : 20 : 40 split rear seat backrest increases boot capacity from 645 litres to a maximum 1,860 litres.
It will be available from launch with a choice of one V8 and three six-cylinder in-line engines. All will team up with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
BMW 3 Series
The new BMW 3 Series Sedan is bigger than its predecessor, and also has full LED headlights as standard.
It weighs up to 55kg less than the corresponding predecessor model, and standard equipment includes Lane Departure Warning, plus Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, the latest version of which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected.
The Harman Kardon surround sound system delivers exceptional listening pleasure.
The standard-fitted suspension and optional M Sport suspension both include lift-related dampers, which are making their debut in a BMW model.
They make a major contribution to the balance between sportiness and comfort – unmatched by any rival – which defines the character of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan.
Continuously variable control allows them to adjust the damper firmness progressively according to changing spring travel, which reduces body movement perceptibly when evening out vibrations caused by bumpy road surfaces and dynamic cornering.
An option is the Reversing Assistant, which can reverse the vehicle for distances of up to 50 metres by steering it along exactly the same line it has just taken when moving forward.
The latest and largest model in the BMW X line-up, the X7 comes as standard with LED headlights, while the optional BMW Laserlight has a high-beam range of up to 600 metres and can be easily identified by the blue x-shaped elements inside the headlights.
The car is fitted as standard with 20-inch light-alloy wheels, and there are three rows of seats (for seven people in total) in the X7.
The two passengers in the third row settle into full-size seats complete with armrests, cupholders and USB ports.
The X7 comes as standard with Vernasca leather trim, four-zone automatic climate control, a three-section panoramic glass roof, and ambient lighting including the Welcome Light Carpet and Dynamic Interior Light.
Ensuring even more dynamic handling is the M Sport differential at the rear axle, which brings electronically controlled locking.
It is fitted as standard on the BMW X7 M50d and as an option on the BMW X7 xDrive50i and BMW X7 xDrive40i.
Standard kit includes Adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, and air springs at both axles.
The vehicle’s ground clearance can be varied by up to 80 millimetres to suit the situation at hand – by either pressing a button or using the BMW Display Key.
Unveiled at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, the all-new Mazda3 adopts a matured Kodo Design language that makes the car more of a head-turner on the road.
In North America, the powertrain lineup includes SKYACTIV-X, a new kind of combustion engine that combines the advantages of petrol and diesel engines.
Its innovative Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition system allows the selection of gear settings that accentuate performance without sacrificing fuel economy.
Besides a more driver-oriented cockpit, the interior is made even more comfortable and upscale, especially with a clear and expressive sound system with speakers positioned to deliver sound directly to the driver’s ears.
The 8-speaker standard audio system uses a 3-way layout, with 3L woofers positioned on the sides of the front cowl, a pair of 2.5cm squawkers on the sail garnish and 8cm squawkers on the upper section of the front and rear door trim.
DS 7 Crossback
For those unfamiliar with this French marque, DS Automobiles is the premium brand of Groupe PSA which also owns Peugeot and Citroen.
Naza Euro Motors chose the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2018 (KLIMS'18) to preview the new DS 7 Crossback, a luxury SUV, ahead of its local debut in 2019.
The DS 7 Crossback comes loaded with premium features such as DS Active LED Vision headlamps for optimum illumination at night, a top-flight 14-speaker Focal Electra hi-fi system, and a clock by luxury watch maker BRM.
Resembling faceted jewels, the LED modules of the headlamps emit a purple light when the car is unlocked, before pivoting progressively by 180 degrees for a pleasing visual effect.
The contemporary interior features two 12-inch screens for the navigation system, multimedia interface, DS connectivity and digital instrument cluster.
A range of petrol-powered units mated to an Efficient Automatic Transmission with 8-speeds (EAT8) is available, and there's also a plug-in hybrid petrol drivetrain.
The EAT8 allows fuel savings of 4% compared with the preceding 6-speed automatic gearbox, an engine Stop and Start function activated at speeds of up to 30kph, and a Free Wheeling mode.
Citroën C3 Aircross
Naza Euro Motors also previewed the new Citroën C3 Aircross compact SUV at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2018 (KLIMS'18).
Powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged PureTech engine that delivers 112ps and 205Nm of torque (also found in the Peugeot 208 PureTech), the C3 Aircross can travel 900km on a single tank.
The spacious boot space is exceptional for its segment at 410 litres in capacity.
The cabin offers class-leading spaciousness (best ceiling height, generous leg room), unrivalled modularity (sliding bench in two independent parts, flat-folding front passenger seat for a load length of 2.4 meters) and exceptional 410-litre boot volume.
It has a unique design with a muscular bonnet, raised ground clearance, a high-set driving position, and large-diameter wheels.
The wing extenders and protective skid plates also contribute to the dynamic and protective SUV styling.
The seventh-generation Lexus ES executive sedan has an all-new design that features an elegant, sharp and graceful outlook.
Its design accentuates the Lexus design language with the Spindle Grille.
An all-new drivetrain that matches a new 2.5-litre powerplant mated to a direct-shift 8-speed automatic transmission (yet another Lexus first) offers linear and quiet acceleration.
For the driver, there's a highly-intuitive information system providing all the driving parameters through a large 12.3-inch EMVdisplay and a 7-inch TFT full digital combination meter.
A heads-up display - the largest in its class - reduces the amount of eye movement required thereby making driving safer.
Rear passengers in the ES will be able to luxuriate in a new power reclining seat while controls for the sunshade, audio system and air-conditioning are available at the touch of a button on the panel built into the central armrest.
The ES also has the Lexus Safety System+, Lexus' state-of-the-art active safety system that combines various high-tech features that aims to prevent or minimise the severity of an accident.
The Lexus UX or urban crossover is the premium marque's first entry into the compact SUV segment.
Built on a new Global Architecture - Compact (GA-C) platform, the UX is said to have the lowest centre of gravity in the segment, which provides a dynamic and sure-footed handling akin to that of a sporty coupe.
In the cabin, new materials such as the Japanese paper Washi texture features strongly on the trim while the leather seats use a Sashiko quilted upholstery, giving it better wear resistance.
It also has the largest heads-up display in its class, a new 7-inch fully digital combination meter cluster, a 10.3-inch EMV display in the centre console and a 8-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system.
Powered by a 2.0-litre engine that produces 169hp, the UX also has a Lexus-first technology for its transmission.
Its new gearbox uses a mechanical first gearbox to provide spirited acceleration from start, before the continuously variable transmission (CVT) takes over for a smoother drive and impressive fuel economy.
Safety systems include Pre-Collision system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Adaptive High-beam System.
The new Mitsubishi Triton pick-up truck is due to be launched in five variants by the first quarter of 2019 and will be imported as a Completely Built-up Unit (CBU) from Thailand.
Prices will range from RM100,000 to RM140,000 for Peninsular Malaysia.
The first 1,000 owners to book and register a new Triton will get a limited edition Thule all-purpose luggage bag worth RM2,000.
The latest Triton's front fascia features the latest iteration of Mitsubishi's Dynamic Shield design language with slim headlights flanking the grille and fog lamps with the indicators tucked into the corners.
It is powered by a 2.4-litre MIVEC turbodiesel with variable valve timing and Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) to produce 181ps and 430Nm of torque.
It has a six-speed automatic transmission and also, a Super Select 4WD II with Off-road mode.
Safety features include Forward Collision Mitigation, Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System, Rear Cross Traafic Alert, Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist and Automatic Highbeam.
It also has seven airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, active stability with traction control, hill-start assist, hill descent control, trailer stability assist and brake override system as well as rest reminder functions.
Honda HR-V RS
The new HR-V RS variant gets a new exterior featuring Honda’s Signature design, the "Solid Wing Face" concept with new LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights and rear combi LED guide lights.
This new variant comes with 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, sporty design front grille and new front and rear bumper.
New detailing such as a dark chrome outer handle, black chrome license garnish, sport black side sill and even mesh fog garnish provides a fresh feel to the RS variant.
The engine remains unchanged, with the HR-V RS powered by a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC mill linked to a CVT.
But upping its performance is the new Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering system for sportier driving.
Honda claims the driver get the best of two worlds - quick and nimble steering feel in city driving condition and stable steering feel on the highway.
The SUV also comes with paddle shifters, 8-way driver power seat, sports pedals and Honda LaneWatch - a camera system mounted on the passenger side mirror to minimise blind spots.
Safety features include six airbags, Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) and a multi-angle rear-view camera.
The new Vios, available in three versions sporting the same 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine as before (107ps/140Nm), is now available for pre-order from RM77,200.
It comes with a CVT and is due to appear in showrooms by March next year.
The new Vios is longer and wider than before and is derived from the current Yaris hatch for the Asean market.
There are changes to the front and rear, with the cabin updated along with a steering wheel taken from the Corolla Altis.
While the exterior of the Vios is mostly new, it is built on the previous generation model's platform.
In terms of dimensions, the new Vios is 5mm longer (4,415mm) and 30mm wider (1,730mm) than the outgoing model, while maintaining the same height (1,475mm) and wheelbase (2,550mm).
The standard kit includes seven airbags, Hill-start Assist Control and automatic air-conditioning.
Depending on variant, additional kit includes blind spot detection, panoramic camera, a dashcam, lane departure warning and paddle shifters.
Ford distributor Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) specially flew in the new Ford Mustang for the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2018 (KLIMS'18).
The Mustang is a cultural icon and the world’s best-selling sports car for three years straight.
The new Mustang, which will arrive in Malaysia next year, is sleeker and faster with engine and suspension enhancements.
It now features more refined aerodynamics, and has LED lighting technology.
The Mustang’s 5.0-litre Ford V8 engine now delivers 450ps and can sprint from 0-100 kph in 4.3 seconds with a new 10-speed automatic gearbox.
Also, the Mustang’s six-speed manual transmission now features rev-matching technology that delivers smoother, faster downshifts accompanied by a “blip” of the powerful engine.
Its fun-to-drive character is optimised with a new MagneRide adjustable suspension and selectable Drive Modes.
Driver assistance technologies include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Keeping Aid.
A contemporary interior features soft-touch materials and a 12-inch all-digital instrument cluster.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The latest Hyundai Santa Fe is due to arrive in Malaysian showrooms in the first quarter of 2019, and will be offered in Executive and Premium variants.
Prices are estimated at RM188,000 onwards and the SUV comes with a 300,000km or five-year (whichever is first) warranty and a 50,000km or three-year free service deal.
Powertrain options are a Theta II 2.4 MPI petrol engine with a six-speed automatic transmission or a R22 VGT turbodiesel with an eight-speed automatic.
The seven-seater comes with the new Hyundai signature cascading grille design with slim LED headlights.
Aside from creating a spacious interior, the new Santa Fe's longer wheelbase together with shorter overhangs create an elegant profile.
Inside, the Santa Fe feels upmàrket with high quality materials and improved ergonomics.
The second row seats come with one-touch folding to allow easy entry to the third row.
The new Santa Fe also has Rear Occupant Alert that prevents instances of children or pets being forgotten and left behind in the car.
Features include six airbags, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, downhill brake control, electric parking brake with automatic hold, smart power tailgate, 7-inch LCD virtual cluster, wireless phone charger, and a floating type 7-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
At the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2018 (KLIMS'18), Naza Kia Malaysia brought in the third-generation Kia Cerato (called Forte in some markets), following its world premiere at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
The Cerato has sleek and dynamic styling cues inspired by the Kia Stinger fastback sport sedan.
Like the Stinger, Forte’s long hood and short deck lend it an overall fastback-like shape.
The new Cerato has a 428-litre boot, and is also a bigger car, as it is longer and wider, and provides more headroom.
In the United States, it has Kia’s first Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) which was designed to address the rubber-band-like feel of a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Kia Motors engineers built the IVT with adaptive style shift logic with a chain-type belt instead of push belt, a first in the compact class.
This results in smooth and linear acceleration, and a more enjoyable and sporty driving experience.
Also, steering feel is upgraded compared with its predecessor, thanks an enhanced Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS).
READ MORE:Of course, bigger car choices for 2019 beyond Malaysia