Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jaguar F-PACE and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible debuts at the 2015 Los Angeles International Auto Show

Jaguar Land Rover unveiled the all-new Jaguar F-PACE and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible during this year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show. This was among the 10 vehicles displayed. The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible. Jaguar Land Rover at the 2015 Los Angeles International Auto Show On the other hand, the F-PACE is a five-seat performance crossover and the third all-new product from Jaguar this year. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, the all-new F-PACE is the production version of the breakthrough C-X17 concept car and is developed from Jaguar’s lightweight Aluminium Architecture.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Subaru Levorg debuts in Southeast Asia

Subaru has launched the Levorg for the Southeast Asian market in Taipei this week. The launched featured world renowned precision driver Russ Swift and Subaru Ambassadors Natalie Pickles and Monika Sta. Maria from Asia's Next Top Model.
Not sure whether the specs are the same between the UK and Asian models. In the UK, the 1.6i GT is available in three colours Crystal White Pearl, Lapis Blue Pearl and Steel Blue Metallic. It costs £27,495 (OTR White colour).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Kia Sportage and Optima launched

Kia Motors unveiled the all-new Kia Sportage and European spec Kia Optima at the 66th Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA).

The Sportage remains the brand’s bestselling model in Europe, accounting for more than a quarter of Kia’s European sales.

The fourth-generation Sportage builds comprehensively on the success of the outgoing model, with an attractive, all-new exterior design, a host of advanced new technology features and greater quality. The interior of the compact SUV is made up of higher quality materials and a modern new design, as well as improved practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience, connectivity and safety.

For the first time, a new ‘GT Line’ specification is available to Sportage customers. Designed and engineered to appeal to those looking for a sportier driving experience from their Sportage, the GT Line specification delivers all the versatility of the standard Sportage while adding greater visual and dynamic appeal to those customers that desire it.

The new Sportage will go on sale across Europe in Q1 2016.

KIA also launched the new Optima model in European specifications. This is the third-generation D-segment model since it was launched in 2010. The all-new Optima builds on the worldwide success of the existing model, with a modern, new exterior, a bold interior design with more space for all occupants, an array of new technologies and a wide choice of efficient powertrains.

It will go on sale across Europe in Q4 2015, with a high performance ‘GT’ version.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Peugeot Fractal concept

Peugeot has unveiled the new Fractal concept ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show. This is an electric urban coupé which explores the sense of hearing in addition to sight and touch. According to Peugeot, it makes driving "even more instinctive, creating an unparalleled on-board experience".

It was designed by StelLab, a PSA Peugeot Citroën research unit. The Fractal concept was developed in partnership with sound designer Amon Tobin. It features a high-definition holographic head-up display screen. A 45-degree polycarbonate strip delivers additional information and creates an impression of depth. This allows the driver to customise the way information is shown.

The concept also explores new design and manufacturing processes. 3D-printed parts represent more than 80% of the interior trim surface. The anechoic materials were made through generative design - a process used to achieve the perfect component.

A 30 kW/h lithium-ion battery powers two electric motors, each delivering 75kW/102hp, fitted to the front and rear axles to provide a total output of 125 kW/170hp and combined-cycle autonomy of up to 450km. Variable ground clearance allows the vehicle to adapt to different types of terrain. The 7cm clearance for motorway driving improves aerodynamics to range and boost battery life. This can be increased to 11cm in urban environments, allowing the car to take speed humps and car park entrances in its stride.

As for it's dimension, the car is extremely compact, at 3.81m long and 1.77m wide, allowing it to weave through heavy traffic. The 19‑inch Tall&Narrow wheels are positioned at either end of the car, with an overhang of just 0.52m front and back to improve manoeuvrability.

The car styling features dynamic lines that flow along the length of the smooth body. The Coupe Franche, a straight line dual paint finish, further enhances the sense of vitality with a sharp shift from intense pearly white to matt black at the door hinges. The upper body features a removable roof to turn the coupé into a cabriolet. An LED strip above the vent at the rear shows the battery charge status via an equalizer-type display. These LEDs also act as rear lights when PEUGEOT FRACTAL is moving. The light signature in the front starts below the grille and flows over the headlamps. It also includes scrolling indicators.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Proton Wira modifications under RM1K project: Part 2

This is a very long overdue update on my Proton Wira modifications under RM1K project.

Picking up from what I last posted, the Proton badge (meant for Proton Iswara) finally arrived but there was a problem. The original was a screw-on badge while the new one was a stick on and somehow I could not find a way to get it to stick properly on the original place. So I came up with an idea. Was not sure whether it would work but fortunately it did. I peeled off the plastic logo and super glued it on to the original screw-on base.

I also bought a new Proton Manual Car Leather Gear Knob Carbon With R3 stitching on the sides for RM50/, also from a seller on Lelong.

Definitely a great improvement on the original rounded plastic knobs which were worn out. This brought me to a new total of RM363.90.

Thinking of what to do next, I thought about the faulty reverse sensor. I have been meaning to change it for a long time but kept putting it off. So one day I drove down to the Brother's outlet near my house in PJ. However, the place was packed and I could not get any parking. I was impatient and decided to go to another car accessories place - Elegance Audio Sdn Bhd. in Kelana Jaya.

I was delighted because there were not that many customers around. Their manager Oliver Lim, came out and told me that it would cost me around RM200+ to install new reverse sensors. This was much costlier than what it would normally cost me at Brothers but I assumed that at that price their product would be of a better quality than at Brothers, which was where I had installed my old reverse sensors.

Since the shop was specialised in audio equipment and I was still under budget, I decided to install front speakers in the car. Previously it only had 2 rear Clarion speakers. The cheapest speakers was the Powerbass S-4002 4-Inch Coaxial speakers (105 W), at around RM260 a pair. A little bit steep but he assured me that the sound quality would be really great. This would nicely bring me just below my budget of a Thousand dollars and I decided to go ahead.

However, this is where it all went wrong. I was waiting inside their office with my son when the manager came in and showed me the old speakers - it was completely torn. I knew it was old but I am sure it was definitely not that bad. I now had no choice but to replace the rear speakers as well. I went along with what the manager recommended and installed a pair of EFX 6x9" rear speakers (RM480).

I was dismayed when I learnt that as the new speakers would not fit into the original speaker enclosure and they would have to cut into the rear speaker board. I wished the manager had explained that to me before I said yes.

The final damage - a whooping RM1020 in total, including the installation charges. These three items alone would have blown my small budget of RM1K at one go.

In hindsight, I could have said "No!" and this would have left me with a total budget of RM903.9. I could have then gone to Brothers and have cheaper speakers installed. But that is what you call "buyer's remorse" and I am trying hard not to have any regrets. However, I hope other people reading this would learn from my experience and make an informed choice.

I am sure that some of you are wondering "what's the difference"?

Now, I do notice that I don't have to crank up the volume and sound quality has definitely improved but no once else - neither my family members nor my friends seems to have realised the difference. The only guy who noticed is my son who went along with me and tries to put peanuts and other stuff into the holes in the speaker covers - a clear design flaw if you have hyperactive kids with itchy hands.

So my budget is blown and I have failed in my project. It was stupid anyway as an old car needs constant attention and replacement of parts. In conclusion, RM1000 goes a bit but is but a drop in the ocean if you decide to hold on to an old car and decide to "pimp it". However, on the other hand, well maintained cars can go a long way and is considerably cheaper than getting a brand new car - specially if you live in Malaysia.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Range Rover Evoque prices: UK vs Malaysia

Recently met an old friend after 18 long years. We were university mates and both of us ended up in the UK in quite different occupations. However, despite being only about 100 miles apart we were unable to meet up because of something or the other.

It was quite ironic that we finally met up in Malaysia, around 9000 miles away from the UK. Anyway, we got to talking about cars like car lovers usually do and the cars we drive. My friend recently bought the Ranger Rover Evoque, which coincidentally also happens to be my dream car.

We were discussing car prices and how the Evoque is quite out of my league with prices starting at RM413,888 (without insurance).  Source: Paul Tan.

My friend was visibly shocked as the cost in the UK was around £30K (OTR). That's considered quite a handsome even for a luxury brand. However, it translates to about RM180K at the current exchange rates, which means that we are paying more than double the price of the Evoque here in Malaysia as compared to the UK. 

With that amount, I can buy a 2-sty Terrace/Link House 3 bedroom house near my office in Semenyih, Selangor. So literally the Ranger Rover Evoque is a house on wheels. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Skoda Superb joins list of top safety achievers

According to the latest safety test results released by Euro NCAP, the Skoda Superb achieved 5 Stars, thanks to robust crash protection and its Autonomous Emergency Braking systems. The Superb is also equipped with crash avoidance technologies awarded under the Euro NCAP Advanced Rewards scheme such as Multi Collision Brake and Crew Protect Assist.

Among other cars tested, the Hyundai i20 supermini acheived 4 stars which is quite good for its segment, but misses out on the 5 stars due to a lack of an AEB system.

However, the Fiat Panda Cross recveived a modest 3 star rating. The supermini, based on the third-generation Panda 4x4 launched back in 2012, lacked assist technologies and also did not fare well in the latest full width crash test designed to evaluate the protection offered to smaller occupants in the driver and rear passenger seat.

Given below is the list of car safety ratings for 2015 so far, from the Euro NCAP website.


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