Latest Stories

  • Ford Focus Mk4 gets pothole detection technology

    Ford first announced its pothole mitigation technology in early 2016 with the Mondeo, and to this day remains as the only company so far to remain committed in minimising damages caused by potholes. The technology now finds its way into the new Ford Focus range.

    Potholes, as we Malaysians very well know, can damage the car’s rims, tyres and even the suspension. The Blue Oval’s pothole detection technology claims to help reduce these damages by employing sensors to detect when a wheel is about to fall into a pothole, and immediately stiffens up the suspension as it braces for impact. Doing so limits suspension travel, which means the wheel won’t dip in the hole entirely.

    And because the wheel doesn’t fall as much, it won’t strike the opposite edge of the pothole as harshly upon exit. Ford says the rear suspension is capable of responding even quicker thanks to split-second warning it receives from the front sensors. Ford has already tested some of its new cars on a nightmarish 2 km road at its Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, using replicas of some of the world’s worst potholes.

    Ford Focus’ vehicle dynamics supervisor Guy Mathot said “our engineers are always searching for the roughest roads to really test our suspension to the limit, but more and more we’re noticing that the rough roads are finding us. Potholes are a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, but with our advanced suspension technology for the all-new Focus, we’ve been able to reduce their impact.”

    The pothole detection tech comes as part of the car’s Continuously Controlled Damping system, which monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs every two milliseconds and adjusts damping responses for improved ride quality.

    GALLERY: 2019 Ford Focus Mk4 five-door ST-Line

    GALLERY: 2019 Ford Focus Mk4 five-door Vignale

    GALLERY: 2019 Ford Focus Mk4 estate Titanium

    GALLERY: 2019 Ford Focus Active

     
  • GALLERY: Locally-assembled Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum, T8 Inscription – CKD from RM299k

    When the second-generation Volvo XC60 was launched here in January, we were offered an interim CBU imported version before deliveries of the three CKD locally assembled versions started. All the CBU units of the T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus, which went for RM373,888, have been accounted for, so here comes the CKD cars.

    The Shah Alam-assembled XC60 range starts from the T5 Momentum, which is priced a touch below RM300k (RM298,888). There’s no T6 and the next step up is the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid in Inscription trim (RM333,888). The T8 PHEV is also available in top Inscription Plus spec for RM343,888, all prices on-the-road excluding insurance.

    The T5 is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which puts out 254 hp and 350 Nm of torque at 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Power from the Drive-E engine goes to all four wheels via an Aisin eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. AWD was not available in the previous-generation XC60, so it’s part of the additional goodies you get for the extra RM30k over the old car.

    The base XC60 is no slouch, being able to complete the 0-100 km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds on to a top speed of 220 km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 7.2 litres per 100 km.

    The Momentum styling pack on the T5 includes a standard grille with oblong-shaped slats, black accents within the faux corner intakes, body-coloured mirror caps and dual round exhausts. It rides on 18-inch Y-spoke alloys and 235/60 tyres, as seen on the black car here.

    Standard equipment include LED headlights with auto high beam, ‘Thor’s hammer’ LED DRLs, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, Sensus Connect with a nine-inch touchscreen, dual-zone air con with Clean Zone, Park Assist, rear-view camera and a 224-watt 10-speaker audio system. The cabin comes with Comfort Seats with ‘Charcoal’ black leather (all CKD XC60s come with a Maroon Brown option), ‘Iron Ore’ inlay, powered front seats (memory for driver), ‘Unideco’ inlay on the steering and leather on the gear lever.

    The XC60 T8 Twin Engine gets the 407 hp/640 Nm plug-in hybrid powertrain from the XC90 T8 and S90 T8. It consists of a T6-spec 2.0 litre turbocharged and supercharged four-pot (320 hp and 400 Nm at 2,200 to 5,400 rpm), an eight-speed auto and a 87 hp/240 Nm electric motor. Powering the latter is a 10.4 kWh battery in the centre tunnel, which offers an electric driving range of up to 45 km. The engine turns the front wheels, while the e-motor moves the rear wheels.

    Inscription trim brings a vertical, multi-slat grille, along with silver accents for the faux intakes, seen on the silver car here. Elsewhere, there are chrome side mouldings and dual exhausts integrated into the rear diffuser. The T8 rolls on 19-inch ten-spoke two-tone rims with 235/55 tyres.

    The T8 adds Active Bending Lights to the all-LED light setup, heads-up display, Inscription leather key fob, 360-degree surround-view camera, Navigation Pro, Park Assist Pilot, Parking Climate with cabin pre-conditioning and a panoramic sunroof.

    Also in are the mechanical cushion extension function, power-folding rear seats (from the boot wall), a three-spoke sports leather steering, paddle shifters, illuminated Orrefors crystal gear lever, Inscription sill plates and ‘Driftwood’ inlay.

    Safety-wise, Volvo’s Intellisafe suite is standard, and it includes City Safety (autonomous emergency braking), Blind Spot Information System, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Driver Alert Control and Lane Keeping Aid, among other things. There are no integrated child booster seats; instead, there’s an under-seat tray. T8 variants add on Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive, which is adaptive cruise control plus steering, which works up to 130 km/h.

    The T8 Inscription Plus has all of the above, plus a 1,100-watt 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 10-channel amplifier. Essentially a high-end sound system for RM10k more.

    Differences with the sold-out CBU T8 Inscription Plus? All CKD XC60s ride on the Dynamic Chassis, which is made up of composite leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. The RM30k costlier CBU had the Active Chassis air suspension. Early XC60 buyers could choose between Linear Lime, Metal Mesh and Driftwood cabin trim; but only the latter is available now. That’s all.

    There are five exterior colours to choose from, and they are Ice White, Bright Silver, Osmium Grey, Onyx Black and Maple Brown. Pair it with two interior leather colours – Charcoal (black, as seen here) or Maroon Brown.

    The G01 BMW X3 (launched here in April) and the Mercedes-Benz GLC are the premium German mid-size SUVs that Volvo wants to distract you from. Click on the links for our reviews. Full specifications and figures can be found at CarBase.my



    GALLERY: Volvo XC60 T5 Momentum, CKD


    GALLERY: Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription, CKD

     
  • JPJ’s new Aidilfitri strategy nets dip in traffic offences

    The Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) new Education, Prevention and Enforcement strategy implemented in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations this year has yielded a positive impact, especially in reducing road accidents.

    According to Bernama, JPJ director-general Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid said some of the the strategies included going undercover in busses, planting intelligence at bus terminals as well as the usual motorcycle patrols. The term “positive impact” was measured by the drop in collective summonses issued, which was 19% or 30,820 compared to 37,913 summonses recorded in the same period last year.

    “This year we introduced JPJ officers operating incognito as passengers in express buses and have issued 139 summonses to drivers of 658 buses. We also carried out checks at all bus terminals and found 11 bus drivers that failed urine tests and, if found guilty, their licences will be revoked,” Shaharuddin told reporters.

    He also said the motorcycle patrols on a two-week long enforcement (from June 8) have issued 5,341 summonses for various offences, including for having no driving licence and for vehicles with expired road tax.

    As many as 200 JPJ motorcycles have been mobilised to patrol the accident hot spots. “This includes a special motorcycle operation on June 12 and 13, which saw 25,304 motorcycles being inspected and 4,400 summonses issued in the last two days,” explained Shaharuddin.

    Meanwhile, approximately 35,948 summonses under the Automated Awareness Security System (AWAS) had been issued during the operational period until June 24. “The summonses involved two offences, for exceeding the speed limit (33,727 summonses) and for traffic light violations (2,221 summonses).

     
  • Bentley Bentayga Sport due in 2019 – report

    The Bentley Bentayga will be next to adopt a coupe-SUV silhouette following the launch of fellow Volkswagen Group stablemate, the Audi Q8, according to a report by Auto Bild. The Crewe, England-based marque is set to introduce the sleeker-roofed Bentayga for 2019. in addition to the current bodystyle.

    The Bentayga currently has a slew of engines on offer – the 6.0 litre biturbo W12 petrol with 608 PS and 900 Nm of torque, the 4.0 litre ‘triple-charged’ diesel with 435 PS and 900 Nm of torque, and a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 petrol with 550 PS and 770 Nm of torque. A plug-in hybrid version powered by a 3.0 litre petrol V6 also features in the line-up.

    More versions of the Bentayga SUV are surely on the way; A Speed version has been rumoured to be in development, bringing uprated engine outputs closer to those of fellow Volkswagen stablemates the Lamborghini Urus and the forthcoming Audi RS Q8, the former with 650 PS and 850 Nm of torque from its 4.0 litre biturbo V8 petrol powerplant.

    GALLERY: Bentley Bentayga in Malaysia

    GALLERY: Lamborghini Urus in Malaysia

     
  • 2018 Honda CB1000R and CB250R in Malaysia – priced at RM74,999 and RM22,999, available from July

    Launched in conjunction with the Boon Siew Honda Hari Raya media lunch and track day at Sepang International Circuit were the 2018 Honda CB1000R and CB250R naked sports bikes. The duo are priced at RM74,999 for the Honda CB1000R and RM22,999 for the CB250R, with prices excluding road tax, insurance and registration.

    First shown to the public at the 2017 EICMA show in Milan, Italy, the CB1000R uses the same engine design as the CBR1000R superbike an inline four-cylinder 998 cc mill producing 143 hp at 7,500 rpm and 104 Nm of torque at 8,250 rpm. However, the engine is modified to withstand the rigours of road use with reinforced pistons, greater valve stroke with bigger valves, larger intake and redesigned combustion chamber to provide more mid-range torque.

    Geared for acceleration, the CB1000R’s ratios are 4% lower, mated to a six-speed gearbox that comes with a lighter assisted pull lever with slipper clutch. A model specific 4-2-1 exhaust is fitted, 4.5 kg lighter than most standard exhausts and providing a little more torque at high rpm.

    The CB1000R comes with four ride modes – Standard, Sport, Rain and User – and LED lighting all round. Suspension is with an adjustable Show Separate Function Big Piston fork (SFF-BP) in front and fully-adjustable Showa monoshock.

    In front, twin radial-mount callipers grab 310 mm diameter floating brake discs and a single 265 mm disc at the back, with two-channel ABS as standard. The CB1000R is available in two colors, Graphite Black and Candy Chromosphere Red.

    While Malaysian riders await the arrival of the CBR250RR, which might or might not happen, the CB250R was shown at the Sepang event. Coming with a liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 250 cc power plant producing 27.2 hp at 9,000 rpm and 23.2 Nm of torque at 8,000 rpm, the CBR250R is a naked quarter-litre sports bike that mimics the look of the CB1000R.

    With six-speeds, the CBR250R weighs in at 145 kg and comes with a single brake disc front and rear, with two-channel ABS. There are three colour options for the CB250R – Matt Bullet Silver, Graphite Black and Candy Chromosphere Red.

    Both the 2018 Honda CB1000R and CB250R will be available in Boon Siew Honda dealer showrooms this July. Boon Siew Honda offers a two year or 20,000 km manufacturing warranty, whichever comes first.

    GALLERY: 2018 Honda CB1000R


    GALLERY: 2018 Honda CB250R

     
  • Grab says driver safety as big a priority as passengers

    In a posting on its Facebook page, Grab Malaysia has said that it prioritises the safety of its driver-partner as much as its passengers. “The safety of our driver-partners is just as important to us as our passengers and a threat to their safety is something we do not take lightly,” the ride-hailing service said.

    This comes after one of its drivers was recently murdered while completing a trip. According to a report by The Sun, the man, identified by police as a 27-year-old from Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, was found dead in the backseat of his car in a parking lot in Gombak on Saturday.

    Grab said that the driver was a “hard-working and a top performing driver, and based on passengers’ feedback, he was well appreciated by his passengers.” It added that it extended its deepest condolences to his family and urged those with information on the incident to come forward to the authorities.

    The company had put in place a number of safety and security measures last year, including providing free dashcams to its 3,500 top performing female and platinum drivers nationwide. It also added an emergency button in its passenger app and introduced a telematics system that detects unsafe driving behaviour.

     
  • 2019 Chevrolet Blazer – SUV resurrects an old name

    Chevrolet has resurrected an old name plate on a modern midsize SUV – slotting in between the Equinox and Traverse models in the brand’s North American line-up, the 2019 Blazer is set to take the fight to competitors such as the Ford Edge and the Jeep Grand Cherokee when it makes its market debut in early 2019.

    Two engine choices are available for the five-seater, which will be offered in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions – the baseline unit is an Ecotec 2.5 litre four-cylinder with 193 hp and 255 Nm, while the other is a 3.6 litre V6 mill, good for 305 hp and 365 Nm. Both direct-injected engines, which feature stop/start tech, are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

    The model range will include a high-spec Premier variant, which features a unique grille and additional chrome trim for the exterior, as well as a sportier RS version, easily distinguishable by its blacked-out elements.

    Design cues include low-placed HID headlamps, dual-element LED tail lights, dual exhaust outlets and an integrated tailgate spoiler. A number of wheel options abound – as standard, the Blazer comes with 18-inch alloys, but gets upsized to 21-inch units on the RS and Premier.

    The SUV gets a number of colour and trim options for the interior, and mod cons include wireless charging, six USB ports and an electronic-locking glove box – sizable enough to fit a small handbag, the glove box is secured via the vehicle’s Valet Mode. Also on, an eight-inch colour touchscreen Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and LTE Wi-Fi.

    The new Blazer also offers a cargo management system, which features a rail system and cargo fence to help secure smaller items by dividing the cargo area. With the adjustable sliding second-row seats folded flat, the Blazer’s rear deck offers 1,818 litres of cargo space. A hands-free power liftgate helps with easier access.

     
  • Volvo XC90 to get Level 4 autonomous driving by 2021

    Volvo has announced that it plans to introduce an SUV with Level 4 autonomous driving in 2021, and it’ll likely debut with the next-generation XC90. The company will build the new XC90 at its new plant in South Carolina, and the car will be sold to the public as well.

    Volvo senior vice president Henrik Green told The Car Connection that the next-generation XC90 will be able to transport “sleeping passengers” towards their destinations, albeit on limited routes. “That is the goal, yes,” Green said. The publication said that the feature could be called Highway Assist, which is a more advanced version of the existing Pilot Assist system.

    However, Green said the system would be a premium add-on that costs somewhere in the four-figure region, although a number wasn’t specified. Level 4 semi-autonomous driving technology is largely inaccessible by the public today, and the system doesn’t require driver intervention if emergency action is needed.

    Volvo has tested similar systems within the confines of its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, but has only supplied a small fleet to the US for self-driving tests to be carried out by companies such as Uber.

    Green said the Highway Assist program uses cloud-based information but doesn’t rely on vehicle-to-infrastructure communications system. Instead, it will use lidar (light detection and ranging), radar and cameras that are integrated into the car.

    The next step, Volvo says, is to work with federal and state regulators to approve the self-driving system, which so far has been a hurdle for other automakers such as Audi. Audi plans to introduce Level 3 semi-autonomous systems in the US, a system that is presently available on its flagship A8.

    Meanwhile, by 2025, the Swedish carmaker expects to generate half of all sales from full electric cars, and one third of all cars to be autonomous driving cars.

    GALLERY: Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus

     
  • Visiting Autostadt – the city of the Volkswagen Group

    For fans of the automobile, there are a wide range of pilgrimages to be pursued, be it the Nürburgring, Maranello, Bonneville Salt Flats, and many more. Naturally, appeal is subjective, and some might prioritise certain locales above others.

    Should you be a fan of the Volkswagen Group, you’ve come to the right place because the Autostadt is the point of focus here. Even if you aren’t a fan of VW AG, stick around for the bevy of photos that will hopefully pique your interest.

    In German, the Autostadt means ‘car city’ and it is located in Wolfsburg, right next to VW AG’s headquarters and its colossal car plant. Spanning 250,000 square metres and built with an investment in excess of 400 million euros, the Henn-designed complex attracts around 1.2 million visitors yearly despite not being a “theme park” in the traditional sense.

    The most prominent landmark here is the CarTowers, or AutoTurme which is part of the Autostadt car delivery system along with the ellipse-shaped Customer Centre. Both serve to provide Volkswagen customers the unique experience of personally picking up their own cars. This is so the odometer displays precisely “0 km” when they get behind the wheel for the first time at the Autostadt.

    Fully automated systems that rely on a vast network of machines and belts help shuttle cars directly from the adjacent Volkswagen factory via an underground tunnel, ensuring they are never driven. These new cars are stored in either of the two towers roughly 24 hours before being delivered to customers, with each being able to house 400 cars within their 48-metre steel and glass structure.

    Should visitors want to “feel like a car” being parked in the CarTowers, a guided tour in a panoramic grass lift takes you to the silo’s observation deck on the 20th floor, where you’ll be greeted by a view of the complex and parts of Wolfsburg.

    Of course, there are other landmarks within the Autostadt like the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the complex, with the road leading up to it containing an easter egg. If you’ll notice, there a different sections that illustrate different road building techniques used throughout the years, from the use of cobblestone to bricks and modern asphalt that we know today.

    Most customers who choose to pick up their car (and regular visitors) will stay at the Ritz, which is positioned with a direct view of the VW Kraftwerk power facility. As part of available packages, most choose to extend their stays so they can better explore the rest of the attractions.

    These include the various pavilions dedicated to the individual brand within the Group, all within close proximity to one another. Each one is unique in the way it is designed, with the Porsche pavilion being among the more eye-catching ones as the exterior “skin” is made from stainless steel and shaped to resemble the curvature of the 911’s roofline.

    Another major landmark, and the place most would spend a lot of time at, is the ZeitHaus, a museum that pays tribute to historic automobiles. Naturally, there’s a good number of representatives from VW but the exhibits also include fascinating cars like the DMC DeLorean, Jaguar E-Type, first-generation Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 2002 and many more.

    All the cars are distributed across five floors, with some being designated as Design Icons while others are part of the Related Rides exhibition. Exhibits are swapped out periodically as some of the working exhibits are sent out to events, so visitors might see a revised line-up with every visit.

    Just beside the ZeitHaus is the GroupForum, which contains various exhibition halls that focus on sustainability (Green Level), vehicle development (Autowerk) and design. From a cutaway of a Lamborghini Aventador to the various connecting joints used in Volkswagen chassis, a game that tests your knowledge on sustainability, and a timeline of iconic designs, there’s something here for everyone.

    The little ones aren’t left out as well, with various play areas set up to make sure they are entertained. They can even partake in a “driving course” where they will learn the basic and safety aspects of driving in a “school” before trying out for real on small, electric “cars” in a mini city.

    The space also contains two cinemas, one of which utilises a curved panorama LED screen playing AutolandD – four fictional short stories about the love Germans feel for their cars. Should you feel famished, there are over 10 restaurants spread across the grounds, including Tachometer, where you can experience the famous VW-made currywurst (yes, it’s a thing).

    If you’re itching to drive something, just across the canal are tracks dedicated to all-terrain driving, safety training and even a module to teach you how to drive more efficiently.

    During our time there, we joined the safety-training course that focused on the interplay of reaction time, braking and stopping distance, with various versions of the Golf (TSI, TDI and e-Golf) being our training vehicle. More advanced courses are available as well, with prices around the 20-30 euros mark.

    The Autostadt is a truly unique place to visit, and a statement of just how far the brand has come since it came to be over eight decades ago. While it might be called a “car city,” the complex more accurately celebrates many things beyond just those with four wheels; from the progression of humankind’s mobility capabilities to evolution of the arts, architecture and design. If you ever find yourself in Germany, you should make it a point to pay a visit and if you’re not, here’s a large gallery for your enjoyment instead. Enjoy.

     
  • 2019 Ducati SuperSport to come in Titanium Grey

    DU 2018-05-04 MY19 SUPERSPORT

    Coming in Titanium Grey for the 2019 riding season is the Ducati SuperSport, the Borgo Panigale firm’s take on a sports-tourer, with the emphasis on ‘sports’. Currently retailing in Malaysia at RM76,320 without GST – the SuperSport S with Ohlins suspension and performance parts is priced at RM83,867 – the SuperSport sees the demise of the Ducati Red paintjob from the base model.

    However, the SuperSport S will continue to be available in Ducati Red and Starsilk White. The new Titanium Grey paint comes in a matte coat and is complemented by the frame and wheels finished in red.

    Carrying the Testrastretta 11 V-twin, the SuperSport produces 110 hp at 9,000 rpm and 93 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm from 937 cc. The ride-by-wire engine is fuelled by twin Mikuni throttle bodies, with power getting to the ground via a six-speed gearbox.

    Marzocchi and Sachs provide suspension front and rear, respectively, with 43 mm diameter upside-down forks and adjustable monoshock for the base model, with the ‘S’ getting Ohlins units. Braking is with radially-mounted Brembo M4-32 Monobloc callipers grabbing 320 mm brake discs.

    With fuel carried inside a 16-litre tank, the SuperSport is claimed to weigh 210 kg wet and seat height is 810 mm. Ducati Performance provides a range of performance accessories including Akrapovic exhaust, titanium racing exhaust, Ohlins steering damper and Bluetooth module for the Ducati Multimedia System.

     
 

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Last Updated 21 Jun 2018



 

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