Latest Stories

  • Upgrading your car’s performance? Start the right way

    Given that a vehicle purchase is typically the second largest expenditure for most people, many will lavish great care upon their cars, with some personalisation to boot. What might be your first port of call – a bodykit, engine upgrades, maybe a fruitier exhaust, an exterior wrap or a new set of wheels?

    The first upgrade one should make to a car is the tyres. This is especially important if you’ve bought a used or grey-import car, as you don’t know just how long the tyres have been sitting there on the showroom floor. It’s likely that they haven’t been used for quite a while, and this may have caused the tyres to harden, thus giving significantly less grip on the road.

    They may still look good, have a healthy amount of thread left, and even still be fairly new (from the date of manufacture printed on the tyres themselves), but just a few months of sitting around, not being used is enough to affect the characteristics of the tyre compound. A set of hardened tyres give out less grip and may result in inconsistent handling, making your vehicle tricky to control in emergency situations.

    Tyres, after all, are the only contact points between your car and the road. So if you’re considering upgrades for your car, new or current, get good quality tyres first, like the Toyo Proxes Sport.

     
  • Millennials buy sedans, not SUVs or trucks – report

    The automotive industry may be reeling from the market’s widespread shift towards SUVs and crossovers, which has seen carmakers like Ford and General Motors abandoning regular passenger cars entirely. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel, as a study by insurance comparison site QuoteWizard suggests that millennials in the United States are bucking the trend and buying more sedans.

    Based on the portal’s insurance quote data for users aged between 22 and 37, the top ten cars being driven by younger buyers is dominated by vanilla four-doors, the list being topped by the Honda Accord. The next five cars are also sedans – the Nissan Altima, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Impala occupy the top six slots, with the top non-sedan offering, the Ford F-150, only seventh on the list.

    Rounding off this group are the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and the only SUV in this group, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. But if you’re thinking that millennials are flocking back to sedans because they want to, think again – QuoteWizard says that they are only buying these cars because they are cheaper than SUVs or trucks, with the average starting price of the cars on the list amounting to only US$23,829 (RM97,000).

    The site says that while those in this age group are earning more than ever before – an average of $69,000 (RM281,000) a year, says US fact tank Pew Research, they still earn less than their baby boomer peers and carry an average of $36,000 (RM147,000) in debt. But even that doesn’t tell the full story.

    You see, millennials are also moving closer to cities, giving them more options to travel to work, such as public transport, ride-sharing and electric bicycles or scooters. This makes them less reliant on personal cars, so they spend less on buying them in the first place.

    So there you have it: millennials are buying more sedans, but not for the reasons you might think. What do you think – do you agree with this conclusion? Sound off in the comments after the jump.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Nissan Versa sedan – next Almera seen?

    Here’s our first look at the forthcoming next-generation Nissan Versa sedan, which could form the basis of the next Asian-market Almera that could also be for Malaysia in due course. Our spy photographers have captured the test vehicle running road trials in the United States, albeit in heavily disguised form.

    The forthcoming B-segment sedan appears to draw more than a passing resemblance to the year-old Altima, with a more horizontally oriented set of headlamps compared to the more vertical items on the current car. Behind the camouflage foil is a suggestion of the full-height V-motion grille as seen on the Altima, which would be a natural progression for a family look approach that is often adopted across brands.

    Its early days in terms of determining what’s under the hood, though the current US-market Versa employs a 1.6 litre HR16DE naturally-aspirated engine that is mated to either a five-speed manual, four-speed auto or continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving the front wheels; the Malaysian-market Almera uses a 1.5 litre HR15DE engine.

    Inside the test vehicle appears to be a version of the NissanConnect infotainment system with touchscreen display, while its steering wheel also appears to be of the latest with a smaller centre boss/airbag housing. Eventual specification is yet to be disclosed, though the visually similar unit in the Altima supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri and Google Assistant, as well as over-the-air updates, door-to-door navigation and real-time traffic information.

    Should the forthcoming Versa translate into a more Asia-specific version, expect minor aesthetic and equipment changes. The Versa currently gets six airbags and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), features that are missing on the local Almera; a camera at the top of the windscreen suggests that autonomous emergency braking (AEB) will be added on the new model as well.

     
  • Next-gen Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ green-lighted – report

    More confirmation that the next generation of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins will absolutely, definitely be built, this time from Autocar. According to the British publication, Toyota has said that its bosses have green-lighted the project, which again will be developed in collaboration with the Pleiades brand and will slot in under the recently revealed GR Supra.

    The company’s European marketing boss Matt Harrison said the back-to-basics sports car has been “a successful halo product for us,” adding, “Supra is not to replace that car. They are for different audiences and are different products. We see a situation where they will sit alongside each other.”

    Harrison said that it would be “a safe assumption” that the next 86 will follow the recipe of the outgoing model, which utilises a Subaru-derived flat-four engine for a lower centre of gravity. This would make it the third Toyota sports car to be built with the assistance another carmaker, offsetting the high costs of developing a low-volume product – the Supra is also a close cousin to the G29 BMW Z4.

    It was revealed last year that president Akio Toyoda wants a full family of sports cars, with the 86 and Supra as integral parts of this lineup, so this announcement comes as no surprise. Speaking about the 86, Harrison said, “Its role is not one particularly about volume globally. It’s about adding excitement to the brand and emotional appeal. The 86 has definitely been successful for us in achieving that.”

     
  • Kia K3 sighted – Chinese Cerato gets Maserati grille

    The new Kia Cerato continues to be rolled out globally, and in China a localised version, sharing the K3 name with its South Korean-market twin, is set to be introduced pretty soon. These images, which have surfaced on Chinese portal Sina Auto News, show a number of interesting changes to the C-segment sedan.

    Front and centre is a wholesale redesign of the front end, now with a larger “tiger nose” grille. Two grille inserts are available, one with a triangular pattern and the other with a series of imposing vertical slats; together with the wraparound headlights and U-shaped lower bumper design, the latter gives a look fairly reminiscent of the Maserati Quattroporte.

    At the rear, the K3 gets revised tail light graphics but keeps the trapezoidal shape and the red strip joining the two. The bumper has also been re-profiled, adding fake twin tailpipes and losing the triangular surrounds for the reverse lights and indicators (which have been moved back into the main lamps).

    According to the publication, the engine lineup will also get a revamp. While other markets only receive a naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre petrol mill and a hotted-up 1.6 litre T-GDi turbo in the GT variant, the Chinese-market K3 will apparently get a 115 hp 1.5 litre NA unit and a 130 hp 1.4 litre turbo. There will also be a plug-in hybrid version that pairs a 105 hp 1.6 litre petrol with an electric motor – likely the same setup that you’ll find on the Niro Plug-in Hybrid that also delivers a 65 km all-electric range on the SUV.

     
  • NAP revision to also include outline of regulatory framework for ‘flying cars’ and autonomous vehicles

    The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) said that the reviewed National Automotive Policy (NAP) will include the outline of the regulatory framework for ‘flying cars’, Bernama reports. The revised policy is expected to be announced soon – it was originally supposed to have been revealed at the end of last year, but later revised to the first quarter of this year.

    According to the institute’s CEO Datuk Madani Sahari, the necessary rules and regulations governing the automotive industry were now being formulated and will cover many facets of personal mobility, including electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

    “They are not just for ‘flying cars’ but also for autonomous, self-driving cars, which require a review of our legislation and regulations, including insurance. We will review and develop a comprehensive legal framework,” he said last week.

    Malaysia is expected to unveil its first flying car prototype sometime this year. The project, first announced last month by minister of entrepreneur development Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, will draw upon the capabilities of the aerospace, drone, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and automotive sectors. The vehicle is said to be capable of flying safely at low altitudes at a reasonable speed, and is targeted for use in the agriculture and aerospace sector, among others.

    Mohd Redzuan had stated that plans for a prototype were already ready, and it would cost just over RM1 million to build. “This year is a realistic target [for the prototype] because we have the technology already. It is all about speed of implementation,” he said.

    The ‘flying car’ project is reportedly independent of the new national car project (NNCP), which will have the identity of the company set to lead the project revealed once final deliberations have been made. Mohd Redzuan said that two car makers have been shortlisted, and hinted that both fall in line with the “Look East Policy,” suggesting that both are Japanese automakers.

     
  • Two carmakers shortlisted for new national car project

    Two automakers have been shortlisted to lead the new national car project (NNCP), according to entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof. He said the government was still in talks with the parties involved, and will announce details once the final decision is made, Bernama reports.

    “We are at the end stage of discussions, we cannot reveal more details as yet,” he said last week, adding that there were several aspects that were still being studied before everything is finalised.

    Mohd Redzuan however hinted that the “Look East Policy” has featured in the selection of the shortlisted companies. The mention of the policy, which was prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s initiative in the 1980s during his first term as prime minister, suggests that it is likely that a Japanese car manufacturer will spearhead the NNCP.

    Last month, Mohd Redzuan said the government was set to focus on ‘Extended Range Vehicles’ for the NNCP as it was deemed more affordable. Although there was no elaboration, speculation has it that it meant range extender EVs, as opposed to full battery electric vehicles.

    Back in August 2018, before the official NNCP announcement, Mahathir had said that Malaysia would seek assistance from Japanese automakers for the project, name-dropping Nissan and Toyota then. If ‘Extended Range Vehicles’ does indeed refer to range extender EVs, Nissan currently has such technology in the form of its e-Power system as seen on the Note e-power, which has been on sale in Japan since late 2016 and was displayed at KLIMS 2018.

    Early this year, there was word that the identity of the company leading the NNCP would be announced on January 28, but no details emerged then.

     
  • MARii, Altair and ORS ink digital twin tech agreement

    The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute (MARii), US-based Altair Incorporated and Malaysian company ORS Technologies have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on product/process development optimisation through the utilisation of digital twin technology.

    The agreement will see the three parties combining their expertise in market insights, engineering solutions, automotive design technology, industry awareness, training and consultation as well as knowledge transfer in the area of digital twin technology in both local and regional markets.

    A digital twin is an exact virtual representation of a physical product, service or a process, aimed at providing an understand and prediction of the physical counterpart’s performance characteristics. The digital representation can be used to simulate situations arising in the real world and to find the most optimal solution that can be implemented.

    “The application of digital twin technologies unlocks a myriad of new possibilities for the automotive design process, as well as others,” explained MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari.

    He said that the real-time input made possible through the technology has the potential of reducing product and process development costs, creating better opportunities for Malaysian businesses to enhance their competitiveness, and providing new job opportunities as well as fresh avenues of expertise for Malaysians to explore.

     
  • Porsche Cayenne Coupé unveiled – sleeker X6 rival

    Following an initial sighting about three years ago, Porsche has unveiled the Cayenne Coupé – a sleeker-roofed version of its original SUV nameplate. This joins the growing ranks of sleeker-roofed SUVs within the Volkswagen Group range comprised of the Audi Q8 and the Lamborghini Urus.

    “The significantly more steep roof line that falls away to the rear makes the Cayenne Coupé appear even more dynamic, and positions it as the sportiest-looking model in the segment,” said Style Porsche vice president Michael Mauer.

    The key change in aesthetic comes courtesy of a sloping roof that has been lowered by 20 mm relative to the E3 Cayenne, while redesigned rear doors and fenders broaden the section by 18 mm. Atop the redesigned rear end is a an adaptive roof spoiler that is part of the Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA), which extends 135 mm at 90 km/h and above for increased downforce on the rear axle.

    With the new roofline comes new roof options as well. The Cayenne Coupé comes with a panoramic fixed glass roof as standard, or a carbon-fibre item can be specified. For the former, the integrated roller blind offers shade and insulation against heat and cold, says Porsche.

    The second row within the Cayenne Coupé comprises two individual seats as standard, and occupants here are seated 30 mm lower than those in the rear seats of the full-sized Cayenne, thus offering ‘plenty of headroom despite the vehicle’s sporty lowered silhouette’. Alternatively, a standard comfort rear seat configuration can be specified.

    Luggage capacity here is 625 litres with seats in place and 1,540 litres with the rear seats folded, or 600 litres and 1,510 litres in the Turbo; the full-sized Cayenne takes 770 litres. Standard equipment across the Cayenne Coupé range includes speed-sensitive Power Steering Plus, 20-inch alloy wheels, Park Assist at the front and rear, a reversing camera, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Sport Chrono.

    Porsche says the Cayenne Coupé benefits from all the technical highlights of the third generation, which we can take to mean the inclusion of Porsche 4D Chassis Control, three-chamber air suspension, rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) electronic roll stabilisation. Interior equipment should also follow suit with the latest in Porsche Communication Management (PCM), where a 12.3-inch touchscreen provides access to infotainment and vehicular setups.

    At launch, the Cayenne Coupé gets two petrol engines – a 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 with 340 PS and 450 Nm of torque, rated at 9.4 l/100 km and 215 g/km for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions respectively, and a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 with 550 PS and 770 Nm of torque, rated at 11.4 l/100 km and 261 g/km for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions respectively. The base Coupé does 0-100 km/h in six seconds and a 243 km/h top speed, while the Turbo Coupé does the century sprint in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 286 km/h.

    Of course, being built upon the MLB Evo platform which underpins the Cayenne, the Coupé stands to gain more variants with varying levels of electrification; the Cayenne E-Hybrid has a total system output of 462 PS and 700 Nm of torque from a 3.0 litre turbo petrol V6 mated to a 136 PS electric motor. Watch this space.

     
  • Gov’t to look into stiffer penalties for reckless drivers

    The transport ministry says the law could be amended to impose stiffer penalties on those who cause road fatalities, especially involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Transport minister Anthony Loke said that those responsible for such offences must be held accountable, and that there should be no compromise on the matter.

    He said that the government will however first need to study the feasability aspects of such a move before amending the Road Transport Act 1987 to increase the penalty for causing road fatalities, Bernama reports.

    Loke said that the views of the police will be sought on the matter, because enforcement on traffic offences, especially causing death due to driving under the influence of alcohol, comes under the jurisdiction of the police.

    “The ministry will study the matter in depth before making any decision. The views of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) and the transport industry will also be sought for consideration,” he told the Dewan Rakyat last week.

    Last year, Loke had said that it would review existing laws in dealing with drink driving cases to ensure their effectiveness, and that an immediate solution will be sought to address the issue if existing provisions under the law were not deemed sufficient to deter erroneous drivers.

     
 

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Last Updated 23 Mar 2019



 

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