KLIMS 2018

  • Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    What was your star of the just-concluded KL International Motor Show (KLIMS) 2018? Mine was the Perodua X-Concept, by a big margin.

    Big props to Hyundai for bringing a wide variety of displays, from its green technology flagship – the Nexo fuel cell EV – to the i30 N hot hatch that has been giving me inappropriate dreams. Meanwhile, the Toyota FT-1 Concept in graphite grey was as gorgeous as the first time I stared at it, four years ago in Jakarta. Even the human curves from Lexus stood no chance against the sensuous Supra proposal.

    All well and good, but Perodua’s headlining display was the most significant of them all, because the X-Concept is “The Perodua of Tomorrow” – their words, not ours. Now, Malaysia’s market leader isn’t one to do things just for fun, and has a habit of keeping its cards glued to its chest, so when it wheels out something like the X-Concept, we sit up and take notice.

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    Typically, it came as a surprise. Not just because we didn’t know of a Perodua concept car until the KLIMS press day, but because it looks good. IMHO, previous P2 concept car efforts have been a bit cartoonish and/or too fanciful, but this one oozes maturity and reflects the company’s newfound confidence in its design capabilities. Cover up the badges and the X-Concept could have been from any top carmaker.

    But it’s still very much a practical Perodua, designed by Malaysians with (very demanding) Malaysian carbuyers in mind, as we found out talking to Perodua chief designer and the man behind the X-Concept, Muhamad Zamuren Bin Musa.

    Firstly, if you were wondering what exactly is the X-Concept, you’re not alone. It’s a five-door hatchback, but is it Myvi-sized or smaller? There’s an ‘X’ in the name, so is this a crossover? “Mazda CX-3” came to mind when we had our sneak peek (literally, as only a part of the car’s profile was revealed to transport minister Anthony Loke during his tour; the car was fully revealed later during the press day) of the showcar. Perodua’s show brochure didn’t elaborate either.

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    Zamuren, 43, answers our first question by stating that the X-Concept is not an SUV, but a regular compact hatchback with a tinge of crossover in the design. We wouldn’t have guessed, but the showcar’s footprint is between the Axia and the Myvi – in the metal, the X-Concept looks much bigger than it actually is.

    The X-Concept’s footprint is 3,750 mm long by 1,665 mm wide, which puts both dimensions in between that of the Axia (3,640 mm long, 1,620 mm wide) and the Myvi (3,895 mm long, 1,735 mm wide). Ditto the 2,460 mm wheelbase, which is sandwiched by the Axia’s 2,455 mm and Myvi’s 2,500 mm. According to Zamuren, this package size – larger than today’s Axia, but still comfortably shaded by the Myvi – is for a global compact car, which you can read as A-segment.

    If the size increase hints at a future Perodua A-segment hatchback moving away from its traditional Japanese kei-car roots, the styling double confirms the shift. “Their design is not 100% suitable for Malaysian tastes,” Zamuren said, in reference to Daihatsu designs for Japan and Indonesia markets, and how conditions in a country influences design.

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    The X-Concept’s footprint is slightly bigger than the Axia’s, but it sits below the Myvi in size

    “The environment in Japan is totally different from ours, the roads and houses are small, which suits kei cars. In Indonesia, it’s very congested and there isn’t much space on the road – the infrastructure there is also different (from ours), and cars have high ground clearance as a result,” he explained, before pulling out a food analogy to further agitate my rumbling tummy.

    Likening our preference to nasi kandar versus sushi, Zamuren says that Malaysians like cars that are “complicated but simple” – something that’s heavy in design (kasi kuah campur, boss!) but “simple” in practicality and cost. JDM cars are more akin to sushi, which looks simple enough (it’s just raw fish on a lump of rice), but requires more skill and precision than a casual observer might appreciate.

    Zamuren, who has been with Perodua for 21 years, agrees that Malaysian carbuyers are rather hard to please and they seem to want it all. “For Malaysians, everything must be sporty,” he quipped, adding that the X-Concept is as sporty as it can be without compromising practicality and space. “Practicality is the first priority,” he rightly stated.

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    Having to consider the latter, which includes good luggage room, was a challenge for the team of six designers who worked on the X-Concept for six months. Everyone loves an emotional design, but have you noticed that Mazdas are a long way from the best in class when it comes to space and visibility? Balancing looks and practical aspects is tough, more so when one is working on a small footprint.

    Zamuren is happy when I remark that the X-Concept looks larger than its dimensions suggest. He says that the main styling theme is “bold and muscular”, and the muscular effect was achieved by the slight “tucking in” of the profile, giving the sides more volume and sculpture.

    They had to sacrifice 15 mm of rear cabin width for this, but as this is a compact car designed for young couples with small children at the back, the designer in him thinks it’s a good trade-off. I think that the two-tone cabin, which is dark and sporty in the cockpit while being light and airy at the back, makes sense too.

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    Chief designer Muhamad Zamuren led a team of six to complete the X-Concept in six months

    The flow of the lines also appear slightly pinched in the middle, amplifying the above-mentioned muscular effect. It’s topped off by the now de rigueur floating roof, unmissable here thanks to a white buffer zone on the C pillars. The windowline kink, while not as severe as on the Toyota C-HR, is another concession to style.

    Note that while Perodua wanted the showcar to have “SUV juice”, the lack of black lower body cladding and overfenders typical of crossovers is intentional, as is the regular car ground clearance. Let’s just say that they didn’t have a Volkswagen CrossPolo in mind.

    Moving to the front, one thing I found neat was the repetition of the stylised ‘X’ used in the logo. You can see the motif – which looks like an unjoined Under Armour mark – as part of the light-show cum wraparound grille, stamped on the lower intake, and in the rear light clusters.

    Zooming out, the face itself has a prominent “X theme” going on, which Zamuren says is part of Perodua’s new design language that will feature in upcoming models. The above-mentioned “pinch” in the side profile also creates a gentle X.

    The X-Concept’s lighting arrangement is unconventional, with LED main beams placed lower than usual. This style, which typically puts a slim LED DRL strip on the top tier, was seen on the Citroen C4 Cactus, and is currently being used by Hyundai on its SUVs. Zamuren says that LED technology takes up less space than an old-school headlamp module, which opens up styling possibilities not available previously.

    The man and his team set out to inject character into a compact car design, and to blend sportiness and “muscle” with non-negotiable parameters such as footprint and cabin space. Given the constraints, I think the X-Concept is a fantastic effort. So, are we looking at an early proposal for the next-generation Axia, which by the way, has just turned four?

    Perodua X-Concept – we chat with Muhamad Zamuren, the chief designer behind P2’s new design language

    P2’s design boss, who has been free-flowing in speech thus far, glances at the PR minder between us, and says: “The X-Concept is just a study model for Perodua, to get customer feedback. We want to listen to the customer – can they accept this, is it too much, is it overdone? It’s experimental.”

    As for the SUV flavour seen here and if we should expect crossover vibes in Perodua’s future hatchback models, Zamuren says that looking at the global auto trend, the SUV style would be dominant in the next five to 10 years. Although this is not yet the case in Malaysia (the segment is growing, though), the X-Concept is an “opportunity for us to check whether this is a good look for the Malaysian market. The hatchback is our core, our bread and butter, for now and the future.”

    Just a flight of fancy? I think there’s more to the X-Concept than just an after-hours fun project by the design team. In his KLIMS 2018 speech, Perodua Sales MD Datuk Dr Zahari Husin said that the auto industry is seeing a demand that its products and services reflect the customer’s lifestyle.

    “This change has fundamentally altered our approach to making cars; the car is no longer just a means of transport, but a symbol of who you are and a representation of your lifestyle,” he said.

    Lifestyle. Purely functional and utilitarian cars won’t do it anymore moving forward, and if the X-Concept is anything to go by, “The Perodua of Tomorrow” would have design and some desirability as icing on the usual Perodua cake of sensible qualities.

    GALLERY: Perodua X-Concept at KLIMS 2018

  • VIDEO: The highlights of KLIMS18 as coverage wraps

    We’ve now firmly wrapped up our coverage of the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show. You’ve seen all the launches and previews, pored over some of the concept cars and even had a look at the booth girls present, but here’s a quick roundup of everything that’s happened at the event.

    Over at Honda, the brand showed Mugen concepts of the CR-V and Jazz and unveiled the interior of the facelifted HR-V, while Toyota launched the new Camry and previewed the Vios. Meanwhile, over next door, Lexus debuted the ES sedan and UX compact crossover for the first time in Malaysia.

    Across the way, Naza made a splash, previewing the DS7 Crossback, Kia Cerato and Kia Picanto GT-Line. In the Malaysian corner, Perodua showcased two concepts, the hotted-up Myvi GT and the X-Concept; it also held a sneak peek public preview of its forthcoming SUV. Right across was the Proton stand, where it had the X70 out in public for the first time, and announced the December 12 launch date.

    Two pick-ups were shown side to side – Mitsubishi brought out the facelifted Triton ahead of next year’s launch, and Ford launched the Ranger Raptor; the latter also previewed the facelifted Mustang. Hyundai brought a slew of cars at this year’s show, launching the facelifted Grand Starex, previewed the new Santa Fe and Kona and displayed the Accent, i30 N, Kona Electric and the hydrogen-powered Nexo.

    Upstairs, Nissan brought along the electric-powered Leaf that will be launched in the second quarter of 2019, and also showcased its e-Power range extender electric vehicle technology that will also be introduced in the near future. Speaking of tech showcases, Isuzu also brought along its 1.9 litre Ddi Blue Power turbodiesel engine, alongside concepts of the D-Max and MU-X and accessory packages for the D-Max.

    So that’s all for us at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, and we’ll leave you with a video roundup of everything there is to see at the show. Don’t forget that the show runs on at MITEC for another two days, so there’s still time to check out all these and more – and take part in a lucky draw to win yourself either a Perodua City, Honda City and Toyota C-HR. Tickets are priced at RM25 for adults on weekends.

  • KLIMS18: Nothing like Malaysia’s own awek and amoi?

    It was kinda strange doing the whole motor show thing eight kilometres from home, because it felt a lot like what photographer Sherman Sim and I do at least twice a year in Thailand and Indonesia. Also because we haven’t had a KL International Motor Show for half a decade.

    But KLIMS is back for 2018, and at a shiny new home too – one that does not require river crossings to get to the other half of the venue! The car brands that were present put on a great show, giving us a decent variety of cars and entertainment.

    Speaking of variety, Hyundai had it all – the Korean brand’s booth housed everything from new models for Malaysia (Santa Fe, Grand Starex facelift), cars that are coming soon (Kona 1.6 Turbo), eco-friendly tech showcases (Nexo FCEV, Kona Electric), interest gauging models (Accent) and even a performance corner with the i30 N hot hatch – that, and not the K-pop dance crew, is giving me inappropriate dreams.

    However, the most significant displays were over at Perodua. The market leader showcased the X-Concept, which is billed as “The Perodua of Tomorrow”. The X-Concept is as stunning as it is surprising, but it was the kitted-up Myvi GT – Brembos and all – that generated more saliva from showgoers. Perodua’s new SUV, which will debut early next year, was present at KLIMS, albeit hidden in a box. Not long now.

    Across the aisle, Proton’s booth drew big crowds wanting to touch and feel (and knock) the new Proton X70. The company’s first SUV, which launch is just around the corner (finally, December 12), was in full public preview mode in various variants and colours. Also on the way to showrooms is the refreshed Mitsubishi Triton, which wears the macho Dynamic Shield face with real purpose.

    Toyota and Lexus did more than their part. The mainstream brand launched the new Toyota Camry, which doesn’t look very mainstream these days. The “Beautiful Monster” was joined by the new Vios – now open for booking – and the stunning FT-1 “Supra” Concept. Lexus’ bright white stand was contrasted by a bevy of black-clad beauties, the new Lexus ES 250 and the UX compact SUV.

    The most masculine line-up belonged to Ford, which launched the RM200k Ranger Raptor pick-up truck and previewed the Mustang facelift. Over in the Naza enclave (Kia, Citroen, DS, Peugeot) sat the next-generation Kia Cerato in a curious chrome wrap, the DS7 Crossback (check out its extravagant cabin), the facelifted Kia Sportage and the Kia Picanto GT-Line.

    Honda had a relatively quiet motor show, with only the HR-V RS facelift (second preview) and Mugen-kitted versions of the Jazz and CR-V on display, alongside regular showroom cars. Upstairs, Nissan showed the second-generation Leaf electric car (launching mid-2019) and the Note e-Power range extender EV. No plans yet for the latter, just testing the water.

    Other interesting displays include the UiTM AVII autonomous driving project and Isuzu’s 1.9L Ddi BluePower engine, which we’re still yet to receive. D-Max and MU-X dress-up concepts sandwiched the turbodiesel.

    Before we let you roam free with the ladies, there were a couple of new motorcycles on display at KLIMS 2018 as well. Boon Siew Honda launched the 2019 Honda PCX Hybrid, Honda Forza scooter and Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade at MITEC, while Benelli previewed the TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C bikes – all will be here in mid-2019.

    Next to the bikes, Petronas carved out a large portion of the upper hall for itself, constructing a mini Mesra store with plenty of snacks and Starbucks coffee. It also launched the Setel e-wallet app, which you can sign up for on-spot.

    That’s quite some list, isn’t it? We may be speaking in past tense, but KLIMS 2018 is still ongoing for the public this weekend all the way till Sunday night. You might even meet some of the pretty ladies below at the show…

  • Petronas introduces Setel e-wallet service – cashless payments and loyalty programme in one app

    Petronas introduces Setel e-wallet service – cashless payments and loyalty programme in one app

    It seems that fuel retailers are going big on cashless payments, as Petronas is also throwing its hat into the ring with its Setel e-wallet app, introduced at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS).

    Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the service can currently be used at more than 40 stations across the Klang Valley, with the number set to rise to 600 by June 2019. The company expects a nationwide expansion to be complete by the end of next year.

    Unlike Petron’s cashless service, which works using WeChat Pay, Setel is Petronas’ own system, designed to be integrated directly to the fuel pumps – said to be the first in Southeast Asia. The app enables customers to purchase fuel in just a few taps, directly in the comfort of their cars, and starting January next year it will also allow users to purchase items at Mesra stores. It also integrates the Kad Mesra loyalty programme.

    Petronas introduces Setel e-wallet service – cashless payments and loyalty programme in one app

    “Pumping fuel shouldn’t be a chore. Currently, the payment process involves walking to cashier, waiting in line, a RM200 hold on your cards, and having to use a separate card to earn loyalty points,” said Setel boss Iskandar Ezzahuddin. “Setel eradicates these pain points and integrates payment and loyalty benefits in a seamless, frictionless experience. At Setel, we settle for you!”

    Petronas Dagangan managing director and CEO Datuk Sri Syed Zainal Syed Mohd Tahir said, “Petronas has been focusing on creating a new customer experience in our retail business by leveraging on the power of digital. Setel enables a seamless end-to-end experience that focuses on providing convenient and ease for fuel purchases at our customers’ fingertips. We are proud to be the first to offer this service in Malaysia.”

  • KLIMS18: Isuzu 1.9L Ddi BluePower engine, D-Max and MU-X concepts on display; accessories launched

    KLIMS18: Isuzu 1.9L Ddi BluePower engine, D-Max and MU-X concepts on display; accessories launched

    As we begin to wrap up our coverage of the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS), we come to the Isuzu stand, where the company is previewing its latest 1.9 litre Ddi BluePower turbodiesel engine. The RZ4E-TC has been on sale in other markets since 2015, and while Isuzu Malaysia has yet to provide a timeframe for its introduction over here, it should be arriving fairly soon.

    Set to replace the long-serving 4JK1-TCX 2.5 litre mill, it makes 150 hp at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between 1,800 and 2,600 rpm – figures that are up 16 hp and 30 Nm, despite being 19% more fuel efficient and 20% lighter. It also has a carbon dioxide emissions figure of 161 grams per kilometre.

    Also being showcased are two concepts based on the D-Max pick-up and MU-X SUV. The former is said to feature a “street rugged” look, coming with beefy steel bumpers, 20-inch Lenso alloy wheels and a roll bar, plus blue geometric graphics and a “blue metal armour” interior claimed to resemble a soldier’s suit.

    The MU-X show vehicle, on the other hand, is apparently fully capable off the beaten track, with features that are inspired by the company’s participation in the Borneo Safari. Aside from the aforementioned steel bumpers, it also gets a three-inch lift, a winch, a roof tray and mud tyres. The black and yellow exterior colourway, which is said to complement its rugged aesthetic, extends to the leather-trimmed interior.

    Lastly, Isuzu Malaysia has introduced two genuine accessories packages for the D-Max, called Titanium and Robust. The Titanium package gets various chrome details including headlight garnishes, tail light guards, door handle covers and garnishes, a tailgate cover and garnish and door visors, while the Robust has these in matte black and adds a black bonnet visor. The Titanium also gets chrome door sill plates.

    Both packages are priced at RM1,180, and the company is offering additional options including a matte black front bumper guard and fender flares. These are priced at RM1,390 and RM1,090 respectively.

    GALLERY: Isuzu 1.9 litre Ddi BluePower engine

    GALLERY: Isuzu D-Max concept
    GALLERY: Isuzu MU-X concept
    GALLERY: Isuzu D-Max with Robust package
    GALLERY: Isuzu D-Max Titanium and Robust package official photos

  • KLIMS18: 2019 Benelli TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C cruiser in Malaysia market by mid-next year

    KLIMS18: 2019 Benelli TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C cruiser in Malaysia market by mid-next year

    Underscoring Malaysia as an important market for the brand is Benelli with the preview of three new models that will enter the local market mid-2019. Shown at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS18)These are the 2019 Benelli TRK251 adventure bike, Leoncino 250 naked sports and 502C cruiser. However, pricing has yet to be determined.

    Placed as the lower displacement sibling to the Benelli TRK 502, the TRK 521 use the same styling and similar adventure type body but with a 249 cc engine. The single-cylinder mill, mated to a six-speed gearbox, is capable of producing 26.8 hp at 10,500 rpm and 21 Nm of torque at 9,000 rpm.

    The TRK 251’s advantage is it comes complete with add-ons and accessories designed for adventure touring, including a tall windshield, upright seating position, 17-litre fuel tank, USB charger and LED projector headlights. Rolling on 17-inch wheels, the TRK 251 comes with a ground clearance of 200 mm, with a 41 mm diameter upside-down fork in front and monoshock at the back.

    KLIMS18: 2019 Benelli TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C cruiser in Malaysia market by mid-next year

    Braking is done with hydraulic discs front and rear with switchable ABS as standard. LED lighting is used throughout the TRK 251 including LED DRLs and inside the cockpit is a monochrome LCD instrument panel.

    Like the TRK 251, the Leoncino 250 is a smaller version of the previously released Leoncino 500. Styled as a sports naked, the Leoncino 250 comes with LED lighting, taller handlebar, trellis frame and a wide single-piece seat for two.

    The same single-cylinder power plant producing 26.8 hp and 21 Nm of torque from the TRK 251 is used in the Leoncino 250, with a six-speed gearbox. Rider conveniences include a digital meter, front and rear disc brakes with ABS, 12-litre fuel tank and 17-inch wheels.

    KLIMS18: 2019 Benelli TRK 251, Leoncino 250 and 502C cruiser in Malaysia market by mid-next year

    Resembling the Ducati XDiavel in more ways than one, the Benelli 502C is put forward as a cruiser with its feet-forward foot pegs and low seat. While there is a similar model, the Benelli 402S, in the range, the 502C uses a 500 cc parallel-twin, liquid-cooled with a six-speed gearbox producing 47.6 hp at 8,500 rm and 45 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm.

    Fuel for the Benelli 502C is carried in a 21-litre tank and suspension is with 41 mm diameter upside-down forks in front and rear monoshock. LED lighting is standard, including LED DRLs, with a digital instrument cluster, twin disc brakes in front and two-channel ABS.

    GALLERY: 2019 Benelli TRK 251

    GALLERY: 2019 Benelli Leoncino 250
    GALLERY: 2019 Benelli 502C

  • KLIMS18: Kia Picanto GT Line on display with AEB

    KLIMS18: Kia Picanto GT Line on display with AEB

    The Kia Picanto line-up currently features just the 1.2 EX but several months ago, it was rumoured that two new variants will be added, namely the KX and GT Line. Now, the latter is being put on display at the ongoing Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS 2018) as part of yet another official preview after last year’s appearance.

    Visual cues unique to the Picanto GT Line include sportier front and rear bumpers, side skirts and larger 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 195/45 profile tyres. The new look also sees the front fog lamps being repositioned within the lower intake; red accents applied on various areas; and a new twin tailpipe.

    On the inside, you’ll find a flat-bottomed steering wheel and leather seats, with the latter being an upgrade over the EX’s fabric upholstery. Other enhancements over the EX include a sunroof, a Supervision instrument cluster, automatic air-conditioning, a front armrest, an illuminated vanity mirror, cruise control and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

    Look below the number plate holder and you’ll see a panel that hides the sensors for the what should be an autonomous braking system. This feature was purported to be available with the GT Line, and adds to the Picanto’s list of standard safety features – six airbags, ABS, stability control and hill start assist.

    The rest of the kit list is similar to the EX, with projector halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, keyless entry, push-button start, reverse camera, six speakers and a seven-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    Based on what’s under the bonnet, this GT Line is powered by a 1.2 litre Kappa II naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 84 PS at 6,000 rpm and 122 Nm at 4,000 rpm. This is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels.

  • KLIMS18: 2019 Kia Sportage 2.0D GT Line – RM150k

    KLIMS18: 2019 Kia Sportage 2.0D GT Line – RM150k

    The facelifted Kia Sportage is currently on display at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS 2018) in 2.0D GT Line guise, which is one of two available variants offered for the five-seat SUV, the other being the 2.0 EX. Both have already gone on sale here, with the 2.0 GT Line retailing at RM149,888 on-the-road without insurance, and the 2.0 EX at RM126,888.

    With the facelift, the Sportage front fascia gets a new bumper as well as LED headlamps with four-point LED daytime running lights within them like on the Cerato and Ceed. The lower apron has also been redesigned with new chrome trim pieces that run from the fog lamp enclosures towards the number plate holder.

    At the back, the reverse lights and rear reflectors are now stacked on top of one another within a reshaped bumper, accompanied by chrome exhaust finishers. The GT Line gets LED-type rear combination taillights along with other extras over the EX, including a unique grille design, “ice cub” LED front fog lamps and 19-inch alloy wheels.

    KLIMS18: 2019 Kia Sportage 2.0D GT Line – RM150k

    On the inside, you’ll find a new steering wheel with the GT Line’s being a flat-bottom type. Features include dual-zone climate control with rear vents, paddle shifters, alloy pedals, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and start, eight-way powered seats (driver side only in the EX) and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

    Others items that are specific to the GT Line are a Qi wireless phone charger, 4.2-inch multi-info instrument display (3.5-inch in the EX), and dual-tone leather upholstery as compared to the fabric material on the EX.

    In the safety and driver assist department, the Sportage offers six airbags, Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW), Parking Distance Warning-Forward (PDW-F) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

    KLIMS18: 2019 Kia Sportage 2.0D GT Line – RM150k

    Under the bonnet, the Sportage GT Line is powered by a 2.0 litre R CRDi four-pot with 185 PS at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 1,750-2,750 rpm. An eight-speed automatic is mated to the oil burner, replacing the six-speed unit from before.

    Those who want a petrol engine will have to opt for the EX, which sports a 2.0 litre Nu MPI four-cylinder that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Output figures for the petrol mill remain the same, at 155 PS at 6,200 rpm and 192 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

  • KLIMS18: UiTM AVII – a study in autonomous driving

    KLIMS18: UiTM AVII – a study in autonomous driving

    The exterior may be very much that of a regular Perodua Myvi with some creative styling revisions, but what’s underneath the hood is anything but. This is the Urban Intelligent Mobile Autonomous Vehicle II, also known as AVII, a design study prototype created by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) as a test-bed for autonomous driving research.

    The AVII is a collaboration between four faculties (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, art & design and computer and mathematical sciences), and is described as “a locally-developed and innovatively-pioneered futuristic autonomous electric vehicle, proficient in navigating long stretches of road with minimal human intervention.”

    It boasts an array of autonomous drive equipment to help it achieve this goal. These include a Velodyne VLP-16 light detection and ranging (LIDAR) unit, which creates 360-degree 3D images through input from 16 laser/detector pairs.

    Elsewhere, an inertial measurement unit helps determine the vehicle heading, while a Emlid GPS system provides the necessary positional awareness. There’s also a point-grey camera (for lane awareness), a laser range finder, ultrasonic sensor and a rotational encoder in the sensor kitbag. Autonomous capabilities include steering and throttle, path planning/navigation, lane detection as well as short to medium range object detection.

    The AVII, which seats four and tips the scales at 1,000 kg, has been designed primarily for autonomous driving research, but there’s also a second exploratory path, that of electric mobility. Components include a five hp asynchronous 48 volt DC motor, which is juiced by a 8.1 kWh lead-acid battery unit.

    Operating range is 50 km, and via a household 240V outlet and a built-in three-pin plug connection, the battery takes five hours to achieve a full charge. Maximum operating speed is 30 km/h, but the car has been programmed to a 25 km/h top speed.

  • KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

    Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) is one of the big punchers at the KL International Motor Show (KLIMS) 2018. The brand’s stand houses a variety of cars – from new models for Malaysia (Santa Fe, Grand Starex facelift), cars that are coming soon (Kona 1.6 Turbo), eco-friendly tech showcases (Kona Electric), interest gauging models (Accent) and even a performance corner with the i30 N hot hatch.

    In this post, we’ll zoom in on the Hyundai Nexo. This is not just your regular electric car, but a hydrogen fuel cell-powered SUV. The Nexo debut earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and is a tech sequel to the Tucson/ix35 FCEV, Hyundai’s previous fuel cell effort.

    Built on a dedicated architecture, the Nexo is lighter, faster and roomier than the Tucson FCEV. It looks like a bespoke tech flagship too, and not just an FCEV version of a regular ICE-powered SUV. Seven years have passed since the Korean carmaker completed development of the Tucson FCEV, and since then fuel cell technology – experimented by the likes of Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Mercedes-Benz – have progressed.

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

    Net power from the Nexo’s fuel cell (95 kW) and battery (40 kW) is higher than in the Tucson FCEV, at 135 vs 124 kW. The 120 kW (161 hp)/395 Nm electric motor also has a higher output compared to the old car’s 100 kW (134 hp)/300 Nm. The overall system is also lighter and better packaged, with improved hydrogen storage tanks.

    Claimed estimated driving range is up to 595 km, which is significantly higher than the 426 km Hyundai claimed for the Tucson FCEV. At 9.5 seconds, the Nexo is also three seconds faster from 0 to 96 km/h (60 mph).

    Bare figures aside, the Nexo also performs better in the real world. Hyundai subjected the SUV to overnight temperatures of -29 degrees Celsius, and says that the Nexo’s cold start capability of within 30 seconds is an industry-leading achievement. The fuel cell system also warms up faster for better performance. Refuelling times are now as low as five minutes and NVH performance have been improved.

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell EV SUV

    As for dimensions, the five-seater Nexo is 4,671 mm long and 1,859 mm wide, which puts it 196 mm longer and 9 mm wider than today’s Tucson. The FCEV’s 2,789 mm wheelbase is 119 mm longer than Hyundai’s mid-size SUV.

    The full-width strip of LED daytime running lights across the face is one of the exterior design highlights, while the button-rich cockpit’s combined digital instrument panel and centre screen has a cute treetop “roof” on it.

    Is the future with regular EVs – which might consume energy from polluting and/or non-renewable sources – or fuel cell EVs, which are powered by an abundant source of hydrogen?

  • KLIMS18: DS7 Crossback officially previewed in M’sia

    KLIMS18: DS7 Crossback officially previewed in M’sia

    DS Automobiles Malaysia has put the DS7 Crossback on display at the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, ahead of a local launch debut slated for next year. The SUV serves as an alternative to likes of the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5, but distinguishes itself thanks to its distinct/quirky French styling.

    Primary cues include the DS Wings grille that are accompanied by four-element LED headlamps inspired by the previous DS E-Tense concept. A wide trim piece separates the upper and lower inlets, and meets up with the fog lamps and LED daytime running lights which are made to look like “beaded stitches.”

    In profile, strong lines over the front and rear wheel arches give the DS7 Crossback a more athletic look. This particular unit is dressed up in Performance Line trim, hence the 19-inch ‘Beijing’ Black Onyx diamond-cut alloy wheels.

    Around back, the taillights sport diamond-themed graphics and are joined by a chrome trim piece on the large tailgate. Further down, you’ll find slim fog lamps followed by a pair of prominent, angular exhaust outlets.

    Inside, the diamond theme is more prevalent, and you’ll find it within the infotainment system and 12.3-inch digital display instrument cluster; on the centre console switches; the pattern on the seats; and even on the rotary dials on the steering wheel. The generous use of Alcantara as upholstery on many areas of the cabin is a result of the Performance Line trim.

    The main display on the dashboard is a 12.3-inch touchscreen that sits between the air-con vents and wireless phone charger that is tucked away behind a panel. Through it, you are able to control many of the car’s various systems like the dual-zone climate control, media playback and navigation function. A 14-speaker Focal Electra sound speaker system is also included.

    Other items in the kit list include powered front seats, rear air-con vents with digital controls, a powered tailgate, easy-folding second row seats, and a BRM R180 clock that is hidden out of sight when the car is turned off.

    For now, this is merely a preview, with no official pricing provided as of yet. DS Automobiles Malaysia does list three available colours – Platinum Grey, Nero Black and Absolute Red – and a manufacturer’s warranty of up to five years/120,000 km.

  • KLIMS18: Nissan Note e-Power on display – petrol-powered range extender EV testing the waters

    KLIMS18: Nissan Note e-Power on display – petrol-powered range extender EV testing the waters

    Nissan distributor Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is looking to the future by bringing two electric cars to the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS). While the new Leaf is being previewed ahead of a mid-2019 launch, the Note e-Power you see here is a little different – displayed without the bonnet, it’s mainly meant to gauge public reaction for the range extender electric powertrain technology hidden within.

    However, given that ETCM itself has revealed plans to introduce e-Power vehicles in Malaysia at some point, the showing of this car at the show is very much the company’s statement of intent. The important thing to note (no pun intended) is that while the Note e-Power is technically an electric vehicle, there’s no socket for you to plug it up to the mains and charge it.

    Instead, there’s a 79 PS/103 Nm 1.2 litre HR12DE three-cylinder engine, which acts solely as a generator for the 109 PS/254 Nm electric motor from the previous Leaf. The petrol mill is not connected to the driven wheels, so none of its power actually reaches the ground. Nissan says that the system provides the benefits of an electric motor – such as maximum torque from standstill – without the accompanying range anxiety.

    KLIMS18: Nissan Note e-Power on display – petrol-powered range extender EV testing the waters

    The presence of the range extender also means that the battery can be made much smaller (just 1/20th the size of the one in the old Leaf), enabling it to be placed under the front seats to maintain interior space. All-in-all, the Note e-Power delivers a fuel economy figure of up to 37.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle.

    Will the Note e-Power be launched in Malaysia? There’s still no timeframe for the powertrain technology, and ETCM’s sales and marketing director Chris Tan has categorically ruled out the possibility of the Note version being sold here. However, a local launch would dovetail with spyshots of a Japanese domestic model being tested over here – although that could simply be a grey import wearing trade plates.

    It has to be said that as a means to get the Malaysian public on board with electric vehicles, e-Power strikes us as an ideal platform, since the EV charging network in the country is still in its infancy.

  • KLIMS18: 2019 Ford Mustang facelift previewed – 5.0L GT and 2.3L EcoBoost to go on sale next year

    KLIMS18: 2019 Ford Mustang facelift previewed – 5.0L GT and 2.3L EcoBoost to go on sale next year

    The Ford Mustang facelift has made its first appearance in Malaysia – Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) is currently displaying the refreshed sixth-generation S550 at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS), and it has been confirmed that the updated pony car will be going on sale here in 2019. As before, the Mustang will be available in both 5.0L GT and 2.3L EcoBoost fastback variant forms.

    We’ve previously highlighted the show car, an Orange Fury tri-coat metallic 5.0L GT fastback that has specially been flown in for the show, but a recap. The facelift features a number of exterior revisions. The front grille, bumper, bonnet and fenders have been restyled, and the car now now features all-LED front lighting as standard, with LED elements including a three-bar daytime running light array, turn signals and foglamps.

    As for the back, changes include a new tri-bar LED tail lamp design, new bumper, a new black diffuser and a revised exhaust tip configuration, with the EcoBoost featuring dual tips and the GT a quad layout.

    The interior, meanwhile, gets improved touch points and material for a more premium look and feel. The centre console adds a new hand-stitched wrap with contrast stitching and padded knee bolsters, while door handles, rings and bezels are now finished in aluminium.

    New to the car is a 12-inch digital LCD instrument cluster, which offers display customisation for Normal, Sport and Track modes as well as colour and gauge layout settings, as well as an 8.0 inch Sync 3 infotainment system.

    The 5.0 litre Coyote V8 in the GT has been updated, with improved power and torque outputs. While the North American version has 460 hp and 569 Nm (up from 435 hp and 542 Nm on the pre-facelift), the Malaysian-spec car is now confirmed as having the same 454 hp at 7,000 rpm and 556 Nm at 4,600 rpm numbers as the Australian version.

    As for the 2.3 litre EcoBoost, the unit makes the same amount of power as before (310 hp), but torque has been bumped up from the 434 Nm to 447 Nm (475 Nm on the US version). Both engines are paired with a Ford 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous ZF-based 6R80 SelectShift six-speed unit.

    Mechanical improvements include new shock absorbers that offer better ride control and a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension to increase lateral stiffness, while new bits include a Drag Strip mode, which eliminates time lost while shifting, adding on to the Normal, Sport+, Track and Snow/Wet drive modes. The GT also gets as standard an active valve exhaust system, which allows the exhaust note to be adjusted.

    As detailed previously, the KLIMS 2018 show car is a 5.0L GT in its Premium level trim with elements of a GT Performance package added on. Equipment includes 19-inch Ebony Black painted wheels with 255/40 front and 275/40 rear profile tyres carried over from the pre-facelift, but the rubbers are now Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres (the pre-facelift GT was originally shod with Pirelli P Zeros). The Brembo six-piston front brake calipers from before also continue on.

  • KLIMS18: Hyundai Grand Starex facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.5 litre turbodiesel, from RM148,888

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Grand Starex facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.5 litre turbodiesel, from RM148,888

    The refreshed Hyundai Grand Starex has finally reached Malaysian shores, and is being offered in a sole Executive trim priced at RM148,888 on-the-road without insurance. With the facelift, the big MPV adopts a more reserved design instead of the rather bold look of the outgoing model.

    This is most apparent at the front, where you’ll find horizontal, trapezoidal-shaped projector headlamps instead of the previous vertical units. The clusters flank the company’s Cascading Grille with horizontal slats, which is no longer designed in a Lexus-esque fashion.

    Meanwhile, the rear hasn’t changed much, as the taillight clusters are exactly the same shape as before and there’s still a roof spoiler. An omission here are the faux exhaust outlets seen on the Grand Starex Royale, which was launched way back in November 2016.

    Like the Thailand-spec Grand Starex, the dashboard design inside the cabin is exactly the same as before, and not like what you’ll find in Hyundai’s domestic market. A touchscreen head unit resides within a frame on the dash, and is flanked by a pair of air vents. Below it are controls for the single-zone air-conditioning system, which includes controllable rear blowers for all three rows of seats behind the front passengers.

    As before, you can swivel the second row seats to face those in the third row if needed, while ingress and egress into the area is done via manually-operated sliding doors. Fabric upholstery comes as standard but you can opt for a leather option as seen here.

    The rest of the kit list includes 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/70 profile tyres, front and rear fog lamps, a rear top-mounted monitor display, six speakers, cruise control, rearview camera, automatic lights, parking sensors, four airbags, ESC, BAS, traction control and ABS.

    Under the bonnet is a 2.5 litre turbodiesel engine that outputs 170 PS at 3,600 rpm and 441 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 2,250 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission (with Shiftronic) sends drive to the rear wheels. Each purchase comes with a five-year/300,000 km warranty.

  • KLIMS18: Hyundai Accent on display – 1.4 litre Kappa engine, six airbags; Honda City/Toyota Vios alternative

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Accent on display – 1.4 litre Kappa engine, six airbags; Honda City/Toyota Vios alternative

    Visitors to the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show will get a chance to get up close with the fifth-generation (HC) Hyundai Accent, which is one of several models that are put on display by Hyundai Malaysia. The subcompact sedan first made its global debut in February last year during the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

    Should it ever go on sale here (this is merely a preview for now), the Accent will compete against the likes of the Toyota Vios, Honda City and Mazda 2 Sedan in the B-segment market.

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Accent on display – 1.4 litre Kappa engine, six airbags; Honda City/Toyota Vios alternative

    As you can see, the Accent looks like a “scaled down” version of the sixth-generation (AD) Elantra, with the design of the grille, headlamps and taillights made to resemble the larger C-segment model. Dimension-wise, the Accent is 4,385 mm long, 1,729 mm wide, 1,450 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,580 mm.

    This particular example is powered by a 1.4 litre Kappa MPI four-cylinder petrol engine that churns out 100 PS at 6,000 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. A six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the engine, sending drive to the front wheels.

    KLIMS18: Hyundai Accent on display – 1.4 litre Kappa engine, six airbags; Honda City/Toyota Vios alternative

    Meanwhile, the equipment list includes 16-inch wheels, halogen projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, keyless entry and start, a 3.5-inch TFT LCD colour instrument cluster display, rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, single-zone climate control, five-inch head unit and leather/fabric upholstery. On the safety side of things, the Accent comes with six airbags, ESC and Hillstart Assist Control.

    What do you think of the Accent? Should it make a return and will you pick it over known nameplates like the City, Mazda 2 and Vios? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Last Updated Jul 18, 2024