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  • REVIEW: 2022 Perodua Alza AV – the best family car below 100k in Malaysia, not just among 7-seater MPVs

    The new Perodua Alza is the best family car priced below RM100k. And beyond, but we’ll stick to the round number. Not just the best affordable MPV in Malaysia, but the best family car, period. Hear us out.

    Perodua has been dishing out hit after hit of late, upping the ante when it comes to what we can expect for X amount of money. The volley of blows started with the Ativa in early 2021 – the small SUV saw the local debut of the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) platform, Turbo-CVT powertrain, Level 2 autonomous driving and Matrix LED headlamps, among other features.

    The market leader then updated the Myvi late last year, fortifying Malaysia’s best-selling car with some of the features that debut in the Ativa. Already miles ahead of rival Protons in the safety department, the Myvi is now offered with Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) in all variants, and the AV gets the Ativa’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keep Control (LKC) as well. The D-CVT brought refinement, performance and economy benefits to the G3.

    That 1.5L NR engine and D-CVT combo powers the new Alza, which turbo engine aside, gets all the equipment found in the Ativa, and then some. The second-generation Alza is the best equipped Perodua to date, and it’s astonishing what we’re getting for the money, which is from RM62,500 to RM75,500 for the AV you see here.

    No holding back the kit

    Toyota Malaysia will have its own version of the Alza called the Veloz, which is the posh sister of the new Toyota Avanza in Indonesia. For this generation, the Alza was merged with the Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia, making it four versions of the same MPV. All sit on the DNGA platform, which also underpins the Ativa-RockyRaize SUV triplets.

    The Veloz will be priced around RM95k, which means that the gap between it and the top Alza – both made in the same Perodua factory – is RM20k, a rather big premium for cars below RM100k. While the differences between Perodua and Toyota MPVs are deeper compared to the AruzRush, including a 30 mm higher ground clearance for the Veloz, we still expected more. In other words, we didn’t expect the Alza to be so well-kitted next to the “big brother”.

    As mentioned, the Alza combines the powertrain of the Myvi with all the kit of the Ativa, with the bonus of some new-to-Perodua features. Six airbags and ASA are standard from the base model (no compromise when it comes to safety), and there’s also the digital meter panel, ACC + LKC (this pack always comes with BSM and RCTA) and the Lexus-level Adaptive Driving Beam LED headlamps.

    The Alza goes further with some new-to-brand features, such as the electronic parking brake (EPB) with auto brake hold (necessitates rear disc brakes), a 360-degree panoramic view monitor and a new infotainment system that looks better and has Android Auto and the just-approved Apple CarPlay. Brake hold makes daily urban driving so much easier and the PVM has a nifty steering button to manually turn it on. The ACC now has low speed follow or traffic jam assist.

    This level of kit is way beyond what non-national B-segment sedans and hatchbacks offer for the money. Proton? The base X50 goes for RM86,300 and has just four airbags. Want AEB? P1’s cheapest car with ADAS is the X50 Flagship, yours for RM113,300.

    If you want to go deeper, the next-generation Vios, which has just been revealed in Thailand, finally gets on DNGA and receives ASA (branded as Toyota Safety Sense, but without ACC). The new Toyota’s steering wheel and meter panel are the exact items used in the Ativa/Alza; ditto the minor cabin switches. So, we’re essentially getting the group’s next-gen B-segment stuff in advance via Perodua.

    The same can be said of the Veloz, of course, but at RM95k, it’s less of a value proposition. Face and ride height aside, key differences include LED DRLs (you’ll have to GearUp in the Alza for DRLs, an overwhelming majority are going for it), 17-inch wheels (an inch up), black roof/roof rails, Toyota’s head unit (wireless AA and CP), auto air-con (but without P2-style memory) ambient lighting and a Qi wireless charger. We’ve detailed the differences in a separate post here.

    Whichever way you look at it, the Alza is plenty of modern car for the money.

    Family first

    You’re here because you have a family, right? The Alza’s rear quarters is where it sets itself apart from passenger cars or small SUVs in the price bracket. It’s really plush here compared to the Honda City, Toyota Vios, Proton X50 and Perodua’s own Ativa.

    The new Alza is 4,425 mm long and 1,730 mm wide, which means that its footprint is 205 mm longer and 35 mm wider than the original JDM-based model, even if the 2,750 mm wheelbase is unchanged. The larger body yields more interior room for both humans and cargo – interior length with the second row seats pushed furthest back is 2,765 mm, which is a significant 115 mm more than before. The 35 mm extra width of the body fully translates to interior width, too.

    The old Alza was barely there as a three-row MPV and had only 83 litres of boot space with all seats raised. Now, it’s a usable 137 litres (+54L, good for a couple of duffel bags). With the third row bench folded (50:50), cargo space is now 498 litres, a massive 150L improvement.

    Used purely as a two-row car (Perodua says 40% of old Alza owners did so), legroom is very generous when the middle row is pushed furthest back (you can even cross your legs), and feet can tuck under the front seats easily, even when the front chairs are at their lowest position.

    Couple this with a wide range of backrest recline, a fold down centre armrest and a three-speed blower, this is as good as it gets for rear accommodation below RM100k. There are two USB chargers behind the front centre console, plus a single cupholder there. Speaking of drinks, there are handy cupholders on the rear doors (arm level, appropriate for hot beverages) and a row of them in the bin below.

    The GearUp faux leather seat covers you see here have additional seatback pockets in various sizes. They appear to be designed for a phone, an iPad and a laptop/magazine.

    This is before we even factor in the bonus over choosing an MPV over a B-sedan/hatch – the third row. It’s relatively pleasant back here – there’s enough knee and headroom for this 175 cm writer and my feet can slot in under the middle row, which is important. Usually, kids will be relegated to the third row when there are extra adults to carry, and they’ll be fine here – it’s not claustrophobic and there’s even a USB charging port and more cupholders.

    Capacity is one thing, access is another. It was a deliberate decision by Perodua to keep the Alza’s ground clearance to a car-like 160 mm (Malaysian-spec Veloz 190 mm, Indonesian-spec Veloz and Mitsubishi Xpander 205 mm, Aruz/Rush 220 mm) and it pays off in the ease of access. There’s no need to climb into the Alza, and if you have elderly parents or passengers who are less mobile, this is a strong point. Access to the third row is also very easy thanks to the one-movement tumble fold function.

    I see plenty of sense in the Alza being a family car if you have two kids (I don’t, but my parents loved the space), versus a B-segment passenger car (picture a child seat, a stroller and a week’s worth of groceries). It’s like a Myvi with extra legroom and a big boot, with a bonus row of seats for the parents/in-laws. Extended family outing aside, this is a spacious five-seater that’s as easy to drive as a B-hatchback due to its stance.

    Happy driver, happy family

    So, we’ve established that the Alza is a great family car, but you – the driver – are not forgotten. After all, happy driver, happy family, right?

    The Alza’s cockpit is a pleasant place to be working in. The above-mentioned low ground clearance is very apparent if you’re coming from the Ativa, as I did. You can really feel those few centimetres when getting out of the car, when your leg touches the ground. The “regular car feel” continues with the conventional dashboard layout, as opposed to the MPV-style central meter position of the old Alza.

    The driver’s seat is comfortable for long distances, being not too hard and well-bolstered. The leather-fabric combo is nice too – the quilt pattern isn’t too loud, and the accents match the deep red/brownish trim on the dashboard. I prefer the regular AV seats over the GearUp PVC covers – the latter feels a bit “puffy” and its brighter red doesn’t match the dash.

    Much is made of Peroduas not having telescopic steering. Reach adjustment is always good to have, but in the Ativa and now the Alza, I have no problems in finding a good driving position, unlike in the Axia/Bezza. Perhaps I am of median height, but one should always try a car out for size. I also like that the Alza’s seat goes low enough, and you don’t feel like you’re “sitting on the car” as you do in a Myvi G3.

    Many elements are from the Ativa. The sharp and customisable digital meter panel, the steering wheel (boss and bottom spoke design changed), the AC control panel with two memory positions, and the minor switches will be familiar to owners of the SUV, but the Alza AV’s head unit is an improved one.

    The 9.0-inch touchscreen (size unchanged) has a slimmer bezel, a full row of fixed buttons, prettier tiled home screen and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a first for Perodua. With the latter, you can view and access navigation, music and messaging apps on the car’s screen – goodbye suction phone holders. Note that this new head unit is exclusive to the AV – the H uses the same one from the Ativa while the X has no touchscreen.

    Another little luxury is the EPB with auto brake hold. Brake hold, which can only be offered along with EPB, makes driving in jams physically so much easier. If genie gives me one Alza feature for the Ativa, it’ll be this.

    Sometimes, it’s amazing how a bit of colour can totally transform an interior. The X50 Flagship’s red dash top is an example, and check out this previous-gen HR-V’s wine red cabin. Of all the AV-exclusive items, the dual-tone cockpit might be easiest and cheapest to implement, but it makes a huge difference – compared to the H, the AV’s dashboard feels more special, more premium even.

    Of course, it’s just an illusion of premium. This is a RM75k MPV and hard plastics are only to be expected, but even so, Perodua went further than it needed to. Look closely and you’ll find that the texture of the dash top has a unique grain to it, a cross hatch pattern similar to Saffiano leather – zoom into the image below (the one with my wallet) to see what I mean.

    The AV’s brownish red trim lifts the overall ambience; dash top has a nice cross hatch grain

    It’s nice that the red/brown dash section “flows” into the door panels, and there’s even a diamond motif at the end of it. The AV’s standard part-leather seats sport the same brownish tone and its quilted centre section matches the diamond theme as well. Together, all these little touches uplift an otherwise conventional dash design. At night, the array of lights on the meter panel and a full complement of steering buttons (zero blanks!) gives off a fully-loaded, high-tech feel. This one isn’t an illusion.

    Nice as the cockpit is, there are a few question marks. I find that there’s no natural place to place my phone in the AV. The large void at the base of the centre stack in the X/H is sealed up in the range-topper, with slots either side of the transmission tunnel as replacements. But this is quite a stretch.

    To me at least, there’s ample space for a phone slot on the centre console, where the Veloz has its wireless charger, but P2 elected to place a card slot here. The AV’s centre bin is also quite small, but at least its armrest lid feels nicer than the Ativa’s “soft” material, which is sticky and not at all cushy. By the way, the X and H get a different centre console layout, one with a “valley” to house the manual handbrake.

    The Alza X/H gets a handbrake and a big cubby hole at the base of the centre stack

    Speaking of empty spaces, there’s more of it on the centre stack. It’s certainly tall enough for three storeys of controls, but only one level is fully occupied. The vast space under the AC panel houses just the push start button and seatbelt reminder, drowned in piano black trim. A lidded cubby would have neatly filled up the space and added functionality.

    The Alza’s rear view mirror has a somewhat compressed view that isn’t very natural, and the manual anti-glare tab didn’t work properly on our tester (wrong angle).

    A balanced drive

    The new Alza is a thoroughly pleasant drive, and it achieves this niceness not by wowing in any particular department, but by being well-balanced. I can’t think of anything to complain about, really.

    We’ll start by addressing the most popular question – is it underpowered? Honestly, I don’t know why people are even asking this question, as Malaysians have been living with 1.5L naturally aspirated engines for such a long time. An NA engine of this size is the default for this class of MPV, as well as B-segment sedans and hatchbacks.

    But it’s big and heavy, right? At 1,170 kg, the 105 hp/138 Nm Alza is only 20 kg heavier than the top spec Vios, which uses the same Perodua-made Dual VVT-i NR engine. For extra context, the sporty Mazda 3 Hatchback, which also comes with a 1.5L NA engine, tips the scales at 1,368 kg, nearly 200 kg more.

    In practice, the Alza accelerates fine with four adults and their luggage onboard. Perhaps not as deceptively swift as the Ativa, but perfectly adequate for a family MPV. Honestly, I’m not sure how it’ll fare climbing Genting seven up, but how many actual customers do that? And if you do, I bet your expectations will be adjusted accordingly, and you won’t be doing it with a stopwatch.

    The CVT transmits power efficiently and the Alza gets up to desired cruising speed with minimum fuss. Like in the Ativa, there’s manual mode with seven virtual ratios (omitted in the Myvi) but never did I feel the need to DIY, which points to an intuitive gearbox. D-CVT is the world’s first split gear CVT system and you can read more about it here.

    Also unnecessary for me personally are the drive modes, because Normal is perfectly balanced, as it should be. You’ll definitely feel the difference between modes – Eco makes the car feel sluggish, like it’s towing something, while Power holds the revs higher and for longer – you do get better response, but the engine becomes noisy and tetchy.

    Which is what it’s not most of the time. The calm powertrain contributes greatly to the Alza good cruising performance. At the highway speed limit of 110 km/h, the engine is ticking at just below 2,000 rpm, and 90 km/h is done at just above 1,500 rpm. That’s a very low range – the Ativa does 110 km/h at around 2,500 rpm, never mind the old 4AT cars – and it benefits NVH and fuel economy.

    Powertrain aside, the Alza has good cruising manners. There are no abnormal wind issues even at speeds way beyond the national limit and rolling refinement is better than the G3 Myvi. We did encounter some rain and can confirm that the Myvi’s wheel-well water splashing noise is absent here.

    For me, the biggest surprise in this pack of surprises is the Alza’s ride comfort. This could well be the best riding Perodua to date, with a stable primary ride at high speeds (sections of the LPT to Peninsular Malaysia’s northeast can be quite wavy, and the Alza coped with the dips well, with no ‘aftershocks’) and good bump absorption in the Klang Valley.

    Alza has a car-like 160 mm ground clearance; Mitsubishi Xpander rides 45 mm higher

    On our construction-scarred urban roads, the Alza rides better than the Ativa, which goes around with more jiggle and hop. As the Alza rides on P2’s own suspension tuning and ride height, it’s a job well done by our local guys and girls.

    The rest of the dynamic package is in tandem. The steering is light and easy (there’s no pretence of ‘sport’, which is good) while brake feel is miles better than in the old Alza, which unresponsive pedal (for much of the travel, before it suddenly bites) can be classified as dangerous. Elsewhere, the Alza has good grip and well-tamed body roll – you really do feel the benefit of that low GC in the bends. Toyo Proxes CR1 is a surprisingly sporty tyre choice for an MPV, too.

    All of the above are fused into an overall driving performance that’s well-balanced. The new Alza is a pleasing drive, not just for budget MPV standards, but also when compared with B-segment passenger cars in the price bracket.

    Matrix LED-style Adaptive Driving Beam is simply amazing; even all the rear lamps are LEDs

    Last but definitely not least for an affordable family car is fuel consumption. The recent media drive to Kota Bharu wasn’t very reflective of typical usage (we were a bit too fast), so I took the Alza AV out for a weekend of regular motoring.

    After 407 km of mixed town/highway driving, including significant idling time during our photoshoot, I returned the car with the trip reading 15 km/l. I reached a high of 15.3 km/l before the shoot, and reckon that 14-15 km/l should be where it’s at for my relatively light right foot. Coincidentally, 14-15 km/l is what I’m getting from my Ativa these days.

    That’s some way off the 22 km/l in what P2 calls the Malaysian Driving Cycle, which supposedly reflects local conditions (18.9 km/l in the more familiar NEDC), but claims are usually just that – claims. In any case, 15 km/l is a very decent return for mixed driving, and an outstation trip is sure to yield bigger numbers.

    The best family car below RM100k?

    After experiencing the new Alza on a long trip as both driver and passenger, and using it in my weekend routine, I think it is.

    Compared to the other sub-RM100k three-row MPVs on sale in Malaysia, the Alza both a better product and a better drive, before even considering the Perodua’s price advantage. If you’ve noticed, there aren’t many comparisons with the original Alza in this review, and that’s because name aside, the D27A is worlds apart from its 13-year old predecessor in every aspect.

    For those shopping in the RM70k to RM100k range, the default options are B-segment sedans and hatchbacks from Toyota and Honda. The Vios, Yaris, City and City Hatchback were recently joined by national SUVs in the form of the Ativa and X50. All have their merits and are great options if you’re using them as personal cars. Even as a two-child household’s sole family car, they’ll do the job.

    However, none does that job as well as the Alza, which has space and versatility on its side. Its rear living quarters is the best here by some margin, and there’s the bonus of a third row for the extended family. Used purely as a spacious five-seater with a big boot, you’re not sacrificing anything in drivability and fuel efficiency versus the B-sedans/hatchbacks, as the Alza is low-slung and drives well.

    For me, the Alza’s only drawback is the “less cool” image of an MPV. It may be low and sporty for for its kind (of the four faces, I like Perodua’s design the best; even the GearUp kit looks good this time) but it’s still a people carrier at the end of the day, and that might be a deal breaker for some. If this is a non-issue for you, and you have two kids or more, you owe it to yourself to consider the Alza, even if an MPV wasn’t in your original family car shortlist.

    GALLERY: 2022 Perodua Alza AV with GearUp bodykit, accessories

  • Proton to invest in EV charging network in Malaysia; in talks with eight providers for home, public charging

    Alongside today’s announcement of the partnership between Proton and smart for the distribution of smart electric vehicles, Proton intends to invest in an EV charging network through collaboration with a local charging provider, in order to provide domestic charging units to customers who plan to charge their vehicles at home, the carmaker announced in its statement today.

    “We have been engaging with seven or eight promoters of EV infrastructure,” because there is a detailed ecosystem within the infrastructure, said Proton senior director of strategy Yusri Yusuf.

    The company will be looking at two aspects – home charging and public charging. With regard to public charging, Proton will be engaging with government agencies to determine the present status of the plans.

    For the issue of range anxiety, a team within Proton has been set up to study the feasibility of deploying mobile charging stations to serve the needs of EV users while the country’s charging network continues to grow, deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah said.

    In addition to the distributorship agreement, Proton’s entry into the EV segment will also help the carmaker attract young talent in view of the shift in job preference for new workers, it said. Today’s formalising of the agreement is a follow-up from the memorandum of agreement signed by Proton and smart at the beginning of this year.

    Today’s announcement by the companies also revealed that Malaysia will be the first ASEAN country to get the right-hand-drive version of the #1, and this is set to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2023. Through Proton’s distributorship agreement, smart vehicles will be sold in Thailand by mid-2024.


  • Honda Malaysia celebrates first 2022 Honda HR-V delivery – over 1,300 units delivered since launch

    Honda Malaysia today celebrated the delivery of the first 2022 Honda HR-V to Nurul Hafida Binti Mhd Jais during an official handover ceremony held at MJN Motors in Cheras, Selangor.

    In addition to receiving the keys to her new HR-V RS e:HEV, Nurul Hafida was also gifted with authorised Honda accessories, Ultra Glass Body Coating and official Honda merchandise valued at RM5,700 as a token of appreciation.

    “The response we have received for the all-new HR-V has been overwhelming and we believe this new model will be sensational once again as it did in the past. Today, we are excited to deliver the all-new HR-V to the first owner, Nurul Hafida,” said Hironobu Yoshimura, managing director and CEO of Honda Malaysia.

    He added that over 1,300 units of the HR-V have been delivered to customers within one month of the model’s launch on July 14. At the time, the company said it had received over 20,000 bookings and that the waiting list stood at more than 12 months.

    “I did my research even before the official launch of the all-new HR-V in Malaysia. The exterior styling and looks caught my attention and that’s when I decided to book the model the moment it was opened for booking,” said Nurul Hafida, who attended the event together with her family.

    “I have been anticipating the delivery of my new car. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was the first customer to receive the car. And what’s even more exciting is the additional surprise of receiving gifts from Honda! I am looking forward to taking my family out and about on my new ride,” she continued.

    Meanwhile, Wan Hazmi bin Dato’ Wan Mustafa, owner of MJN Motors, commented, “demand for the allnew HR-V is high and thus, we are so honoured to be the dealer to deliver the first HR-V to our beloved customer! We are committed to continue providing our customers with excellent service in all aspects.”

    The HR-V is available in four variants, starting with the base S that is powered by a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder engine. This is followed by two turbocharged options – the E and V – that get a 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo engine.

    At the top of the range is the RS e:HEV, which features Honda’s intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid powertrain that consists of a 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC four-potter, two electric motors and an e-CVT. Prices start at RM114,800 on-the-road without insurance for the entry-level variant and go all the way up to RM140,800 for the hybrid option.

    GALLERY: 2022 Honda HR-V RS e:HEV

  • Proton hopes the government will extend incentives for CBU EVs beyond Dec 31, 2023 – no CKD plans yet

    Earlier today, Proton and electric carmaker smart Automobile Company signed a general distributorship agreement (GDA) which will see Proton sell and service smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand.

    The smart #1 will be the first smart model to be sold by Proton and we were told that a local launch will take place early in Q4 2023. The electric SUV was first revealed globally in April, built on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) and styled by Mercedes-Benz.

    The Q4 2023 launch time frame does raise some concerns, as it’s relatively close to the cutoff date for EV incentives announced by the government during the tabling of Budget 2022 (Bajet 2022) last October.

    For a brief recap, fully-imported (CBU) EVs are currently exempt from import and excise duties from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023, while it’s until December 31, 2025 for locally-assembled (CKD) EVs. Both CBU and CKD EVs are also exempt from road tax until December 31, 2025.

    The #1 will arrive as a CBU model and given its planned arrival in early Q4 2023, it will only benefit from EV incentives for a limited amount of time. As such, Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said in his opening speech that he hopes the government will extend the incentive period for CBU EVs beyond the original end date.

    “Proton will play a role in Malaysia’s EV industry as well as help the country achieve carbon neutrality target by 2050; together with our other initiatives such as a double-sided solar panel farm at Tanjung Malim. We will however need help to do so, and the government as always, have been proactive in promoting these generation of vehicles,” he said.

    “In place now is the policy of 100% duty exemption for CBU electric cars up to December 31, 2023, and until the end of 2025 for CKD electric cars. It is an excellent way to spur investment in the sector, and we thank the government for their generosity. However, for the benefit of building a robust EV industry, we humbly request that these exemptions be extended. This is because in Malaysia, the new energy vehicles industry is still in its infancy and as it is a capital-intensive sector,” he added.

    The obvious way to continue enjoying EV incentives beyond 2023 is to assemble the #1 in Malaysia, but Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah explained in a press conference following the signing ceremony that it was still too early to consider local assembly. This is because the #1 has yet to go on sale here, making it difficult to gauge demand, which is very important when it comes to setting up CKD operations.

    “Something we look at is volume because when you talk about CKD operations, it’s always a volume game business to justify in terms of the investment that we have to put up in Malaysia and on how that we should focus on the right-hand drive market. It’s too early for us to talk [about CKD] because what we want is to bring the smart #1 and launch it in Malaysia first then we can talk when the time comes [to consider CKD operations],” Roslan said in response to a question from the media.

  • 2022 Honda CB250R updated for Malaysia, RM23,999

    2022 Honda CB250R – Candy Chromosphere Red

    Now in the Malaysian market is the 2022 Honda CB250R naked sports, priced at RM23,999 – up RM1,000 from the previous price of RM22,999. Pricing for the CB250R does not include road tax, insurance or registration and includes a two-year or 20,000 km warranty against manufacturing defects.

    New for 2022 is the front suspension, for this year a pair of Show 41 mm diameter Separate Fork Function – Big Piston (SFF-BP) upside-down forks. The SFF-BP forks come with the damper and spring in separate tubes, giving better damper performance and reducing weight.

    This is complemented by a monoshock in the rear with five-step preload adjustment. Weight for the CB250R is claimed to be 144 kg with 10.5-litres of fuel in the tank and seat height is set at 800 mm.

    Things remain unchanged in the engine room, with power coming from 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 slipper clutch equipped six-speed gearbox gets power to the rear wheel via chain final drive.

    2022 Honda CB250R – Mat Gun Powder Black Metallic

    Standard equipment on the CB250R is two-channel ABS, driven by an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that ensures even brake force distribution to either wheel and minimising rear wheel lift. Braking is done with single hydraulic callipers front and rear, and the CB250R comes with 17-inch wheels shod with 110/70 front and 150/60 rear radial tyres.

    Also updated is the LCD instrument display, now coming with a gear position indicator and LED lighting is used throughout. Available colours for the CB250R in Malaysia are Mat Gun Powder Black Metallic and Candy Chromosphere Red.

  • Proton aims to sell 800-1,000 units of smart vehicles annually in Malaysia; targets 10,000 units by 2027

    Smart #1

    As part of the partnership between Proton and smart that was formalised at the distributor agreement signing ceremony today, Proton will be aiming to sell between 800 and 1,000 units of vehicles from the smart brand annually in Malaysia, with a longer term goal of ramping up to reach the 10,000-unit cumulative mark by 2027, Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah said at the press conference following the signing of the agreement today.

    “What smart offers is a premium product, so when you have a premium product as compared with other EV brands, I think we know that the [upcoming] range of products will be difficult to position below RM150,000,” Roslan said.

    Looking at the income levels of certain, younger segments of the car-buying customer base, the carmaker is targeting buyers who are in the range of 25 to 35 years of age, some of whom can be seen driving cars which are priced more than RM200,000, the deputy CEO noted.

    As mentioned at today’s signing of the general distributorship agreement (GDA), the smart #1 will be the first model to be sold by Proton in Malaysia, and the official launch for this fully electric model is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2023.

    Unveiled in April this year, the smart #1 uses Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) and will wear styling by Mercedes-Benz. Energy for the #1 will be stored in a 66 kWh battery, providing 440 km of range on the WLTP cycle, driven by a single rear-mounted electric motor producing 272 PS and 343 Nm of torque.

    Retail operations for the brand will be modeled after those located in China and in the United Kingdom, Proton said in its statement today. There are also plans by the company to invest in a charging network through collaboration with a local charging provider, which will enable the installation of charging units in the homes of these EV customers, Proton said.

    GALLERY: smart #1

    GALLERY: smart #1 Launch Edition

    GALLERY: smart #1 Premium

  • smart to enter Thailand market via Proton in mid-2024 – Malaysia set to be first ASEAN country to get RHD #1

    Earlier this morning, Proton and smart Automobile Company signed a general distributorship agreement (GDA), which will see the former sell smart EVs in Malaysia and Thailand. In an official release, the national carmaker said the first smart vehicle – the #1 – will be launched here early in the fourth quarter of 2023.

    As for Thailand, Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah said in a press conference following the signing ceremony that the plan for smart to enter the Thailand market will happen sometime in the second half of 2024.

    “We mentioned that Malaysia [will get the #1] in early Q4 [2023]. So, for Thailand, we’re looking somewhere in 2024, perhaps in the second half of 2024 we will enter Thailand. So, I hope the people in Thailand can wait for smart until we arrive there by mid-2024,” said Roslan.

    His answer would mean that Malaysia is set to become the first country in the ASEAN region to get the #1 in right-hand drive form (it’s left-hand drive in China). The EV will also go on sale in the United Kingdom – another RHD market – this December, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2023.

  • Proton and smart officially sign distributor agreement – smart #1 EV to be launched in Malaysia in Q4 2023

    Proton and electric carmaker smart Automobile Company today formalised its partnership with the signing of a general distributorship agreement (GDA), which will see the former sell and service smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand. This is a follow up from the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by both companies back in January this year.

    The #1 will be the first smart model to be sold by Proton in Malaysia, with an official launch set to take place early in the fourth quarter of 2023 (Q4 2023). First unveiled in April, the #1 is built on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) and styled by Mercedes-Benz. The electric vehicle (EV) boasts a 66-kWh battery, 440 km of range (WLTP cycle) and a rear-mounted electric motor with 272 PS (200 kW) and 343 Nm of torque.

    In its release, Proton said it will model retail operations for smart based on what the company does in other markets like China and the United Kingdom. Additionally, the company also announced its intention to invest in a charging network by collaborating with a local charging provider, which will also see the installation of domestic units for customers who intend to charge their EVs at home.

    Beyond the retail side of things, Proton says its entry into the EV segment with smart will also allow it to attract young talents given the rapid shift in job preference for new workers. This is part of the company’s long-term plans for sustainability and energy efficiency as well as increasing its ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores to draw in the next generation of automotive industry workers.

    “Today marks a big step for Proton’s entry into the new energy vehicle market. The first phase of business with smart is focused on retailing but it provides us with valuable knowledge and experience on not only how to service and charge EVs but also how to transform the way we interact with our customers,” said Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton.

    “The move into this market segment will also help drive Proton’s move towards being more environmentally friendly in all facets of our operations as we work to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050,” he added.

    GALLERY: smart #1

    GALLERY: smart #1 Launch Edition

    GALLERY: smart #1 Premium

  • Hyundai Motor Group now third-largest carmaker as of 1H 2022; 27,000 EVs sold in US, second after Tesla

    The Hyundai Motor Group is now the world’s third-largest automaker by sales volume, with the group announcing earlier this week that it has sold 3.3 million vehicles in the first half of this year, Korea Times reported.

    Placed first and second in terms of sales volume are Toyota with 5.1 million vehicles sold in that period, while the Volkswagen Group sold four million vehicles in that time. For comparison, the Hyundai Motor Group ranked fifth in sales volume in the first half of last year, according to the report.

    Production setbacks experienced by carmakers worldwide due to the shortage in semiconductor supply contributed to the rise in the global market by Hyundai Motor Group, as it had recorded smaller decreases in sales – by 5.1% – than those sustained by other manufacturers in the first half of this year compared to the same time last year, the report cited experts as saying.

    HMG’s climb in the sales rankings was attributed to sales gains by Genesis; GV60 pictured

    Carmakers which sustained drops in sales in 1H 2022 compared to the same period last year included Toyota which was down by 6%, Volkswagen by 14%, Stellantis by 16%, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance by 17.3% and General Motors by 18.6%, according to Korea Times.

    This gain in global ranking for the Hyundai Motor Group was attributed to sales increases by Genesis; the group’s luxury brand recorded sales of 25,668 units in the United States, a new first-half sales record for the brand.

    On the electric vehicle front, Hyundai Motor Group sold 27,000 EVs in the United States between January and May this year, ranking the group second after Tesla in sales for that market; this was attributed to the popularity of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6, Korea Times citing a Bloomberg report.

    “It seems that Hyundai Motor Group’s unique potential to use the unprecedented crisis in the automobile industry as an opportunity, such as the supply shortage of semiconductors and the transition to electrification, seems to have excelled,” an automotive industry official was quoted as saying.

  • UK proposes speed limit, ID plates law for cyclists

    A proposal Transport Secretary Grant Shapps could see cyclists in the UK abiding to a 32 kmh speed limit. The proposal also includes bicycles having number plates or other identification markings, reports online daily Wiltshire Live while The Daily Mail adds mandatory insurance will be considered.

    This is to enforce the law in order to prevent “death by dangerous cycling”, with Shapps saying certain cycling behaviour on the roads must be stopped. ““Somewhere where cyclists are actually not breaking the law is when they speed, and that cannot be right, so I absolutely propose extending speed limit restrictions to cyclists,” said the British Member of Parliament.

    Shapps then added, “particularly where you’ve got 20mph limits on increasing numbers of roads, cyclists can easily exceed those, so I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists. That obviously does then lead you into the question of: ‘Well, how are you going to recognise the cyclist? Do you need registration plates and insurance? And that sort of thing.”

    Amongst other items, Shapps is proposing a review of insurance and tracking cyclists who break laws. “I see no reason why cyclists should break the road laws, why they should speed, why they should bust red lights and be able to get away with it,” Shapps said.

    Scheduled to be tabled in UK Parliament later this year, the proposed law will close a legal loophole which means that cyclists who kill pedestrians can only be jailed for two years. This comes after Mr Shapps pledged to create a “death by dangerous cycling” law to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care”.

    An increasing number of local councils in the UK are imposing 32 kmh speed limits on vehicles in urban centres and built up residential areas. The speed limits only apply to motor vehicles and their drivers and while local authorities can impose speed limits on cyclists, it is rarely done.

    What do you think, as a Malaysian road user? Should Malaysian cyclists be required to follow a set speed limit and obey road rules or face punishment, along with registering and insuring their bicycles? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.


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Last Updated 18 Aug 2022