Latest Stories

  • Nissan Pavilion – pay parking with your EV’s electricity

    Nissan has just opened a new brand showcase space, Nissan Pavilion, a stone’s throw away from its headquarters in Yokohama. Among the novel technologies being presented at the exhibition is the ability to use the energy from your electric vehicle, rather than money, to pay for parking.

    The company said it’s using the venue to show how it can move people to create a better world. Its Nissan Energy Share and Nissan Energy Storage technologies allow electricity from EV batteries to be stored, shared and repurposed – it’s putting them to good use at the pavilion by using Leafs and solar energy to power the Nissan Chaya Cafe off the grid.

    Spanning 10,000 square metres, the Nissan Pavilion provides a variety of activities for visitors, including virtual rides in a Formula E car and the new Ariya electric SUV, as well as virtual tennis matches with brand ambassador and Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka. They can also experience the ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system and Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) augmented reality technology there.

    The Mobility Hub also offers EV car-sharing and rental bicycles, provided by both Nissan and the local community. The Nissan Pavilion is a temporary venue, open to the public from August 1 to October 23.

  • Honda trademarks CR-Z name in US, what’s going on?

    What’s going on here? Media in the US have discovered Honda filing a recent trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for the CR-Z name. As we all know, the Honda CR-Z – the hybrid-powered spiritual successor to the CR-X of the 80s – bowed out in mid-2016 with no news of a next generation.

    Is this trademark filing a first hint that the CR-Z will be revived? Possibly, but it could also be Honda tying up loose ends and preventing others from using its name. It could be that someone was doing a sweep and realised some unfinished business – model names that weren’t yet locked up.

    But is there a chance? Let’s hope so. Any coupe, any car with a sporty flavour should be celebrated by enthusiasts these days. Beggars can’t be choosers, and car enthusiasts could well be proverbial beggars in the new car scene in the near future.

    The CR-Z will never be a Honda performance legend, but it was a trailblazer. A sporty hybrid didn’t exist when Honda turned their Tokyo showstar into reality in 2010, and certainly not a hybrid with a manual gearbox. It didn’t fly like the flyweight VTEC hero of old, though, and that’s perhaps why it won’t be remembered so fondly in decades to come.

    The final version of the CR-Z was the 2016 Alpha Final Label, which like all facelift models, had a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine, Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) e-motor and 18.8 kW lithium-ion battery. Together, they did 136 PS and 190 Nm of torque.

    Those figures won’t set any eyes alight, but it was good enough to make the CR-Z the ideal daily for me for over six years. The coming together of a shape unlike any other (other than a doorstop), decent FC and the best manual shift in town (only bettered by Type Rs) was – and still is – a rare combo. One more time, Honda?

    GALLERY: 2016 Honda CR-Z Alpha Final Label

    GALLERY: 2016 Honda CR-Z facelift at IIMS


  • Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia delivered 4,008 vehicles from January to July 2020 – market share at 1.7%

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) has announced its sales performance for the period of January to July 2020, which saw a total of 4,008 vehicles delivered. With this result, the company’s market share has grown to 1.7% of total industry volume compared to 1.4% during the same period last year.

    The Triton continues to be MMM’s volume seller, and for the first seven months of 2020, the model recorded a market share of 22.2% in the pick-up truck segment. This is also an improvement from 16.9% recorded during the same corresponding period in 2019, with the Triton also being ranked number one in the double cab segment in three states: Melaka, Penang and Kedah.

    “MMM is pleased to see positive sales take off after being under pressure by the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. This is driven largely by the 100% sales tax exemption from the government which applies to both our locally-assembled SUVs, the ASX compact SUV and Outlander seven-seat SUV. The good sales also reveal brand and customer’s loyalty in these very tough times,” said Tomoyuki Shinnishi, CEO of MMM.

    The company will expand its line-up with the launch of the Xpander later this year, although it has yet to provide further details about the seven-seat crossover MPV. Ahead of the model’s launch, selected Mitsubishi showrooms will be upgrade to the brand’s latest visual identity.

    “MMM is very excited for a thrilling year ahead with the introduction of the Mitsubishi Xpander. The seven-seat crossover will provide us with a solid base to maintain strong sales momentum until the end of the year,” commented Shinnishi.

    “The demand and success of the new Mitsubishi Xpander in our neighbouring ASEAN countries reflects on how well-suited this car is to meet the needs of customers and we’re confident that this impressive Xpander will capture the heart of Malaysians,” he added.

  • Audi TT, R8 could be dropped amidst line-up review; both possibly relaunched as fully electric models

    A number of internal-combustion Audi models could see the end of the line as a result of an extension of the Audi Transformation Plan that “aims to provide an even more effective streamlining of operations and greater savings,” Autocar has been told.

    The drive to reduce spending has seen Audi chairman Markus Duesmann call into question the future of many traditional Audi models such as the TT and the R8, both of which could be relaunched as fully electric cars, according to a source close to Duesmann.

    “Cars like the TT and R8 were reviewed as part of a general cost-cutting process in the past. However, they have now come under increased focus,” the source told Autocar.

    Initiated by Duesmann’s predecessor, Abraham Schot who retired in April, the Audi Transformation Plan aims to acquire growth not from higher volumes but through improving performance, Schot told Automotive News Europe last October. Audi still bears the brunt of development costs for the MLB platform, says Autocar.

    The Audi TT could face the axe as well

    An even closer working relationship could materialise between Audi and fellow Volkswagen Group member Porsche, with a proposal that calls for the MLB platform – which underpins the A4, A6, A8, Q5, Q7 and Q8 – to be ‘more systematically paired’ with the higher-end MSB platform that is used for the Porsche Panamera and the Bentley Contintental GT.

    Audi has partnered Porsche in recent years for various joint technical developments, such as the petrol V6 engine that features in the line-ups for both brands. The 2.9 biturbo V6 powers the Audi RS4 and RS5, as well as the Macan Turbo and GTS, Cayenne and Panamera.

    The Q5 will be succeeded by a battery-electric model, and it will share its Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that will first debut on the next Macan. The Macan will, however, initially continue to have internal combustion powertrains based on the existing MLB platform alongside the new PPE-based model.

    Initiated by Schot in 2018, the Audi Transformation Plan is claimed to have already found 4.4 billion euros (RM22 billion) in operational savings. Audi is aiming to yield up to 15 billion euros (RM74 billion) in savings by the end of 2022, of which 12 billion euros (RM59 billion) is planned for putting towards electric vehicle developments, reports Autocar.

    All in, Audi plans to invest 37 billion euros (RM184 billion) in research and development, manufacturing plants and equipment until 2025. Last June, the German automaker announced that it plans to launch 30 electrified models by 2025, 20 of which will be fully electric models.

  • Proton introduces HP scheme for fresh graduates – interest rate as low as 2.98%, until December 31

    Proton – through its Proton Commerce (PCSB) subsidiary – has announced a car financing campaign specifically for fresh graduates. The Fresh Graduate Campaign, which runs until December 31, aims to provide those entering the workforce with the opportunity to own their first car at low hire purchase (HP) loan rates.

    The interest rate starts at 2.98%, which the company says is presently one of the lowest in the segment. The basic requirement for a new graduate (minimum qualification, diploma) is that they be aged between 18-30 years and have a job with a minimum salary of RM1,500, and all that’s needed to qualify for the loan is a letter of employment or a month’s salary slip.

    The company says the campaign is designed to help address the issues of mobility for those entering the job market in quicker fashion by providing the ability to obtain a HP loan without having to wait to furnish proof of income for three months, a common requirement for most HP loans.

    “In today’s connected economy, mobility is important for young adults just entering the workforce. It provides a sense of empowerment and autonomy to these graduates. We are confident that this package will assist fresh graduates to own a car, as monthly repayments start from as low as RM239 per month,” said PCSB CEO Mooi Fi Phang.

    He added that the HP industry is projected to experience a surge in the near future as a result of recent reduction in the reduction of the overnight policy rate (OPR) and the exemption of sales tax for passenger vehicles. Find out more about the campaign here.

  • 2021 Bentley Continental GT Mulliner Convertible debuts – 6.0L twin-turbo W12, 0-100 km/h in 3.7s!

    The 2021 Bentley Continental GT Mulliner Convertible that was unveiled earlier in February this year will be making its global debut at Cheval Blanc in Saint-Tropez, France, as part of the automaker’s European Summer Tour. This car is the first member of the new Collections portfolio introduced by Bentley Mulliner and sits at the top of the Continental GT Convertible family.

    Let’s start with the exterior. Here, the Grand Black walnut veneer comes as standard, but Mulliner offers a whopping 88 different piano-finished wood veneers that can be colourised to match a preferred theme. There’s also a bold new Double Diamond front grille, bespoke Mulliner side vents, and 22-inch 10-spoke wheels with self-levelling wheel badges.

    Inside, Mulliner’s top-tier craftmanship is taken to another level, featuring intricately designed Double Diamond quilted seats. This is also used on the door casings, rear quarters and tonneau cover furnishing. Bentley says it takes nearly 400,000 stitches to create this level of detailed quilting throughout the cabin, with each diamond containing exactly 712 individual stitches. It took the automaker 18 months to develop this embroidery process.

    There are eight custom-made three-tone colour combos for the interior, and the centre console houses a new and exclusive Breitling for Mulliner clock with bejewelled hour markers. The clock face is precision-rendered to feature on the LED instrument cluster, complete with the same brushed finished and Mulliner branding.

    Other luxury appointments include the range-topping 1,800-watt, 20-channel Naim for Bentley audio system, comprising 18 speakers, two Active Bass transducers, and eight digital sound processing modes. Upon collection, customers will receive their keys in a Mulliner-branded handcrafted presentation box, which matches the three-color interior setup.

    At the heart of this droptop GT is a choice of 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 or 6.0 litre twin-turbo W12 petrol engines. The smaller unit makes 550 hp and 770 Nm of torque, which is good for a century sprint time of 4.1 seconds and 318 km/h top speed. The crown jewel W12 mill, on the other hand, produces 635 hp and 900 Nm of torque, propelling the car from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. The top speed is 333 km/h.

    If you’re a fan of the Continental GT Convertible, it doesn’t get better than what Mulliner can offer. But if you’re really feeling flush, there’s the two-seater coachbuilt Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, which is a different kind of beast altogether.

  • AD: Back by popular demand – get the Audi Q3 and A5 Sportback at interest rates as low as 0% this August

    If you’re shopping for an Audi Q3 or A5 Sportback, here’s some great news. Euromobil is offering interest rates as low as 0% for both models, which translates to significant savings on monthly instalments. The promotion, which has been brought back by popular demand, is valid for the month of August.

    If the deals sound hot, that’s because they are. There’s no shortage of presence where the Audi A5 is concerned. The four-door coupe is a sleek, stylish machine, with plenty of sharp lines giving the car unquestioned athleticism, even at standstill.

    It’s not just looks with this one, because the 252 hp and 370 Nm 2.0 litre TFSI engine under the bonnet offers the car plenty of push. Together with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, the A5 Sportback accomplishes the century sprint in six seconds flat on the way to a 250 km/h top speed.

    As for the Audi Q3, the second-gen SUV has oodles of flair, evident from the sharp exterior styling – which borrows design cues from the likes of the Q8 – to the high level of specification in features and interior equipment, in which an 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and MMI navigation plus come as standard.

    Underneath that snazzy skin is a 1.4 litre TFSI engine with 150 PS and 250 Nm, which drives the front wheels via a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. It’s good enough to give the Q3 a 0-100 km/h time of 8.9 seconds and a 207 km/h top speed.

    So, visit Audi Centre Glenmarie, Audi Damansara or Audi Johor Bahru to check out the massive deal, but be quick about it, because stocks are limited. For more information or to book an appointment, register your interest here.

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  • TnG RFID self-fitment kits now sold at Shell stations

    Shell Malaysia has announced that Touch ‘n Go RFID self-fitment kits are now available for purchase at selected fuel stations in the country, priced at RM35 each. With this, motorists now have an additional avenue to obtain the do-it-yourself pack, aside from getting it from Lazada, Shopee and official fitment centres.

    As we’ve demonstrated, installing the RFID tag included in the kit is a rather simple process, as each self-fitment kit comes with an installation guide that can be accessed via a QR code on the front as well as a step-by-step guide within the pack.

    It is recommended to install the tag on the top left corner of the windscreen, or in the middle of the left headlamp, as RFID readers at the tolls are aimed at the left-hand side of the car. The tag should also be situated 5 cm away from metal parts, which on the windscreen means away from the A-pillar, and if located on the headlamp, this means distancing from bodywork.

    Should you choose to install the tag on the windscreen, be wary of the metal content used for your window tint, as there is a possibility of interference. You’ll also want to place it in a location clear of the wiper’s path, so don’t stick it too far towards the centre. Given these caveats, the headlamp is a preferable place to fit the tag.

    Once the installation is complete, the next step is to activate the tag, which can be done in two ways: logging into the Touch ‘n Go Mobility Experience website or via the Touch ‘n Go eWallet mobile app. You’ll be required to enter a few details such as your vehicle’s make and model, registration number, and the RFID tag number that is printed on the pack’s card. Following this, a notification will be sent to your phone, and the tag will be active and ready to use.

    For now, the RFID tag can be used for toll payments only, but there are more service that will soon accept payment via this method. In the case of Shell, the setup could enable customers to make payments for fuel at the pumps without requiring interaction with their mobile phones or a point-of-sale system.

  • Proton now accepting e-wallets at selected service centres – Touch n Go, GrabPay, Boost, FavePay

    Here’s good news for the e-wallet junkies out there, if you own a Proton. The carmaker has announced that it’s now accepting e-wallets at selected service centres. And it’s not an exclusive partnership either – the whole field of Touch n Go eWallet, GrabPay, Boost and even FavePay is accepted. The latter is a great way to double or even triple-dip if you know what it’s about.

    So, even if you left your wallet with your cash and cards at home, payment is now possible with the phone. With vehicle servicing, booking fee and downpayment, insurance renewal, parts/accessories and merchandise purchase included, the sums can be rather large – which means faster step up to the next level and/or more cashback/coins in your e-wallet.

    Now, this can either be a completely useless piece of info for some and almost heaven-sent for others – it depends on whether you’re into e-wallets or not, and if you are, how deep you’ve been sucked into the game. Hey, it’s quite addictive!

  • 2020 Toyota Hilux facelift for Malaysia – more details; from RM94k-RM149k estimated; Toyota Safety Sense

    After announcing the start of order taking for the 2020 Toyota Hilux facelift recently, UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has now released more preliminary information of the refreshed pick-up truck on its official website.

    We’ll start with the most important thing, pricing. As mentioned previously, the new Hilux will be offered in five variants, starting with the workhorse Single Cab 2.4 MT 4×4 at RM93,880. This is the only single cab option available, with all others after it coming with a double cab.

    The first of the double cabs is the new 2.4E AT 4×4 at RM109,880, which is followed by the 2.4G MT 4×4 at RM112,880 and 2.4V AT 4×4 (an upgrade from the outgoing 2.4 L-Edition) at RM134,880. At the very top of the range is the 2.8 Rogue AT 4×4 that goes for RM148,880 and replaces the outgoing 2.8 Black Edition.

    It’s also important to note that UMWT is offering customers an early bird price of RM144,880 for the 2.8 Rogue (pictured here) for sales made this year, which is RM4,000 less than mentioned just earlier. The previous Hilux line-up consisted of six variants, with pricing ranging from RM90,000 to RM139,888.

    Click to enlarge

    Keep in mind that these prices given by UMWT are estimates for now, as final pricing will only be released when the pick-up truck is officially launched. Furthermore, the prices are on-the-road without insurance and inclusive of SST (pick-up trucks are not eligible for sales tax cuts) as well as a five-year/unlimited-mileage factory warranty.

    As you can see, only the range-topping 2.8 Rogue gets the larger-displacement 1G-FTV 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which has been improved to now deliver 204 PS at 3,400 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,800 rpm. This represents an improvement of 27 PS and 50 Nm from before.

    Changes to the engine include the use of a newly developed heavy-duty turbocharger, along with a two-stage oil pump that can optimally switch the oil pressure and a water-cooled double-pipe type pre-EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) cooler to optimise EGR gas temperatures.

    All Hilux models, with the exception of the Single Cab variant, will also come with a variable flow control (VFC) system for the power-assisted rack and pinion steering to provide appropriate steering feel depending on the driving speed. The system is also said to be less demanding on the power steering pump for improved fuel economy.

    Other mechanical revisions include an automatic limited-slip differential to ensure optimum traction when one of the rear wheels start to spin by using the traction control system to control braking and engine output. The system operates only when in the High range and in 2WD at speeds up to 50 km/h.

    For variants with the “2.4” designation, it is likely the smaller-displacement 2GD-FTV 2.4 litre unit will be carried over, and should still deliver 150 PS at 3,400 rpm and 400 Nm from 1,600 to 2,000 rpm. The Single Cab 2.4 MT 4×4 and Double Cab 2.4G MT 4×4 will come with a six-speed manual, while the rest of the line-up gets a six-speed automatic instead – four-wheel drive is standard across the board.

    In terms of kit, mentioned items include bi-LED headlamps with LED fog lamps, an Optitron instrument cluster with an updated multi-info display, door trim illumination. UMWT also mentioned during its previous announcement that the 2.8 Rogue will come with a bonnet moulding and skid plate, while variants below it come with new designs for their 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels.

    The Hilux will also come with a touchscreen head unit that has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with a Vehicle Telematics System (VTS). The latter is something already found in the current Corolla, and allows owners to check their vehicle’s real-time location via a mobile app and subscription.

    A more significant update for the Hilux is the addition of the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of safety and driver assistance systems. The suite consists of three systems, namely Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Yaw Assist (assistance by applying a small braking force for a short time to help the driver keep the vehicle in its lane).

    The suite is already available in other markets like Australia, even with the previous facelift, but is making its debut in the Hilux here in Malaysia with the latest refresh. With it, the Hilux joins a small list of pick-up trucks in the country that will come with active safety systems, with the Ford Ranger being the only notable mention.

    Customers who want more goodies will have access to several accessories that are bundled into three categories: Tech-Up, Style-Up and Ease-Up. The first includes a DVD-AVX head unit for RM2,500, which is available for the 2.4 E AT 4×4 but is standard on all other double cab variants.

    Next up is a panoramic view monitor for RM2,600 for the 2.4G MT 4×4 onwards, while a blind spot monitor (RM2,000) as well as front and rear digital video recorders (RM1,100) can be paired with 2.4E AT 4×4 and 2.4G MT 4×4 variants. The aforementioned VTS is available at RM1,950, inclusive of a RM750 subscription fee for three years of service.

    Other options, depending on variant) include a sports bar (RM1,555) for all double cab variants, while in the Ease-Up category, you can get a bedliner (RM1,050), security and solar film (RM2,120), a portable tyre pump (RM270), tailgate assist (RM985), side step welcome lights (RM1,000) and a deck light (RM700).

    The second facelift for the Hilux brings with it some styling changes, including a larger version of the Tacoma-style, hexagonal-shaped front grille that is flanked by sharper headlamps. Other changes include new L-shaped fog lamp surrounds and redesigned LED taillights with hexagonal-shaped graphics.

    UMWT will offer eight colours to choose from for the Hilux: Bronze Mica Metallic (new), Crimson Spark Red Metallic, Attitude Black Mica, Phantom Brown Metallic, Medium Silver Metallic, Silver Metallic and Super White II – the workhorse Single Cab variant is available only in a Solid White colour.

    When launched, the Hilux will have no shortage of rivals, namely the Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. With all these options, which pick-up truck would you consider if you were looking to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Last Updated 01 Aug 2020