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  • DRIVEN: Hyundai Tucson 2.0 – the Korean alternative

    2016-hyundai-tucson-driven-2.0-executive- 004

    In a segment dominated by its Japanese peers, the all-new Hyundai Tucson has its work cut out for it in Malaysia. Hyundai Sime-Darby Motors’ revealed two variants of the third-gen Korean SUV here, being the 2.0 Elegance and the 2.0 Executive, in its bid to upstage the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage.

    On its back foot from the off, the locally-assembled Hyundai Tucson not only faces stiff competition in the local SUV arena, but that it’s a Korean model somewhat automatically brands it negatively in these quarters – apparently with shoddy build quality, lacking inspiration and poor resale values. While we can’t speak much for the model’s aftermarket tendencies, we can take a closer look at what a brand-new model has to offer.

    As mentioned, two variants of the Tucson were launched here, the base 2.0 Elegance at RM129,990 and the range-topping 2.0 Executive at RM142,632 — both listed prices are on-the-road and without insurance. The variant up for review here is the top-spec 2.0 Executive, equipped with all of the locally-available bells and whistles. But before we dive into all that, let’s take a look at the third-gen model’s prime offerings first.

    Click here for the full review.

     
  • Poorly regulated and implemented “e-hailing model” will destroy the conventional taxi industry – cabbies

    Big-Blue-Taxi-01

    Taxi groups say that the new “e-hailing” model needs to be properly regulated and implemented, or it will result in the death of the conventional taxi industry. The new model will legalise app-based ride sharing services like Uber and Grab.

    In a report by The Sun, Big Blue Taxi founder and advisor Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail said the proposed revamp of the taxi industry, which may begin by the end of 2016, could spell the start of the end for taxi permit holders in the country.

    “My fear is that the taxi drivers will give up driving taxis and return the vehicles to us to become Uber drivers,” Shamsubahrin said. Apparently, since January 2016, nearly 80% of taxi drivers have returned their taxis back to the taxi companies due to Uber and Grab’s services.

    “When the taxi drivers return the taxis to us (the company), the industry will collapse! Please remember we still need to service the bank loans and other costs,” he added.

    uber cash payment

    Shamsubahrin also questioned the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) proposal for taxi companies to adopt a profit-sharing concept or guaranteed percentage of the day’s income for cabbies.

    “I want to know how it will be done. Tell me how SPAD can do it? Because right now, for the Blue Taxi drivers, they need to get a minimum of RM350 per day and RM200 per day for budget taxi drivers for them to earn enough to cover the daily cost,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah agreed with Shamsubahrin’s standpoint that the “e-hailing” model could destroy conventional taxi companies.

    “If that’s what’s been endorsed by the Prime Minister and the special economic committee, then we have to accept. We have to face the reality sooner or later whether we like it or not,” he said.

     
  • VIDEO: Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S ‘Ring record

    Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S Nur 20

    Volkswagen recently revealed the new Golf GTI Clubsport S, which it claimed managed to best the lap records of all other front-wheel drive cars on the Nurburgring. Thanks to Autocar UK, we now have undisputed proof of said achievement in the form of the video you can watch below.

    As a recap, the Golf GTI Clubsport S managed to set a time of 7:49:21, enough to dethrone the previous “FWD King of the ‘Ring” – the Honda Civic Type R (7:50:63). German racing driver Benny Leuchter was the man behind the wheel of the hot hatch for the attempt, and as you can see, he’s not holding anything back during the record attempt.

    It helps that the hot Golf packs a 2.0 litre TSI engine that has been fettled with to now produce 310 PS and 380 Nm, all driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. The car will hit a delimited top speed of 265 km/h, with the first 100 km/h coming in just 5.8 seconds.

    Aside from the power bump, the car’s chassis has been tweaked and some weight-saving measures have been put in place (no rear seats). Furthermore, semi-slick Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres are wrapped on 19-inch Pretoria alloy wheels for extra grip.

    Only 400 units of the Golf GTI Clubsport will be made, with 100 being dedicated to German customers. Each will have a unique production number from 001/400 to 400/400 on the centre console in the cabin.

     
  • VIDEO: Top Gear trailer shows Aston Martin Vulcan

    The trailers keep on coming for the new Top Gear. In the latest one entitled “Great British Summer,” we see Chris Evans and Matt Leblanc standing under the rain in what appears to be Blackpool, dubbed “the greatest city on earth.”

    Of more interest would have to be the cars that we’ll soon be seeing, one of which will be the Aston Martin Vulcan on the Abu Dhabi GP Circuit. Save for a short video of its namesake, we’ve yet to see what the hypercar is capable of. As a refresher, it sports a naturally-aspirated 7.0 litre V12 engine with 800 hp and there are only 24 units in the world.

    Meanwhile, from the video we now know a few other vehicles that’ll be put to the usual Top Gear test. These include the Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLC, both of which are seen off-road. The Corvette Z06, Ford Mustang and Ferrari 250GT TdF will also be making an appearance.

    In summary, there’s going to be an interesting line-up of cars from what can be gathered from previous trailers. A Dodge Viper ACR, Ferrari F12tdf, McLarent 675LT and an Ariel Nomad were the few that were shown in the recent trailers released earlier.

    With a six-host line-up, the new revamped series does seem to feature more cars. Whether it will have the same appeal that Clarkson, Hammond and May had as former Top Gear presenters, well, that remains to be seen. So guys, eager for the new Top Gear, or will your loyalty stay with the original trio?

    Share your comments below.

     
  • 2016 Toyota Fortuner pricing, specs out: RM187k-200k

    Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 7.35.04 PM

    The 2016 Toyota Fortuner has appeared on the brand’s Malaysian website, complete with full specifications and pricing of the all-new seven-seat SUV. Two variants will be on offer locally – 2.7 SRZ (AT) 4×4 petrol and 2.4 VRZ (AT) 4×4 turbodiesel. The 2.8 litre diesel engine has been given a miss here.

    Prices start at RM186,900 for the 2.4 VRZ, making it RM7,726 more expensive than the outgoing 2.5G, while the RM199,900 asked for the range-topping 2.7 SRZ is RM12,817 dearer than for the previous-generation 2.7G. Both prices are on-the-road inclusive of insurance and a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

    The petrol version gets an updated 2TR-FE 2.7 litre motor, which now has Dual VVT-i tech. It’s rated at 166 PS and 245 Nm of torque, 6 PS and 4 Nm more than before. The 2.4 litre VNT diesel is an all-new 2GD-FTV engine, with 150 PS and 400 Nm of torque. Both get a six-speed automatic transmission (petrol adds paddle shifters), sending power to all four wheels.

    On the outside, the 2.7 SRZ, which is clearly the more upmarket variant, gets bi-LED projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, chrome door belt mouldings and 18-inch wheels. The 2.4 VRZ settles for halogen projectors (also with auto function) and smaller 17-inch alloys (fitted with AT tyres instead of HT rubber on the petrol variant).

    Click to enlarge

    It’s much the same story inside, with the petrol version getting all the goodies. These include an Optitron meter panel, colour multi-info display, DVD-AVN touchscreen head unit (optional on the diesel), leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, automatic climate control (front and rear) and a powered driver’s seat. It also gets a Dark Brown combination leather upholstery, while the diesel gets brown fabric seats.

    Standard across the range are keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, selectable drive modes (Normal, Eco and Power), electronic 4WD Transfer Dial and Toyota’s Premium Security and Solar Film. The second row seats (with Isofix) have a 60:40 split-fold with one-touch tumble, while the last row has a 50:50 split with “One-touch Easy Space Up” function.

    On the safety front, the Fortuner 2.7 SRZ is equipped with seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver knee), ABS, BA, VSC, Active Traction Control (A-TRC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) and Trailer Sway Control (TSC). Out of this long list, the diesel 2.4VRZ only retains three airbags (front and driver knee) and ABS.


    GALLERY: Thailand-market 2016 Toyota Fortuner

     
  • SPYSHOTS: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback seen testing

    Honda Civic Hatchback prototype 10

    It is already known that Honda will be introducing a hatchback version of the tenth-generation Civic to expand the model’s line-up beyond just the current Civic Sedan. Although the Civic Hatchback, which was previewed by the Geneva concept, won’t be due until early 2017, this new batch of spyshots reveal that the model is very much near production-ready.

    Unlike earlier sightings of the Civic Hatchback, the test mule seen here doesn’t sport an aggressive body kit, dual/triple exhaust tailpipes or a large rear wing. In fact, it looks very much like earlier patents that were revealed on the internet back in March 2016, aside from those rims, which resemble those on the Thai-spec Civic Sedan 1.8 EL.

    At the front, it’s all pretty standard affair, meaning the Civic Sedan’s face will be applied on the hatch. The applied camo does attempt to hide the large vents in the bumper, although it will likely host the car’s fog lamps. A closeup of the prototype also reveal bi-xenon projector headlamps, but we do expect full LED units to be available as well.

    Obviously, the main draw of the Civic Hatchback will be, well, its back. On the prototype, the distinct, angular tail lamp design from the Civic Sedan appears to be resized to suit the new body style here, with a spoiler element linking them. A secondary spoiler is also spotted near the roof as well, near the shark fin antennae. The rear bumper meanwhile, gets thin slats, possibly for the rear fog lamp or reflectors.

    A shot of cabin reveals nothing surprising. If you’re familiar with the Civic Sedan’s layout, you’ll feel right at home in the Civic Hatchback. The only thing that is unknown here is the headunit, which is absent as it is a market-specific equipment. For instance, the Indonesian Civic Sedan gets an Android-based system while Thailand gets an Apple CarPlay-compatible system.

    For the European market, the tenth-generation Honda Civic Hatchback is expected to be powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbocharged VTEC engine (127 hp and 200 Nm), a more powerful 1.5 litre direct-injected turbocharged four-pot (201 hp and 260 Nm) and an updated version of the existing 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine to be offered.

    The Honda Civic Hatchback will also be manufactured in neighbouring Thailand, alongside the Civic Sedan, which does open up the possibility that the body style might be offered to us Malaysians. Interested? It would certainly make for a good rival to the Mazda 3 Hatchback, don’t you think?

     
  • Honda Malaysia confirms two Takata airbag ruptures in April, May 2016, causing fatalities – official statement

    honda-city-2003

    Honda Malaysia has confirmed that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflators ruptured in two crashes in the country that occurred in April and May this year. Both crashes, unfortunately, involved fatalities.

    In the April 16, 2016 crash that took place in Sabah, the driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2006 Honda City. The vehicle involved was included in a recall to replace the defective airbag that Honda Malaysia announced on May 21, 2015.

    As for the second case, the driver-side airbag of a 2003 Honda City ruptured in a crash that occurred in Kedah on May 1, 2016. Similar to the April 2016 crash, the vehicle involved was also included in a product recall that was announced on December 8, 2014.

    Both cases have been confirmed during an inspection with the Royal Malaysia Police. Honda Malaysia will communicate with representatives of the drivers’ families in an effort to resolve their remaining concerns. No names will be released in respect of the families’ privacy.

    The unedited statement from Honda Malaysia is provided below:

    Honda has confirmed that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflators ruptured in two crashes in April and May respectively in Malaysia. Both crashes resulted in the tragic deaths of the drivers. No official cause of death has been yet determined for either case. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families of the drivers during this difficult time.

    1) A crash on April 16, 2016, in Sabah state

    Honda has confirmed during an inspection with the Royal Malaysia Police that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2006 Honda City on April 16, 2016, in Sabah state. The vehicle involved in this crash was included in a Malaysian Product Update (recall) announced on May 21, 2015, requiring replacement of the SDI inflator of the Takata driver’s front airbag.

    2) A crash on May 1, 2016, in Kedah state

    Honda has confirmed during an inspection with the Royal Malaysia Police that the Takata single stage (SDI) driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2003 Honda City on May 1, 2016, in Kedah state. The vehicle involved in this crash was included in a Malaysian Product Update (recall) announced on December 8, 2014, requiring replacement of the SDI inflator of the Takata driver’s front airbag.

    Honda is communicating with representatives of the drivers’ families in an effort to resolve their remaining concerns. Out of respect for the families, Honda will not provide any personal information.

    It is imperative that vehicles owners check if their vehicles are listed as part of any product recalls by Honda Malaysia by referring to the official product update page, here. The page will also guide you on how to look for your vehicle’s VIN number, which is required to check if your vehicle is affected.

    Customers can also check their vehicle’s product update status by calling Honda’s Toll Free number at 1-800-88-2020 or visit any authorised Honda dealer.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.50.41 PM

     
  • 2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro now in Malaysia – RM10,435

    2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro EFI (3)

    Kawasaki Motors Malaysia has launched the 2016 Z125 Pro in Malaysia at a price of RM10,435. This mini-moto was launched in Indonesia in February this year, and in Thailand in the previous year.

    It comes with a 125 cc, single-cylinder, four-valve SOHC air-cooled engine that produces 9.8 PS at 8,000 rpm, and 9.6 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. Fuelled by EFI, this mini-moto rolls on 12-inch wheels that – coupled with its short wheelbase – give it quick and nimble handling.

    Coming in Candy Burnt Orange – the 2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is targetted at the younger rider wanting a quick, small motorcycle with trendy looks. The retail price of RM10,435 is inclusive of GST, and the new bike is available immediately at Kawasaki dealers.

     
  • GALLERY: Nissan Kicks soaks up the Brazilian sun

    Nissan revela mundialmente o seu mais novo crossover compacto: K

    Nissan Brazil has released more photos of the all-new Kicks as it poses in various parts of Brazil, where the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will take place. The carmaker has yet to reveal full details on the B-segment crossover but it is understood that the Kicks will be sold in more than 80 countries, with Brazil being the first.

    Occupying the space between the Juke and Qashqai, the Kicks, which is also the Games’ official car, will first be assembled at Nissan’s benchmark plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico before full-scale production starts at Nissan facility in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, later.

    The interesting design includes the brand’s V-motion grille, boomerang headlamps and tail lamps and a floating roof look that gives the impression that the windshield extends to the end of the side windows.

    Nissan revela mundialmente o seu mais novo crossover compacto: K

    Inside, Nissan’s latest Gliding Wing dashboard design greets passengers, accompanied by a seven-inch full colour infotainment system. The refreshing styling also includes bright-coloured leather and a flat-bottomed steering wheel unlike those found in current Nissan vehicles.

    Other equipment available on the Kicks include an around-view monitor and moving object detection, with four cameras mounted at each corner (front, rear and sides) of the vehicle to warn drivers of hazards. Nissan also claims a segment-first in the region technology by offering its Intelligent Mobility system.

    Still no word on the powertrain that will be fitted on the Kicks. It is rumoured that a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 110 hp, paired with a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT gearbox will be utilised. According to Nissan, all pricing details, technical specifications and variants will be announced as we approach its official launch in Brazil.


     
  • BMW i8 facelift to get more power, chassis tweaks?

    bmw-i8-showroom 2

    The BMW i8 is set to receive a mid-life facelift, which includes a significant amount of changes that extend beyond just its looks. According to Autocar UK, this includes an upgraded hybrid powertrain that is undergoing testing on roadgoing prototypes, as well as the latest version of the i8-based safety cars seen at Formula E races.

    Although no details have surfaced on the revised powertrain, it is suggested that a more powerful electric motor will be fitted, replacing the 131 hp and 250 Nm unit found in the current i8. The 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine should also get a few tweaks for more output. Put both together, and you’re probably looking at around 420 hp from the system.

    New software mapping for the i8’s six-speed automatic gearbox should also provide performance gains that improve upon the current model’s 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, with a limited top speed of 250 km/h.

    bmw-i8-showroom 5

    Supporting the hybrid powertrain – more specifically its electric motor, could be an uprated lithium-ion battery pack. Recently, BMW unveiled the new i3 that receives a more energy-dense battery pack, bolstering its all-electric range. It makes sense that the technology trickles its way to the i8 as well. BMW has stated that the i8-based Formula E safety cars use a larger 10 kWh battery compared to the standard car’s 7.1 kWh.

    Should that be a similar case for the new i8, it will certainly help increase the range of the hybrid sports car. Additionally, the denser battery pack wouldn’t need to take up additional space in the car, retaining its original dimensions. The current i8’s batteries are mounted inside the centre carbon-fibre tunnel.

    Charging the batteries of the new i8 might be done through an inductive charging system rather than using the conventional cable. With technology developed by Qualcomm, inductive vehicle charging uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad connected to the high-voltage electrical system and a collector fitted under the i8.

    bmw-i8-showroom 36

    As for the chassis improvements, the Formula E safety cars adopt a different suspension setup compared to the current i8. Modified upper wishbones and mounting points, revised springs and dampers and a lower ride height of 15 mm on the safety cars could very well be adopted by the facelifted model as well.

    Said safety cars also get 20-inch alloys wrapped with 245/35 front and 285/30 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. Carbon-fibre wheels might also been an area of interest for the new i8, although the weight-saving gains might be outweighed by the cost of such options.

    No mention on the official reveal date of the facelifted i8 coupe, but it will likely be introduced alongside the highly anticipated i8 Spyder (roadster) in 2018, which was confirmed by BMW CEO Harald Krueger during the company’s Annual Accounts Press Conference in Munich in March 2016.

    GALLERY: BMW i8

     
 

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