Opinion Pieces – Lowyat.NET Cars https://cars.lowyat.net The Malaysian Automotive Connection Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:51:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 https://cars.lowyat.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cars-icon.png Opinion Pieces – Lowyat.NET Cars https://cars.lowyat.net 32 32 135134130 Is there room for a Honda Hybrid in your life? [+Videos] https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/135511-feature-room-honda-hybrid-life-videos/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/135511-feature-room-honda-hybrid-life-videos/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:35:05 +0000 https://cars.lowyat.net/?p=135511 In this line of work, I’ve been asked this question a thousand times; what car should I buy? The honest answer is “I don’t know” . Really. I don’t. The only person who does know, is you. Yes you. Let’s face it, I’m not going to use the car am I? You are, not me. So […]

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In this line of work, I’ve been asked this question a thousand times; what car should I buy? The honest answer is “I don’t know” . Really. I don’t. The only person who does know, is you.

Yes you. Let’s face it, I’m not going to use the car am I? You are, not me. So my usual response – depending on my mood, which fluctuates faster than our petrol prices – varies from ‘how the hell should I know’ to ‘buy what you like’. It’s the latter response that I’ll be delving into today…

It’s a broad and very non-committal statement to of course, one that leaves the door open to infinite possibilities, real and pure fantasy. Sure we’d all love a Pagani, but more often than not, a Proton will do.

In the great scheme of things though, while it likely won’t be a Pagani, your first car doesn’t necessarily have to be a Proton either. Recently, thanks to Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd (HMSB), we attended a very long four-day test-drive of the new Honda City i-DCD and Jazz i-DCD, both of which you can read about more, spec and tech wise, in those hyperlinks.

It got me thinking, for less than RM90k, could these be the perfect cars for anyone starting out in working life? I’d have to wait four days, and many miles for the answer. But first I need to get a little bit technical…

There are many out there who still don’t know the difference between a hybrid, PHEV and electric-car, so let me sum-up. The new City and Jazz i-DCD’s are hybrids, which mean they have a combination of a normal internal-combustion engine (ICE), coupled to a hybrid-electric motor that is self-charging, and never needs to be plugged into a power socket.

In fact, you never need to do anything for the hybrid motor, and other than make sure there’s petrol in the tank, it’s an enclosed and hidden system that never needs your intervention.

And no, you cannot drive the car with zero fuel in the petrol tank, in case you’re thinking it’s okay because there’s an electric motor to keep you going. The electric motor is only an assistant to the ICE, not the other way around. Here’s a video to better explain it visually…

Both the City and Jazz are classified as ‘Sport Hybrids’, packing a 20% more compact lithium-ion battery (with an 8-year warranty) to power its electric motor, and is 1.5 times more powerful than a conventional nickel-metal hydrite battery, hence the ‘sportiness’ in the name.

Combined with the 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine, both the City and Jazz are able to churn out a respectable 137bhp and 170Nm of torque, channeled to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. If you need a refresher on what a dual-clutch transmission is, check out the video below:

So yeah, a 7-speed “intelligent dual-clutch drive” or i-DCD, with three driving modes, in a car costing less than RM90k, how cool is that? But why the need for a hybrid system in a small 1.5-litre car that doesn’t gulp fuel like a thirsty 5.0 V8 anyway you ask? Good question!

The answer is simple actually; you get the power of a 1.8-litre car but pay only 1.5-litre (1,496cc) road tax, you get better fuel-efficiency seeing as how the electric motor does take on some of the driving duties from the engine.

At 40kmh you can drive at least 2km on electric power alone, and up to 80kmh before the engine kicks in – and of course lastly, the ‘hybrid-tax incentive’ allowed the cars to be priced as such. Have a look at this video for a more visual explanation, done by one of our friends in the industry for HMSB…

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of it, the actual ownership experience, or rather, what’s it’s like to live with the new City and Jazz i-DCDs, What was initially planned as a drive to Tg.Jara in Terengganu via Kuantan, and fly back after a few days on the road, didn’t seem to sit too well with the car-gods, who deemed it necessary to intervene and alter our plans slightly on the last day. More on that later.

The drive to Terengganu comprised a good smattering of highway (the infamous LPT) as well as some very decent B-roads closer to the destination, and in all instances, both the City and Jazz behaved exactly as how I expected them to; in a nutshell they act and feel like a B-segment car in this category should, with one added benefit: they’re quick.

Many have balked at that little sound-byte by HMSB regarding the 1.5-litre that performs like a 1.8, but let me tell you, I personally own a 1.8-litre car, and yes, these new City and Jazz i-DCDs do indeed behave that way, and they do it seamlessly and effortlessly.

It’s almost imperceptible when the ICE is being assisted by the hybrid motor, and despite any misgivings you may have heard about dual-clutch transmissions from other makes, the ones in the City and Jazz perform brilliantly.

Honda engineers tested the i-DCD for two years on a variety of Malaysian roads, covering more than 7,000kms during that time, just to make sure it was suited for our road conditions.

By the way, I feel it important to mention that Malaysia is the first country outside Japan to get the Sport Hybrid i-DCD, and more than 865,000 units have already been sold in the latter.

If there were any negatives to be felt during the drive, I can recall only two, and one of which only afflicts the Jazz.

The Jazz is definitely not for anyone with a family. It cannot be a primary car for anyone with a family in tow, if for the simple reason that it’s a compact hatchback. Despite an abundance of interior space given its size, thanks to the Honda design philosophy of Man maximum, Machine minimum, it is more suited, interior size wise, for an individual, or a couple. That said, the Jazz does come with Ultra seats (see gallery) in the rear for added cargo carrying.

Of course on the flip-side, there’s always the City to opt for if you do have a family in tow, with its best-in-class boot space, as well as 60:40 fold-down rear seats (see gallery), but the one thing that I found a bit disconcerting in both variants was only to be found if you sit in the back, behind the driver. Kids, if you have them, are gonna fight to not sit there.

Because the lit-ion battery sits very near the underside of the rear seat, there’s a cooling vent that sucks in cool air from the cabin to cool it down, located between the right-rear seat-back and door jamb. You can see it clearly in the above photo.

It’s almost invisible with the door closed, but the downside is that the cool air that’s sucked in, is quickly turned into warm air, which seems to permeate through the right side of the centre arm-rest. Honda are looking into this as we speak, since I mentioned it during the Q&A and feedback session.

Apart from that little glitch, there’s very little else to fault the new Jazz and City i-DCDs. They perform and behave incredibly well for a car in this segment and priced as such. That other little sound-byte about a ‘B-segment car with C-segment features’ isn’t an empty boast either.

In addition to everything above, you also get 4-airbags, ABS, EBD, vehicle stability assist, brake assist, hill-start assist, and a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty (8-years unlimited for the battery), LED daytime running lights, smart-entry with push-start button, 6.8″ display audio with HDMI and USB, multi-angle reverse camera, rear air-con vents, as well as 82 3S centres nationwide to take care of them at.

So back to what I mentioned earlier about the car-gods had planned then. On the day of our departure from Tg. Jara after three days on the road, we learned in the morning that our flight back to KL was delayed for four-hours, and HMSB gave us the option to either wait it out, or drive back. I have to admit, if it wasn’t for the LPT highway, I’d have opted for the former.

A few of us decided (okay, almost all of us) that we’d rather drive the new City and Jazz i-DCDs back to KL, than wait at the airport, and here’s where it got interesting. You see, on the way up the day before were testing all the various aspects of the car, including of course its fuel-efficiency, which meant we were driving normally, sedately even.

Getting back to KL however, was a different story. We just wanted to get back as fast as possible. Pedal to the metal, the new Jazz which had been assigned to us for this impromptu drive back, was able to achieve speeds in excess of 180kmh quite easily, and all the while exhibiting the kind of handling as well as NVH (noise, vibration & harshness) that belied its classification. It felt and behaved like a C-segment car.

This was probably the most impressive time we had with the Jazz, my peers also had the same to say about the City, and like a scene from an old Top Gear UK challenge episode, we all managed to get back to KL even before the flight from Terengganu had taken-off….

We now get back to the question which started this article; what car should you buy…? Well, I’m not saying buy this, nor am I saying don’t buy this. I’m neutral. Think of me as Switzerland. I will say this though; if you’re in the market for a first car or second family car, you’d be doing yourself a grave injustice if you don’t check out the new Honda City and Jazz i-DCDs. You’ll probably be amazed, and perhaps never again will you have to ask anyone what car you should buy. – Chris Wee.

Honda City & Jazz Sport Hybrid i-DCD Photo Gallery (Photos by CW & Aaron Lee for HMSB)

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Face-Off! Volvo S90 T8 vs. BMW 530i M Sport: Which would you rather have? [+Video] https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/134608-face-off-volvo-s90-t8-vs-bmw-530i-msport/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/134608-face-off-volvo-s90-t8-vs-bmw-530i-msport/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:00:36 +0000 https://cars.lowyat.net/?p=134608 It’s not often that I’m faced with a conundrum such as this. Well, okay it’s happened once or twice in the past, but never has it happened days apart of each other… What am I on about? Simple really, it’s Sweden vs. Germany all over again, and I’m not referring to the World Cup either. […]

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It’s not often that I’m faced with a conundrum such as this. Well, okay it’s happened once or twice in the past, but never has it happened days apart of each other…

What am I on about? Simple really, it’s Sweden vs. Germany all over again, and I’m not referring to the World Cup either. A week ago, Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) unleashed this:

It’s the locally-assembled Volvo S90 T8 Twin-Engine Inscription; “twin-engine” because the front wheels are powered by a normal internal-combustion engine, while the rear wheels are independently powered by an electric-motor.

The result is a whopping combined output of 407bhp and 640Nm of torque, which sees the car pull sub-5sec 0-100kmh times. 4.8sec to be precise, and thanks to hybrid incentives, it retails for RM348,888. You can read more about it in our launch report here.

Days later, I’m not kidding, I think it was about three, BMW Malaysia introduced this:

It’s the locally-assembled BMW 530i M Sport, which puts out 252bhp and 350Nm of torque, and does the century-sprint in 6.2sec. It retails for RM388,800. And again, you can read more about it in our launch report here.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

So both cars are locally-assembled (CKD), and both fall in the continental “luxury” D-segment, but the BMW costs almost RM40,000 more than the Volvo, and yet, on paper at least, the latter appears to trounce the BMW in every way.

Power wise, the Volvo has 155bhp and 290Nm more grunt than the BMW. Think of it this way, in terms of sheer horsepower, the Volvo has a whole Honda Accord 2.0 VTi more than the BMW…

Granted, the aforementioned ‘hybrid-incentive’ probably allowed the Volvo S90 T8 to be priced as such, a steal actually, but then again when the fully-imported (CBU) BMW 530i M Sport was launched in March this year, it retailed for RM398,800. Am I missing something? The locally-assembled one costs just RM10,000 less?

Sadly though, five will get you 10, the BMW will outsell the Volvo 10-to-1, maybe even more. That’s the reason for this impromptu piece actually, I’m trying to figure outwhy.

I mean, the facts are the facts; the Volvo is cheaper, more fuel-efficient thanks to its PHEV system (1.9L /100km – Volvo vs. 5.8L /100km – BMW), a helluva lot more powerful, has all-wheel drive, and is 1.4sec quicker in the century-dash. So why won’t it outsell the BMW 10-to-1 instead of the other way around? And it won’t either.

Two words: Badge value. Let’s face it, as far as that is concerned, and as far as most Malaysians are concerned, the blue-and-white propeller trumps that iron symbol hands-down. For now anyway…

If we trace the history of both makes, going back 20- or even 30-years, it’s clear that despite the fact that Volvo has been assembling cars here since 1967 – BMW began in 1980 – it is the latter that seems to have garnered a stronger following and foothold, not to mention a much bigger fan-base, in the country.

This is puzzling to me because insofar as history and heritage is concerned, everyone can relate to Volvo. It’s the car at least one of your relatives used to drive, if not your very own parents or grandparents. It’s probably your first car-memory ever; somewhere in the back of your mind, you remember that somebody you knew had a Volvo when you were growing up. I guarantee at least one of your school teachers drove one.

So what went wrong?

I can only then surmise that BMW ‘evolved‘ a lot faster than the venerable Swedish automaker. Design-wise, BMW’s cars evolved in tandem with the evolving needs and wants of the consumer, whereas Volvo were still building cars that it thought the people wanted. Volvo’s were safe cars, BMW’s were exciting. Need an example? Let’s look at two models that went head-to-head 20 years ago:

This is what a mainstream BMW looked like in 1990:

This is what a mainstream Volvo looked like in 1990:

See what I mean? Now the main problem for the Volvo brand, their Achilles heel so to speak, also happens to be their greatest success story. Would you believe that in 1990, Volvo were still selling this car new?

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Yes, the legendary 240 was still being sold brand new alongside the its replacement the 700-series above it. Apparently there was a massive hue-and-cry from the general public in Sweden when Volvo announced it was discontinuing the much-adored 240, and since there was still such a huge demand for them, Volvo decided to continue building them right up till 1993. The Volvo 240 had an amazing 20-year lifespan. One model, two decades.

This, in my book, was also about the time when Volvo lost it, the early 90’s. In this era, BMW surged ahead insofar as car-design was concerned, and by the mid-90’s, its cars looked like this:

And Volvo’s on the other hand, in and around the same time, looked like this:

Ouch.

“Volvo’s. Boxy, but good”. Remember that movie? And they were good, there’s no denying that at all, but they lacked something that BMW were figuratively propelling themselves away with; excitement. Let’s face it, sure everyone wants a safe, well-engineered car, but they’d also rather not be seen driving a shoe-box.

So, just as how Peter Schreyer turned around Kia, in terms of design, a namesake was also responsible for finally turning the Volvo brand around, Peter Hobury. Mr. Hobury began to transform the image of Volvo with the likes of the delectable C70…

This car was as radical a departure from the norm as anything ever could be, and I still recall one of the sound-bites from the launch, “this time we kept the car and threw away the box”. Heck, even Val Kilmer as The Saint drove one! How cool is that? But was it too late?

By this time, especially here in Malaysia, BMW were eons ahead already in terms of car-design, and of course we all know what happened later when Chris Bangle joined them don’t we. In a nutshell, some said he advanced BMW car-design by 20-years, some said he set it back by ten. I’m personally leaning more to the former, as I’ve always said his E60 (above) looks decades ahead of the newer F10 (below), which actually looks like a logical successor to the E39.

But let’s get back on track to present time. Where does Volvo stand insofar as the great, big blue-and-white propeller is concerned? Well, looking at the cars now, in this day, today, I’d say they’ve well and truly finally caught up, not just in terms of both interior and exterior design, but also in terms of excitement. Just compare the S90 T8 below with the BMW 530i M Sport below it…


Looks are of course subjective, but in my book, yes, Volvo is finally producing cars that look just as good, if not better, than its competition, cars that are as exciting to look at as they are to drive. Cars that make you want to take them out for a spin, not just because you have to get somewhere, but for no other apparent reason than the fact that they are amazing to drive, like I mentioned in this previous article here.

So, we’re back to the the conundrum that began this article; the choice. Two cars, one clearly better and cheaper, one with better badge value and a colossal following. Which would you choose? For me, folks, I gotta tell ya, I’d already be chasing sunsets in the Volvo. – Chris Wee.

Photo Gallery…

(Featured main split-image courtesy of CarComparisons.com, watch their video after the photo gallery!)

 

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BIKES FEATURE: Exclusive! Why I Bought The Yamaha NVX155 https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/132857-bikes-feature-exclusive-bought-yamaha-nvx155-jeff-ng/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/132857-bikes-feature-exclusive-bought-yamaha-nvx155-jeff-ng/#comments Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:00:12 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=132857 About a year ago, I made the ultimate decision to sell off my bike as I’d made up my mind to purchase a proper, ‘daily-commuter’ bike. However, the purchase was delayed, while I was busy deciding what to get, and it didn’t help that bike after bike was being launched, be it locally or regional, […]

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About a year ago, I made the ultimate decision to sell off my bike as I’d made up my mind to purchase a proper, ‘daily-commuter’ bike. However, the purchase was delayed, while I was busy deciding what to get, and it didn’t help that bike after bike was being launched, be it locally or regional, and none of them seriously piqued my interest and requirement.

So, eventually, for a year I had no bike to ride apart from the ones I reviewed from time to time for LYN Cars.

Well, last year during the Sepang MotoGP, I had the Vespa Sprint Adventure for a while, as you know that scooter has ABS upfront and I tested the ABS on wet roads and found that insofar as scooters and cubs/kapchai are concerned ABS is very helpful in wet situations, unlike the common assumption out there that says ABS is unnecessary for small bikes.

That was the time I said, “I have to buy a bike with ABS, even if it’s only in the front” However, the Vespa Sprint was out of my budget at the time. So I waited… and waited. At the same time during MotoGP in Sepang, the local media including those from Thailand and Indonesia were then invited to the inaugural regional launch of the new YAMAHA AEROX / NVX 155.

The bike’s specifications were first introduced and listed and THAT made the AEROX a “must get” and when the bike was unveiled by Valentino Rossi himself, I fell in love – with the scooter of course! And that was also the moment I said to myself, “I gotta get myself one of this.” And I hadn’t even tested it yet. However during the slide presentation there was no mention of Malaysia getting the bike in 2016 or 2017. I was a bit saddened but then I recalled the YAMAHA NMAX review I did, in which I said I would get myself one… would it be the NMAX instead then?

Fast forward to June 2017. I shifted out of Sunway and moved back to Klang. Travelling to work by car was a little tougher, needing to wake up earlier than I usually do when I was in Sunway, braving through morning rush hour traffic. I couldn’t take it after a month of driving… yes I am that impatient, plus I don’t like being in traffic. I had to get a bike again…

I looked up listings on the internet for NMAX, there were used bikes on offer from the NMAX owners group as well, and I found a suitable candidate somewhere in Johor. RM 7,500 for one clocked less than 10,000km. Why not?

But that was also when the most important email in my whole life came in… “YAMAHA NEW MODEL INTRODUCTION”, and the catch in the email was “REVOLUTION IN INNOVATION”… I was telling myself, this has to be the NVX…

I decided to wait it out since the launch was only in one week’s time, plus a friend in the media was hinting to me to wait as well, since he knew I was probably going to buy the aforementioned NMAX.

On the day of the said Yamaha bike launch, it was already hyped on social media that this launch is for the NVX 155. Almost immediately after the launch, I approached Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia’s (HLYM) marketing person in charge, and I told her I wanted to BUY one unit. Test bike be dammed! I was sold from the moment the covers came off! (I was there, he was like a kid in a candy store. – Ed.)

She asked why would I not want to review the bike first before buying, and I said, I have trust in Yamaha on this NVX model. I then received a quotation, paid for it and got my bike in two weeks’ time, and I have been told I am the first and only person from the media (local) who bought the bike. I was actually pretty desperate for a bike but looking for one that actually matches my persona, that doubles as daily workhorse, as well as my weekend rides.

Now let us get down to the review of this motorcycle.

The engine outputs the same amount of horsepower as its sibling, the NMAX, 14.8hp at 8,000RPM, but it is claimed that the engine is tuned to be more torquey than the NMAX. Sure enough the extra torque output is useful in town rides, making acceleration and lane filtering a lot easier. It is also very nimble thanks to the bigger fourteen inch wheels and that low weight, so lane filtering with the NVX is really effortless.

On the same KESAS highway on which I tested the NMAX, I was also able to achieve the same top speed on the NVX, around 130kmh. The bike however has no issues with weight when I have a pillion riding along. There is also very minimal vibration felt at cruising speed, around 80kmh, providing that the RPMs are maintained between 5,000 and 6,000. The VVA indicator comes on when the engine achieves 6,000RPM and goes off when the RPM drops to 5,500.

In town with heavy traffic or at traffic lights with long waiting times, the auto stop-start mechanism only triggers after 30 seconds or so and is ‘permanently’ active thereafter; unless the stop-start is switched off and on again, the mechanism will need to be triggered again by coming to a halt for 30 seconds (without the need to turn off the engine).

 

 

The NVX is also equipped with an LCD instrument cluster, which displays a tachometer, clock, speedometer, fuel indicator, odometer, trip-meter, battery voltage, it is just about the best-looking thing you can get for a small capacity underbone automatic moped (kapchai) in Malaysia. Plus the aggressive and sporty styling is just so appealing to many youngsters, or even those who are young at heart.

The NVX155 also comes equipped as standard (for our market) with keyless-go, along with ABS brakes in the front as well, which is one of the main reasons I bought the NVX.

The underseat compartment is a standard 25 litre space, enough to store a full face helmet and two sets of raincoats. That’s generous. If I were to add a top box at the back, I can go for a long distance ride easily without needing to worry about insufficient space.

 

Worth mentioning is also the comfort factor. The suspension seems to be softer compared to the NMAX, however, the seat is not as wide as the NMAX and for the rider, you can’t stretch your legs forward, so for long rides you may need frequent stops to stretch.

Fuel economy is about the same as the NMAX. For a full-tank, I was able to achieve 151km before refuelling but that was when I had two bars left and I went bonkers with the throttle, if I had not I would have probably attained an additional 20-30kms – and that is quite close to the claimed 2.2 litre/100km HLYM was telling us about. To be precise, I fuelled up when it was blinking, I managed to get 3.8 litres of fuel into the tank (to the brim). 151 kilometres to 3.8 litres consumed is about 2.53 litres per 100km.

But therein lies the downside to this bike; the tank is small. If I were to go out of town, I would carry my jerry-can with me, just in case. I really cannot think of anything that’s bad about it just yet, maybe just another annoying thing is that when the bike has consumed about 1 litre of fuel, two fuel bars would be missing. Thereafter though, the bars remain longer.

In conclusion, as an owner of this bike, I would say this is the best bang for your buck if you’re looking for a daily-workhorse that comes with ABS brakes, plus a striking & sporty design for weekend rides.

The YAMAHA NVX 155 is available in dealers nationwide, priced at RM 10,500.00 including GST, but excludes road tax & insurance. It is available in Black, Yamaha Blue, and Matte Red. – Jeff Ng.

Yamaha NVX155 Photo Gallery (Photos by Jeff Ng)

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First Impression: Goodyear Assurance TripleMax https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/131910-first-impression-goodyear-assurance-triplemax/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/131910-first-impression-goodyear-assurance-triplemax/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 02:28:32 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=131910 Tyres can easily put a huge dent on your wallet depending on how often you use your car and your driving behavior. Even if you only change your tyres every few years, it is still be an unwelcome expense to your maintenance budget. Since the price for a set of new tyres can costs more than […]

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Tyres can easily put a huge dent on your wallet depending on how often you use your car and your driving behavior. Even if you only change your tyres every few years, it is still be an unwelcome expense to your maintenance budget.

Since the price for a set of new tyres can costs more than a thousand ringgit, I try my best to preserve my tyres for as long as I can with proper care and maintenance. However, as the adage goes, “nothing lasts forever”, these set of tyres will eventually wear-off of course.

Luckily, Goodyear Malaysia was kind enough to provide a set of Goodyear Assurance TripleMax tyres for my personal transport as a replacement for my worn out ones.

My previous tyres were the Continental Premium Contact 2 which are fitted to the vehicle as original equipment. This set of tyres had covered 40,000kms when exchanged for the Goodyears. As far as I could remember, I had no qualms with the Conti tyres and I like how quiet and comfortable these tyres are on the road. Wet and dry grip was very good, same goes to braking performance.

Hence switching from one tyre brand to another tyre brand can make a noticeable difference to my overall level of driving comfort, performance, handling and noise levels. So here’s what I’ve found out after covering more than a thousand kilometers with the Assurance TripleMax so far.

Launched in Malaysia in October 2013, the Goodyear Assurance TripleMax is designed for mid-sized passenger vehicles and positioned between the performance (Eagle) and value (Duraplus) classes. Replacing the Assurance Fuel Max in Goodyear’s local tyre range, the Goodyear Assurance TripleMax goes up against Bridgestone’s Turanza and Continental’s PremiumContact tyres.

According to Goodyear, this tyre is designed with technologies focusing on fuel savings, grip and durability. Therefore, it is the perfect match for those drivers looking for a set of rubber that delivers great mileage, delivers great handling in all conditions and stops sooner in wet conditions. It sounds like Goodyear have made an ideal tyre for drivers like me but how far is it from true?

After I had these set of new tyres fitted for my Ford Fiesta, I had a chance to test its dry handling capabilities en route to the Sepang International Circuit recently to attend the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 Tyre product launch. Due to the mad rush hour of morning traffic from Kuala Lumpur to Sepang, there were a couple of times when I was going beyond the average speed to make sure that I arrive at the venue on time.

However, my journey was surprisingly less stressful thanks to these set of new tyres! There’s plenty of grip when driving vigorously at high speed and I had to admit that my 60km plus journey would have been more stressful if I haven’t changed to these set of new tyres a day before. The grip on these new tyres are just insane, it almost felt like I’ve driven a brand new car. And having all that extra grip my previous set of tyres were lacking is good when attacking a corner too fast and minimizing the chance of understeer.

I love the fact that it give sort of sporty precision and handling for although it is not a performance tyre. It provides  a much sharper steering feedback and the car basically turns where you wanted it to go, but much quicker. I  noticed that the overall handling of my Fiesta has improved and it’s a whole lot more fun to drive.

While tyres are an often overlooked as a contributing factor to your car’s overall performance, in reality, they have a big impact on what the car can do. Since tyres are your car’s only point of contact with the road, they influence how much control you have while driving, how quickly you can stop, how accurately you can take turns, and even how quiet and smooth your ride is. For more info on Goodyear tyres click here.

 

 

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REVIEWED: 6 Reasons Why The Honda Accord Facelift 2.0 & 2.4 Rocks… https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/130649-reviewed-6-reasons-honda-accord-facelift-2-0-2-4-rocks/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/130649-reviewed-6-reasons-honda-accord-facelift-2-0-2-4-rocks/#comments Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:30:21 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=130649 Who doesn’t love being spoilt for choice, we do for sure, but I’m sure it can be a tad overwhelming to a point that you don’t know which would suit your budget and needs. However, while the Honda Accord finds itself in competition with some talented rivals, if you are already a part of the […]

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Who doesn’t love being spoilt for choice, we do for sure, but I’m sure it can be a tad overwhelming to a point that you don’t know which would suit your budget and needs. However, while the Honda Accord finds itself in competition with some talented rivals, if you are already a part of the Honda cult, you will probably continue to purchase the same brand despite what we might have to say about the car…

With over 75,000 units sold since it was introduced back in 2001, it’s safe to say that the Honda Accord has a legion of fans here in Malaysia. And despite the highly competitive D-segment list that stretches wide and long, the Accord has been on top of the game for the past few years trailing behind other Japanese rivals like the Mazda 6, the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Teana.

In September last year, Honda Malaysia introduced the facelifted Accord that comes with interior and exterior updates as well as a host of new technology to add more value for your money.

So what’s the difference between the facelifted Accord and the model it replaces? Let’s have a look…

First of all, Honda Malaysia continue to offer buyers of the new Accord with three variants which consist of the entry level 2.0TVi (RM144,800); the mid-spec 2.0 VTi-L (RM153,800); and the flagship 2.4 VTi-L (RM172,800).

1. Styling wise, the facelifted Honda Accord now boasts an updated front face, with the 2.4VTi-L variant featuring a pair of LED headlights with LED DRLs plus LED front foglights. The 2.0VTi and the 2.0VTi-L variant on the other hand, continue to feature halogen projector units up front. Apart from that, the facelifted Accord also receives the company’s new front grille design, similar to the one found on the 2016 Honda Civic. Called the Solid Wing Face, this chrome grille now extends into the headlight, giving the grille a much larger appearance. Other minor improvements include a new front hood that bulges out slightly more than its predecessors.

Moving towards the rear, the facelifted Accord now gets a pair of new LED tail lights with three integrated guide lights. The facelifted Accord also carries over the chrome strip on the lower half of the bumper, though the lower half of the rear bumper has been subtly revised. Also new on the Accord is the rear fog light. A set of 17-inch alloy wheels with two tone black and silver rims complete the Accord 2.0’s overall exterior, while the 2.4VTi-L variant receives a new set of 18-inch alloy wheels with similar dual-tone rims.

2. Powertrain remains unchanged between the facelifted Accord and the outgoing model. It is offered either in a 2.0-litre or a 2.4-litre engine, both of which are four-cylinder units with i-VTEC and naturally-aspirated. Both engines are paired with a five-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. The 2.0-litre pumps out 153 hp and 190Nm of maximum torque, while the larger 2.4-litre unit churns 172hp and 225Nm of torque.

3. As far as I could remember, the Accord facelift drives pretty much the same as the model it replaces.

I thoroughly enjoyed driving this sedan during our media drive trip from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan; It’s comfortable and fun to drive, which easily makes it one of my favourite picks in the mid-size sedan segment. Wind, road and engine noise are kept to a bare minimum and I like how incredibly smooth this sedan is when cruising down the highway, especially behind the wheels of the 2.4-litre model. The base 2.0-litre unit should be good enough for daily commuting to and from work or taking your kids to school and other various activities, but if you feel the need of an extra speed, opting for the 2.4-litre engine will give you quicker acceleration.

The Honda Accord is also rewarding as a back seat passenger. Its cushioned suspension will keep you comfortable in most journeys and aside from that, the Accord has a spacious rear seat with plenty of legroom to comfortably accommodate “model-legged” passengers.

But that’s not all. The Honda Accord is also very agile and nimble in tight corners. It balances out fairly evenly when tackling sharp bends at high speed, giving you more confidence from behind the wheel for an occasional spirited driving.

4. Aside from changes to the exterior styling, the biggest differences between the facelifted Accord and its predecessors relate to tech and gadgets. For instance, all facelift Accord models now come equipped with Advanced Display Audio, which is now Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. Apart from that, the infotainment system also features MirrorLink for screen mirroring with compatible devices plus hotspot link for sharing a WiFi network with your mobile device for internet browsing via the built-in browser. Due to time constraint, I didn’t have the chance to fiddle around with this new system, but a while ago, our writer has sampled the same Android Auto feature found on the 2016 Honda Civic. You can read all about it here.

5. Honda is also pushing boundaries by leveling-up premium offering found in its higher grade variant in the entry-level variant. Specifically, the entry-level 2.0VTi variant now comes with features that are normally found in the higher 2.0VTi-L variant such as smart entry, push start button and cruise control.

The Accord 2.0 VTi-L and 2.4 VTi-L variant on the other hand, have been upgraded with a new wood grain paint, with new gloss black metallic finishing. Furthermore, the meter cluster on the Accord has been updated with the ability to display infotainment details.

6. In terms of safety, Honda continue to equip the Accord with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), front and rear parking sensors and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) as a standard feature across the range. All variants also now gets 6 airbags where previously was only available on the 2.4 VTi-L trim. Additionally, Honda LaneWatch that was only available in the 2.4 VTi-L variant, is now found on the 2.0 VTi-L variant.

Buyer’s Guide

With added tech and equipment and a fresh new look, now there’s more reason for you to purchase the Honda Accord. However, do keep in mind that this refreshed model isn’t a full redesign of the previous model, but rather a mid-cycle refresh to continue keeping the model appealing and competitive in the D-segment sedan. It does alter anything mechanically, so performance wise, the facelifted Accord isn’t any quicker or more exciting drive than the outgoing Accord. It’s not a bad thing per se, even so, there’s plenty compelling rivals in the market for keen drivers that’s worth exploring as well.

List of new features in the 2016 Honda Accord

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TEST DRIVE REVIEW: BMW 330e – Electric Dreams! https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/130850-test-drive-review-bmw-330e-electric-dreams/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/130850-test-drive-review-bmw-330e-electric-dreams/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 07:41:58 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=130850 I’m by no means a technophile, nor am I in any way, shape or form, a technophobe. I’m somewhere in the middle, skewed closer to the latter perhaps. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to cars, seeing as how the ‘newest’ car I own is probably older than 70% of you reading this. There’s good and […]

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I’m by no means a technophile, nor am I in any way, shape or form, a technophobe. I’m somewhere in the middle, skewed closer to the latter perhaps. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to cars, seeing as how the ‘newest’ car I own is probably older than 70% of you reading this. There’s good and bad in that, like there is in everything; the good being my eyes are wide-open in child-like amazement to the inherent wonders of new automotive tech, you could say a lot more than others who have the same technology in their cars already. The bad of course is that I spend way too much time at workshops…

Thus, when I got the call to see if I’d like to have a go at the new BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) after the launch, I figured it was time to get wide-eyed in child-like amazement again. And I wasn’t disappointed. In many ways, from the exterior, the 330e looks like any other F30 3-Series, save for the subtle badging and the charging port on the left (below), which the keen-eyed will be able to spot quite easily.

Not to be mistaken for the fuel-filler (BMW wisely located that as far from the charging port as possible, behind the driver) this is where the similarities of the 330e with its other stablemates abruptly ends.

Under the hood lies a dual-powertrain system comprising a regular IC (internal combustion) 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, twin-turbo engine (BMW TwinPower Technology) coupled with a BMW eDrive Electric Motor, all mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Combined, the 4-cylinder petrol unit alone is capable of producing a 252bhp with a peak torque of 420Nm, while the electric motor, delivers an output of 65 kW/88 hp and is able to travel at a top speed of 120 km/h in pure electric drive. Did I lose you there? I’ll summarize. This thing is MENTAL. Pedal-to-the-metal, with both the IC and electric-motor at full pelt and wide open, the 330e will complete the 0-100kmh dash in a mere 6.1 seconds, and onward to a top-speed of 225kmh.

If you want, yes, you can travel solely (scary-silently I call it) on pure electric power, never once allowing the IC engine to kick-in. In fact, I actually managed to drive from my house to the convenience store and back, without once having the IC engine kick-in, a distance of about 15km return. In this mode, the electric motor just whirrs along silently, and is able to push the 330e to a top-speed of 120kmh, without the IC engine kicking-in. Combined and during regular driving, the 330e returns an astounding fuel-consumption figure of 2.1L per 100km.

When the electric-motor finally gives up the ghost, the engine kicks-in instantaneously and you’ll only hear it coming to life if you have the windows down. Thankfully, the auto start-stop at traffic lights does not alter the cooling efficiency of the a/c, so over-riding it isn’t necessary.

In addition to an external plug-in recharging system, the 330e also recharges itself on the move, up to 80%, and allows the electric-motor to take over even when it’s down to 5%. A blue digital-meter display indicates the remaining distance you can travel on electric power alone. I managed to get it down to 1km before mercifully plugging in its external charger at home.

Speaking of which, I was impressed that the system took a mere 3-hours on the dot to fully charge itself from 4% to 100% using only the home charging-cable that comes with the car (tucked away neatly in the boot) and an aged 12V, 3-pin plug-point in my porch. Fully expecting the old socket to explode, it thankfully didn’t. Cleverly, the car-charging-port locks the charging head into itself if the car is locked, ensuring that nobody can steal your cable. I never thought of that actually, but I should have because these cables aren’t cheap.

I have to admit though, while the country-wide infrastructure for PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) is improving, with more commercial businesses like malls and even the odd R&R installing charging-stations in their parking lots, when it comes to owners themselves and their dwellings, I would find this charging issue a nuisance if I lived in a condo.

I thought about it a lot actually, while the car was being charged up, its facade glowing an undulating blue while being charged, only to turn green when it was fully-charged. If you lived in a condo, it would be troublesome having to find a 12V socket to charge-up the car if there wasn’t one conveniently near where the car is parked in the condo parking lot. And even having found one, what’s stopping kids from being, well, kids, and switching it off just for shits and giggles, or the condo maintenance guy unplugging your car to power-up his floor washing machine or weed-whacker…or his mobile-phone even. Also having to come down later that night to unplug the car and stow the cable… it may seem trivial at first but something tells me this will become a major annoyance for many later on.

However, if you live on landed-property, where the car is securely parked in your own porch, front gate locked and a 12V socket easily accessible, the BMW 330e is definitely a car to consider. Think of it this way; theoretically, it is possible to drive this car to work and back (if the total distance you travel to and fro is about 40-50km) and never having to use the IC engine even once, which means fewer trips to the petrol station. Get home, charge the car up for the next day.

So why not get a full-electric car then you ask? I’ll answer that in two words. Range Anxiety. The infrastructure of our country is nowhere near ready to sustain a fully-electric car, insofar as public charging-ports/stations are concerned, and anyone who says otherwise is lying or probably trying to sell you one. However, with PHEVs like this 330e, if the juice runs out, the IC kicks-in, and you don’t have to even stop.

I can’t say very much about how long the system will run along smoothly and without any issues of course, but looking at BMW Malaysia’s own in-house testing and evaluation of the 330e even before it was launched, combined with their amazing BMW Concierge Service as well as the BMW 360° Electric program, it’s safe to say BMW has its bases covered. Speaking of the aforementioned 360° Electric Program, those who purchase the new 330e will be offered something called the ChargeNow service.

It consists of a ChargeNow card that grants straightforward access to partner charging stations like ChargEV which is offered through BMW Group Malaysia’s partnership with Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia). Currently, ChargEV stations are operational in 19 strategic locations throughout KL, Selangor, Kedah, Melaka, and Johor, with more on the way.

The best thing though, is that BMW has definitely and defiantly thumbed its nose at the overall notion of a PHEV, which are normally associated with rather boring terms like environmental-friendliness, social-responsibility, green earth, saves the whales, etc. etc. etc. Sure, you can do all that with the 330e; sure you can drive ‘clean‘ and leave behind nothing more than tyre marks…

However, should the need arise, should you one day find yourself on a stretch of deserted road that would be sinful to not enjoy the way only a true petrol-head can, well maybe then you’ll realize why the taglines profess ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’ and ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’. They will suddenly, unequivocally make sense, and you’re gonna be chuffed as heck that you bought a BMW 330e…and not a friggin’ Nissan Leaf. – Chris Wee.

(BMW 330e price as tested: RM248,800 – locally assembled)

BMW 330e Photo Gallery…

 

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PSA: Drivers Please Take A Chill Pill Will Ya… https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/129776-psa-drivers-please-take-chill-pill-will-ya/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/129776-psa-drivers-please-take-chill-pill-will-ya/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:13:03 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=129776 These photos have been circulating on social media, and it leaves very little to the imagination… In what apparently became a “death before giving-way” situation, the result is what you can see here. If I were to hazard a guess (duh), I’d say one of those guys up there tried to squeeze in ahead of […]

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These photos have been circulating on social media, and it leaves very little to the imagination… In what apparently became a “death before giving-way” situation, the result is what you can see here. If I were to hazard a guess (duh), I’d say one of those guys up there tried to squeeze in ahead of the other at the Smart Tag Lane (ironic isn’t it?… Smart?) and whoa boy, the other would sooner have his teeth removed with pliers and no anesthetic before letting that happen!

So, this game of automotive ‘chicken’ all boils down to one thing then doesn’t it? Ego. And because of that ego, instead of losing 20sec to give way, it’s a whole day lost making police reports and dealing with (shudder) insurance companies. Not to mention the time lost getting the vehicles fixed later.

Folks, we’re all in this together. We all have the right to use the roads, and sometimes it means having to swallow your pride and just giving-way. It’s not that difficult. With Hari Raya just around the corner, I’m sure these two drivers would love to turn back the clock if they could. One silly decision fuelled by ego, followed by a month or more of hassle at least. Seriously…was it worth it? Rhetorical question.

Be cool on the road, never let your ego take a dominant role when driving, because when that happens, your brains take a backseat.  – Chris Wee.

(Images from Facebook, courtesy of Roger Chia @ RC Motor)

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MID-WEEK FEATURE: The New Honda City Revisited! https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/129363-mid-week-feature-new-honda-city-revisited/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/129363-mid-week-feature-new-honda-city-revisited/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 02:00:39 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=129363 It has been more than 4 months since the new Honda City was launched locally, and in that time, apart from receiving an unprecedented and record-breaking 10,000 bookings in just its first month, the car that offers “C-segment features at a B-segment price” has proven to be a virtually unbeatable proposition in the latter motoring class. […]

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It has been more than 4 months since the new Honda City was launched locally, and in that time, apart from receiving an unprecedented and record-breaking 10,000 bookings in just its first month, the car that offers “C-segment features at a B-segment price” has proven to be a virtually unbeatable proposition in the latter motoring class. But why is that so? Did Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd (HMSB) secretly stash gold bars in the trunk for every buyer? Does the car secretly run on plain water instead of petrol? Were aliens involved in its construction which secretly allows time-travel? Of course not, secretly I’m on drugs…forgive me.

The reason for the colossal success story of the new Honda City can actually be traced back to the very beginning, right back to the mid-2000’s when the second generation Honda City a.k.a. the ‘tadpole‘, was introduced here. Can you remember that far back? Let me refresh your memory on one key-aspect of that introduction: Proton sales took a tremendous hit, losing something unbelievable like 40% sales volume, overnight. And the reason was simple. Honda had introduced a car in the B-segment that was priced incredibly close to what a new Proton in the same segment cost back then. Amortized over a 7-year loan period, the difference in monthly-installments was negligible.

Malaysians, especially those looking for their first car, woke-up to a new era of car buying. Suddenly, buyers found themselves with ‘a non-national option at a national segment price‘. Okay, that one’s mine, I just made that up. Of course it didn’t help them (Proton) much that UMW Toyota almost simultaneously launched the Vios at the time too. I recall writing back then that this was a much-needed wake-up call for Proton, but that’s a different story…

Coming back to the Honda City, it’s now in its 5th generation and it enters the market fully-aware that more than 100,000 units of its predecessor (the 4th generation City was launched here in March 2014) were snapped up in the last 3 years. Why? The runaway success story of the Honda City comes by way of a surprisingly simple formula, one that shares a chromosome or two with the media industry actually, and that is “give the people what they want”.

That’s it really. Over the years Honda has been listening to its customers’ needs and wants, and not surprisingly, everyone unequivocally wanted more-bang-for-their-buck. So that’s exactly what HMSB have been doing, adding more value to the car with their “Man maximum, Machine minimum” design philosophy, that also transcends the ownership experience. Every iteration of the City has produced a better-equipped car. Every. Single. One. And this 5th gen is no different.

So you want LED Daytime-running lights? You got it, in all variants, not just the top of the line. You want Smart Entry with Push-start button, Auto-retractable door wing-mirrors and Dual-tone alloy wheels? You got it, all variants. You want ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill-Start Assist and Emergency Signal Stop? You got it, and again, in all variants, not just the top of the line. Speaking of variants, herein lies the icing on the cake. Despite having three trimline variants – S, E and V – with prices starting at RM76k to RM89k, all variants ‘feel‘ a lot more expensive than they are, even the introductory S model.

This is the biggest selling-point for the Honda City, and one that works really well for HMSB given the target audience. Let’s face it, first-time car buyers will likely not have a lot to spend on a new car, and no one, austere or extravagant, wants to be seen in something that looks, feels and comes across as cheap; despite knowing full-well that’s exactly what they can only afford. The Honda City may be cheap, but nowhere does it look or feel that way.

The recently organised media drive was a real eye-opener for many of us, for not only did we manage to drive the new City extensively, we got to drive a few of its competitors in the same market segment as well, back-to-back. On a specially selected stretch of deserted B-road comprising a nice mix of long sweeping corners and tight chicanes, interspersed with a few inclines and slopes, as well as a few rather nasty off-camber crests, it really was quite remarkable just how much better the Honda felt compared to the others, insofar as instilling driving confidence, ride and handling as well as comfort was concerned. This is no exaggeration, the City is one of the best handling cars in this category, if not the best.

It’s also possessed of NVH levels that are normally associated with a C-segment car, as well as the interior space of a car in a higher segment, not to mention a cavernous 536-litre boot, with the added benefit of 60:40 split-folding rear seats, for those frequently reoccurring trips to Ikea of course. You can read more of the nitty-gritty spec-and-tech details in our previous article here.

In a nutshell, it’s safe to say that Malaysians have indeed done their homework insofar as what to expect from their car purchases, and they’ve become a lot more discerning as well. HMSB has been ardently listening to this shift in consumer needs and wants. They’ve had their ear to the ground and they’ve put together a car so well-equipped and formidable, it’s impossible to not justify it as a worthy entrant to any new car buying decision. And the fact that they’ve been able to maintain the car at a very decent entry-level price proposition is simply amazing.

It’s a no-brainer really, with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty with up to 6 free labour services and a 10,000km service interval, as well as 82 Honda 3S centres nationwide, the Honda City is justified to remain a top-seller. Everyone else is just playing catch-up now. A game-changer? Hell yes. – Chris Wee.

Photo Gallery (Photos by Aaron Lee courtesy of HMSB)

 

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FEATURE: 5 Reasons Why The Infiniti Q60 SC Belongs In Your Garage… https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/127974-feature-5-reasons-infiniti-q60-sc-belongs-garage/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/127974-feature-5-reasons-infiniti-q60-sc-belongs-garage/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 08:55:57 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=127974 First-off, I need to set the record straight. Nobody needs the new Infiniti Q60 Sports Coupe. Nobody. No one. It belongs in the automotive realm reserved purely for wants and not needs. This is not a car one buys for the daily grind – although technically speaking it’s more than up for the task – […]

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First-off, I need to set the record straight. Nobody needs the new Infiniti Q60 Sports Coupe. Nobody. No one. It belongs in the automotive realm reserved purely for wants and not needs. This is not a car one buys for the daily grind – although technically speaking it’s more than up for the task – nay, this car was born and bred for one sole purpose; driving enjoyment. Here are 5 reasons why you don’t need the Q60…. but will really want one….

LOOKS – Let’s face it, this car is gorgeous. Seriously, I was talking to a few like-minded (read “car-mad”) motoring scribes, and all concurred that the Q60 looks unlike anything one would imagine coming from the land of the rising sun. In fact, I was so bold as to suggest that if the Infiniti logo were to be replaced with one bearing a cross-and-serpent, it would pass for that iconic brand, especially from the rear.

To be blunt, this car has one of the finest rear-ends the likes of which JLo and the Kardashians would say “Now that’s a fine looking butt”. Levity aside, just look at it; go ahead I’ll wait… Boasting the kind of curvaceous body-lines one would expect of something from Italy instead of Japan, the Q60 SC is a beautiful car to look at, and very likely, this will be its main selling point. There’s a famous saying that “If you don’t look back after parking, you bought the wrong car…” well, you’re not going to have a problem in that department with the Q60 SC, it’s a sight and a half to behold. Massive 19-inch alloys with 255/40 RF19 tyres just add to the delectably sporty aura of the Q60 SC.

INTERIOR – In typical Infiniti fashion, the Q60 SC is blessed with the kind of interior that adheres to its credo of “Driver-centric, Passenger-minded”. Okay, I’ll admit there is practically zero room for rear passengers, unless your rear passengers have no legs. That said, up-front it’s a different world altogether.

The driver sits snug in a reassuring and almost race-car like position, thanks to the semi-bucket leather-wrapped seats, and with all the necessary controls ergonomically located within easy reach. Once comfy, the driving position is spot-on insofar as conveying the type of car the Q60 SC really is. In fact it’s not much of a stretch of the imagination to call the driving position 911-ish. A 13-speaker BOSE Performance audio system is at hand, just in case what lies beneath the almost phallic-looking bonnet up front becomes too monotonous…

POWERTRAIN – Far from being all-show and no-go, the Q60 SC is powered by a turbocharged (with intercooler) 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve engine with Piezo direct-injection and variable-valve timing, which sends 211bhp and 350Nm of torque to the rear-wheels via a 7-speed automatic g’box with Adaptive Shift Control. Surprisingly though, given the sporty nature of the car, there are no paddle-shifters. Manual gear-shifting can be done though, via the gear-lever, and rev-matching ensures that sporty ‘heel-and-toe’ feeling.

Despite being able to propel its occupants from a standstill to 100kmh in 7.3sec, and topping out at 235kmh, the Q60 SC will still return a respectable 7.5L/100km (combined, claimed) if driven normally. Then again, define normal… A slippery drag-coefficient of 0.29cd adds to the fuel-efficient nature of the Q60 SC.

DRIVETIMETaut, reassuring, comfortable, responsive, powerful. 5 words that best describe the feeling of driving the Q60 SC, which while not blisteringly fast, is still possessed of just the right amount of oomph to keep things interesting. There are 4 Drive-modes to select from; Standard, Snow, Sport & Personal, which allow the driver to either putter around, or pound asphalt.

NVH, one of the things that’s always been the bane of sports-coupes, has been given a total makeover with the Q60 SC. Active Noise Cancellation is also added to further boost the quietness of the interior ambiance, while an Acoustic Windshield further adds to the halt of unwanted cabin sound permeation. The aforementioned 13-speaker (I still have no idea how the engineers were able to hide thirteen speakers and 6-airbags into this cabin) BOSE sound system is remarkably high-quality, and will be a welcome addition for long-haul journeys.

PRICELESS? – The old adage of “you get what you pay for” doesn’t really apply here, because at RM308,800 (with GST plus 7-year unlimited mileage warranty), you’re getting a lot more with the Infiniti Q60 SC, which really is a bargain to be honest. No, really. Yes, 300 grand is a lot of money, but taken as whole, and taking into account what’s being offered with the Q60 SC, it’s justified. C’mon, just look at it…

Think of it this way, Infiniti cars in Malaysia are unique. There aren’t that many on the road, thus exclusivity, something money can’t buy, is a given. And besides, have a gander around. There are much uglier cars out there that cost a lot more money than the Q60, but won’t give you even half the personal satisfaction of owing them like the this car will, so why bother. So much want, in one car. Amazing. – Chris Wee.

Infiniti Q60 Sports Coupe Photo Gallery (Photos by Patrick Seow for Infiniti KL)

 

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First Impression: Kia Grand Carnival [+video] https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/127213-first-impression-kia-grand-carnival-video/ https://cars.lowyat.net/2017/127213-first-impression-kia-grand-carnival-video/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 09:46:38 +0000 https://www.autofreaks.com/?p=127213 Let’s be real here, driving an MPV like the Kia Grand Carnival means that you are a family guy with a large family to haul and regardless of what the advertisement says, it’s not as glamorous or as trendy as driving an SUV. However, there are several reasons why we think the Kia Grand Carnival is […]

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Let’s be real here, driving an MPV like the Kia Grand Carnival means that you are a family guy with a large family to haul and regardless of what the advertisement says, it’s not as glamorous or as trendy as driving an SUV.

However, there are several reasons why we think the Kia Grand Carnival is a compelling choice for a people mover than any seven-seater SUV available in the market. Continue reading below to find out why.

1.Size matters!

Compared to its predecessors, the Kia Grand Carnival has grown in terms of size, measuring 5,115 mm long (+190mm), with a longer wheelbase of 3,060 mmn (+155mm) and much wider at 1,985 mm (+85), but a shorter height of 1,740 mm (-65mm). It is capable of providing ample seating for eight adult passengers including the driver, plus, unlike an SUV, the second-row seat inside this MPV can easily slide forward so don’t have to struggle to climb in an out of the vehicle from the third row seats and travel in style.

2. Family friendly

One of the MPV’s standout features is the smart powered tailgate which opens automatically when the key is sensed in close proximity. This is perfect when you are carrying a bag of groceries in one arm and a toddler on the other because the last thing you want to do in this situation is to dig out the car key from your handbag or pocket.

My other favorite feature found in the Grand Carnival are the power sliding-doors which open automatically via a touch of a button. This makes typically cumbersome tasks like opening heavy minivan doors and going in and out of a tight parking space from the second or third row seats a lot more convenient. In fact, due to its large opening, installing a baby seat is a much easier task.

3. Roomy cabin

The interior quality and fit and finish in the Grand Carvinal is possibly the best that Kia has ever done. The materials and fabric used inside the cabin, especially the beige leather seats available in my test unit here give a brighter and luxurious ambiance to the cabin. Not only that, leather seats are such a life saver for parents because it’s a lot easier to clean than fabric for any accidental drink or food spills.

The interior of the new Grand Carnival has increased legroom space for its passengers. It also has a higher headroom space due to the lower seat cushions and by design, the roof of the Grand Carnival no longer slopes to the tailgate and this allows the third row passengers to have more headroom as well.

However, I won’t recommend claustrophobic (tall) adults to sit in the third row seats because you will feel trapped and there’s hardly have enough room for you to stretch your legs compared to sitting in the second row seats.

As expected, luggage space is impressive, especially if you fold the third-row seats down. It offers 359-litres of cargo room with a deep rear floor, which could swallows the third row seats when being folded flat via its smart ‘sinking’ design. With up to 2,718-litres of cargo space with the rear seats fold flat, you will have enough room to fit a two-seat sofa or to stack four golf bags at the back without compromising sitting space for you and your golfing buddies.

4. A practical MPV

The Grand Carnival is a car designed with a family in mind. Besides providing a spacious cabin, you and your family will be able to enjoy a comfortable journey thanks to its dedicated air-conditioning vents found in each cabin row that allows you to choose and set your desired temperature individually.

Aside from that, front passenger will have access to two glove compartments on the wide dashboard. It allows you to stack small items like water bottles, sun glasses, wallets or even small bags away from curious eyes.

There’s no less than 10 cups or bottle holders available inside the Grand Carnival, besides cubbyholes that allows you to keep small things like toys, iPhones and what not. This makes this MPV practical for the children or even for nights out with your friends.

Given its large size, the Grand Carvinal’s rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors which are fitted as a standard feature in this MPV allows you to park your vehicle more efficiently.

5. Powertrain

The 2.2-litre CRDi turbocharged diesel engine found under the hood of the Grand Carnival delivers a total output of 190hp and 440Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

On first impression, there’s no denying that due to its relatively large size and a high seating position, I felt like I was driving a minivan than a car. However, I had a commanding view of the road ahead and the power delivery is smooth and linear – which makes it reasonably pleasant to drive down the highway at decent speed.

The Grand Carnival serves its purpose well as an MPV by providing its occupants with excellent riding comfort thanks to its the MacPherson front suspension and the multi-link rear suspension that’s tuned for soft and admirably quiet in-car experience. It insulates road bumps and potholes well enough so you can enjoy a relatively plush and relaxed ride, given if there’s no screaming kids in the back.

However, the fact that there’s not much steering feedback and it doesn’t grip well enough around corners with plenty body roll, it could potentially cause its passengers car sickness especially when driving down the twisty routes.

6. Keeping you and your occupants on board safe on the road

Being a family vehicle, safety is course a paramount. The Grand Carnival is fully equipped with all the safety feature you could possibly think of like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assist System (HAC), Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), ISOFIX child seats and 6 airbags to keep its occupants safe on the road. However, safety goes beyond equipping this MPV with all these features. The Grand Carnival feature advanced high strength steel that improves impact resistance, body rigidity and performance as weight is reduced and the collision structure is reinforced.

To fully demonstrate just how good the Grand Carnival can withstand an impact, the folks at Kia has performed their very own crash-test by dropping the MPV vertically from a height of 12.6 meters.

As scary as it sounds, this vertical crash test doesn’t exactly look as violent as a regular frontal collision would – not to mention a collision with another car, instead of a stationary object. To give you a rough idea, dropping the minivan from a height of 12.6 meters is the same as putting it though a 56 km/h regular crash test.

Thanks to the Grand Carnival’s high strength chassis, this minivan looks like one really tough cookie to crack where the safety zone remains almost unaffected, protecting the passengers inside the cabin.

You can watch the crash test via the YouTube link down below:

7. Conclusion

Buying the Kia Grand Carnival means that you have accepted the fact that your family is more important than you. With all the goodies it offers power sliding door and smart tailgate, this MPV is well thought out for people seeking a luxury MPV like no other. I also like the fact that this car is aptly named Grand Carnival because you can literally have a “Carnival” with your loved ones or friends in this MPV thanks to its spacious and luxurious cabin. If you are in the market for a proper people carrier, the Grand Carnival is a much better option than purchasing an overwhelming variety of SUVs available in the market. 

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