Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Volkswagen launches the locally assembled Jetta TSI

I attended the launch of the locally assembled (CKD) Volkswagen Jetta TSI yesterday. The car is about RM21,000 cheaper than the imported variant but still has 6 airbags, an audio system with Bluetooth, USB, Ipod, AUX with 6 speakers and a whole lot of family friendly features in a 4 door sedan body.

The event was pretty unique in that VW Group brought in their design head of the Asian design studios to explain a little about Volkswagen's DNA and styling cues. Of course, ultimately, the Jetta is a C segment family sedan and with that, is bound by a certain set of design rules and criteria within the VW Group. It may be handsome looking but you can't let it look too Audi-like in case Audi customers or the blokes designing Audis feel 'threathened'. Of course, Volkswagen can go bonkers, like their XL1 car recently. This Jetta has to make the numbers for them to build cars which are a little mad at times.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Opens Its Second 3S Centre In Kota Kinabalu

We don't really post anything much from Sabah (or Sarawak for that matter) but Hyundai has opened up a second 3S centre over in KK. Hyundai-Sime Darby are gearing up throughout Malaysia.


Since President Obama's in town, lets talk about his ride - TheCadillac One

Barack Obama is the first American president that has visited Malaysia since Lyndon B Johnson eons ago (if I am not mistaken). I suppose it is quite right for me to write something about the Presidential State Car that he usually uses when visiting any place or country around the world.

The Presidential State Car is the official car of the President of the United States of America. The car is called the Limo One or the Cadillac One or even the Beast (by the US Secret Service). Note that it isn't called Ground Force One (ala Air Force One like the presidential aircraft) as that is reserved for a coach, or bus variant that the President uses.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Honda gets 10,000 bookings within a month for the All-new Honda City.

Fuiyoh. But what do you expect with the Honda City? It is a Honda and therefore its badge carries some weight. The all-new Toyota Vios seems like a rehash of the earlier one with and basically has a new suit (I have come to the opinion that Honda seems to have won this round as it has more tech, equipment and is unpretentious - I mean check out the Vios' interior fake leather stitching made out of moulded plastic for heaven's sake!!!!). The Nissan Almera seems to be downright dowdy in terms of styling. And everyone who's badge conscious, and there are many here in Malaysia, would not want to be seen in the quieter, more refined, sometimes faster (when turbocharged) Proton Preve and Suprima S.

So do read onwards to the press release if you are interested folks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Resale Comparo - Five 2011 RM150,000 cars, or thereabouts.

Today's posting is something that I'd like you folks out there to start thinking and using your grey matter a little. This is a comparison of second hand prices of a few cars sold at the RM150,000 or thereabouts. 

I Spotted a 2011reg Volkswagen W Jetta 1.4TSI going for RM96,000 over at Mudah.my. In 2011 the car had a purchase price of RM149,000+ without insurance. This is a fantastic piece of kit as it has a 160ps twincharged 1.4liter engine as well as a DSG transmission. It gives you that feel of what a well built car and fun to drive as well as being actually a very stable drive at high speeds. Granted, it has its faults, one of them being its high maintenance costs. Well? What do you expect from an engine that has a supercharger and a turbocharger as well as a gearbox that shifts super fast and has no transmission lag whatsoever? Cheap technology? Like a BMW, you need to shower this car with TLC. More than you think.

I also spotted a 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0 High Spec (as it has a sunroof) comes in at RM89,900 which went for RM143,000+ when new. This one has Hyundai's fluidic styling and is 100% kimchi and Korean drama. This basically means a drama free drive as it is reliable and all. Drama free could also mean slightly dull. But like a good Korean drama that takes months to finish, the Sonata will be reliable until the end.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Those problems that suddenly disappear when you visit the mechanic and the non-turbo Proton Preve

The Proton Preve -  No Actual Photographs - Apologies, as I was too busy trying to help solve a problem with it

Earlier today I drove the Proton Preve 1.6 Executive CVT IAFM+(Automatic) - i.e the non-turbo version. The reason I did this wasn't because Proton loaned me a car to do so. I wish Proton did but they didn't. Anyway, the reason I drove this non-turbocharged or non CFE Preve was because my friend wanted me to diagnose a fault in his Preve. It supposedly would stutter and jerk after the car stops, enters into reverse, reverses then moves forward again. 

Now the thing was that after a good half and hour of trying to achieve the symptom mentioned by the Preve's owner I failed in doing so. I suppose this is something that some of us have experienced, where the car would suddenly suffer some failings but when it reaches the mechanic, nothing seems to be wrong. This has happened to me a few times personally and it is quite frustrating.

Volkswagen Premiers 4 New Models At Auto China 2014

Press Release

Volkswagen celebrates four world premieres at Auto China 2014
• Touareg, technically and optically refined
• Golf R 400, extremely sporty concept car
• New Midsize Coupé, four-door design concept
• Golf Edition, concept on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Golf

Monday, April 21, 2014

Test Drive: Hyundai i40 Tourer Sports 2.0 GDI Automatic - This could be the best D Segment Wagon on sale today.

Hyundai cars have come a looooong way since their introduction to this country. I remember when the first Hyundais made their way into our market in the early 1990s and during that time, there were not many takers of the brand. At a time where Proton had cars on waiting lists. Honda and Toyota were cars that people bought and where loan repayment periods were less than five years almost everyone bought what they could really afford or really want. So people went and bought the three cars mentioned above, as well as some Nissans by the dozens. Hyundai was still an afterthought. People did not see them as real quality stuff. Even I wasn't bothered with this Korean upstart.

But it wasn't the general public's fault. The earliest Hyundais were horrid creatures. They had something called the Scoupe, which was short for Sporty Coupe. It may have been called something else that starts with an S and it sure as hell wasn't sporty. It wasn't even remotely fast with the 1.5liter Mitsubishi engine that was installed in it. They also made something called the Sonata for the full sized family car category. It was categorically just as bad as the Scoupe as it was dull to look at, had horrible plastics and somehow not as enjoyable behind the wheel. As a means of transport, the Sonata of the early 1990s was fine. But that being said, so was a horse cart.

However, I must state for the record that times have changed. It has been quite ingrained in my sometimes pessimistic mind that the Koreans have not really caught up with the Joneses; the Toyota, Honda, Nissan and especially the continentals like Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz or even Volvo for that matter. How wrong have I been. The Hyundai i40 Tourer I drove recently is a fabulous, fabulous animal.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Men vs. MINI: MINI Malaysia Pits Man Against Machine in A New Online Video & Test Drive Opportunity

In conjunction with the launch of the New 2014 MINI (F56) cars, MINI Malaysia celebrates the uprated power and legendary go-kart agility of its new models in an action-packed online video that pits man against MINI. Conceptualised by Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid, the web video nudges MINI towards an edgier, performance-oriented demeanour.

All-New Nissan Sylphy open for bookings - But most importantly, it has rear disc brakes

Disc brakes are an important milestone for the Sylphy (NOT SLYPHY - WHICH I HAVE BEEN MISSPELLING AS ITS SO DARN HARD TO SAY AND SOUNDS LIKE A DISEASE IN THE FIRST PLACE). The current model sold here was the only 2.0liter C-segment or small family car sold in Malaysia with drums brakes at the rear. Not that it couldn't stop very well, it had the usual ABS and EBD (brake assist) which makes brakes work tremendously well these days. But drums brakes, as I've stated in an earlier article about the Sylphy is suitable on a Ford Anglia or a 1954 MGTF. Or a DATSUN 120Y, if you want to play heritage with a Nissan. It is time for disc brakes all round and at last Nissan as put this on the now available for booking all new Nissan Sylphy. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All-new Hyundai Sonata launched for the 2015 model year over at the 2014 New York Motor Show

 Hyundai has released the all-new Sonata for the 2015 model year. This is a whole new model folks. Note that its 'fluidic sculpture' design is in place but isn't so fluidic for this model. It looks slightly more conservative than the previous model and it also looks more conservative if you compare it with the European specced and inspired Hyundai I40. For your information, the Sonata is sold over in America but the i40 is sold in Europe. Maybe this is why there is a difference in styling. A more conservative looking, Ford Mondeo-ish looking car for America less curves compared to the i40. 

2015 Toyota Camry facelift previewed in the States...and the beast becomes slightly beautiful, and salable again.

I think Toyota Malaysia can breathe a sigh of relief again soon. The current Toyota Camry is a horrid, horrid looking thing. It looks like a piece brick with the front of a steam locomotive installed on it. But now, over in America, Toyota has just previewed the 2015 Toyota Camry at the 2015 New York Motor Show. The new Camry looks good, even almost good looking with all of Toyota's latest styling language.

Mazda previews the upcoming 2015 MX-5 drivetrain and it is quite interesting.

Mazda has shown the drivetrain of the upcoming 2015MY Mazda MX-5 and it looks interesting. Not because they're telling us that it'll have all of the latest Mazda SKYACTIV technology and what not but the picture itself. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Driven: 1995 Mercedes C36 AMG - Something fabulous from AMG's past.

My C180cgi meets its older, yet more aristocratic sibling

A couple of weeks ago a friend asked whether I was free to accompany him and take a look at an old Mercedes Benz that happened to come on sale. I agreed as it wasn't an ordinary old Mercedes Benz. It was an original C36 AMG from 1995.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Entry Level Perodua Myvi XT launched ...........

....and in one move makes the last batch 1st Generation Myvi Limited Edition feel modern again. I will explain right at the end. 

The entry level Perodua Myvi 1.3 has a new moniker – the Myvi XT. This model replaces the current entry level Myvi and gets more equipment for the sale price as before – 1.3XT Manual – RM41,936 solid & RM42,436 metallic and 1.3XT Automatic – RM44,936 solid & RM45,436 metallic. There is a new grille and instead of plastic hubcaps you get alloy wheels with a design that was used in the face-lifted 1st generation Perodua Myvi. So no more caps flying all over the place during hard cornering and basically more value for Malaysia's favourite supermini.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Road Test: 2014 Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Executive Plus - A face-lift that works

The Hyundai Tucson was and is Korean giant Hyundai’s entry into the compact SUV category. This second generation version was first introduced to Malaysia in 2010. The Tucson is now about four years old and has now been now face-lifted and improved underneath too – a new engine and some suspension tweaks too. It has quite a lot of work cut out for it as since then, there is more competition from Mazda, Mitsubishi and even Korean counterpart Kia.

The Hyundai Tucson face-lift gets new styling bits, European specification and the new NU series 2.0 engine and slight enhancements to the ride and handling of the compact SUV. All Tucson variants get a new pair of projection type headlamps with LED positioning lights while the 2.4L Executive Plus variant gets an additional new pair of LED rear lamp combination lights. So let's see if this is enough for it to compete out there.


Press Release:
Search for one lucky child to escort World Cup Mascot onto the pitch at Semi Finals in Brazil
Naza Kia Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. is taking the World Cup fever one notch up by kicking off Fuleco Friend Search, the search for one lucky child to escort Fuleco, the FIFA World Cup Mascot onto the pitch during the Semi Final game in Brazil.
This opportunity of a lifetime is only for a Malaysian child aged between 8-12 years and an accompanying parent through an on-ground contest at Piazza e-Curve, Mutiara Damansara on 26th April, at 3pm. This contest is the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia where a child gets to walk onto the pitch and be part of the FIFA World Cup.

New Chevrolet Cruze to be previewed and launched soon

....but not here yet lah. Over in America first. Chevrolet will launch an updated Cruze for the 2015 model year at the upcoming New York Motor Show. You get the three part grille / bumper that follows the big designed for America Chevrolet Impala - implying more common styling and a more Americanised feel to the car instead of something from Korea. The headlights are also revised and there are LED daytime running lights are fitted to higher-spec Cruze models.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Volkswagen Passat gets enhanced slightly for Malaysia

Earlier today Volkswagen Group Malaysia had made known that the locally assembled Volkswagen Passat is now available with four new features - better infotainment system with more connectivity, 12 way adjustable electric front seats with memory function for the driver's side, folding side mirrors and an inproved anti theft / immobiliser system.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

UMW Toyota Motor issues a recall for 82,457 units of Toyota Fortuner, Innova and Hilux

UMW Toyota Motor is conducting a recall (using the super politically correct term 'special service campaign'  ) for 82,457 units of Toyota models consisting of the Toyota Hilux, Toyota Innova and Toyota Fortuner manufactured from year 2005 – 2010 and sold in Malaysia.
This campaign is conducted to replace a spiral cable on affected Hilux, Innova and Fortuner. The driver’s airbag module in the involved vehicles is attached to a spiral cable assembly with electrical connections that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. If this occurs, the air bag warning lamp will illuminate and the driver’s air bag could be deactivated, and most probably may not deploy in the event of a crash.
UMW Toyota Motor will contact all Hilux, Innova and Fortuner customers involved to carry out the necessary corrective measures at no cost. The company also states that no other models it sold are affected by this campaign.
For details, call 1-800-8-TOYOTA (1-800-8-869682).
This is in conjunction with the recent announcement made by Toyota Motor Corp (Global) that a special service campaign concerning possible damage of spiral cable in the Hilux, Innova and Fortuner. 
This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon I read recently - 'Item overheats' so market it as 'Red Hot Specification!!!!' Of course, folks, if you do own one of these, and is not a car thief with the intention of car-jacking one for sale in Laos, Vietnam or Myanmar, do head over to the local Toyota service center. If you are a car thief, hope you get into a car crash and the airbag doesn't work.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Some Mercedes Benz news over at motoring-malaysia.com - Run out W204 C200 and SL400

Mercedes Benz Malaysia has brought out the final edition W204 C-class before it starts bringing in the W205 by the end of this year. Only one model, the C200 CGI Avantgarde with AMG Styling will be sold at regular C200 prices. A 'bargain' at RM254,888.00. It basically has everything included in the previous C250 and C300 sold here but with the 184bhp C200 specced engine. Take a look at it over here at motoring-malaysia.com.

Over in Europe, Mercedes Benz has discontinued the SL350 for a SL400. This is a downgrade in engine size - 3,500cc to 3,000cc BUT a change from normally aspirated to turbocharging has enabled an increase in horsepower and torque. Good for road tax expensive Malaysia when it comes here. Click here to go there.

VW Group via Audi prepares for new engine technology and I am quite worried

The VW TSI engine

The latest news circulating in and around the automotive world is how Volkswagen Group intends to make electric turbochargers,variable compression ratios, cylinder deactivation (all on engines) and coasting (on the transmission) a reality. 

On variable compression ratios for the engine:
Audi Technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg gave no details on how Audi will introduce variable compression ratio technology, but what this means is that the car's engine can have a high compression ratio of a direct injected petrol engine of around 15:1 and when under high loads especially if it is turbocharged and boost is coming on drops to say 11:1. The luxury of being able to have variable compression ratio depending on the load and power demands makes this something all engineers chase after. It would be ultra efficient too.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday Car Porn: Fiat 131 Abarth

I have a soft spot for everything Fiat, especially the Fiat 131 Mirafiori. This was because the car was one which I had my earliest motoring memories. My father owned one of these and we travelled distances throughout the Malaysian Peninsular before the days of the North-South Highways. I was a good car to own, but it had the dreaded Italian car rust problem of the 1970s. Made from cheap Russian steel they rusted even before leaving the factory in Italy. But today, rust aside, we're talking about the special version - the Fiat 131 Abarth.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Hello again folks, now's the time for one of those longer than usual reviews that hopefully would assist you in your quest to purchase the correct car for the time being. Of course this is only for the time being as people change and tastes change along the way. Especially if you suddenly get that promotion and start thinking of cars bigger than the one you're driving at the moment. It happens. And before I start going on and on and on, I've just got my hands on the Volkswagen Polo 1.6 Hatchback and this is what I think about it. Do read on.

Friday, April 04, 2014

BMW launches the new BMW M4 Convertible

The arrival of the new BMW M4 Convertible (fuel consumption combined: 9.1–8.7 l/100 km [31–32.5 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 213–203 g/km) sees BMW M GmbH making another alluring addition to its legendary high-performance sports car line-up.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Polo 1.6 Hatchback - Short in-car video clip.

We have been spending some time with this little Volkswagen Polo 1.6 Hatchback. We've taken it grocery shopping, on the school run, to appointments, shown it to our family members, friends, gone through some horrendous traffic and the pouring rain with some flooding as well as over to our favourite stretches of roads around Gombak, Selayang and Genting Sempah. Nothing broke. Which is a good thing in a car. Any car.

But before we go on to our full fledged review (which should come sometime soon) here's a short  in-car clip of it being driven over some twists and turns.

UPDATED: The review is already out. Go there by clicking HERE.

Volvo Trucks Launches the Fuelwatch 2014 and Driver Development Programme

Volvo Trucks are an interesting bunch of people in that they build really cool trucks and that they have got lots of value added benefits for their customers. Yesterday they launched the Fuelwatch 2014 competition and Driver Development Programme for their customers. This competition has been going on for about 5 years here in Malaysia and it basically educates the participating drivers (and lorry owners) about how to drive safely in an economical and environmentally friendly matter. Very important as lorries actually make up a whole lot of carbon emissions in any country, delivering goods everywhere throughout the region.

The event was officiated by Encik Mohamed bin Dalib, Director of Automotive Engineering Division and Road Transport Department, Malaysian Ministry of Transport who commended Volvo’s efforts. As the transportation industry expands, it becomes more apparent that we need to also increase the quality of our truck drivers by engaging them through training programmes such as these, so as to enhance overall safety, fuel efficiency, reduction of CO2 emission and optimise uptime. 
The Volvo FM & FMX lorries

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April Fools Tale - The Proton Juara

First and foremost, the Proton Juara was not launched on April Fools Day. It was launched on the 22nd of July 2001 and was named Juara, or CHAMPION in Engish. The problem was the mini MPV was hardly a champion and it, and the Proton Tiara was a mega flop for Proton.

The Proton Juara was supposedly conceived in 1999 and was based on the Mitsubishi Town Box minivan, a Japan only minivan powered by a tiny 1.1liter 4 cylinder engine with a 4 speed automatic transmission. According to the official history, Proton brought it out to capitalize on the then burgeoning MPV market. In the early 2000s, Kia, via Naza, was having a boom period selling the Kia Carnival as the Naza Ria and later the Kia Carens as the Naza Citra. Renault was also selling the Espace and was surprisingly selling well. As was Toyota via the grey imported Toyota Wishes and Estimas. Honda was doing well with the Stream too. In fact, everybody was making profits from selling MPVs but Proton, in 1999 was high and dry.