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  • VW to launch Tiguan, Beetle facelift in Malaysia by Q2

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has announced plans to introduce the new Tiguan and facelifted Beetle by the second quarter of this year. The duo will be joined by limited editions of its core models, which include the CKD Polo, Vento, Jetta and Passat in Malaysia.

    Of the upcoming duo, the Tiguan is the more significant. At the launch of the B8 Passat in November 2016, VPCM revealed that the second-generation Tiguan will be introduced here this year, and that the SUV will be CKD locally assembled. Now we know that it’s sooner rather than later in 2017. The car has been spotted roaming in Malaysia with covered badges and Pahang trade plates.

    Unveiled at IAA 2015, the new Tiguan is no rehash of the awkward Typ 5N but a complete reboot sitting on VW’s modular MQB platform that also underpins the current Mk7 Golf. It wears a sharp suit and has a larger footprint – 60 mm longer, 30 mm wider and 33 mm lower, with a 77 mm longer wheelbase. Boot space is up as well, by 145 litres to make 615 litres, or 1,655 litres with the rear seats folded. New tech means that despite the size increase, it’s over 50 kg lighter than before.

    Click to enlarge

    VW’s usual range of turbocharged TSI and TDI engines are available, and the Euro 6 motors are up to 24% more fuel efficient than the previous batch. 4Motion all-wheel drive with a fifth-generation Haldex coupling is available. Along with the Haldex coupling that acts as a longitudinal lock, the electronic differential locks (EDS) integrated in the ESC act as transverse locks for all four wheels.

    There’s a new 4Motion Active Control switch on the centre console. Four selectable profiles are available – two road (Onroad and Snow) and two off-road (Offroad and Offroad Individual). AWD Tiguans have 11 mm higher ground clearance (200 instead of 189 mm), and there’s a special off-road front end with an approach angle of 25.6 instead of 18.3 degrees. The SUV is available in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline equipment lines, plus a sporty new R-Line look.

    The Beetle was refreshed in May last year. No big change to the new age Bug’s iconic design, but the bumpers in the Basic and Design lines have been redesigned and are now flatter/sportier. The R-Line equipment line (formerly called Beetle Sport) gets its own new bumpers as well, with an additional vent opening above it.

    Other highlights include tinted LED rear lights, 17-inch “Philadelphia” wheels and the 18-inch “Ravenna Adamantium” wheels, which are optional for the Design Line and R-Line.

    Inside, brighter instrument panel lighting, a new dial and dashpad styling for the Design Line and R-Line are the improvements. VW has new three new upholstery materials and contemporary style packages for personalisation. Also available is the “Black Style Package” which gives one a black finish on the wheels, mirror caps and roof.

    The optional R-Line interior package sports R-Line logos on the sill panel mouldings and on the head restraints, as well as an R-Line sport steering wheel. It can be ordered with “Kyalami” fabric seats or with “Vienna” leather.

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Tiguan at IAA 2015

    GALLERY: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition – standard car shown

    In a repeat of the Giulia‘s reveal, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV has been revealed in standard guise two months after the unveiling of the all-singing, all-dancing 510 hp Quadrifoglio model in Los Angeles. Specifically, this is the First Edition, the limited edition variant in which the first units will come in.

    As expected, the standard Stelvio loses out on the look-faster bits of the Quadrifoglio, such as the bonnet vents, the side slashes on the front bumper and the massive rear diffuser with quad exhausts; the body mouldings have also been given a black finish to give more of an off-roader vibe.

    However, the base car’s stylish design still remains, and includes cues such as the traditional Alfa shield grille, sharp headlights, deeply-sculpted body sides and low-slung roofline. First Edition models get goodies such as spindly 20-inch alloy wheels, painted brake callipers, standard bi-xenon headlights, chrome window frames, privacy glass and door handle courtesy lights.

    Inside, it’s pretty much carried over from the Giulia, with a driver-oriented dashboard, a flush-mounted centre display, deep-hooded instruments and a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel with an integrated engine start button.

    Here, too, the First Edition receives unique touches and standard equipment, including full-grain leather upholstery over heated, electrically-adjustable seats, real wood inserts, an 8.8-inch high-resolution centre display connected to a Magneti Marelli-developed next-gen three-dimensional navigation system, a seven-inch TFT LCD multi-information display in the instrument cluster and aluminium paddle shifters.

    Alfa Romeo has yet to reveal the full range of powertrains, although they will likely include the Giulia’s all-aluminium 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with a variable geometry turbocharger, in 150 hp/380 Nm and 180 hp/450 Nm outputs.

    However, the First Edition will be powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, the same one used in the Giulia Veloce. Here, 280 hp at 5,250 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 2,250 rpm is spat out – this is channeled through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to Alfa’s Q4 all-wheel drive.

    The Italian all-paw system incorporates an compact and lightweight Alfa-specific active transfer case and front differential, enabling rapid high-torque management – continuously monitoring parameters such as grip to optimise torque distribution. It default to a rear-drive setup, but can send up to 50% of torque to the front wheels if need be, contributing to what Alfa claims is best-in-class control.

    Safety, wise, the First Edition comes standard with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and an electromechanical Integrated Braking System (IBS). Other standard features include a rear camera with dynamic guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate and automatic high beam.

  • Floods disrupt KTM’s East Coast intercity services

    Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) has announced that its intercity rail services in the East Coast is facing disruptions. Continuous heavy rain in the flood-affected area has affected the track at Km392.5 between Bukit Abu and Dabong, Kuala Krai, making the route inaccessible since Saturday night.

    It added that all train services between Dabong-Kuala Krai-Dabong have been suspended since yesterday, and that shuttle train services will only operate between Kuala Lipis-Dabong and Kuala Krai-Tumpat. Work on repairing the track is underway, the rail operator said via a ststement.

    As such, the Expres Timuran service no. 26 (JB Sentral-Tumpat) is only available from JB Sentral to Gua Musang station, and passengers will continue their journey from Gua Musang station to Kuala Krai, Tanah Merah, Pasir Mas, Tumpat and Wakaf Bharu using buses provided by KTM, while passengers heading on to Dabong station will use a local train.

    As for Expres Timuran no. 27 (Tumpat-JB Sentral), passengers taking the train from Tumpat will have to disembark at Kuala Krai station and switch to travelling by bus to Gua Musang, where their journey to JB Sentral will continue with a connecting train at Gua Musang.

    Apologising for the inconvenience, KTM says passengers can expect to face a delay exceeding two hours, but adds that it hopes to have services back to normal by Friday.

  • Petronas Coffee Break returns – free coffee, snacks; complimentary 20-point inspection for Proton vehicles

    Another year, another Petronas Coffee Break – the national petroleum company’s road safety initiative returns for the 18th year this Chinese New Year, encouraging drivers travelling back to their hometowns to take a break at Petronas stations nationwide.

    For 2017, the company will be distributing 600,000 cups of freshly-brewed hot coffee and snacks for free at 121 stations along highways, trunk roads and high-traffic areas. These refreshments will be given out on January 28 to 29 and January 30 to 31 from 2pm onwards, while stocks last.

    “We are anticipating high traffic along the highways during the Chinese New Year holiday. We invite motorists to take a break and recharge at our stations and at the same time, refuel with our winning formula, Petronas Primax 95 and Primax 97, before continuing their journey,” said Petronas Dagangan managing director and CEO Mohd Ibrahimnuddin Mohd Yunus.

    Aside from the coffee and snacks, the company will also display seven road safety tips at those stations. Conducted in collaboration with the Road Safety Department (JKJR), the campaign is aimed at reminding and educating road users on ways to stay safe this upcoming holiday. Other services include complimentary health checks and a 20-point safety inspection for Proton cars conducted by Proton at selected locations.

    Lastly, Petronas will continue its long-standing sponsorship of St John Ambulance of Malaysia (SJAM). Fifty emergency response vehicles will be supplied with RM20,000 worth of fuel to provide assistance to motorists travelling on major highways, the 23rd year the company is doing so.

    “Road safety is a natural concern for us at Petronas. These safety tips will serve as a good reminder to enhance safety and [provide a] more mindful driving [behaviour] that can prevent accidents and save lives,” said Ibrahimnuddin. “Ultimately we wish for every person to arrive at their destination safe and well.”

    For more information on the Petronas Coffee Break and participating stations, visit the official website.

  • Stop spreading Mercedes-Benz plate number from lorry driver assault incident, urges police – report

    The police want the public to stop spreading the registration number of a Mercedes-Benz – linked to an assault on a lorry driver on Saturday, a video of which went viral – on social media, according to The Sun.

    Selangor police chief Datuk Abdul Samah Mat said that they were investigating the case, adding that they would take action against those suspected to be involved in the incident. “The public should not worry as police view the matter seriously,” he said. “Although both parties claimed that they have resolved the matter, police are still investigating and will take stern action.”

    Abdul Samah added that those involved the assault should turn themselves in, as police have identified several suspects. This comes after the arrest of a man connected to the case, who will be remanded for four days starting yesterday to help out with the police investigation. The force has also identified several other people suspected to be involved, based on the aforementioned video.

  • Tesla Autopilot vindicated of fatal incident – NHTSA

    The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a report clearing Tesla of any wrongdoing in a May 7, 2016 incident, where a driver was killed in a Model S while the vehicle was operating in Autopilot mode.

    In the 12-page report, it described Tesla’s Autopilot, an advanced driver assistance system, “require the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes,” and added “the systems have limitations and may not always detect threats or provide warnings or automatic braking early enough to avoid collisions.”

    Tesla had previously stated that the Autopilot system comes with an explicit warning that drivers must be ready to take over controls if needed, a point that the safety administration fully acknowledged in its report. As a result, it “did not identify any defects in design or performance of the AEB or Autopilot systems of the subject vehicles (referring to MY2016-2016 Model S) nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed.”

    “A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists. The agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances,” the NHTSA stated at the end of its report.

    Responding to the NHTSA’s report, Tesla released a statement saying: “At Tesla, the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report and its conclusion.” In the incident last year, Joshua Brown was killed when his Tesla, with Autopilot engaged, drove under a tractor trailer, colliding with the windshield of the electric vehicle. According to a police report, the vehicle’s roof “was torn off by the force of the collision.”

  • 2018 Ford Mustang facelift – now, the soft-top’s turn

    Following the debut of the fastback version of the 2018 Ford Mustang facelift, the Blue Oval has announced the mid-cycle action (MCA) convertible variant of the sixth-gen S550. The soft-top pony gets virtually the same revisions as seen on the coupe.

    The refresh brings along a new grille and bonnet as well as restyled front fenders. Also on, all-LED front lighting (projector main units, turn signal and foglamps). At the back, there’s a new tri-bar LED tail lamp design and new bumper, and though there’s no photo of the rear, the topless Mustang should have the same exhaust tip confuguration as the hard top, with dual tips for the EcoBoost and quad tips for the GT as standard.

    Like the coupe, the convertible also gets three new colour choices (Orange Fury tri-coat metallic, Royal Crimson tinted clear coat and Kona Blue), and the 12 wheel design options available for the fixed top version.

    Inside, the Mustang now features improved materials and trim as well as restyled seats, which come with new pattern and colour options. New kit includes a 12-inch digital LCD instrument cluster display and Ford Sync Connect with FordPass, the latter allowing drivers to start, lock, unlock and locate their car via their smartphone through an app.

    There’s also a MyMode memory function, which remembers a driver’s driving preferences, while the safety front adds on new driver-assist features such as Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection into the equation.

    Like the coupe, two engine options abound, but revisions have been made to the 2.3 litre EcoBoost and 5.0 litre Coyote V8, resulting in output gains. On the EcoBoost, there’s a bump up in torque, while the Coyote gets both a power and torque hike, courtesy of a new dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection configuration.

    Transmission choices are either a new 10R80 10-speed automatic or a Getrag MT82 six-speed manual, which has been upgraded to offer better torque characteristics on both 2.3 and 5.0 litre applications.

    The convertible also gets a new MagneRide damping system as an option, available as part of the Mustang Performance Package. Also available, an all-new active valve exhaust system for the 5.0 litre GT.

  • Seat Leon Cupra 300 is the official Ducati MotoGP car

    Seat and Ducati have signed a year-long agreement for the carmaker to support Ducati’s efforts in the MotoGP World Championship. Besides Seat’s logos appearing on the MotoGP bikes and the racing leathers of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, the 300 PS Seat Leon Cupra will be the team’s official car for the upcoming MotoGP season

    Both Volkswagen Group brands share values such as “dynamism, passion for design and commitment to innovation and technology,” according to Seat Sport head of strategy, business development and operations, Antonino Labate.

    The Spanish brand points out that like Ducati, it has a successful track record in racing. Since 1970, Seat has won two World Touring Car Championships (2008 and 2009), more than 25 rally titles, and has successfully organised several single-brand competitions worldwide.

    The official Ducati team car – the recently facelifted Seat Leon Cupra 300 – is the most powerful in the history of the Barcelona-based brand. Unveiled in December, the hot hatch has 300 PS, 380 Nm and AWD, which makes it good for a 0-100 km/h time of just 4.9 seconds. The car will appear at the MotoGP opening race in Qatar in March, and will reach dealers in the same month.

  • Next-generation Subaru XV teased, debuts in Geneva

    Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has announced that the all-new Subaru XV will make its global debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. To go along with the announcement, the company also launched a dedicate website with a countdown timer, as well as release its first teaser image of the crossover.

    While the former is a great way to pass the time, watching the timer tick itself down, the latter is a whole lot more interesting. The darkened photo you see here shows us the new car’s profile, which looks nearly identical to the Impreza five-door hatchback (pictured below) that was launched in Singapore recently, albeit with roof rails, a higher ride height, funky wheels and plastic cladding to suit its “go-anywhere” persona.

    This isn’t much of a surprise as we’ve already known from an earlier report that the next-generation XV will follow the same recipe as the current car, which also includes borrowing the same platform as its C-segment sibling. In this case, it is the Subaru Global Platform, which provides an improved overall vehicle performance thanks to various enhancements you can read about, here.

    Other design highlights that are to be expected on the XV include C-shaped headlamps and taillights; a prominent character that flows over both wheels and just beneath the beltline; as well as the latest ‘Dynamic x Solid’ styling cues showcased on the XV concept from last year.

    As for powertrains, the XV will be offered with a range of Subaru boxer engines paired with the company’s Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical AWD system. Hybrid models with an electric motor will also likely make their way to specific markets.

    Interested? Well, the new XV is set to arrive in Malaysia this year, according to Glenn Tan, executive director of Tan Chong International, who had also previously stated that the company’s Segambut plant would be ready in time to produce next-generation Subaru models that area underpinned by the Subaru Global Platform, like the XV.

    GALLERY: Subaru XV Concept from the 2016 Geneva Motor Show

    GALLERY: Subaru Impreza five-door hatchback at the 2017 Singapore Motor Show

  • Malaysian family of three travels 6,011 km in 16 days across Indo-china by kapchai and scooter


    Motorcyclists are familiar with that wanderlust, the urge to take the road less travelled and see what’s on the other side. In the case of Rusli Osman (37), and his wife Yong Suzi (43), along with their daughter Yong Sofea (13), this lead to a multi-country, 16-day, 6,011 km trip across Indo-china.

    While families travelling long distances by motorcycle is nothing new, the difference is Rusli and his family did it on a kapchai and a scooter, specifically a SYM Sport Rider 125i and a SYM VTS200 scooter. Starting at the SYM headquarters in Penang on November 28, they crossed the border at Bukit Kayu Hitam, heading into Thailand and beyond.

    Their travels encompassed the ASEAN countries of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, with a total of six border crossings. Along the way, the family stopped at various places, including Hua Hin before heading up to Pattaya, Thailand and Koh Kong island and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, as well as the famous ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

    A stop was also made at Myawaddy, Myanmar, before returning to Kanchanaburi, Thailand for the famous annual durian festival. The return journey also made a stop at the river Kwai, site of the infamous “Death Railway”, before arriving in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, on December 13.

    Spending only RM3,000 for the 16-day journey, Rusli said this sum included accommodation, insurance, fees and travel documents. He also said the family faced no real issues with the machines during their travels, swapping machines with his wife depending on road surface.

    “The most challenging part of the journey I have to say was Cambodia due to the fact they drive on the other side of the road, so be prepared for that one,” said Rusli. “Heavy traffic at certain stretches in Thailand also made the journey much longer … over 200 km on bumpy roads. But we got through, and were happy with the suspension of our Sport Rider 125i and VTS200,” he continued.

    Recently launched, and reviewed by, the SYM Sport Rider 125i retails for RM5,450. Meanwhile, the SYM VTS scooter carries a 171.2 cc single-cylinder engine, and is sold for RM11,660. All prices include GST.


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