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  • Honda Civic 1.5 Turbo teased by Honda Malaysia

    Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 10.49.01 AM

    Honda Malaysia has launched a new Ride The Dream teaser website for the new Honda Civic 1.5 Turbo, which gives us a glimpse at what the upcoming C-segment sedan will offer in terms of specifications.

    The first slide teases the Civic 1.5 Turbo’s LED headlamps and daytime running lights. These headlamps are one spec up compared to the halogen projector headlamps that might be offered on non-turbo variants of the car in Malaysia.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 10.49.17 AM

    Next up is of course the engine – a 1.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT gearbox that produces 173 hp and 220 Nm of torque. The C-segment is filled with downsized turbocharged engines, but they are all European cars (Jetta, 408, Focus). This will be the first Japanese C-segment sedan to come with such a powertrain.

    We recently ran a video from the Thai market comparing the 1.5 Turbo variant against a Civic with a normally aspirated 141 hp, 174 Nm 1.8 litre engine – watch it here.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 10.49.46 AM

    The rest of the specs featured include an eight-way adjustable power seat, six airbags, VSA electronic stability control, an electric parking brake, auto brake hold, and an Walk Away Auto Lock feature that automatically locks your car when you walk away from it.

    Last but not least, there’s also a remote engine start feature which should be useful when you want to start the engine and air conditioning to cool down the car before you reach it.

    Registration for interest is open, so visit the Ride The Dream microsite and click the red “I Share The Same Dream” button to sign up.

    GALLERY: 2016 Honda Civic Turbo RS in Thailand


    GALLERY: 2016 Honda Civic 1.8 EL in Thailand
    GALLERY: 2016 Honda Civic 1.8 E in Thailand
    GALLERY: 2016 Honda Civic with Modulo accessories in Thailand
    GALLERY: Australian-spec Honda Civic

     
  • May 2016 fuel prices – RON 95, 97, diesel unchanged

    RON_95_vs_RON_97_Fuel_Test_Malaysia_ 023

    Fuel prices for the month of May 2016 have been announced. Surprise, surprise, there’s no change compared to April, as both petrol and diesel prices stay the same as before.

    As such, for May 2016, RON 95 will be priced at RM1.70 per litre (unchanged), RON 97 at RM2.05 per litre (unchanged), diesel at RM1.55 per litre (unchanged) and Euro 5 diesel at RM1.65 (unchanged).

    Shell V-Power Racing is priced at RM2.55 per litre (unchanged), a RM0.50 premium over RON 97. As for RON 100 Petron Blaze 100, it is still priced at RM2.60 per litre (unchanged).

    No need to rush the petrol stations tonight, folks.

     
  • Ford planning an EV to compete with Tesla Model 3

    ford focus electric

    Ford says it has plans to develop an electric vehicle that would effectively go up against the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. The automaker’s CEO Mark Fields revealed this at the brand’s first-quarter earnings conference call, Automotive News reports.

    “Clearly that’s something we’re developing for,” Fields said in response to a question as to whether the Blue Oval was looking to offer an EV with an operating range of around 300 km. While he didn’t elaborate on the subject, it’s the first time a top Ford executive has acknowledged specific plans about a longer-range EV, the publication added.

    Rumour has it that Ford is expected to call the car the Model E, and it will assemble the EV starting from 2019 at its new plant in Mexico. According to research firm AutoForecast Solutions, the Model E is likely to be offered as a traditional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a pure EV.

    ford focus electric 03

    The automaker currently has the Focus Electric in its line-up, but that only has a 122 km range. This is set to be increased to 160 km later this year, but it’s still half the advertised range of the upcoming Bolt and the Model 3, which is expected to go on sale within two years.

    Fields had announced in December that Ford was set to pump in US$4.5 billion to add 13 hybrid or electric vehicles to its lineup by 2020, adding that 40% of its nameplates will be available in an electrified version by that time.

     
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4 – takes on CSC 6 and Eagle F1

    Michelin Pilot Sport 4

    The Michelin Pilot Sport 4, which will take on the Continental Sport Contact 6 and Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3, has yet to make its debut in Malaysia. However, the performance tyre has already gone on sale in Europe.

    Among the highlights of the new tyre include “Dynamic Response” technology, where a hybrid belt of aramid and nylon helps provide better directional control. The high density, tension resistant and lightweight fibre, which is five times more durable than steel, ensures centrifugal forces at high speeds are perfectly controlled and the tyre contact patch remains constant, even at high speed.

    The Pilot Sport 4 also gets an ultra-reactive tread pattern design as well that is inspired by the company’s experience in motorsport, including Formula E, the World Endurance Championship and the World Rally Championship, just to name a few.

    It also adopts a new compound with specific functional elastomers that improve the distribution of the silica within the rubber mixture and reinforces its action to ensure maximum wet grip and braking. For the former, wide and deep longitudinal grooves ensure a high level of water drainage while rolling over wet roads.

    The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 comes in three sizes – series 35, 40 and 45 – accommodating wheels sized 17, 18 and 19 inches. However, certain sizes are due later, either in 2016 or early 2017, depending on market. The Pilot Sport 4 is positioned below the Pilot Super Sport.


     
  • Mazda recalls CX-3 – three Malaysian units affected

    Mazda-CX-3-2.0L-review-2

    Mazda Motor Corporation recently announced a recall for the DE Demio (Mazda 2) and CX-3 produced in Japan, due to an issue relating to the vehicles’ steering. No Mazda 2s in Malaysia are affected by the recall. On the other hand, a few units of the CX-3 are affected by this recall.

    On affected vehicles, the lower mounting nuts and bolts that attach the front strut assembly to the steering knuckle may loosen, allowing it to separate. If the steering knuckle separates from the strut assembly, it can cause a loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

    Mazda states that 331 units of the front-wheel drive CX-3 built at its Japanese plant are affected. However, only three units will be required to partake in the recall programme in Malaysia, according to Bermaz. The fix will require dealers to inspect the lower mounting nuts and bolts that secure the front strut assembly to the steering knuckle. If the bolts are loose, they will be replaced and tightened. Parts are readily available should a replacement be needed.

    Mazda Malaysia will contact customers of affected units to bring their vehicles for the necessary corrections at no cost. For those who wish to found out if their CX-3 is affected, you can call the Zoom-Zoom line at 1800-22-8080.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: G01 BMW X3 shows us its new interior

    BMW X3 1

    BMW is hard at work developing the next-generation BMW X3 (codenamed G01), and as we can see from several sightings of the SUV, it will benefit from improved exterior styling. With this latest batch of spyshots obtained from our spy photographers, we now have a first look at the probable interior changes as well.

    Based on the shot of the prototype X3’s cabin, the German carmaker has replaced the previous F25’s dashboard with a brand-new one. The iDrive screen is no longer encased within the dash, and is now a larger, free-standing unit instead. The air-con vents have been reshaped to be larger as well, while new climate control switchgear is seen beneath the coverings.

    For the driver, the new steering wheel appears to resemble the one found on the G11 7 Series. On the centre console, the gear selector adopts a matte black design instead of the current F25’s silver surface. The iDrive dial also gets a matte black top rather than a glossy black one. More interestingly, the instrument cluster appears to be a half-analogue, half-digital unit, similar to what we saw on the upcoming G30 5 Series.

    On the exterior, there is still a considerable amount of camo seen on this prototype, similar to previous G01 test mules we posted. The all-new X3 appears to drop its “box” look in favour of more curves. A new kidney grille, reshaped A-pillars and a sloping roofline are noticeable changes here.

    The G01 X3 will be underpinned by the same modular rear-wheel drive platform used on the G11 BMW 7 Series – called Cluster Architecture (CLAR). This translates to a lighter vehicle, thanks to the platform’s usage of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).

    Power options will include BMW’s TwinPower Turbo petrol and diesel engines, while transmission pairings will possibly see a six-speed manual and an eight-speed auto gearbox, with two- and four-wheel drive options. A plug-in hybrid and high-performance M variant could also be on the cards as well.


    GALLERY: G01 BMW X3 M prototype

    GALLERY: G01 BMW X3 prototype

     
  • Pirelli P Zero tyres with F1 tech launched in Shanghai

    Pirelli P Zero-4

    Pirelli has officially unveiled its latest P Zero high-performance tyres in Shanghai. The new tyre utilises technology from Formula 1 (F1) and can already be found equipped on production cars such as the Ferrari GTC4Lusso, Ferrari F12tdf, Mercedes-AMG GT and the Porsche 718 Boxster, CarAdvice reports.

    The company’s association with F1 enabled it to create the new P Zero tyres, which features a lower rolling resistance by 15%, decreased noise levels and longer tyre lifespan. It utilises a new F1 bead technology with an especially rigid compound within the bead area to provide increased steering response.

    A key feature that the F1 bead technology offers is more predictive traction handling. Said compound distributes force equally to minimise loss of performance. It also increases the integrity of the tyre’s structure particularly during high-speeds and high-loads.

    In regards to on-road noise, it has basically been reduced thanks to a new redesigned tread pattern that uses transverse grooves which sit out of sequence. This in turn, results in distribution of noise generated by air percussion over several frequencies. As a result, tyre noise in the interior has been notably reduced.

    The Pirelli P Zero tyre come with two tread patterns and 11 variants and the range includes the Nero, Corsa, Rosso and System. To top it off, there’s an F1 colour package that runs along the tyre’s sidewall. Available in a several colours, the package aims to mark Pirelli’s F1 involvement. The tyre was launched alongside the Pirelli Dragon Sport, another high-performance tyre that’s exclusively for the Asia-Pacific region.

     
  • Mercedes-Benz V-Class ‘Black Crystal’ by Larte Design

    Mercedes-Benz V-Class Black Crystal Larte Design 5

    Luxury can be presented in many forms, and for Larte Design, the Mercedes-Benz V-Class is the perfect platform to exhibit its know-how on opulence. The tuning house, along with Klasse Cars, created what can only be described as a “palace on wheels,” one that can put an S-Class to shame, as you’ll soon find out.

    The spacious cabin of the V-Class gets a bespoke makeover by Klassen, featuring copious amounts of leather (some quilted), marble and other premium materials. Highlights here include VIP powered seats, a minibar, advanced communication, lighting and entertainment electronics. There is even a safe here, which comes with a fingerprint scanner.

    To match the interior, the V-Class also gets a bump to its exterior styling as well. A body kit is added here, with front and rear bumpers made out of composite materials and garnished with carbon-fibre accents. There are also two inlaid crystals in the front bumper, that when matched with the luxo-van’s body colour, grants its name – Black Crystal.

    Mercedes-Benz V-Class Black Crystal Larte Design 9

    It isn’t just body kit and crystals either. Larte Design also included the latest development in vehicle optics. This includes fog lamps with dual optical elements, paired to LED daytime running lights – design cues on the new V-Class.

    The company describes the Black Crystal as a “business jet on wheels” and with a first-class cabin, it’s hard to argue against that. So, do you think the luxury van bests the S-Class’ interior?

     
  • Chevrolet Colorado facelift makes its ASEAN debut

    2017 Chevrolet Colorado High Country 2

    Earlier in the week, the facelifted second-gen Chevrolet Colorado made its global debut in Brazil, and now, the ASEAN version of the pick-up has been officially introduced in Thailand.

    No difference to that seen on the S10 for the Brazilian market, exterior-wise. The refresh brings about a front fascia, revised grille and hood as well as slimmer headlamps, styling cues that were essentially previewed by the GM Australia-built Colorado Xtreme show vehicle that debuted at the Bangkok Motor Show last month.

    The cabin is home to a new-look dash and a redesigned centre console as well as a new instrument panel and fresh seat trim, and the automaker says there’s a significant jump in sophistication with the inclusion of more refined and soft-touch materials. Higher-end variants feature an eight-inch color touchscreen and the latest MyLink infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    Items on the equipment list includes automatic headlamps and wipers, a reverse camera, front parking sensors and a remote-start function. Safety kit includes traction control, ESC and dual front/driver’s knee airbags, and higher-end variants will be equipped with lane departure warning, frontal collision alert and a tire pressure monitor.

    The refreshed Colorado comes with an upgraded 2.5L Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that has been reworked to offer better performance, fuel economy and lower emissions. The Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) Euro 4-compliant unit now produces 177 hp at 3,600 rpm and 440 Nm at 2,000 rpm, a bump up over the 161 hp and 380 Nm seen on the 2.5L Duramax in the current pre-facelift model.

    Depending on variants, the engine is mated to a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, the latter with revised gear ratios. Other mechanical changes consist of new cabin mounts that provide better isolation between the cabin and chassis, electric power steering as well as a revised suspension set-up.

    In addition to the new exterior and interior, the automaker says a host of accessories will be offered to compliment the new Colorado. Inspired by positive feedback from that seen on the Colorado Xtreme show truck, Chevy says that accessories like a black grille, extended sports bar, rear black bumper and black door handles will be available for the truck.

     
  • 2016 a year of transition, transformation for VW – CEO

    e-Golf_20

    The Volkswagen Group is systematically pressing ahead with its realignment and will take important steps this year to ensure a successful future, the company said in a release.

    “2016 will be a year of transition for Volkswagen. Yet it will also be the year in which we accelerate the transformation and lay the foundations for a new, better Volkswagen,” said Matthias Müller, chairman of the VW board of management yesterday at the presentation of the company’s 2015 annual financial statements.

    According to Müller, who is also CEO, the automotive industry is on the cusp of the next big innovative leap and a radical transformation. “We are in a good starting position for this epochal transformation. And we have many strengths to throw into the mix,” he stressed, mentioning among other things the group’s 12 strong brands, technological expertise, global presence, strong focus on quality, committed workforce and sound finances. “We aim to play a key role in designing the mobility world of tomorrow,” he said.

    volkswagen-e-golf-with-e-up

    However, there’s room for improvement. “Our goal is to make the Volkswagen Group more efficient and faster, more entrepreneurial and courageous, more sustainable and technologically more progressive. That is without question an enormous task, but we are making good progress,” the ex-Porsche head said.

    Looking forward, the group is currently working on the further development of its strategy, to be presented mid-year. This will focus on the major fields of future importance in the industry – such as digitalisation, networking, e-mobility and new mobility services.

    Müller reaffirmed the goal of playing a key role in e-mobility, with the group planning to launch over 20 additional models by 2020. The VW brand is currently developing its own architecture called Modular Electrification Toolkit, or MEB. The first vehicles produced on the MEB are slated to hit the streets at the end of the decade. “We plan to make electric cars one of Volkswagen’s new hallmarks,” Müller declared.

    e-golf_touch_5813

    Aside from building and expanding its own resources, VW plans to open itself up more to new partnerships and strategic investments. “The era in which our sector kept itself apart from everything is now over, once and for all. Reservations, solo efforts, or even the illusion of knowing and doing everything better will not help us reach our goals,” said Müller.

    The VW boss provided two examples: digitalisation and the field of mobility services. “This is a field with high earnings potential for our industry in the coming years. We want to participate in this as much as we can. We are working hard on very promising ideas in the field of new mobility services. The discussions on this are already at an advanced stage.

    “In addition, we will soon form a legally independent, group-wide company to promote business in the mobility services of the future with the necessary speed, entrepreneurial focus and the required agility,” he announced.

    VW jetta TDI US-spec

    No dodging from the elephant in the room – the software manipulation of diesel engines, where rules were broken and ethical boundaries overstepped. Working through “Dieselgate” will dominate activities at VW this year. Müller said that the most important task in this context is still providing compelling solutions for the customers affected.

    “This will remain our most important task until the very last vehicle has been put in order. We sincerely regret this. Also because we know that we have disappointed many people – people who have placed their trust in Volkswagen. We stand by our responsibility. And we are doing everything in our power to regain trust,” he stressed.

    The emissions scandal has turned out to be not quite the fatal blow to VW’s growth as some have predicted. The German giant ended the first quarter of 2016 as the world’s top-selling carmaker ahead of Toyota (which was struck with domestic production issues) and has confirmed that a new budget brand for China – which will be its 13th – is on track for a 2018 launch.

     
 

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