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  • Kia Cerato facelift – prices maintained, from RM91,888

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    Naza Kia Malaysia has revealed prices of the Kia Cerato facelift, which has been in local showrooms since last month. The revised C-segment sedan is priced from RM91,888 OTR with insurance for the base 1.6 KX variant, rising to RM101,888 for the better equipped 1.6 SX. The range topping 2.0L is yours for RM119,888.

    This means that Naza Kia has maintained prices for the Cerato, which was sold with the exact same sticker figures, pre-facelift. Not bad, considering the forex situation Malaysians and local businesses are facing.

    First seen a year ago in its home market as the K3, the Cerato facelift sports a broader, slimmer “tiger nose” grille that’s mounted lower, while the headlights have also been made wider and sleeker, with slimmer eyebrow LED daytime running lights. Below, the air intakes and fog lights have been streamlined, and BMW-esque air curtain intakes (as seen on the new Optima) also make an appearance.

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    At the back, you get redesigned tail light graphics for both bulb-type (1.6 KX) and LED (1.6 SX and 2.0) units, with the indicators and reverse lights that sit on the bottom edge instead of on top; there’s also a new, simpler black rear apron design. A new two-tone design for the 17-inch alloy wheels completes the exterior changes.

    Heading the changes inside are revised instrument cluster display graphics, redesigned switchgear, new faux carbon fibre pattern around the air vents and a smattering of chrome and gloss black highlights. There’s no flat-bottomed steering wheel here, unlike in some markets.

    Kit count remains largely similar, with all models getting 17-inch wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, auto headlights, cruise control, rear air-con vents, Flex Steer adjustable weight for the steering, front and rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and a reverse camera.

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    The 1.6 SX adds on LED tail lights, dual-zone automatic climate control with cluster ioniser, aluminium pedals, electric seats with memory, gear shift paddles, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel and soft touch upper door trims. Step up to the 2.0L and one gets a rear spoiler, sunroof, Supervision colour MID and leather seats – now with heating and ventilation on the front passenger seat, instead of just the driver’s side.

    Safety-wise, it’s status quo – the 1.6 KX still comes with only two airbags and no stability control; you’ll have to enter at the 1.6 SX level to gain six airbags and ESC. No changes to the drivetrain, which pairs a 130 PS/157 Nm 1.6 litre Gamma II engine with a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. The 2.0L engine is the Nu MPI with 161 PS and 194 Nm.

    GALLERY: Kia Cerato 2.0 facelift


    GALLERY: Kia Cerato 1.6 facelift

    GALLERY: Kia Cerato 1.6 KX facelift

     
  • Ferrari 488 Challenge – new turbo one-make race car

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    This is the new 2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge, unveiled at the Finali Mondiali event in Daytona, USA. The all-new race car will replace the 458 Challenge in Ferrari’s Challenge one-make race series which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year.

    The 488 Challenge introduces turbo to the circuit, powered by a tuned version of the 3,902 cc twin-turbo V8 motor from the road going 488 GTB, which of course won the overall 2016 International Engine of the Year award, along with the best new and performance engine categories. With the V8 turbo and aero/chassis improvements, the 488 Challenge is a full second faster than the 458 Challenge EVO on Fiorano, at a record 1m15.5s.

    According to motorsport.com, the Challenge’s engine sports unique engine mapping optimised for racing performance, and shorter gear ratios to match. The powerplant’s variable torque management has been modified to prompt the driver to shift up at the ideal moment during longitudinal acceleration; this leads to maximum use of the turbo mill’s performance characteristics.

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    The marque’s F1 DCT gearbox features a new “racing shift strategy” that enables the 488 Challenge to accelerate from a standstill to maximum revs in fourth gear in just six seconds. Overall powertrain weight has also been reduced.

    Ferrari’s Side Slip Control (SSC) programme makes its debut on a Challenge model. Together with traction control and the E-Diff, it’s calibrated to improve turn-in, cornering and acceleration out of corners. The racing 488 allows its pilots to tailor handling to their driving style – vehicle control functions such as traction and braking are now governed independently with the adoption of three manettinos. One is dedicated to braking, while the other two are for traction control and the E-Diff.

    Substantial aero work has gone into the 488 Challenge, while respecting the Berlinetta’s design. The front radiator layout was revised, inverting the rake so that they are now inclined towards the rear. This improves air flow over the radiators in racing conditions while reducing drag. It required new vents at the bottom of the bumper fore of the wheels.

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    The front bumper is all-new, with a more pronounced splitter and flicks to increase downforce and balance the rear load – this brings 7% efficiency improvement compared to the 458 Challenge EVO. The new front bonnet has triple vents and integrated flaps to direct the hot airflow from the radiators rearwards.

    Moving back, the latest racing/prancing horse sports a bigger rear wing with an air foil shape similar to that on this season’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) winning 488 GTE, which increases efficiency by 9% compared to the old Challenge car. The intakes on the rear flanks now direct cool air to the rear brakes, optimising downforce, while the engine air intakes are now positioned laterally under the rear spoiler.

    Read our review of the road-going Ferrari 488 GTB, which starts from RM1,068,800 here before import duty and options.

    GALLERY: Ferrari 488 GTB

     
  • iXoost Esavox speakers use Lambo exhaust – RM93k!

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    At 19,900 euros (RM93,494), the iXoost Esavox is a lot of money for a sound system, but it does get you a small piece of Lamborghini – part of the exhaust system, in fact. The speaker setup’s construction draws inspiration from cars like the Lamborghini Aventador, with the speaker incorporating carbon-fibre along with wood.

    A hexagonal cabinet on each side made of carbon-fibre each houses a 6.5-inch full-range speaker and an eight-inch woofer, while a downward-firing, 15-inch subwoofer takes care of the really low frequencies and is made of Neodymium. Two stereo valve preamps and 600-watt amplifier power the tweeter, midrange speakers and woofers, while the subwoofer gets its own dedicated 200-watt amplifier.

    There is function to the exhaust pipes on the Esavox stereo, too. The exhaust tubes have variable openings which are meant to regulate the air pressure within the subwoofer, while two of the tubes contain a one-inch Mylar tweeter each.

    The iXoost Esavox is a thing of considerable size and heft, at 53 kg and measuring 125 cm long by 65 cm deep. Its mass is supported by a passive shock absorber system, along with variable height tapered supports.

     
  • Perodua unable to install ESC on current models, except the Bezza – new model due out in 2018?

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    Last week, the government announced that it would make electronic stability control (ESC) a compulsory fitment on all new vehicles in Malaysia by June 2018. Perodua has now revealed how its vehicles will be affected by the news.

    “We (Perodua) have already introduced the system (ESC) in the Bezza, which was designed for it. For our other current models (Myvi, Alza and Axia), they are not designed to be equipped with it. We can’t merely install (the system) in a model that is not designed for it,” said company president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh.

    However, Aminar said Perodua welcomed any move to improve safety, and at the same time, will have to look into the development and costs of equipping their vehicles with the safety net.

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    “At this time, allow us to first discuss the matter with the government because it is currently in the early stages. There are many things that have not been discussed in this regard. Only then can we plan our next steps,” he said.

    As current Perodua models (except for the Bezza) are not fitted with ESC, could Perodua be planning to introduce all-new models before the planned implementation of the legislation?

    When asked if the carmaker had such plans or any new model launches scheduled for next year, Aminar apologised and said he could not reveal any details. However, he said the company has plans to refresh its (current) models to hit its sales targets, although details on potential all-new models were not given.

     
  • Perodua sold 167k units up to October: Axia bestseller, Bezza deliveries top 22k; sales down, aftersales up

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    Perodua had set for itself a target of selling 216,000 units for 2016, and the company announced in July that it was maintaining that target, despite the slight downturn in the economy and the automotive industry. With one month remaining in the year, Perodua has to work hard to achieve its sales target.

    Up to the month of October this year, Perodua has sold 167,000 vehicles, with 44.2% comprising the Axia (of which the bestselling variant is the Standard G), followed by the Myvi which made up 24.9%, Alza at 17.3% and the Bezza at 13.6%. Since the new sedan’s launch in July, Bezza, over 22,000 units have been delivered to customers, with the average waiting period now down to just two weeks.

    Perodua’s vehicle delivery is attainable, because in addition to the main plant in Sg Choh which produces the Myvi and the Alza, there is also the Perodua Global Manufacturing Plant Sdn Bhd (PGMSB) located nearby, which produces the Axia and Bezza, as well as a separate plant in Sendayan which produces engines and transmissions.

    Over 250,000 vehicles have been produced at PGMSB since it started operations in August 2014, with the Axia making up 85% of PGMSB’s volume while the remainder is made up of the Bezza. Overall, PGMSB has the capacity to produce up to 200,000 vehicles annually, with a two shift cycle in place.

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    From January to November 2016, Perodua has managed 182,000 vehicle registrations, though this figure is 4.8% down from the same period last year. This sum comes from 251,546 received applications (a 4% increase), with the difference coming from factors such as rejected loan approvals.

    Though sales are down compared to last year, Perodua has seen an increase in aftersales revenue. Up to October 2016, 1.7 million vehicles were checked in to Perodua service centres, representing a 3% increase over the same period last year. The number of out-of-warranty vehicles returning to Perodua service centres has also increased.

    In the future, Perodua is set to further strengthen its aftersales efforts. In addition to attracting more out-of-warranty Peroduas to its service centres, the company will also turn its attention to its line of more affordable ProGanti service parts, and will continue adding to the list of of service parts on offer, which currently stands at 14.

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    Meanwhile, the company sees opportunity in Sabah and Sarawak, a region which currently contributes just 14 to 15% of Perodua’s total sales volume. In these two states, cars with manual transmissions are the more popular choice, according to Perodua president and chief executive officer Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh.

    Among the measures Perodua has taken to tackle the market in these two states include the streamlining of prices within these states. Warlier, prices of Perodua vehicles between different areas within the same state were not the same. Nevertheless, prices will still be different from those in Peninsular Malaysia due to transportation costs. Perodua has also prepared mobile servicing facilities to cater to areas which do not have service centres, with the number of these mobile services set to increase.

    For the export markets, Perodua has plenty of work cut out as it currently stands at just 4,600 units. Besides current active markets which are Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, Perodua is also considering export to other markets, which the company has not disclosed.

    As for its sales volume push this year, Perodua will be aiming for its target with various promotions, chiefly with discounts of up to RM5,000 for selected models for the month of December.

     
  • Perodua may hike prices in 2017 due to ringgit drop

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    During Perodua’s 2016 business performance review, company president and CEO, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh revealed that prices of its models might go up next year. He explained that this will be unavoidable should the current economic condition continue as such.

    “The situation in 2016 has been challenging, and arguably the most difficult since the ASEAN financial crisis before. It is expected that 2017 will be just as challenging, as we’ve started utilising two foreign currencies – the US dollar and Japanese yen – in our business dealings,” he said.

    “Should both currencies continue to show gains against the Malaysian ringgit, this will definitely impact Perodua. Actually, at the rate of USD 1 = RM4.4, it has already impacted us, and we are forced to absorb the (cost),” he continued. The national carmaker fended off unfavourable forex conditions last year, and refused to increase its prices at the time. Similarly, Mazda also kept its vehicle prices unchanged then, although come 2017, the company will announce higher vehicle prices.

    “If conditions continue as they are now, we may have to review our current prices. We can’t continue absorbing the effects of the current economy. However, various steps will be undertaken before such a move happens, and we understand that we are selling affordable vehicles to the masses,” Aminar added.

    Aside from suppliers who purchase replacement parts from overseas, manufacturers who source their machines will also be affected. “The good thing is (prices for) vehicle replacement parts won’t be badly affected. For manufactures however, the effects are bigger as it involves their machinery. Collectively, this will affect Perodua,” said Aminar, who added that total TIV decreased by 15%.

     
  • GALLERY: New Toyota Innova 2.0G on display – 8-seat MPV, Dual VVT-i, 6-spd auto, 7 airbags, VSC, RM126k

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    Just ahead of its Malaysian launch real soon, the new Toyota Innova MPV is now on display at the Toyota Concept Store in Mitsui Outlet Park. Here we have a full detailed gallery of the top-spec 2.0G model, which is priced at RM126,000 on-the-road with insurance (RM122,323.35 without insurance).

    Under the skin, the new MPV is again related to the latest Hilux pick-up truck, with a ladder frame, rear-wheel drive platform. The smaller, front-wheel drive Sienta, meanwhile, has a passenger car base.

    Compared to the outgoing model, the new Innova is 150 mm longer (4,735 mm), 55 mm wider (1,830 mm) and 35 mm taller (1,795 mm). Wheelbase, however, goes unchanged at 2,750 mm. Spec-by-spec, it’s between 105 to 125 kg heavier than before.

    The 1TR-FE 2.0 litre petrol engine now gains Dual VVT-i technology, and is rated at 139 PS at 5,600 rpm and 183 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm – three PS and one Nm more than before. Also new is the six-speed automatic transmission, in place of the old four-speeder. It has EEV certification too.

    As is obvious here, the second-generation Innova has gone for a much more premium look, especially on the inside. The range-topping 2.0G here has halogen reflector headlights, 16-inch wheels, front and rear foglamps and chrome door handles. Keyless entry and an Easy Closer back door are also fitted.

    Inside, the eight-seater (2-3-3 layout, 60:40 split-folding second row and 50:50 third row) has fabric seats with a stripes motif and leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob. Plenty of wood trim, Optitron meters, LED roof ambient lighting are also present, along with front and rear automatic air-con.

    Seen here is the optional eight-inch touchscreen head unit (RM 2,109 for DVD-AVX, or RM3,169 for DVD-AVN with navigation), which also adds on smartphone connectivity, HDMI input and a reverse camera. Standard fitment is an integrated head unit with USB input and six speakers. A DVR dash-cam is also available for RM636.

    As for safety, the Innova 2.0G gets seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver knee), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control, hill-start assist, Emergency Stop Signal and two Isofix anchors as standard. It has a full five-star ASEAN NCAP crash safety rating.

    More affordable Innova 2.0E models will also go on sale, at RM109k with a five-speed manual, or RM117k with a six-speed auto. These get a silver grille, body-coloured door handles, back-lit meters, less wood trim, manual front and rear air-con and poly-urethane steering wheel and gear knob.

    They also come without front foglamps, keyless entry, ambient lighting and Easy Closer boot. Airbag count is down to just three (dual front and driver’s knee), and without BA and VSC, they receive a four-star ASEAN NCAP rating. A five-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty applies to all variants.

     
  • REVIEW: 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 – riding the UJM

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    In the 1970s, Honda came out with a rather interesting concept. Parallel twins from the English motorcycle manufacturers were in vogue during the post-war years, and that was accepted as “suitable for road-going use.”

    Taking the idea of the twinning two four-stroke parallel-twins, Honda designed its first road motorcycle with a multi-cylinder engine. With the creation of the Honda CB750, with its inline-four engine and overhead camshaft, the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) was born.

    Other Japanese manufacturers quickly followed suit, Kawasaki with the Z900, and Yamaha with its XJ and XS series bikes. But, in the late 1970s, the undisputed of the four-cylinder UJM, was Suzuki.

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    Beginning with the eight-valve GS-series bikes, then upping the ante with the DOHC, 16-valve GSX-series, Suzuki Gixxers ruled the roads, and endurance racing. Nothing could hold a candle to the GSX, or even if they tried, like Honda with the CBF-series, that candle was quickly melted down in the thermonuclear furnace of the GSX engine’s performance.

    Which brings us to the present day, forty years on. The current Suzuki iteration of the UJM is the 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000, an inline-four in the traditional manner. The Suzuki inline-four has had a decades-long reputation for being bullet-proof, and we were eager to see what this current engine generation would be like.

    Read the rest of the 2016 GSX-S1000A review after the jump.

     
  • China adds 10% tax on cars priced RM839k and above

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    Buyers of vehicles such as the Bentley Bentayga and the Ferrari GTC4Lusso will be paying more for their luxury cars; light vehicles priced at 1.3 million yuan (RM838,610) will be subject to an additional 10% tax, which is intended to “guide reasonable consumption”, lower emissions and save energy, according to China’s ministry of finance. This move comes as China’s population of wealthy consumers continues to grow, and is meant to tone down spending, according to Automotive News.

    “The tax increase is a display of the government’s attitude of advocating frugality. The increase in taxes on luxury cars may help make the extension of the small-car tax cut more likely given it is in line with the government policy of promoting cars with better fuel economy,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Association.

    The increase in tax is unlikely to have significant impact on mainstream luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

    “The majority of our business will not be impacted. But because this was just announced yesterday, we are still evaluating to see what impact we might see on our business,” a Beijing-based BMW spokesman said. Both Audi and BMW representatives in China confirmed that the impact is minimal because only a small portion of their respective products are priced above the 1.3 million yuan threshold.

    Meanwhile, the ultra luxury segment – which includes Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin – is in such rarefied demographics that the 10% hike is unlikely to pose much of a deterrent to those who are already able and willing to spend the requisite large sums on automobiles.

     
  • Updated Toyota Camry on sale in M’sia, from RM153k – two new variants, 7 airbags and VSC across the range

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    Detailed and open for booking last month, the updated Toyota Camry range in Malaysia is now officially on sale. The range has been expanded to include four variants (up from three): 2.0E, 2.0G X, Hybrid Premium and Hybrid Luxury. In essence, the 2.0G X replaces the 2.0G, while the Hybrid version now comes in two versions.

    Prices, as announced previously are as such: the base 2.0E goes for RM152,900 (RM2k lower than the outgoing base model), the 2.0 G X for RM159,900 (RM5k down from the previous 2.0G), 2.5 Hybrid Premium for RM164,900, while the 2.5 Hybrid Luxury is priced at RM174,900 (unchanged from before). All prices are on-the-road, including insurance.

    No mechanical changes here, so the 2.0 litre models carry on with the 6AR-FSE 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with VVT-iW and D-4S direct and port injection, making 167 PS at 6,500 rpm and 199 Nm at 4,600 rpm. With a six-speed Super ECT automatic transmission, it gets to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds, and it’s rated to use 7.2 litres of fuel per 100 km.

    Likewise, the Camry Hybrid models continue with the 2AR-FXE 2.5 litre VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine (160 PS at 5,700 rpm and 213 Nm at 4,500 rpm), working together with a 143 PS/270 Nm electric with a nickel-metal hydride battery, good for a total system output of 205 PS. With drive provided via an e-CVT transmission, 0-100 km/h is done in 7.8 seconds, while using 5.2 l/100 km.

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    The biggest update comes on the safety front. Like on the new Corolla Altis range, all Camry models now come standard with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee bag), VSC, traction control and hill start assist – features missing in the outgoing base 2.0E model. The old 2.0G also only had two airbags, so this is a major bump for the range.

    The Hybrid Luxury (basically the same as the outgoing Hybrid model) adds on a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, though the more affordable Hybrid Premium goes without the extra safety features.

    As before, the whole range comes with automatic dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, keyless entry/start, rear-seat Isofix anchors and body-coloured front and rear parking sensors, among other things. As part of the update, all models now get a gear lever leather boot for a more “premium image.”

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    The new 2.0G X brings about a few new additions. The 16-inch alloys seen on the 2.0G have been replaced with 17-inch units, and the model now features a seven-inch touchscreen head unit. Unlike the seven-inch system on the Hybrid, there’s no navigation as standard, but the feature can be added on as an option. Dark brown leather upholstery, Mughal Teak wood trim and Qi wireless charging (previously only on the Hybrid) have been added too.

    As for the 2.5 Hybrid, the Premium is essentially a scaled-down version of the Luxury, priced RM10,000 cheaper. It rides on 16-inch alloys (17s on the Luxury) and comes equipped with a standard tuner/CD player audio system (a seven-inch touchscreen is available as optional kit) and a basic day/night rear-view mirror (electro-chromic on Luxury). It also loses the wireless charging and nanoe ioniser seen in the Luxury.

    The top-spec Camry Hybrid Luxury is almost identical to the previous range-topper, but with a few changes. The 17-inch wheels get a more toned-down silver finish instead of the outgoing model’s more overtly sporty black-and-silver look, while the front foglamps are now LED units. Inside, the JBL sound system gains two extra speakers for a total of 12, and a Driving Video Recorder (also on the Hybrid Premium) is now standard.

    Check out CarBase.my for full specifications of all four variants of the new Toyota Camry range.


    GALLERY: Toyota Camry 2.0G X
    GALLERY: Toyota Camry Hybrid Luxury

     
 

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