Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Tok Kong Cefiro at Tanglin

What can we say? The careless driver or improper road sign? Making a wrong turn from the car park and end up the Cefiro trying to put up a Jackie Chan show at Tanglin.... For info, the driver is a man ... sigh.

Subaru Impreza WRX 2008 2nd Review

The good: The all-wheel-drive system on the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX helps the car hold the corners well. The navigation system has impressive graphics and a complete points-of-interest database. The stereo has the most tweakable equalizer we've ever seen in a car.

The bad: Bluetooth cell phone integration doesn't seem to be available, and the Impreza WRX's fuel economy is mediocre for a small car.
The bottom line: Except for fuel economy, the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX works well as an all-purpose car. But if you want something more tightly tuned, wait for the STi version.

Subaru's WRX gained cult popularity among video gamers and drivers who wanted racing performance on a budget. We tested out the newest iteration, the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX, and have some bad news: the WRX has matured. Oh, it still has rally handling, a screaming engine, and a scoop on the hood for its intercooled turbocharger. But its refined body style will make it fit right in the corporate parking lot, and even the Subaru Forester has a hood scoop.
The first thing we noticed about the new WRX were the sides, which look an awful lot like they were stripped off of a BMW 3 series and shortened. Yes, it's that smooth flame-surfacing, broken up only a little by the beltline and a rib.

The WRX lives in a middle ground between the standard Subaru Impreza and the highly tuned Subaru Impreza WRX STi, with a short detour to the Subaru Outback, part of the Impreza line. Despite its mature look, this new WRX mostly delivers on the performance expected of it. It also shows Subaru's direction in cabin electronics, with a really nice-looking navigation system and a stereo that true audiophiles can appreciate.

Test the tech: Turbo testOn our first run out in the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX, we felt the power of the intercooled and turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Acceleration is good below 2,500rpm, but above that it becomes incredible as the turbo spins up and the car gets its peak 224 horsepower. So we thought it would be interesting to run some acceleration tests starting with and without the turbo wide open.

For the first test, the car was launched from just over 1,000rpm. With the clutch engaged, we stomped the accelerator and held the gears until 6,000rpm before upshifting. The car behaved very well, with no wheel spin and no tendency to pull to either side. Our time to 60mph on this run was 7.02 seconds.

For fast launches, we would prefer a close ratio gearbox.
On the second run, we revved the car up to 5,000rpm before dropping the clutch. Again, the car was very well-behaved, with no wheel spin. We upshifted at high rpms again. Because of this transmission's wide gear bands, we could hold second gear all the way up to 55mph, but it also had a significant rev drop on the upshifts. Our time for this run, with the turbo blowing fast from start, was 6.75 seconds, .27 faster than the low rpm start.

Finally, we let the driver modulate the accelerator, without trying to launch from a specific tach reading. For this run, we got our best time of 6.45 seconds. While starting with the turbo running at full speed achieved a better time than launching from idle, the car performed best when the driver was allowed to find the sweet spot of rpms, power, and gear.

In the cabinAs we would expect from the sporty version of the Impreza, the WRX includes sport seats for the driver and passenger. These seats have fixed headrests and a sculpted look that goes well with the general interior theme. The dashboard curves in to meet the center stack, somewhat like the cabin of the Subaru Tribeca. The interior also has a clean look, with few buttons marring the curving surfaces. The stack is particularly simple, only hosting HVAC controls, vents, and an LCD for the navigation and audio systems.
Subaru includes an information pod at the top of the dashboard, which shows temperature, time, and fuel economy, among other things. With the navigation option present, the LCD also shows trip computer functions, with more detail than shown in the information pod. The LCD trip computer also has an analog display that shows three animated dials indicating such things as average and instant fuel economy.

The map resolution and general graphic quality are first-rate.
The navigation system impressed us with its next-generation graphics. We've seen few navigation screens that looked this good, from the high-resolution maps to the 3D route guidance graphics. But it doesn't show enough street names, making navigating by the map difficult. The interface is very good, with a touch screen and buttons along the bezel for selecting maps, destination entry, and the audio system screens.

Beyond its pretty graphics, the navigation system stood out as one of the best we've seen because of its complete points-of-interest database, including retail establishments, and its usefulness in planning complicated trips. For each place or address you enter, you can choose to make it a waypoint or the final destination. With the waypoints, you can change their order, delete some or all, and easily enter new ones, all from a convenient list screen.

On the lower part of the LCD's bezel is a button labeled Tilt. This button lets you set an angle for the LCD, something we didn't find particularly useful, or open it up completely to reveal a disc slot. This single-disc slot handles MP3, WMA, and RedBook CDs, as well as DVDs. Yes, when the car is parked, you can actually watch DVDs on this LCD. There is also a composite video jack alongside the RCA jacks in the console, letting you plug in an MP3 player, video game, or other video device. XM satellite radio is also available. The onscreen interface makes it easy to find and select music from MP3 and WMA CDs, and satellite radio.

The in-dash disc player also handles DVDs.
Our WRX had six speakers and a subwoofer, an arrangement we're seeing in many cars these days. But what makes this audio system stand out is the equalizer and surround sound settings. The equalizer is tweakable to an insane degree, letting you actually choose specific frequencies to level up or down. You can also choose from presets for specific music genres. Although we appreciate flexibility, the equalizer is a little overboard--we would have liked an extra set of controls that let us set bass and treble levels. The surround settings also offer quite a few options, letting users choose Movie, Music, Matrix, or Dolby Pro Logic.

The upshot of all these sound options is very good audio quality. More speakers and a pumped-up subwoofer might have done the complex settings more justice. Music sounded good through this system, but not spectacular. If we had spent a few days tweaking the equalizer settings, we might have got it more to our liking, but as it was, we didn't hear highs or bass that really stood out.

Because not all the specifications on the 2008 Subaru WRX are out, we're not sure if Bluetooth cell phone integration will be offered. If it is, it will most likely be a dealer accessory.
Under the hoodAlong with its international rally success, the WRX became popular as an affordable sports car. The 2008 WRX doesn't let the model down, but it isn't a great leap forward, either. The 2.5-liter intercooled and turbocharged four-cylinder engine is similar to the previous year's model, although peak 224 horsepower is reached sooner, at 2,800rpm. We were impressed by this engine's smooth power as the turbo wound up--we didn't feel a sudden turbo bump in the acceleration.

Although similar to the previous year's engine, peak horsepower now comes in earlier at 2,800rpm.

The five-speed manual transmission is also a carryover from the 2007 model. We have mixed feelings about this transmission. Because of its wide ratios it doesn't make for particularly fast launches--a short throw close ratio gearbox would do better. But since you can go from 5 to 55mph in second gear, you can keep it in second while negotiating winding mountain roads, without having to shift up to third. We ran it over the Panoramic Highway, above Stinson Beach north of San Francisco, taking it through compound S-turns with signs suggesting 15mph, finding we could let the revs wind up on the straightaways, then brake and take it through the corners, all without shifting. In our driving, we found that all the performance lies in second and third gears--fourth and fifth are for saving gas on the freeway.

Handling is a big part of the WRX's repertoire, but we weren't all that impressed by the steering response. The wheel has some looseness about it, but the all-wheel-drive compensates well enough. In our hard cornering, we never felt the tires break free, although we did feel the car drift a little. We were disturbed a bit by the body roll we felt in the corners. The WRX could use a little more reinforcement in that area.

The steering on the WRX isn't as tightly tuned as we would like.The EPA gives the 2008 Subaru WRX 19mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway. In heavy city traffic, we dropped below 19mpg, but our overall observed average was 20.8mpg. These numbers could probably be improved by a sixth gear, allowing better economy at freeway speeds. The WRX hasn't been rated for emissions yet.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Toyota Corolla 2008 Specs

1,794 cc 1.8 liters in-line 4 front engine with 79 mm bore, 91.4 mm stroke, 10 compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder 1ZZ-FE

Multi-point injection fuel system

13.2 gallon main unleaded fuel tank

Power: 94 kW , 126 HP SAE @ 6,000 rpm; 122 ft lb , 165 Nm @ 4,200 rpm

Subaru Legacy 2008 2.5L (175HP)

2,457 cc 2.5 liters horizontal 4 front engine with 99.5 mm bore, 79 mm stroke, 10 compression ratio, overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder EJ253

Multi-point injection fuel system

16.9 gallon main fuel tank

Power: 130 kW , 175 HP SAE @ 6,000 rpm; 169 ft lb , 229 Nm @ 4,400 rpm

Friday, August 17, 2007

Challenge Kota Bahru from 2 Different Roads !

Successfully challenge Kota Bahru from Singapore, using new road (from exit Simpang Pulai) to cross through the Cameron Highway and reached Gua Musang. From Gua Musang, going through the village old road and reached Kota Bahru, total distance from Singapore to Kota Bahru takes 7 hours.
When coming back from Kota Bahru, I drove through the West East Highway and reached Grik, from Grik drive down to Ipoh and entering North South Highway and reach Singapore, total distance take 11 hours (inclusive of dinner time, durian time, and photograph taking time)
Total journey for 4 days, running 1700km !

Titiwangsa Bridge at the middle of the West East Highway. A big pool of the lake at the middle and the top of the mountain, initial intention is to block the Communist activities in Malaysia early 70's 80's, the water was flowed in from the river to flood the entire mountain to make it a lake. A great view that you will never miss.

The kites selling at the Beach of Bulan Cinta at Kelantan facing the South China Sea .. a great view and windy place, clear sand and nice color of sky .. there are people riding horse on the sand... and drinking the fresh coconut water... wao !!!!
... and my lancer at the Buddist Temple at Kelantan ... who said Islamic state has no temple... more than 50 huge temples at Kota Bahru alone !!

Mitsubishi Lancer EX Exterior Review

Is a Volvo
No is a Galant
No is Alpha Romeo
No is Mitsubishi EX !!!

Come with the combination design from various car models in the existing market, mainly benchmarking European car may be a good starting point for Mitsubishi.

The body of Mitsubishi EX using the latest popular design in the market of most of the Japanese cars such as Nissan Latio and Mazda 3. Mainly the entire length of the cars looks smaller with the short boot area. However, do not underestimate their cabin area although the car may be looks smaller, Lancer EX now come with the bigger cabin area as compared to version 2007/2006, by reducing the boot area of the car.

The front part of the car using the latest design and idea of Peugeot, with bigger air intake to cool its 2 Litre engine and potentially the next generation of Evolution X. Even though the front portion of the car also looks like Volvo, but with its fierce Galant eyes, it makes the entire car looks very garang and sporty.

Far from back, you will see a plain smooth back of the car without much design besides a Mitsubishi logo and the emblem of Lancer EX. It seems to be the improvement version of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. With its tiny and thin break light, it really looks 80% like Alpha Romeo from far.

The colors options are limited to the standard color of Lancer which used to have, the maroon red again is another failure color. Perhaps Mitsubishi should consider to put up the Evo red to the Lancer body instead, or may be the intention is to differentiate Evo and Lancer. White is a good choice for the car if you want to make your car looks sporty and the popular purpleish grey will be the good choice for those who lazy to wash their car. Although black color is the most popular color for Lancer 2007, but to me the black color may not go well with EX, because of the plain design and a big flat surface especially at the back of the car.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

New Type of Crime in Malaysia

A new type of crime has surfaced in town, more commonly happening in Malaysia. It goes something like this:- Somebody slips a hand-phone into your pocket, sometimes it could be just a wallet with an identity card and a few ringgits.A few minutes later, the 'owner' comes up and confronts you, the'thief '.

He makes a big commotion that you stole his stuff.You, caught unaware, are then pulled aside by the 'owner' for a settlement you are intimidated and threatened that if you do not payup the police will be brought in. If you pay up, this 'owner' letsyou go. If not, the police are brought in.Another strange thing is that there always seems to be a 'witness' to the your 'theft'.I am told this often happens to foreigners at the Kuala LumpurInternational Airport (KLIA) or even at LRT trains.

Given that you're'guilty until proven innocent' as far as the Malaysian police are concerned, I understand some poor people are in jail for these'offences'.At the KLIA, the 'owner' throws his hand-phone and wallet with thefew ringgit notes into the luggage trolley of a just arrived passenger. The drama unfolds a few minutes later. The real culprit haseasily convinced our Malaysian police to arrest the real victim (ifhe has not paid up the 'settlement' demand). This is a very serious matter.

This is another form of extortionists operating in broaddaylight. They are disgusting criminals who will do anything to roband steal. The sickening part of the whole scenario is that unlessyou pay the "quoted settlement" money, they will put you in real trouble by calling the police.The real culprit gets back his hand-phone and wallet but the realvictim ( i.e. could be any one of us) is thrown into the policelock up and charged in court.So do be very careful, otherwise you may end up as a "thief" as you have no way to prove your innocence.Pass it on..... let more people be aware of such things aroundthem.