Thursday, August 30, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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
Friday, August 17, 2007
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
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.