Monday, November 22, 2010

Its Harry Potter Time Again, The Ford Anglia, The VW Kombi, The Morris Minor 1000 and the Perodua Myvi?

It's that time of the year again. Another Harry Potter movie for us to consume. Another Harry Potter movie for kids from age 0 to 99 to get all excited about. Another Harry Potter movie for the producers, director, stars and JK Rowling to rake hundreds of millions. Another Harry Potter movie to finish off the series.

I have posted once before about good ol', or young, Harry. To me, this chap is the ultimate nerd hero. He wears glasses. He's pretty short. He's all goody two shoes. He still lives with an uncle and aunt that hates him yet does not blast them to oblivion (or to someplace like the Bermuda Triangle) with this magic wand. He has a friend that is equally nerdy, one who has a dad that drives of all things, a Ford Anglia. He has not bonked Hermione after so many sequels even though he does have the hots for her (why Hermione seems to like nerdy ol' Harry is another thing altogether and would need some analyzing). He is also the chap that, with his friends, can outwit all the adults with years (some with centuries or eons) of experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Honda CRZ and One With Totally Radical Mods

I nearly threw up the tea I was having when this photo came up into my laptop. A CRZ with a turbo as big as its engine. And yes, it is still a hybrid. So it still supposedly saves the ozone layer, rain forests, tuna, whales and so on. Amazing. I promptly noted that the car is also Japan's Car of the Year, beating out the new VW Polo. This was of course the highest ranking non-Japanese car in the event, but I suppose, the CRZ had more innovation than the Polo (and that it is Japanese not German).

Click here to go read about this. Posted on, written by yours truly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Khan & Anderson Do Some Audis....Some News Over At

Project Khan......
 click here to read what I think about a company famous for tuned Ranger Rovers.

And click here if you want to read on the extremely slight differences on how to spot a R8 V10 from a V8...It's all down to the rims basically.

Both writtin by yours truly and posted on Oh, and in case you're wondering why the R8's picture is much larger than the Q7 the answer is that it looks a whole lot better than any modified SUV.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Pictures of the Proton Inspira Over At MyAutoblog.Org

Follow this link to see a photo of the meter cluster, door panel and a few more exterior shots for the Proton Inspira. IF you're interested that is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Proton Has Recently Launched The Inspira....So How Does The Original Drive? A Look At The Lancer GT

I did an article way back in 2007 on the Mitsubishi Lancer GT when it was launched. I think it would make a compelling read to those who want to know more about the original version of the Inspira. Of course, the facelifted version of the Lancer GT with that chrome strip around the wide-mouthed grille has some better plastic than this first batch model. I really felt the plastic in this 2008 model was really, really crappy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Have A New Formula 1 Driver's Champion

Sebastian Vettel. F1 World Chmpion. Who would have thought that would happen. After quite an impressive start and a lot of mistakes (like some shunts and funny overtaking moves) mid-season this junior driver seems to have gotten the best of double world champion Alonso who started this race 15points ahead of Vettel.

And that's all there is to know about this year's driver's championship.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Skoda Celebrates IRC Championship Win With The Fabia RS Special Edition

I somehow wish VW would let themselves go crazy on car design sometimes. The Skoda Fabia RS it a VW Polo 1.4TSI that looks like a Suzuki Swift with a chrome grille and if it had wide arches like the IRC Rally Car, it'll be super. Click here for some details on the Europe only special edition.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lotus’ New Lineup & Why I Feel Shortchanged

I wrote this editorial piece for recently on Lotus. News from Autocar said that Lotus is planning to build only the Esprit after previewing 5 cars at the Paris Motor Show recently. I feel slightly shortchanged as it's more about building hype than actually building cars. Not to mention the fact that the Lotus Esprit concept isn't that light in the first place even if they claim it is. Click here to read about it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Impressions: Proton Inspira at its Official Launch and the Peugeot 207 Sedan

Since today was the official launch of the Proton Inspira, I decided to head over to the Proton Showroom at Jalan Ampang to get a first look at the car. 

I find it reasonably priced: 
  • Proton Inspira 1.8 M/T – RM78,999
  • Proton Inspira 1.8 CVT – RM84,999
  • Proton Inspira 2.0 CVT – RM91,999
It is basically a Mitsubishi Lancer with a happier looking front end. The Lancer frowns, like someone just recovering from constipation. The Inspira has a happier front end, with its upturned grille and lighter disposition. Of course, by giving the Inspira new bumpers front (with a different grille) and rear, a Proton badged steering wheel and engine cover as well as different rims. Even the luxury spec 2.0CVT comes with Nappa leather seats - like the Lancer GT sold locally. 

The Inspira on display is so much more Mitsubishi than Proton from what I can see. The hard plastic you feel throughout the dashboard is the same as the one in the Lancer. The feel of the plastics are similar. It is only the middle part of the steering wheel that differs from the Mitsu as it has a Proton logo embossed on it. The pedal shifts behind the wheel in the 2.0 CVT version feels similar. I only think the feel of the front door pulls are slightly better than on the original Lancer GT launched 2 years ago. It looks like Mitsubishi has improved the quality of the Lancer a tad bit and it shows in the Inspira. And that's about it. Proton has only conducted some solid badge engineering here. Much like what Perodua is doing with their cars. 

This is nothing too serious as everyone seems to be doing it throughout the world. It seems that the only real difference between the way this car and its Lancer original is the suspension. The settings Proton would have used to begin with would have come from the Lancer 2.0GLS or EX version and not the stiffly sprung GT. The good thing about not following in the Lancer GT's footsteps is that it rides too harshly for Malaysian roads. You can do grip and handling without setting up the car too firmly as some cars have shown (Proton's own Persona, Satria Neo as well as the Swift Sport are good examples). The Lancer 2.0GLS , with its smaller anti roll bars, smaller wheels, smaller diameter disc brakes and 16inch rims is a better riding car.  I have been a passenger in one and it is more suited to our road. If it rides better than the GLS I am glad. 

The 2.0CVT is called the 2.0P and the 1.8manual the 1.8E. The exterior differs in that the 2.0 comes with a body kit that includes a deeper front lip, side skirts and a skirts at each side of the rear bumper (which I can barely tell at a glance). The 1.8E comes sans bodykit (the silver car above). So how does the manual and clutch feel like? Very light and easy from the looks of it. It wouldn't be a pain to drive in traffic and the gearshift isn't notchy too. However, the gear knob is just hard plastic. I'd get rid of it and fix one of those MOMO ones if I bought one.

(note the manual gear knob - imagine that, a reasonably priced 1.8liter car with manual transmission sold in Malaysia!)

The engines are pure Mitsubishi. The 2.0 runs the more familiar 4B11 engine that powers the Lancer GT we see on our roads. The 1.8 is its baby brother. Everything should sound the same including that slightly tinny (and pathetic) sounding exhaust note of the Lancer.

Would I buy the darn thing? I would if I was looking for a decent family sedan. Right now you get more Mitsubishi parts on the car as it is still the first round of Inspiras. I looked at the radiator and found the words 'CALSONIC KANSEI Made in Japan' on the radiator. I peered into the engine bay deeper and noticed that the brake master pump still wore the Mitsubishi Three Pointed Diamond logo. Why waste your money on a Mitsubishi when you can buy this cheaper? 

In fact, I 'd now have to say that for around RM80k-90K. This is a better buy than a Vios, City and the Latio as these are smaller in size and have lesser technology built into them. All the cars mentioned have beam axles for crying out loud. The Inspira is a whole class bigger and has multi-link suspension and a 1.8liter and 2.0liter options. If you compared it with the Kia Forte it would be a close call as both are of the same price and size category (although the Lancer is actually even bigger).

But if you compared it to the newly launched Peugeot 207 Sedan, the Inspira wins by a million, trillion, zillion miles. The 207 Sedan isn't a 207. It is a 206 with a boot and a 207 front end grafted to it. It was made specially for the growing Chinese, Iran and  poor developing nations.

 For its price of RM73K or thereabouts, it is horrid. The interior is horrid (made of hard plastic that looks so bad that even a Proton Saga's interior is classy). The driving position is horrid. The overall shape is horrid (It's worse than the previous generation Honda City as it has a tall ride height making it look even more horrid in real life - press pictures show its best - somewhat like the hippo horrid 3008). The handling must also be horrid as I looked at the promotional video and it was bobbing its tail and nose all the way through a corner like someone stepping out from the pub after too many Jack Daniels - it looked utterly awful. I would get car sick if I was a passenger in that 207. How they managed to show a promo video like this and expect people to think that that bobbing and swaying equals to sublime handling is beyond me. The car is just horrible....... and after looking through it, sitting in it and taking a final glance at it I don't even have the appetite to test drive one. How can anyone would want to buy this car at RM73,000 remains a mystery. 

Is Malaysia a third world dumping ground for automobiles? Just because its a Peugeot doesn't mean you should go out and buy one. So if you're looking at a decent family sedan that's priced below RM100K, look at the Inspira. Ignore all those comments about badge engineering as folks, this is Malaysia. This is the best deal you can get at the moment. Your complaints about AFTA, high vehicle prices and what nots will not be listened too. You want a decent drive? Drive the Inspira and make it into an Inspiralution, as you have no choice. The other new car called the 207 sedan is actually a fate worse than getting stuck in the middle of a mine field while being blindfolded.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

How To Name A Successful Sports Car Company

I have put my theory about naming a successful sports car company in writing over at I believe the correct name is very important if you don't have heritage like Ferrari, Porsche or Maserati. Click here to go directly to the article.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Let Me Answer Some of The Web Queries This Site is Getting.....

Recently I've noticed a lot of web queries for certain topics. Like "Can Audi use Ron 95?" or "Malaysia Toyota Prius vs Peugeot 3008. There are others out there but I shall answer a few here today. Whether the answer helps you is another matter. But I suppose its the thought that counts.

Let's begin with "Can Audi Use Ron 95"..can it really use RON 95?

Yes it can.

As the question isn't a specific one, how can anyone answer it any other way? You haven't searched "Can an Audi 100 from 1980 use RON95?" or "Can my B8 Audi A4 use RON 95?". Anyway, all modern cars have such a thing as an owner's handbook where you can refer to such a question. And if you look at most modern cars fuel filler flap, it will have a sticker that will tell you what petrol you can use or cannot use. Your eyes are there for a reason.

And seriously folks...most new cars have knock sensors and can use what I've said about it here. AND on the B8 A4 1.8TFSI, yes, the car runs on RON95 without any hiccups.

Next question: "Malaysia Toyota Prius vs Peugeot 3008"

The answer is if you buy either one you lose. The Prius does not win, the Peugeot 3008 does not win also. Both are cheesy vehicles.But the biggest loser is you. The fella who bought either vehicle.

The Prius has two engines that make tiny power, it is a hybrid which means that it is practically useless as basically its fuel economy isn't as good as you think. And to produce it Toyota releases more hydrocarbons and toxins than a standard 1.6liter sedan. You want to save the world? Walk or but a small 1.0liter city car as it'll give you the same mileage.

On the Peugeot 3008. Why on earth do you want to go around driving a hippopotamus? Buy something nicer looking for Godssake!

Next question: "Compare power campro 1.6 vs altis 1.6 vs 308"
I gather the 308 isn't a Ferrari 308GTB that Thomas Magnum uses in the show Magnum PI. That old Ferrari would wipe the floors out of the cars in question. So it must be a Peugeot 308 VTI we're talking about here.
The MACAMpro engine makes 123bhp (125ps) and 150Nm torque in full trim, the new altis makes 118bhp (120ps) and 154nm, the 308 vti non turbo makes 120bhp and 160Nm.

Now if fitted in the Satria Neo, which weighs 1227kg in auto form it will have a power to weight ratio of 100bhp/ton (which is actually darn sad for a hot looking hatch). In the Altis 1.6, which weighs 1250kgs, it has a power to weight ratio of 95bhp/ton and in the Peugeot 308 vti, it will have a power to weight ratio of 91bhp/ton because it is a heavy 1,310kg. 

All of these cars have a 4 speed auto gearbox, so basically they are as handicapped as each other. If you're talking about pulling power, or accelerative force, I'd say that the Neo pips them all as it is the lightest. 

The best engine among all three cars above would be in the Peugeot, as it is smooth unlike the other two. I suppose this could be down to it being designed partly by BMW for the Mini Cooper and the fact that the campro is a noisy raucous fella with little soundproofing. The Corolla's engine is as laidback as the design. Faultless maybe but utterly boring. I remember sitting in an Altis and feeling extremely sleepy after a short while. 

Anyway, even though the Pug has the best engine here, it has to haul so much weight that the performance would be mediocre compared to the other two. You must remember, the Pug is a good 60kg heavier than the next car here. It's like carrying an extra passenger even before you actually start carrying anyone in the first place. 

And Finally one more for the road : "Altis vs Slyphy"

The Altis - a car that makes you sleep. an unclemobile.
The Syphilis - a car named so close to the veneral disease that is also an unclemobile.

The answer to the question is the same as the question asked about the 3008 and the Savetheworldmobile. Buy either one and you lose. Buying either car tells me that you aren't interested in motoring in the first place. You only want decent transport with mild mannered handling and something that allows you to blend with the crowd. And you are an uncle even before you're really one. 
Buy a Mazda 3, a Honda Civic, a Lancer GT or even a Kia Forte (as it looks darn good). Get a life.The hell with resale value and all that logical crap. Go buy a VW Polo 1.2TSI and your life will be a better one, even though it may be smaller in size.

There. I hope some of the above answers life's greatest mysteries. In the meantime, let's appreciate this photo below of someone having the guts to drive around in a Chana MPV for the world to see. He must be the 5th owner of the car in Malaysia as this is the fifth one I've seen on the road in ages. Must be a very brave man to have bought this...must also hate cars as he cannot tell the difference between driving one and a Toyota Alphard as most probably the salesperson must have said that "Bro, this is like a Mini Alphard Bro...."