Friday, May 08, 2015

Performance of European car brands in Malaysia

According to  recent report, of all European brands sold in Malaysia in 2014, Volkswagen performed the best with sales of 8916 units. They were followed by BMW (7808 units) , Mercedes-Benz (7131 units), Peugeot (5498 units) and Volvo (with 1210 units).

Mercedes-Benz may very well overtake VW this year with the German automaker seeing record breaking sales of 967 units in the first quarter of this year (up 13%). This growth was largely due to the sales of the new locally-assembled E300 Blue TEC Hybrid  (638 units) and the S400L Hybrid (270 units).


Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID

Friday, May 01, 2015

Proton Wira modifications under RM1000 project 1

A couple of months back I wrote about "Rejuvenating an old car - repairs on a Proton Wira 1.3 M". Well, I was having a chat with some of my friends, discussing the pros and cons of repairing and modifying old cars over buying new ones.

I feel that Malaysians in general take good care of their cars but once they pass a certain number of years, apart from irregular service, they kind of stop replacing worn out parts, there are dents and scratches everywhere, rust in various parts are left untreated, their headlight turn yellow with age, the bumpers are nearly falling off and the you tend to hit the speed bumps whenever you go over them as the shock absorbers are way past their due date.

The dilemma facing a lot of owners of old cars is that you do not want to repair/ replace the parts as "it is an old car" and you are thinking of upgrading to a newer car. But you continue driving the same car until one day, the bumper falls off or worse, breaks down in the middle of the highway. A friend was telling us that it would cost thousands to repair/replace everything in his old car which set me thinking: How much modifications/ improvements can you do on your car with just RM1000?

I was lucky I had the ideal car for this project - my dad's old Proton Wira Aeroback. Based on the Mitsubishi Lancer platform, this car is a favourite among car modification enthusiasts in Malaysia, mainly because of the wide range of accessories and aftermarket parts available and of course the affordability.

The car is still running beautifully without any major issues. As mentioned in my previous post, the timing belt had been changed last year and I recently had the shock absorbers and a few other parts changed. However, it was clear that the car had seen better days. The paint is pealing off on the rear bumper, the Proton logo in the front has also fallen off.

Of course I have to clarify that all the mods I plan to do are mostly remedial and/or aesthetic. I do not plan to do anything related to performance enhancement or the engine. I also plan to do most of the work myself whenever I can to reduce the cost and keep under the budget.

First of all, I had to think about all the parts which were essential. So I went about replacing the old wipers. I bought Genuine Bosch (BE17+BE20) Proton Wira ECO Wiper Blades for RM54 on Lazada. This is one of the things that we can do ourselves and do not need to go to a workshop for. This is not my first time and I had the new wipers on in a couple of minutes.

Next I sent the car off to painting specialist M. Spray Work in Taman Mayang Jaya and got the rear bumper painted. The big ugly patch on the bumper was really lowering the image of the car. That cost me RM200, which took a big chunk out of my small budget. However, Mr. Tan did a really good job and the bumper looks as good as new.

Before

After

Sometime back I had read an article on car soundproofing kits which helped to reduce vibrations and noise in the car. After a bit of searching online, I found a seller -Fsmotoersport on Lelong.com.my, selling soundproofing kits for Proton Wira cars. It cost me RM40 for the custom made bonnet soundproofing kit and it finally arrived day before yesterday. The pieces were custom cut to fit the spaces on the car bonnet and the experience was like doing a jigsaw puzzle as I had to figure out which piece went where. There was no need to use glue as the pieces were self adhesive with easy peel away backing and it was all done in less than half an hour. I was quite unsure whether it would work but was quite happy after driving around our neighbourhood. There is a noticeable reduction in the engine noise.
before



After

Of course, I also had to get a new emblem/logo to go on the front grill. The font looks quite plain without the logo. I initially thought of replacing it with the original "old" Proton logo - the one with a star and crescent moon but then while going through Lelong.com.my, found someone selling the new Proton Tiger logo/ emblem. Though it is meant for the Proton Iswara, I think it will fit perfectly on the Wira as well. It cost me RM19.90 and I am waiting for it to arrive.

All together I have now used a total of RM313.90 which leaves me with RM686.10 for other improvements.

What should I do next?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Renault Espace and Suzuki Vitara awarded 5 stars

The latest Euro NCAP safety test results for this year is out and the new Renault Espace (large MPV) as well as the Suzuki Vitara (supermini) has been awarded 5 stars. The later received points for its Autonomous Emergency Braking system (included in the rating scheme since last year).

Also included in the report published this month are the results for the Fiat 500X in the Small MPV category and the Mazda 2 in the Supermini category. Both cars were awarded 4 stars.



Friday, April 10, 2015

New BMW 1 series

The new BMW 1 Series has had key elements reshaped and redesigned, and a high standard specification.


The BMW 118i M Sport 5-door sports hatch has 18” M Sport alloy wheels, M Sport suspension, Sport seats and BMW EfficientDynamics.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Land Rover will show off their the 2016 Model Year Range Rover Evoque at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, confirming rumours that the Range Rover Evoque Convertible will go into production.


A video was recently released which features the disguised prototype of the compact SUV exploring the underground tunnels of London’s crossrail, which are still under construction. Price of the new Evoque is expected to be around £40,000.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer

BMW is set to launch their new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer this summer.

This spacious seven seater is clearly targeted at families and features large windscreen, optional panoramic roof and intelligently redesigned pillars to provide superior all-round vision. You can create even more space by folding down the third and seconds rows.



This extra efficient car has Auto Start-Stop (as standard) which reduces emissions when stopping temporarily at lights or in traffic. BMW also claims that their Aero Curtain provides optimised aerodynamics, thereby reducing emissions and improving fuel consumption.


There will be a range of preferences and driving styles to choose from including a range of petrol and diesel engines. Extra options include the xDrive 4 wheel drive and the latest generation BMW TwinPower Turbo engines which offer enhanced performance and efficiency.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

BMW Hybrid cars: Top performance, stylish and economical

High performance and economical is not something you hear together when you are talking about cars. Well, BMW offers three varieties of hybrid cars offering the same exciting top performance and quality which we associate with the BMW brand, along with reduction in fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

When the first hybrid cars came out, I guess the design and styling was not what the car manufacturers had in mind – they simply looked horrendous. Thankfully that’s changing now as we can see from the range of sexy designs being launched annually. The BMW ActiveHybrid models across their popular 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series range are among the best looking hybrids available in the market now.

3 Series ActiveHybrid Sedan

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the World’s first BMW full hybrid compact executive saloon and available as a Sport, Luxury or M Sport model. Prices for the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 in the UK starts from £42,145.

As for the technical specs, the ActiveHybrid 3 is powered by a Turbo six cylinder 3 litre (2979cc) VALVETRONIC with Double-VANOS direct injection, in-line petrol engine with a max output of 306hp (let me catch my breath). The engine is mated with BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission. The car stores and draws power when required from a lithium-ion high-performance battery. The electric engine comes on for silent urban driving for approx 1-2 miles with a maximum speed of 37mph. It also automatically recognises when the car is going up a gradient and the boost functions comes on automatically to support the combustion engine. The car also charges by itself when it is going downhill.

5 Series ActiveHybrid

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 powertrain is very similar to that of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. I have always had a soft spot for the 5 Series models - neither too small nor too large. Just the right size. The ActiveHybrid 5 is significantly more economical and with reduced CO2 emissions. Prices in the UK start from £47,790.

7 Series ActiveHybrid

The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is squarely aimed at those with a taste for luxury but also want to do their bit for the environment. The car is powered by a 3 litre TwinPower Turbo V8 engine. The car features a 0.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. You have the choice of several options to personalise your BMW ActiveHybrid 7 including a choice of paint finishes and extensive range of alloy wheels.

M Sport package

Pictured is the optional 20" M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design for the M Sport model. Prices for the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 start from £66,200.

There are actually several hybrid cars offered by other manufacturers available in the market and many of them cheaper than the BMW models. However, they simply cannot match the performance of the BMW ActiveHybrid models. And when it comes to design and styling, the BMW cars are heads above the competition.

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