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  • Ford Ranger Wildtrak facelift – est. price RM136k

    2015 Ford Ranger Wildtrak - Ocean

    The facelifted Ford Ranger T6 will be making its official debut in Malaysia very soon, and we’ve already seen photos of the refreshed pick-up in Ford showrooms. No hint of pricing yet on the regular Ranger, but an indicative price list on the Ranger Wildtrak facelift has emerged.

    The list is obviously not final, as all the other fields save the on-the-road retail price with insurance are empty, but the tentative figure being bandied for the range-topping 3.2L Wildtrak variant is reportedly RM136,200. If it does turn out to be the case, then it’s an increase of around RM17k from the pre-facelift Wildtrak.

    Nothing is of course set in stone yet, so we’ll have to wait until the truck is revealed to know just how much more it will cost. Back in August, we were told that the pricing for the Ranger was set to go up, roughly by around 3%, but the Ringgit’s performance against the US Dollar has worsened even more since then.

    The facelifted Ranger Wildtrak was revealed in June. The vehicle wears a similar looking front end to the rest of the lineup, but like the outgoing Wildtrak, the grille and bumper extension are painted dark metallic grey, with the faux skid plate in silver. Grey also finds its way on to the wing mirrors, side air vents, door handles, bed rails and tail light internals, as does a Wildtrak graphics package.

    As with the third-gen U375 Everest SUV, the truck is powered by the familiar Puma P5AT 3.2 litre five-cylinder Duratorq, continuing on as before with 197 hp at 3,000 rpm and 470 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm, but now with a reworked EGR system for better efficiency. The mill is paired with a 6R80 six-speed automatic.

    According to the spec sheet, only two exterior colours will be available for the Wildtrak, and these are Cool White and the hero orange hue, which has been revised for the facelift – the 2015 shade is called Pride Orange, and replaces the previous Chilli Orange signature shade.

    Interior kit includes a SYNC2 eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a dual-TFT LCD instrument cluster as well as a 230-volt power socket for charging laptops and the like. Also on the list, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and black-and-orange Wildtrak fabric seats with leather inserts, complete with orange stitching.

    Plenty of safety kit and driver assist electronic aids, and these include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Alert (which warns of an impending collision and primes the brakes) as well as Lane Departure Warning and Assist. We’ll have more on the facelifted Ford Ranger T6 when it debuts, so stay tuned.

  • Proton invested over RM18 billion in R&D since 1983

    2014_Top_Five_Proton_Iriz_MT_ 005

    Proton Holdings has invested a total of over RM18 billion in R&D (research and development) since its establishment in 1983, according to the firm’s chief technical officer, Abdul Rashid Musa. In relation, the nation’s first car manufacturer has also managed to curb monetary outflow beyond the country by as much as RM200 billion via the sales of more than four million vehicles.

    The company has also “contributed RM20 billion in taxes to the government through the sales and service tax,” Rashid told members of the media at the preview of its Alami Proton carnival last week. During the preview, Rashid also went on to state notable highlights of the company’s achievement throughout the years, including the debut of its first in-house designed car, the Proton Waja, in 2000.

    Additionally, the briefing session also highlighted the fact that Malaysia remains one of only 14 countries in the world with the capabilities and resources to engineer, develop and assemble its local vehicles. Also, Malaysia is one of only six countries in the world to possess Hot Press Forming (HPF) technology.

    Click to enlarge images.

    The manufacturer also had to undergo several challenges throughout its existence with the liberalisation of the nation’s economy as well as having to comply with ever-tightening safety and emissions regulations. Despite said obstacles, Rashid remained adamant that Proton products were “undeniably” good cars.

    He used the local taxi fleet, which is comprised mainly of Proton cars, as an example of its reliability. “The mileage of taxis is five to ten times more compared to ordinary usage and if the vehicle is not good, it won’t be able to withstand gruelling day-to-day use,” said Rashid.

    Separately, Proton chairman, Tun Mahathir, recently declared that all future Proton models will adhere to the Euro 5 emissions standard. “We have not reached Euro 5 (standards) yet. Not that we cannot, but the costs involved are high. That’s the problem. People still think that Proton cars are low tech and cheap. Now, that’s no longer true,” he stated during the Alami Proton carnival over the weekend.

    GALLERY: 2016 Proton Perdana previewed at Alami Proton 2015

    GALLERY: Proton Pick-up Concept showcased

  • Proton Iriz and Exora 1.3 turbo, six-speed manual prototypes with 140 hp and 190 Nm previewed

    2015-proton-iriz-1.3-turbo-prototype- 001

    Just in case you missed out on the “Advanced tour” of Proton’s Research and Development facility at the Alami Proton event last weekend, here are some juicy details of a new prototype powertrain that is said to be well on its way to being produced for local use.

    Amidst the R&D tour, in the powertrain development and testing area, we came across this Iriz and Exora prototypes being displayed.

    Yes, they’re both familiar models, but as you may have figured out from the headline already, these are both equipped with a 1.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed Getrag manual transmission, marking the first Proton turbo-manual pairing since the idea was first suggested by the company, way before the debut of the Iriz, even.

    Fortunately, Proton representatives there were able to share some insights about the “demo” models on display here. For one, they’re both fully functional, and have already been through a significant amount of testing. But while they are road-ready, they aren’t finished products ready for sale just yet.

    Secondly, we were told that the finished products, those that would be ready for sale, could be launched in our local market sometime within the next two years. Clearly, what we’re looking at here is more a matter of “when,” rather than “if,” it will come to market.

    Now, let’s talk power and performance. The prototype Proton powertrain is rated to have an output of 140 hp at 5,750 rpm, and 190 Nm of torque from a low 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. By comparison, that’s 33 hp and 40 Nm more than the current top-shelf Iriz’s naturally-aspirated 1.6 VVT engine, which is capable of 107 hp/150 Nm. A new intercooler is located alongside the radiator, clearly visible through the lower intake.

    Naturally, there’s also the promise of the new turbo mill being a lot quicker off the line. With the current 1.6 litre Iriz only managing to perform the century sprint in 11.1 seconds, the prototype Iriz 1.3 turbo here would take just 8.7 seconds to do the deed.

    Simple math shows that the 1.3 turbo mill not only gives this Iriz more torque than any of the model’s existing variants in the market today, it also reaches its max torque output (190 Nm) far earlier (1,800 rpm) than the current 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated VVT engine’s 4,000 rpm, and is able to sustain max torque all the way up to 5,000 rpm.

    No stranger to turbocharged power itself, there was also an example of the Proton Exora equipped with the same prototype powertrain, displayed alongside the Iriz. Although, it does look like Proton has rushed to get this out the door quickly – check out the gear lever which sticks out of the floor here, instead of out the dash like it normally does.

    Currently, the locally-available Exora can be had with or without turbocharged engines – a pick between a naturally-aspirated 125 hp/150 Nm 1,597 cc CPS, and a turbocharged 138 hp/205 Nm 1,561 cc CFE. With the same engine seen in the Iriz prototype, the 1.3 turbo in this Exora is rated for 140 hp at 5,750 rpm, and 190 Nm from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. Its intercooler remains in the same position as it was in the CFE – just behind the air intake on the left of the front bumper.

    It’s interesting to see how Proton has developed the lower-displacement 1.3 turbo engine to produce even more horsepower than the current 1.6 CFE, while also getting very close torque figures. And still, don’t forget that the new 1.3 litre turbo arrives at max torque earlier (by 200 rpm) than the 1.6 CFE, and sustains it through to much higher revs (1,800 to 5,000 rpm). The Exora sustains its max torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, while the CFE also wins one back by arriving at its max power (138 hp at 5,000 rpm) 750 rpm sooner than the prototype 1.3 turbo does.

    How do you feel about the prospect of a Proton Iriz and Exora with 1.3 turbo power and a six-speed manual transmission?

    Proton Iriz 1.3 turbo, six-speed manual prototype

    Proton Exora 1.3 turbo, six-speed manual prototype

  • VIDEO: 2016 Honda Civic exterior, interior walkaround

    The 2016 Honda Civic Sedan was officially revealed in the US last month and it looks like media in the region are starting to get their hands on the tenth-gen car. Here, gives us a walkaround of the Civic’s exterior and interior, with a demo of the head unit and instrument panel.

    Yes, this is the new Civic Sedan despite the unfamiliar fastback shape. There’s still a boot, even if the lid is extremely short. LED headlights with LED daytime running lights flank a grille with a thick chrome bar, and the wheels look pretty similar to the City’s alloys in design. They’re not the same items though, with five lugs and measuring 17 inches in diameter.

    The rear end is dominated by those distinctive C-shaped LED tail lamps, and there’s a prominent integrated spoiler with a slim lip on it.

    The new Civic is 51 mm wider and 25 mm lower, with a wheelbase that’s longer by 30.5 mm. Here, we can see the enlarged boot (by 74 litres) and the rear quarters, where legroom is said to have been increased by 51 mm. The cabin is 105 litres larger.

    Up front, the video shows us the Civic’s new digital instrument cluster, which features a central rev counter with a a digital speedo within. It pans to the steering, which has buttons for phone functions, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. The volume control is a departure from the norm; is that a button or do you slide your thumb on it? The latter, perhaps.

    The seven-inch HD touchscreen head unit is familiar in design, but it incorporates feed from Honda LaneWatch here, and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability. Also seen is the gear lever area, which has an Econ button and an electronic parking brake. Auto air con, too, with seat warmers for the US.

    This new generation will spawn coupe (previewed by that green NYC concept) and hatchback versions, and possibly a wagon for Europe, but this is the car that Asean will be getting in the near future. There will be a Type R variant for this bodystyle, too. What’s your impression?

  • Private vehicles offering Uber services to be blacklisted, banned from renewing road tax – report


    Private vehicles caught offering Uber services will be blacklisted with respective owners then barred from renewing its road tax, according to a report by theSun. The English-language daily states that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has finally found a solution to the ongoing problem with illegal taxis without having to resort to undercover operations – or depending on traps set up by other taxi drivers.

    “For example, after a certain private car has been identified from the digital log in the Uber app alongside solid evidence of video and photo of their operations, the authority will then send out a notice to the car owner to attend an ‘interview’ with the SPAD enforcement division,” a government source told the publication.

    “They are also required to bring along the alleged cars for inspection,” added said source. The highlighted vehicles may then be subject to confiscation as a result of the violation of the Land Public Transport Act 2010. Should the owner fail to turn up his/her car, the commission will then “send out another notice and if there is still no response, SPAD will utilise all available channels to locate the private vehicle.”


    The blacklisting process which, as mentioned, involves banning the owners from renewing the car’s road tax will executed in conjunction with the Road Transport Department (JPJ). “SPAD is using the same method that police employ to get traffic offenders to settle outstanding summonses,” said the source.

    As to why this particular method was employed specifically on Uber operatives, a senior SPAD official commented that “this (the method) is due to the limitation in using the credit cards for Uber. Once a driver is nabbed, Uber will immediately blacklist the credit card of the passenger. This hampers our operations to nab more Uber drivers. But we will also apply this method for GrabCar soon.”

    In a separate incident last week, a group of taxi drivers held another protest outside the headquarters of SPAD in Kelana Jaya. Said gathering saw the assembled drivers hand over a memorandum to the body. Since the start of 2015, The Star has reported that a total of 225 illegal taxis have been seized.

  • DRIVEN: B9 Audi A4 – handsome suit, inner beauty

    Audi A4 B9 Venice Review 76

    Priorities change as we enter different phases in life. The good ol’ hot hatch is the weapon of choice for the young and dangerous, before a premium-badged sport sedan becomes the dream reward for that big career break. Those who are less enthusiast and more practical have their own automotive ladder to climb – think Myvi-Vios-Camry or the Mazda equivalent illustrated by this nice timeline video. More or less.

    Now, this writer may be a little more stagnant than Joe Corporate, but even I had the impure thought of a fast but plush luxury express; one to chariot you from A to B, back to A again before heading across town to C for dinner, with minimum sweat.

    You know what I’m talking about, those days when the clock is a cheat and other motorists are conspiring with traffic lights to impede your progress. And of course, that motorcycle.

    After four manuals (three are still around), surely I have paid my dues to the Stick Shift Club and earned the right to point and shoot, no? This recent mood has also led to my revaluation of the sport sedan. Key question: What makes the ideal premium compact exec?

    Like a psychic, Audi reserved a slot for us at the international media drive of the all-new Audi A4. Driving the B9 around Venice last week has helped me see clearer, and here are our findings.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • “Soon, all Proton cars will adhere to Euro 5 standard,” says Tun Mahathir, but “prices may go up”

    Proton_Pick-up_Concept_ 010

    Proton chairman Tun Mahathir has declared that all Proton models will soon adhere to the Euro 5 emissions standard. Sounds like good news, right? But that’s not all that he said.

    “We have not reached Euro 5 (standards) yet. Not that we cannot, but the costs involved are high. That’s the problem. People still think that Proton cars are low tech and cheap. Now, that’s no longer true,” he told the press today.

    Tun M further explained that, “soon, all Proton cars will be Euro 5, but it will take time. Then, prices will go up, but I’m confident that those who drive Proton cars now will feel just how much the performance has improved. We’ve certainly made progress, on par with other automotive brands.

    “At the moment, Malaysia is not quite ready for a slightly more expensive, but higher tech Proton. Our Iriz EV can go up to more than 300 km on a single charge, which is higher than other EVs that are more expensive, and with bigger battery packs. But prices will not be cheap,” he added.

    Proton has plans to export the Iriz EV to the European markets, with the assistance of electric vehicle tax breaks in certain countries. “This will also allow us to export our existing cars that don’t yet adhere to Euro 5 standard, with the help of models with zero emissions,” concluded the company founder.

    The Proton Iriz that is currently sold meets Euro 4 regulations, said Tun M at the B-segment hatchback’s launch almost exactly a year ago. Back then, he mentioned that “meeting Euro 5 requires a new engine. We may have to source the engine from abroad so as to comply with Euro 5 standards.”

    We found out shortly after that the foreign powerplant under consideration is actually a diesel engine. It was mentioned last year that the Iriz would be exported to the UK, Australia and Europe. The company has since gone quiet on this matter, so we’ll have to wait and see if any of it will come to fruition.

    Speaking of current Proton prices, Tun Mahathir commented that “now with the (Malaysian) currency down, import and material costs are higher. We will still try to maintain the prices, but I don’t know for how long. I think other companies are also suffering.”

  • Proton to stick to existing model names – Perdana in Q1 2016, new Persona and Saga later in the year

    2016_Proton_Perdana_preview_ 002

    We had a quick chat with Tun Mahathir earlier today after he previewed the company’s upcoming 2016 Perdana. The Proton chairman revealed that the local carmaker’s future cars will stick to existing model names, which is certainly good news indeed.

    “As for new models, we will no longer change our names. We will stick to the same familiar names, but with upgraded technologies and looks. So in the future, you will see new versions of the Saga, Persona and Perdana, and maybe one or two more,” said the former prime minister.

    Proton CEO Datuk Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, meanwhile, added that the new 2016 Proton Perdana will be launched in the first quarter of next year. New versions of the Persona and Saga will follow later on in 2016, in that order.


    Asked to comment on the new Perdana’s looks, Tun Mahathir said that, “we have shown it to some people, our dealers and vendors. Their first reaction was ‘wow’. It’s different from the old models. It looks like a completely new car, not just a rebranding exercise.

    “Previously, we used to take a foreign car and restyled the front logo, and maybe a bit of the rear. This new Perdana is different. The entire car is new,” he concluded.

  • 2016 Proton Perdana – first official preview, details


    Here it is, boys and girls, our first official look at the 2016 Proton Perdana. The local carmaker is previewing its upcoming D-segment sedan at the on-going Alami Proton event in Shah Alam, which is open to the public this weekend. Early signs are positive, to say the least.

    Firstly, surprise – it does not look like the “Proton Perdana” that made a cameo in the movie Filem Kapsul recently. Proton has now said that the vehicle shown in the local film is an earlier “work in progress,” and not the new sedan’s final form.

    Proton Chairman Tun Mahathir unveiled little snippets of the finalised car. The front and rear corners were shown for brief moments, revealing the Perdana’s front fog lamp design and the full rear LED light cluster. There appears to be a thick chrome line running across the back, combining the two rear lights.


    As speculated before, the exhaust pipe is fully integrated into the rear bumper design. An intricate five triple-spoke two-tone alloy wheel can also be seen. The bright red shade shown here is said to be one of five colour options that will be offered.

    A sole teaser/preview image is also shown, revealing a very distinctive headlamp design that appears to have a solid strip of LED daytime running lights, as opposed to the individual diodes used on the Iriz Premium. You can expect it to feature Proton lettering over the single projector bezel, as previously seen on the Iriz.

    What’s also apparent is that the front fender panel appears to be more curvaceous compared to the original car’s simpler styling. The Perdana has bonnet strakes too, presumably leading down to the Proton logo, while the Accord had a flatter design.

    2016_Proton_Perdana_preview_ 001

    Look closely enough, and you can see that the front door handle (itself completely redesigned) has a button for keyless entry – a feature that the donor Accord did not have. The tapering, teardrop-shaped glasshouse, meanwhile, suggests that the Perdana will indeed have a fastback-like profile, not unlike the Jaguar XJ.

    Back to the covered car, what can be seen are the car’s basic silhouette, shark-fin antenna, prominent bootlid spoiler and sharp protrusions of the head- and taillamps. We can just about make out that there are fender vents just aft of the front wheels.

    It’s clear now that the new Perdana will indeed get its own looks, a departure from the eight-generation Honda Accord on which it is based. Well, that’s what Proton has been saying all along after all. As for the interior, we’ll just have to wait and see how different it looks.

    2016_Proton_Perdana_preview1_ 004

    We’ve also been informed that the finished article will measure 4,999 mm end to end, which is quite a bit longer than the original Accord (4,849 mm). It’s a really big car, this one.

    Market roll-out will be sometime in the first quarter of 2016, according to Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah. Another important piece of information is that the 2016 Perdana will be built in Proton’s Medium Volume Factory in Shah Alam, alongside the Exora MPV. The current government-use Perdana, meanwhile, is assembled in Honda Malaysia’s Melaka plant.

    Engine wise, it’s set to retain Honda’s 154 hp/189 Nm R20A3 2.0 and 177 hp/222 Nm K24Z2 2.4 litre i-VTEC engines – for now, at least. Both engines will be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. No CVT to be seen here, fortunately enough.

    That’s all we have for now on the 2016 Proton Perdana. Stay tuned to for more information, in due time. For now, do share with us your thoughts – do you like what you see so far?

  • Proton Pick-up Concept debuts: an Exora-based truck!

    Proton_Pick-up_Concept_ 001

    This one came as a surprise, all right. Simply called the Proton Pick-up Concept, this bizarre design study is now on display at the Proton Styling Studio, which is currently open to the public as part of this weekend’s Alami Proton event. Until we broke the news yesterday, we bet no one would have expected this, right?

    The Ford F-150 Raptor-inspired front end is attached to the body of what is undoubtedly a Proton Exora MPV. What gave it away? Just take a look at the familiar A-pillar and front doors. If that’s not telling enough, a peek through the darkened windows reveals an Exora dashboard.

    Nevermind that, the entire front fascia has been reworked to incorporate a gaping grille with honeycomb-like elements. Within said assembly, a thick silver bar spans the entire length of the front, with thin strips of LEDs embedded at each end. As far as trucks go, this is as distinctive as it gets.

    Round the back, the Proton Pick-up Concept has a high-ish and short truck bed – similar in profile to the Ssangyong Actyon Sports. Nothing familiar about the styling, however, with tiny little brake lights housed within thick dark grey mouldings that wrap around the rear tailgate. No one is going to miss what make this is, that’s for sure.

    There’s no word yet on whether this is purely a design study, or if there are any plans to bring such a vehicle into production. Proton has once managed to develop and market a pick-up vehicle based on an existing model – the Wira-based Arena – so perhaps the idea of a pick-up truck built on the Exora platform isn’t such a far fetched idea after all.

    It’s worth mentioning that while most pick-ups are built on a ladder-frame chassis, monocoque-based trucks – which this one will be, if based on the Exora – do exist, albeit sparsely, such as the Honda Ridgeline and Australia’s low-riding utes. A front-wheel drive truck is more than a little unconventional, though.

    When asked why Proton decided to make a pick-up concept, Proton’s Head of Design Azlan Othman told us that “it’s very simple. Looking at how successful the Jumbuck (the Arena in Australia) was, there’s no reason for us not to look at segments where we were once profitable.” Do note, though, that no real decision has been made regarding its production feasibility just yet.

    In any case, do tell us what you think of the Proton Pick-up Concept. Love it, hate it, want it, do make yourself heard in the comments section below.


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