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  • Honda City Hybrid unveiled in Japan as Honda Grace


    The highly anticipated Honda City Hybrid has been unveiled in Japan, where it will be badged as the Honda Grace – a hybrid-only model. This is the same hybrid sedan model announced at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, which has since been confirmed for the Malaysian market.

    Revealed on Honda’s domestic website, the Grace looks pretty much identical to the 2014 Honda City that we know. It has a few unique bits though – the blue-tinged bar under the grille (a common theme among Honda’s hybrids), the option for twin-projector LED headlights, LED taillamps, and a small bootlid spoiler.

    Top-spec versions get the same 16-inch wheels that we have here, while others get a new 15-inch design. Also visible are aeroblade-type windscreen wipers, as opposed to the conventional units on the City. Inside, changes are limited to a new set of instrument cluster and the small gearknob shared with the Jazz Hybrid.

    Little has been revealed regarding what’s under the hood, other than that it’s a Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) unit. It’s more than likely that it will be the same package offered on the Jazz Hybrid and Vezel/HR-V Hybrid models – a 110 PS/134 Nm 1.5 litre i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle engine and a 29.5 PS/160 Nm electric motor built into a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission. Cooling vents for the lithium-ion battery can be seen by the rear seats, just like on the Civic Hybrid.

    A locally-assembled Honda City Hybrid will enjoy tax-free privileges here in Malaysia, at least until the end of 2015 at current regulations. If it gets here in time, it should have a very interesting price range. Could it undercut the top-spec City 1.5 V’s RM90,800 price tag?

    We’ll only know Japan pricing and further details for the new Grace Hybrid when the car hits the showrooms in early December this year.

  • DRIVEN: Renault Clio RS 200 EDC – a softer focus

    Renault Clio IV RS 1

    You know the world has changed when the French have caved in. The idea that a tricoleur hot hatch not being shod with a manual transmission may sound downright sacrilegious, but here it is. That it’s a Renault Clio RS that taken that walk is even more staggering, considering the lineage.

    There’s no need to look as far as the insane Clio II V6 RS to go all evocative (or misty-eyed, if you’re a Renault fan). The 14 years and four output tunes (172/182/197/200 hp) of the previous Clio RS’ generations have always adhered to the same formula – three-doors, free-revving NA mills and cogs you had to row through by hand. The resultant drives were lively, a bit raw around the edges, but always engaging, everything you’d expect from a hot hatch.

    But this is the present, and the present has no place for heritage or sentiment. The stick shift is gone, but it isn’t the only thing that has paid the price in the move for progress. The three-door theme has also been ditched in favour of offering better accessibility through five openings, and things are no longer normally-aspirated – the blown route is via a shared Japanese motor, no less.

    Not revolutionary moves, by any measure, if it were anyone else, but here It all adds up to a massive paradigm shift, one meant to open the car up to a much wider audience. The question is, does the fourth-generation Clio RS 200 EDC retain the flavour of its predecessors even if the recipe has changed, and is that new tangent enough to attract more followers?

    The lowdown on the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC, here.

  • Mazda 2 SkyActiv-D to be first diesel Thai eco car; sedan body set for BKK world debut next month


    Here’s some news zooming in from the Land of Smiles, half of it relevant to Malaysia. Bangkok Post reports that the Mazda 2 Sedan will be making its world debut at the upcoming Thai Motor Expo. The 2014 edition of the annual year end show will open at the end of November. Thai sales start in January 2015.

    This piece of info confirms what we’ve suspected after various sightings of test mules racking up miles in Thailand, and word that the Thai-assembled Mazda 2 Sedan will be priced at RM85,xxx in Malaysia. Revealing local tech sheet aside, we’ve also featured renderings of the booted Mazda 2 whipped up by Theophilus Chin, which you can view here.


    Mazda 2 Sedan dimensions compared with other B-segment sedans – click to enlarge chart

    The second part is big news for Thais, who will get their first diesel-powered eco car in the form of the Mazda 2 SkyActiv-D. The eco car standard is 23.3 km/l and 100 g/km of CO2 emissions, and the Mazda 2 diesel will meet it – the 105 hp 1.5 litre diesel engine, when paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox and auto stop-start, does 26.4 km/l in the Japanese cycle.

    No prices were mentioned, but the English language daily mentions the Honda Jazz (non eco car B-segment rival) as a price benchmark for the diesel 2, and points us to the 600,000 to 750,000 baht (RM60,669 to RM75,837) range. Mazda has intentions to export the diesel 2 to Australia and Europe from Thailand. Malaysia? No chance with our Euro 2 diesel.

    Check out our test drive report of the new Mazda 2 and our IIMS 2014 gallery for an idea of what to expect.

    Mazda 2 Hatchback at the 2014 Indonesia International Motor Show

  • Nissan NV350 Urvan 14-seater van launched – RM110k


    The Nissan NV350 Urvan has been launched by Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM), with the 14-seater microbus priced at RM109,800 (Peninsular Malaysia) on-the-road with insurance. The NV350 Urvan comes powered by a 2.5 litre turbocharged diesel engine and is paired to a five-speed manual transmission.

    “This multi-purpose commercial vehicle provides transportation for business and leisure purposes, and now has a new and more powerful diesel powertrain with improved fuel efficiency to add on to its modern styling, comfort, and safety features,” said Tan Keng Meng, director of marketing and product planning for ETCM.

    Imported from Japan, the NV350 is the successor to the current Nissan Urvan, boasting improved engine noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels compared to its predecessor. From an aesthetic point of view, the new Urvan sports a front grille similar in design to the Nissan Navara pick-up truck.

    Step inside and the highlight of the interior is a 3.5-inch multi-function display that provides real-time data on fuel consumption, a gear-shift indicator to advise drivers on when to change up, odometer and trip meter figures. The car is equipped with ABS and Brake Assist.

    The Nissan NV350 Urvan comes with a three-year or 100,000 km warranty.

  • AD: Drive home a demonstrator Jaguar or Land Rover model with Jaguar Land Rover’s Ex-Demo Campaign!

    jaguar xf - 2

    Here’s your chance to drive home a Jaguar or a Land Rover at unbeatable prices thanks to Jaguar Land Rover’s Ex-Demo Campaign. For the Jaguar ex-demonstrator range, you can drive away a Jaguar XF from RM339,000 while the range-topping Jaguar XJ is going for RM529,000 onwards.

    If driving an SUV is your cup of tea, you will be happy to know that a demonstrator Land Rover Freelander 2 is going for RM239,888 while the sassy Range Rover Evoque starts at RM339,888 for the petrol Prestige variant while the petrol Dynamic trim can be yours from RM349,888.


    This special promo is also extended to the Land Rover Discovery 4 which starts from RM389,888. The top-of-the-line Range Rover is carrying an RM699,888 price tag for a demonstrator unit. All demonstrator models are offered with their respective Warranty & Free Maintenance Packages.

    This promo is valid at Sime Darby Auto Connexion as well as Sisma Auto outlets, while stocks last. For more information, you can contact the dealerships below:

    Sime Darby Auto Connexion (Petaling Jaya): +603-7946 3800
    Sime Darby Auto Connexion (Jalan Ipoh): +603-6253 6888
    Sime Darby Auto Connexion (Kota Kinabalu): +608-8425 355
    Sisma Auto (Glenmarie): +603-5569 3311
    Sisma Auto (Kuala Lumpur): +603-2166 5155

    * Terms and conditions apply.


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  • Ford Fiesta ST displayed at Asia Klasika – RM149,888

    ford-fiesta-st-previewed-asia-klasika 286

    We bring you live shots of the Ford Fiesta ST from the Asia Klasika 2014 event at the Pullman Putrajaya Hotel, where the car is being previewed this weekend.

    There are four units here today – two in Spirit Blue and the other two in Molten Orange. Two are on static display while the other pair, wearing trade plates, are being offered for short test drives.

    Under the bonnet sits a 1.6 litre EcoBoost turbocharged engine offering 182 PS at 5,700 rpm and 240 Nm (290 Nm of time-limited overboost) from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm. Coupled solely to a B6 six-speed manual transmission, the hot-hatch gets to 100 km/h from rest in 6.9 seconds and carries on towards a 224 km/h top speed.

    Fully imported (CBU) from Cologne, Germany, the Ford Fiesta ST is priced at RM149,888, OTR with insurance (or RM145,842 without insurance). Offered is a three-year/100,000 km warranty. Read the run-down on the full specifications here.

    Malaysian-market Ford Fiesta ST specifications

    Ford Fiesta ST on display at Asia Klasika 2014

  • Indonesia to change fuel subsidies before end of year


    Seems we’re not the only ones in the region planning to rationalise fuel subsidies of late – according to Reuters, Indonesia’s new government is set to make changes to its petrol and diesel subsidies before the end of the year.

    The republic’s chief economics minister Sofyna Djalil told the news agency that the government is planning a fuel price hike of 3,000 rupiah (RM0.82) for possibly as early as November 1, and that policy correction will be done before the year is up at the latest.

    Djalil, an advisor to newly-sworn in President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi), had said before that the current subsidies were not reaching their intended target group, but declined to comment further this time, Reuters reports.

    The new minority coalition government has to deal with a US$23 billion (RM75.48 billion) fuel subsidy bill – Indonesia’s biggest fiscal problem. The subsidy regime is the main contributor to the budget and current account deficits faced by South East Asia’s biggest economy.


    Finance minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told Reuters that the trade ministry will introduce policies to curb any rise in inflation, and that sections of society most affected by any subsidy changes will be compensated for.

    According to the news agency, petrol prices went up by 44% last year, but outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono avoided ordering another hike this year, despite a weakening fiscal position.

    Officials within Jokowi’s government have said that any money saved from reduced subsidies would be spent on projects in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, education, and health.

    Meanwhile, it was reported recently that the auto industries of Malaysia and Indonesia could collaborate on an ASEAN car, and that Proton is expected to be involved. Jokowi was said to have expressed interest in the project.

  • Hyundai’s motor integrated six-speed auto for hybrids


    Hyundai has announced a new six-speed automatic transmission for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) at the company’s annual International Powertrain Conference in Namyang, South Korea.

    The new six-speed automatic gearbox integrates the electric motor and is said to apply a number of new technologies that deliver tangible benefits to the customer. The new unit will be fitted to future Hyundai hybrids, including the upcoming new Sonata Hybrid.

    The set-up means that almost all of the hybrid powertrain components are contained within the transmission, minimising energy losses and increasing fuel economy.

    A new traction motor and electric oil pump (EOP) have been fitted, while the torque converter has been removed completely. A lighter torsion damper, and new engine clutch, which features fewer clutch discs, reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power.

    The most significant change is within the oil pump system. It achieves improved fuel efficiency by removing the mechanical oil pump causing hydraulic losses and by applying a new electric oil pump which automatically optimises the system according to driving conditions.

    With fewer components, the new transmission weighs 130 kg (wet) – making it lighter than its previous version – yet still delivers 280 Nm of torque.

  • AD: Enjoy 0% interest and win prizes worth over RM100,000 when you test drive any Renault model!


    TC Euro Cars Sdn Bhd, the official distributor of Renault in Malaysia, is now offering special 0% interest financing when you purchase any Renault model, from now till December 31, 2014! This special promotion is applicable to all Renault models including the Renault Fluence sedan, the Renault Koleos SUV as well as the high-performance 200 hp Renault Clio RS and the 265 hp Renault Megane RS.

    That’s not all. You will also put yourself in the running to win prizes collectively worth more than RM100,000 when you test drive any of the models mentioned above. Prizes up for grabs includes a Samsung 48” LED Smart TV, a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone and more.

    renault fluence

    You will also enjoy peace of mind motoring with three years, or 100,000 km of warranty with all Renault models. With the Renault Fluence, the deal is sweetened with five years of manufacturer’s warranty (unlimited mileage) and five years of free service including a courtesy car for service jobs that take more than two days.

    For more information about this special promo, please call +603-7956 3013 or visit or the brand’s official Renault Malaysia Facebook page.


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  • VIDEO: Honda Civic Type R stars in ‘The OtheR Side’

    The hotly-anticipated return of the Honda Civic Type R is coming next year, and to hype the launch of the upcoming hot hatch – promising to be “the most extreme and high-performing model to wear the famous ‘Red H’ badge” – still further, Honda Europe has launched a heart-pumping interactive film on YouTube called ‘The Other Side’, starring the blood-red Geneva 2014 concept.

    The near-three-minute dual-video campaign, shot by acclaimed commercials and music video director Daniel Wolfe and scored by Bobby Krlic of The Haxan Cloak, showcases the duality of the Civic as well as the Honda brand as a whole – one side representing the company’s traditional reputation for engineering excellence, technology and reliability; the other of high performance carved from its years of racing heritage.


    Two stories are portrayed in parallel in the two films. The first video sees a family man in a white Civic picking his daughter up from school in the daytime, while the second shows the same man participating in an art heist at night in the aforementioned Type R. Despite the contrasting tone, both films mirror each other in composition, and viewers can switch between the two by holding down the ‘R’ key on their keyboard.

    There are surprise endings to both these videos (we won’t spoil them for you!) so head on to to experience them yourself.

    Honda Civic Type R Concept at Paris 2014
    2015 Honda Civic


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