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  • Toyota Corolla Cross receives Modellista accessories

    A new Japan-market model launch from Toyota is typically followed by the release of that car’s Modellista catalogue and the case is no different here with the Corolla Cross, which was just launched in its native market yesterday. These can be complemented with a host of optional individual accessories.

    Here, the front spoiler sports a two-tier extension look with chrome brightwork at its corners. Side skirts match the embellishments at the front end as well as the spats at the rear end, while body-coloured fenders house rolling stock. A choice of two machine-finished wheels are available from the Modellista catalogue; a 17-inch double five-spoke design, or a more elaborate style in an 18-inch diameter.

    A Cool Shine Kit comprised of additional chrome brightwork is also available, which can be purchased as a pack or individually for the front grille, front door trim, exterior mirrors, door handles and tailgate.

    There’s more in the Modellista catalogue to add styling and utility to the Corolla Cross. Carbon-fibre look door handle protectors can be had for the front and rear doors, while a “smart cushion tote” with a capacity of 17 litres serves a dual purpose of a cushion that doubles as a bag.

    Modellista scuff plates are also offered for the front and rear door sills, along with license plate security bolts. Also part of the catalogue are a luggage compartment LED down light which mounts near the edge of the tailgate, as well as an LED foot light with a broad light throw that mounts to the interior of the B-pillars.

    Two infrared-cut window films can be had from the Modellista catalogue for the Corolla Cross, smoke and dark smoke, in 21% and 8% VLT respectively. The dark smoke film offers marginally greater IR reduction at 60% compared to the regular smoke film’s 54%, while UV cut rates are identical at approximately 99%.

    For those looking for augmented audio, there’s also the JBL speaker replacement set comprised of four 16 cm speakers, mounting brackets and wiring harness. These have a rated input of 55 W and a maximum of 165 W at 3 ohm impedance.

    In Japan, the Toyota Corolla Cross is available in Hybrid and pure internal combustion petrol versions, both featuring the 2ZR-FAE 1.8 litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 140 PS at 6,200 rpm and 170 Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm. The Hybrid version uses an Atkinson-cycle version with 98 PS and 140 Nm of torque, paired to a 72 PS/163 Nm electric motor for a total system output of 122 PS.

  • ACO teases new Android 9 update for Proton GKUI?

    Back in July this year, ACO Tech hinted at an update for the GKUI (Global Key User Interface) software that powers the infotainment systems found in Proton models like the X70, X50, Iriz and Persona. At the time, the company did not provide a launch date, but a new post on its Facebook page appears to suggest that it is coming very soon.

    We have confirmed with ACO Tech that the current GKUI software is based on Android 8 (also known as Oreo), but the latest teaser indicates that the new version will make the shift to Android 9, which is referred to as Pie, hence the pie in the post.

    Further details about what’s new with the Android 9-based GKUI remain unknown for now, but based on the video clip of question-and-answer excerpts from a few months ago, we could see the Spotify app being included, although another possibility is the Syok by Astro.

    The company also said, in regards to possibility of adding Google Maps and Waze, that “these [navigation] apps are not open for any new collaboration with any carmakers in the world.” As such, we can expect both to be left out of the upcoming update.

    As for Android Auto and/or Apple CarPlay support, which is something we deemed to be advantageous, ACO Tech did not provide any confirmation, merely saying that these systems are adapted “from the mobile phone ecosystem,” and it believes it is “already in the next [stage] of entertainment and lifestyle,” and hopes that users will enjoy a new experience once the upgraded software has been rolled out.

    If you’re unaware, ACO Tech is a joint venture involving Proton, Altel Communications and ECarX (Hubei) Technology that is responsible for supporting as well refining and increasing localised content within the GKUI for Proton. Beyond Malaysia, the company is also developing a version of the GKUI system for the Thailand market in in preparation for the future export of the X70 and X50 to the neighbouring country.

    Ahead of a new GKUI version being launched, what features or changes are you hoping will be implemented for quality of life improvements? If you happen to own a Proton with a GKUI system, share your thoughts in the comments below.


  • Nissan GT-R axed in Australia due to side impact regs

    We may have been in awe over the new special editions of the Nissan GT-R yesterday, but those Down Under might have shed a fair few tears. That’s because the Godzilla is being discontinued in Australia after October 31 in the face of impending safety regulations, which will apply to all vehicles starting November.

    Specifically, the GT-R falls foul of Australia Design Rules 85/00 (ADR 85), according to multiple news sources including Drive. The regulations are “designed to reduce serious injuries and fatalities from side-impact crashes with poles, trees and other narrow road objects,” said the publication.

    The laws actually came into effect in November 2017 for new vehicles, but since the GT-R has been on sale in Australia since 2009, it was granted a stay of execution until this year – the deadline for all vehicles sold there to meet the regulations.

    CarExpert reported that just 937 units of the GT-R have been sold in Australia over the past 12 years, with Drive adding that 2021 sales up to August have amounted to only 19 examples – far lower than the number of Ferraris sold during the same period (115). As such, Nissan decided not to reengineer a low-volume sports car for such a small market.

    The R35 is due to be replaced anyway, with a new R36 reportedly set to be revealed sometime within the next two years. That car is rumoured to feature an updated version of the existing VR38DETT 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V6, six-speed dual-clutch transmission and trick all-wheel-drive system, but it will likely be redesigned to pass the new safety regulations, required for new vehicles in Japan since 2018.

    In the meantime, Nissan Australia will reportedly send off the GT-R with 50 units of the T-spec and Nismo. The former adds some cosmetic and mechanical goodies and marks the return of the iconic Midnight Purple and Millennium Jade as colour options. The Nismo has also been updated for the 2022 model year and adds a new Stealth Grey hue and a special edition with a visible carbon fibre bonnet and red-accented wheels.

    The GT-R isn’t the only car affected by the new regulations, of course. Lexus has also announced the discontinuation of the IS, RC and CT in Australia, while the ageing Mitsubishi Mirage will also bid farewell. Alpine will also be shuttering its doors as its sole model, the A110, won’t be reengineered to meet ADR 85.

  • September 2021 week three fuel price – no change

    Time once again for the weekly fuel price update, with the ministry of finance having announced the retail prices of fuel for the coming September 16 to 22 week.

    There’s no change in the price of RON 97 petrol, the fuel continuing on at the RM2.73 per litre price it was at last week. As for RON 95 petrol, the fuel remains at its RM2.05 per litre ceiling price that was set for it by the government in February.

    Likewise, Euro 5 B10/B20 blend diesel continues to be priced at RM2.15 per litre, which means that Euro 5 B7 – which costs 10 sen more per litre – maintains its RM2.25 per litre retail price

    These prices take effect from midnight tonight, until Wednesday September 8, when the next set of fuel price updates will be announced. This is the 37th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for 2021, and the 140th in total since its introduction in 2019.

  • 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 official Malaysian launch – Multistrada V4 at RM135,900, V4S at RM146,900

    2021 Ducati Multistrada V4

    Taking place at the Ducati Malaysia PJ showroom, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 and Multistrada V4S were officially launched, priced at RM135,900 and RM146,900, respectively. As Ducati’s first ever pair of V-four adventure-touring rigs, the Multistradas in base and ‘S’ form come loaded with technology designed to make riding easier, safer and more intuitive.

    For the Multistrada V4S, Ducati introduces onboard Radar, combined with adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection, developed in conjunction with automotive electronics specialists Bosch. The radar system on the Multistrada V4S, which requires Malaysian Ducati dealers to invest in a radar calibration rig and having trained personnel, allows distance keeping while riding on cruise control, plus blind spot warning using the rear radar.

    2021 Ducati Multistrada V4S with optional accessories

    Ducati Skyhook Suspension is also installed on the Multistrada V4S, which, apart from the semi-active suspension adjustment also includes self-levelling, adjusting automatically to suit load. A full suite of riding aids comes standard, including cornering ABS, wheelie control, traction control, cornering lights and four riding modes – Sport, Touring, Urban (power reduced to 115 hp) and Enduro.

    Inside the Multistrada V4S cockpit is a 6.5-inch TFT-LCD display, while the base model Multistrada makes do with a 5-inch TFT-LCD. Other differences between the the two variants of the Multistrada V4 available in Malaysia is the inclusion of a quickshifter for the Multistrada V4S.

    Power comes from the Ducati V4 Granturismo mill, putting out 170 hp at 10,500 rpm and 125 Nm of torque at 8,750 rpm. Fuel for the Multistrada V4 is carried in a 22-litre tank while seat height is adjustable between 840 to 860mm and kerb weight is claimed to be 240 kg.

    For Malaysia, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4S comes in a choice of Ducati Red or Aviator Grey, while the Multistrada V4 is only available in Ducati Red. Viewing of the Multistrada V4 can be done at the Ducati Malaysia Petaling Jaya showroom in compliance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures.

    GALLERY: 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4

    GALLERY: 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4S shown with optional Ducati accessories

  • Hyundai Casper – two petrol engines, ADAS across three trim levels for Korean market compact SUV

    Hyundai has announced that early-bird reservations in Korea have been opened for the Casper, which made its debut at the beginning of this month. Reservations will be taken through a dedicated website for the Casper rather than the conventional sales network for a period of two weeks until September, before the compact model’s sales launch on September 29.

    The Casper premiered with a choice of two petrol engines – a naturally aspirated 1.0 litre MPI unit producing 76 PS and 95 Nm of torque, and a 1.0 litre T-GDI turbocharged engine, the latter rated for 100 PS and 172 Nm of torque in the Hyundai i10 N Line.

    The turbocharged engine specification in the range is exclusive to the Casper Active variant, and when paired with the Inspiration trim level brings an exclusive wheel design as well as an additional rear spoiler.

    The Modern and Inspiration trim levels gain a 2WD rough road driving mode, which automatically modulates throttle and braking inputs according to the more adverse road conditions such as snow, mud and sand.

    To maximise interior space within the compact SUV, the rear seats of the Casper can be moved forwards and rearwards by 160 mm, with the ability to be reclined up to 39 degrees. Luggage capacity is up to 301 litres with the rear seats slid forward, while long objects can benefit from up to 2,059 mm of length when the first and second row passenger seats are fully folded.

    Infotainment in the Casper brings Hyundai CarPay, an in-vehicle cashless payment feature, while natural voice recognition offers hands-free functionality to enable the driver to set the vehicle’s air conditioning by voice. Driver instrumentation is by digital panel, while the infotainment display is via a floating panel atop the dashboard.

    Standard safety equipment on board the Casper is comprised of seven airbags including centre side airbags for the front occupants. As standard, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) includes forward collision avoidance assist for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning and high beam assist.

    Optionally available from Modern trim level onwards, the SmartSense suite for the Casper includes forward collision avoidance assist for crossroads, rear side collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic avoidance assist as well as smart cruise control.

    Three trim levels are offered for the Casper, starting with the Smart trim at 13.85 million won (RM49,242), Modern at 15.9 million won (56,531) and Inspiration 18.7 million won (RM66,703). When specified with the turbocharged Casper Active variant, a 950,000 won (RM3,379) premium is added to the Smart and Modern trim levels, and an additional 900,000 won (RM3,201) for the Inspiration trim level.

    Six exterior colours are offered at launch, comprised of Tomboy Khaki, Soultronic Orange Pearl, Atlas White, Titan Gray Metallic, Intense Blue Pearl, and Unbleached Ivory, the latter developed specifically for the Casper.

  • 2022 Toyota RAV4 revealed – new headlights, wheels and USB-C ports; Adventure now offered in Europe

    Toyota has released the first images of the 2022 RAV4, which benefits from a number of cosmetic and functional updates. The changes were detailed by the carmaker’s Australian arm back in June, but this is the first time we’re seeing them visually.

    By far the most visible of these revisions are the redesigned LED projector headlights, with the projector units positioned in the bottom half – freeing up space above it for new U-shaped daytime running lights. These are now standard in Europe (replacing the base reflector units we get), as are LED fog lights.

    Elsewhere, there are new ten-spoke alloy wheels finished in either silver or black, while LED lighting, a power-adjustable passenger seat (the driver’s seat is already powered), illuminated window switches and USB Type C ports have been added on the inside. The European market also receives the more rugged Adventure model already offered in North America, Japan and Australia (it’s called the Edge in the latter).

    This adds a different front bumper with a larger hexagonal grille (the Toyota badge is placed in the centre here) framed by a U-shaped centre intake and fog light surrounds, plus a beefier silver skid plate. There are also wider fender flares, unique 19-inch alloy wheels (finished in full matte grey for the European market) and an exclusive two-tone colour scheme that pairs an Urban Khaki body with a Dynamic Grey roof.

    Inside, the Adventure is set apart with black faux leather upholstery with contrasting orange stitching and quilted back and cushion sections, along with “RAV4 Adventure” scuff plates. In Europe, the RAV4 is offered solely in Hybrid form, pairing a 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 218 PS (225 PS with an additional rear motor and all-wheel drive).

    A sportier Plug-in Hybrid variant is also available, pushing outputs to 306 PS and delivering an electric-only range of 75 km through an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. The refreshed RAV4 range will go on sale in Europe starting in the first quarter of next year.

  • JPJ says supply of driving licences and road tax is sufficient to meet all renewal needs until December 31

    The road transport department (JPJ) has announced that it has sufficient stock of driving licenses and road tax (LKM) to meet the renewal needs of all customers for the period until December 31. In a statement, the department said that the availability did not just cover that for its own use at its branches, but also that of its strategic partners, namely MyEG, Pos Malaysia and Puspakom.

    It said that in August, it supplied a sufficient quantity of road tax slips and driving licence blanks to MyEG, Pos Malaysia and Puspakom. It distributed 450,000 motorcar and 8,400 motorcycle road tax slips and 6,600 driving licenses to MyEG, while Pos Malaysia received 385,000 motorcar and 287,999 motorcycle road tax slips and 300,000 driving licenses. Meanwhile, Puspakom was supplied with 5,500 road tax slips.

    As of yesterday, September 14, the balance stock of these documents at the three service providers were still at sufficient levels. The department said that MyEG had 100,827 motorcar and 10,843 motorcycle road tax slips as well as 26,648 driving licence renewal blanks, while Pos Malaysia had 365,518 motorcar and 142,871 motorcycle road tax slips and 789,274 driving licences available at all its outlets nationwide. As for Puspakom, it had 11,950 motorcar road tax slips.

    The department assured the public that stocks of these documents were more than sufficient for people to go about renewing their road tax and driving licences before the grace period for expired road tax and driving licenses ends on December 31.

    Previously, the government had said that the leeway would end on September 30, but after concerns arose among the public over the problem of renewing these documents, the ministry of transport issued a statement saying that it would be extending the deadline until the end of the year.

    On September 6, JPJ service counters went back to 100% capacity and allowed walk-ins for renewals. On the same day, Pos Malaysia also began accepting walk-ins for renewals.

  • China has “too many” EV manufacturers; minimum production capacity utilisation limit considered

    China has “too many” electric vehicle makers, and the government will encourage consolidation, said its minister of industry and information technology Xiao Yaqing, reported Automotive News Europe.

    “The [electric car makers] are small and scattered. The role of the market should be fully utilised and we encourage merger and restructuring efforts in the EV sector to further increase market concentration, Xiao said. The Chinese government is drawing up measures to pull back on overcapacity in this sector and instead channel resources to key production hubs, Bloomberg reported last week.

    Among those measures being considered is a minimum limit on production capacity utilisation for the industry, where provinces which do not meet those limits will not be permitted to approve new projects until surplus capacity comes online, Bloomberg wrote.

    The average capacity utilisation rate by automakers in China was around 53% last year, based on calculations made from a Jiangsu province submission to the country’s national development and reform commission earlier this year, according to Automotive News Europe. A Xinhua report in April citing official statistics found that China has around 300 electric vehicle makers.

    The growing EV presence in China has been driven by its government’s subsidies which encourage consumers to change their existing vehicles for less polluting ones, termed by China as new energy vehicles. Total subsidies by China’s central government for purchases of new energy vehicles tallied around 33 billion yuan (RM21.3 billion) in the five years through 2020, according to data from the country’s ministry for industry and information technology.

    In response to the subsidies, provincial authorities offered tax breaks and other incentives for EV makers to set up facilities, which has led to these facilities mushrooming and not producing vehicles at capacity. According to Automotive News Europe, the Jiangsu province north of Shanghai is now home to around 30 automakers, and several of these have already gone bankrupt.

    German brand Borgward and its manufacturing facility in Beijing have most recently been the subject of a planned purchase by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, and the plant is reported to have an annual manufacturing capacity of 180,000 units.

  • EV conversions of ICE cars not allowed in Malaysia

    The electric vehicle scene is certainly booming at the moment. These days, you’ll find that most major automakers have at least one EV in their product portfolio, while some have even opted to take things a step further by renouncing the internal combustion engine altogether.

    While new EV models are a clear sign of this paradigm shift, the rest of the automotive industry has also evolved to keep up with the trend. For instance, where crate engines are typically of the internal combustion variety, you can now buy a crate electric motor from Swindon Powertrain or any other company offering such an item.

    This can be used to convert an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to a full EV, which sounds great for those who prefer the look of their current car but want a fully electric powertrain, and have the means to perform the conversion. However, is this something that is allowed in Malaysia?

    This was the question posed by BL Ong, a member of the Malaysian Electric Vehicle Owners Club (MyEVOC), to the road transport department (JPJ). According to the department, ICE to EV conversions are not allowed under Section 6(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 as well as Rule 9B of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Rules 1959.

    Looking at the Road Transport Act 1987 first, Section 6(1) states that it is unlawful (i.e., illegal) to use a motor vehicle which “does not comply with the rules as to construction, weight, equipment, use and age applicable to the class or description of motor vehicle to which such motor vehicle belongs.”

    There is a caveat here, as authorisation can be given to “special motor vehicles, or special types of motor vehicles, which are constructed either for special purposes or for tests or trials and of new or improved types of motor vehicles, whether wheeled or wheelless.”

    So, you can’t just plonk in an electric motor into your Perodua Myvi, for instance, and drive it out on public roads like normal. However, you can build a prototype and have it authorised for demonstrations and testing, which is likely the path that EV Innovations took for its Honda Jazz-based MyKar.

    As for the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Rules 1959, this received a revision in the form of the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Rules 2011, which came into operation on January 1, 2012. Most rules and acts in Malaysia receive amendments over time, with the attorney-general’s chambers (AGC) publishing federal government gazettes that outline the revisions.

    Under the amendment, rules 9A and 9B were added, with the former’s sub-rule 9A(1) stating “a motor vehicle shall not be constructed unless” it has gained the approval of the director general. It’s also mentioned that a motor vehicle referred to in sub-rule 9A(1) shall include an electric motor vehicle.

    This leads to rule 9B, which lays out requirements for an electric motor vehicle. The important notes here include the use of a battery, including its installation, that is certified by a competent body recognised by the director general. This also applies to the electrical wiring system used, and for an electric motorcycle, it must conform to the MS 2413 specification for electric motorcycles issued by the department of standards.

    Other requirements for an electric motor vehicle include bearing a clear, distinct and untampered motor serial number and chassis number; have a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h; and have a climbing capability exceeding 20% gradient.

    We’re no lawyers, but it’s quite clear that converting an ICE car to EV will require a lot of prior validation and approval from relevant parties before it can be constructed for use on public roads. It certainly makes sense given that EVs employ high-voltage systems, which are certainly dangerous to work with. Additionally, major car brands spend millions of dollars to ensure their EVs are safe in the event of an accident, which is something that common folk aren’t able to do.

    It should also be noted that the JPJ has strict rulings on ICE engine transplants too: not exceeding 30% capacity increase and no major modifications to the car’s chassis. Changing to an electric powertrain is obviously a whole different ballgame. As such, converting an ICE car to an EV isn’t something that the department permits currently.


Latest Fuel Prices

RON 95 RM2.05 (0.00)
RON 97 RM2.73 (+0.01)
RON 100 RM3.41
VPR RM3.56
EURO 5 B10 RM2.15 (0.00)
EURO 5 B7 RM2.25 (0.00)
Last Updated 09 Sep 2021