Friday, February 29, 2008

500 horsepower V8-powered Ariel Atom

The V8 Caterham was just unveiled in the past week, so naturally we can expect other lightweight track car manufacturers to respond, but I didn’t expect it this fast!

Ariel has its own monster V8-engineed Atom in the works and it will go on sale in Spring 2008. Surprise, surprise - it’s powered by the same 2.4 liter 40 valve V8 engine as the Caterham RST-V8! The Ariel Atom V8 is available with the supercharged version of the Russell Savory bike-derived V8 engine, putting out 500 horses at 10,000rpm and 406Nm of torque at 8,500rpm.
500 horses is a big difference from the second most powerful Atom which has 300 horses. “This is an interesting project for us and an experimental departure from what we normally produce. For a few customers the Atom 500 will be the ultimate expression of lightweight performance and represents the outer limits of what’s achievable in a road-registered car,” says Ariel boss Simon Saunders.

This is not the first V8-powered Ariel Atom. Sometime back, Dennis Palatov plonked in a 2.8 liter V8 derived from two inline-4 Suzuki Hayabusa engines into his Ariel Atom. It produced 400 horses at 10,000rpm.

I cannot wait for foreign publications to do shoot-out reviews comparing both the Caterham Seven and Ariel Atom powered by the same RST-V8 engine!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Proton Satria Neo R3

It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from Proton’s Race Rally Research division. The last cars that they had put their tuning touch on was Proton Waja MME and the Proton GEN2 MME back in 2006. Because their first product was the Proton Satria R3 based on the Satria GTI, many have been anxiously waiting for the R3-tuned version of the Satria Neo to debut. The wait is over, and the Proton Satria Neo R3 is here.

Firstly it’s important to note that this is not the same Proton Satria Neo R3 as the model buyers are going to receive. The car I drove was the development unit and some specifications differ. For one, the Neo R3 will come with slotted front brake discs and Mintex M1144 performance brake pads, but the car you see here had the stock brake discs and brake pads fitted.

The wheels are also not the same - the test unit came with 17 inch Enkei alloys, but the production Satria Neo R3 will come with Advanti SG15 17×7 inch wheels. The tyres are the right ones though - Bridgestone Potenza RE001 Adrenalin in 205/40R17 size, but even these were not in the best condition when I picked the car up. Nevertheless, the Adenalins are fantastic tyres and I am using them on my Proton Perdana.

The 1.6 liter Campro engine under the hood is the original Campro - no IAFM, no CPS, no VIM, no nothing. The only thing it has is R3’s touch - new 8mm spark plug cables, an R3 tuned exhaust system and an R3 ECU with remapped settings. All of this boosts power up to 135 horsepower at 6,100rpm and torque up to 164Nm at 4,200rpm, which exceeds the usual normally aspirated 100Nm per liter of displacement ratio, so that’s quite impressive. Or at least it all looks so on paper.

The torque dip of the original Campro it is based on is as prominent as ever, rearing its ugly head at you as you wait patiently for the revs to build up past 4,000rpm. Then the engine comes alive and very much in your face as with the power build up, the loud noise and vibration increases. Somewhere past the 5,500rpm range the engine note suddenly changes without any warning - it’s really quite unacceptably loud and there’s too much vibration while not delivering the kind of power you’d expect from such a racket. This plays down the 135 horses abit - it’s there but your sense of sound overwhelms your body’s internal “torque-o-meter”.

The Recaro SR4s perform well hug you and the front passenger, but because I am rather large my thighs did not feel very comfortable - I think the seats were too tight! A thinner person would feel very at home in these seats. The Momo Tuner steering wheel with the wheel spacer was fantastic - the spacer brought the steering wheel closer to me and I was able to sit in a better position for aggressive driving. Without the wheel spacer, the bottom of my wrist would not be able to touch the top of a stock Satria Neo steering wheel mounted on a stock steering column. I was taught this driving position by the experienced instructors from the BMW Driver Training program and I find that it does really help you control the car better. The downside to this is the indicator and wiper stalks are now way too far for practical usage and your fingers will not be able to reach them while your hands are still on the steering wheel.

The shift knob is another matter. A study by a company which I cannot recall at this time showed that the best shape for a shift knob is one that has a pure ball-shaped top. Anyway I don’t need a study commissioned to tell me that a ball-shaped knob would feel the best in one’s palm. The shift knob that R3 put in the Neo is a ball, but it has a flat top. The flat top doesn’t feel too good when your palm is resting on it. The reason for the flat top is so that R3 could stick a sticker on it… you get either an R3 logo or a 5-speed slot logo, it’s up to you. Anyway, the photo shown here is the gear knob that was installed in the test unit, but this is a gear knob from the Waja MME and I think the actual gear knob is actually silver and slightly bigger in diameter.

The suspension is alot firmer than a stock Satria Neo’s but the ride was still acceptable over the bad roads in Cheras. Even though the car had lowered ride height, the undercarriage never scraped speed bumps. There’s no need to awkwardly cross speed bumps at a diagonal angle slowly and alloy everyone queueing up behind you with this car. There is minimal body roll until you push the car with autocross-like maneuvers and that is when the car begins to lean abit. As expected from an FF car, it understeers under pressure, no surprises there. But it was really sticky around corners, quite impressive for tyres that are not in pristine conditions. Steering feel and feedback was decent, but the same cannot be said about throttle input which has a rather typical Campro lag to it.

Pushing the car up to speeds of 140km/h to 160km/h was easy. The car’s rather minimal sound proofing combined with the loud engine and firm suspension that feels rather unstable on our trademark Samy-fied(tm) highways makes pushing this car to high speeds beyond the 140 to 160km/h mark rather tiring. Acceleration went down, but noise went up. Lots of fatigue. Hard to tell what was contributing to the noise, but you can be sure the stiff Adrenalin tyres contributed to it.

Aesthetic dressing up includes the trademark Incognito Black paint, an R3 bodykit that consists of a a new front and rear bumper, side skirts, and an R3 rear spoiler. The trademark red and white R3 stripes are also on the car, something which many Proton owners are copying now. In the engine bay, the R3-tuned Campro engine gets a red aluminium cam valley cover, an aluminium oil cap, and an R3 brake master cylinder cap. The 8mm spark plug cables mention before are also red in colour. On the inside, other than the Recaro SR4s done up in red and black, the rear seats and door trim also gets red and black themed upholstery. Even the seat belts are red, and the floor mats are black with the R3 logo on them. The 3 foot pedals were the standard Neo foot pedals, which came across as rather surprising to me.

The Proton Satria Neo R3 definitely has the looks, but the engine really leaves something to be desired. R3 should definitely look at doing a second run of the Neo R3 if/when the Neo gets the Campro CPS engine. With stock power levels of 125 horsepower, it should be possible to push the CPS engine to nearly 160 horsepower, with plenty of kick across the whole rev range. Also, the car’s full “track-throughbredness” potential could not be sampled through this test unit because the brakes were standard.

10 units of the RM71,000 hatchback have already been delivered to owners and the next batch of 10 have already been booked. That makes 20 out of the 50 car limited run spoken for at the time of launch, and probably more have been snapped up now. It is built from the mid-line Neo, which means no airbags or ABS. The owner of the first Proton Satria Neo R3 in Malaysia is Hidekazu Misawa, a Japanese expatriate in Malaysia. He says he was drawn to the car’s blend of performance and style and he will be bringing it back to Japan.

Chevrolet Models Available in US

AVEO: Fresh from a 2007 restyle (for the sedan, at least), the Daewoo-sourced subcompact gets no significant changes for 2008.

COBALT: First, the bad news: The SS Supercharged model is gone (and I, for one, will be holding a moment of silence). So's the top-of-the-line LTZ. The non-supercharged Cobalt SS is replaced by the Cobalt Sport, with bigger (2.4 liter) engine, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and OnStar. Side curtain airbags, XM satellite radio and a tire pressure monitoring system are now standard on all Cobalts.

CORVETTE: Last year's 6.0 liter V8 is replaced by a new 6.2 liter (376 cubic inch) unit; horsepower jumps by 30 to 430, while torque is up 24 lb-ft to 424. An optional dual-mode exhaust system raises that by a further 6 hp and 4 lb-ft of torque and improves the soundtrack. Other alterations include improvements to both manual and automatic transmissions, revised steering feel, interior upgrades, and standard OnStar, XM satellite radio and auto-dimming rear view mirror.

EQUINOX: The new Equinox Sport gets a 3.6 liter V6, 6-speed automatic with manual shift control and a sport-tuned suspension. For all models, the StabiliTrack electronic stability control system is now programmed to detect and attempt to correct trailer sway.

EXPRESS: The full-size van gets an updated interior and a tire pressure monitoring system. Passenger models get side curtain airbags.

HHR: Developed by the GM Performance Division, the new HHR SS features a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine (260 horsepower with manual transmission, 235 with automatic), sport-tuned suspension, and a body kit.

IMPALA: The heavy Chevy sees only minor changes, including a performance suspension for the LTZ model and E85 flex-fuel capability for the 3.9 liter engine.

MALIBU: Chevrolet's oft-overlooked mid-size sedan gets a redesign that General Motors says "carries the new face of Chevrolet". Available in LS, LT, LTZ and hybrid models, the latter with GM's "mild hybrid" system, the Malibu offers a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine as well as a 3.6 liter V6 with variable valve timing. Standard equipment includes side curtain airbags and XM radio as well as electronic stability control on LT, LTZ and hybrid versions.

MONTE CARLO: Discontinued.

SILVERADO: Redesigned for 2007, Chevy's full-size pickup sees only minor changes, including standard XM satellite radio and interior tweaks. One intriguing bit of information: Diesel Silverados sold to fleets are now approved to run BD20 (a mix of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum-based diesel).

TAHOE/SUBURBAN: The full-size Tahoe SUV will be available with a hybrid powertrain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Toyota iQ 2008

Toyota has unveiled a single photo of the production version of the small three-seater Toyota iQ, and it will be shown to the public for the first time at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show in March 2008. Unlike the Tata Nano, the iQ is aimed at the premium city car market instead of the affordable city car market.

The Toyota iQ will take 3 adults, and 1 additional child if the boot space is sacrificed for a child seat. The driver will have gadgets like a heads up display for important information like vehicle speed and satellite navigation instructions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2007 New Mazda 6

The new 2007 Mazda6 Facelift was launched late last year by Cycle and Carriage Bintang Berhad at it’s 3S showroom at Lot 9 today, beside the Federal Highway.

This facelifted Mazda6 features 785 engineering changes that accompanies the expected exterior and interior cosmetic changes, making this more than a refreshing exercise to keep the car looking up to date since its launch in 2003. In fact, some have said that despite interior similarities, the pre-facelift and post-facelift model are two completely different animals when it comes to the driving experience.

The Mazda6 is one of the very few cars of which its chassis was designed specifically for it. In Mazda’s dictionary it is called the GG/GY Chassis, but it has since been adapted by Ford as the CD3 chassis for use as the base for cars like the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. A chassis injected with Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” DNA from the very beginning is perhaps what made the Mazda6 what it is, and the reason it gained favor with motoring journalists worldwide, picking up 126 awards globally in 37 countries since it’s introduction, making it one of the most successful new-cars in Mazda’s 82-year history.
I tested both the Mazda6 2.0 and the Mazda6 2.3 Sedan. The Mazda6 2.0 is pretty well equipped, though the absence of automatic climate control makes it lose out to the other cars in its class which all have the dual zone auto feature. You get the following equipment with the

Mazda 6 2.0 liter Sedan:
2.0L (1,999cc) in-line 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve, EFI & S-VT variable valve timing – 149PS at 6,500rpm and 187Nm of Torque at 4,000rpm
5 Speed Auto Transmission (ACTIVEMATIC) with manual shifting
205/55/R16 Bridgestone Turanza Tyres
5pcs 16″ Alloy Rims
Head Light Levelling Control
Double Exhaust Tailpipe
Jack Knife Key with Remote Keyless Entry
Power Windows
Central Locking & Window Locks
Leather Wrap Steering Wheel c/w Audio & Auto Cruise Controller
Leather Wrap Gear Knob
Audio c/w MP3 & 6 in-dash CD Changer
Tilt & Telescopic Adjustable Steering Column
Instrument Panel Light Control
Dual Front Airbags
ISOFIX Child Seat Fittings
Floor Console with Double-Bottom Front-Armrest Box
Alarm System
Reverse Sensors
Safety Kits
Stainless Steel Scuff Plates
No Plate Base
Carpet Mats

As for the Mazda6 2.3 Sedan, you get a more sportier package, complete with bodykit and sunroof.
Detailed specs:
2.3L (2,261cc) in-line 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve, EFI & S-VT variable valve timing – 169PS at 6,500rpm and 211Nm of Torque at 4,000rpm
5 Speed Auto/Manual - Transmission (ACTIVEMATIC)
215/45/R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050 Tyres
5 pcs 17″ Alloy Rims
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) & Traction Control Systems
HID with Grey Bezel Headlamp
Head Light Levelling Control
Fog Lamp
Double Chrome Tailpipe
Aerostyle Bumper
Side Skirt & Rear Spoiler
Auto Climate Control
Jack Knife Key with Remote Keyless Entry
Super Lock System
Central Locking & Window Locks
Power Windows
Electric Sunroof
Leather Wrap Steering Wheel c/w Audio & Auto Cruise Controller
Leather Wrap Gear Knob
Audio c/w MP3 & 6 in-dash CD Changer
Tilt & Telescopic Adjustable Steering Column
Multi Info Display
Black Out Meter Cluster
Instrument Panel Light Control
Dual Front Airbags
Leather Seats
Power Adjustable Driver Seat with 3 Memories
ISOFIX Child Seat Fittings
Floor Console with Double-Bottom Front-Armrest Box
Sunvisors with Lamp, Vanity Mirror & Ticket Holder (Driver & Passenger)
Alarm System
Reverse Sensors
Safety Kits
Stainless Steel Scuff Plates
No Plate Base
Carpet Mats

Both engines are based on a similar block, with identical bores but the 2.3 liter has a longer stroke to increase its displacement. You get S-VT Sequential Valve Timing to smoothen out the torque curve and help with fuel consumption, as well as VIS (Variable Intake System) to match air flow path length, hence affecting its velocity according to engine speed. The 2.3 liter engine is now EURO3 compliant.

A 5-speed auto gearbox is available on both the 2.0 and 2.3 liter models. Mazda did something different with the 5 ratios of this gearbox, instead of having 3 normal cogs and 2 overdrive cogs like its competitors in similar vehicle class; it offers a 4 normal and 1 overdrive cog setup. This provides for better acceleration – leaving one overdrive gear for highway cruising. You lose out on ridiculously low RPM during high speed cruising like the Accord’s 3,000-odd RPM at 150km/h, but the better take-off acceleration more than makes up for it.

Gear ratios for the 5-speed automatic gearbox for both the 2.0 and 2.3 liter cars are:
Gear Ratios (1st) - 3.620
Gear Ratios (2nd) - 1.925
Gear Ratios (3rd) - 1.285
Gear Ratios (4th) - 0.933
Gear Ratios (5th) - 0.692
Gear Ratios (Reverse) - 2.648

Like the Mazda3, the Mazda6 seating position was slightly higher than what you would expect from a car with such a sporty exterior outlook. The Mazda6 employs a more classic gauge layout rather than the three-pod layout of the Mazda3. You get a conventional meter panel with the 2.0 liter sedan, while the Mazda6 2.3 liter Sedan gets self-illuminating meters. The 2.0 liter sedan’s fabric seats are nice and supportive, and feature manual adjustment control, while the 2.3 liter sedan is wrapped with dark leather and the driver’s seat features 8-way fully electric control with memory. The interior color scheme is very well coordinated; with the main color scheme being gray, with bits of aluminum and cubic print featuring either black wood grain or dark grey.

The 2.0 liter engine of the Mazda6 2.0 is the same one as the unit in the Mazda3 2.0, but the engine sounds so much quieter in the Mazda6. This is due to the superior soundproofing of the Mazda6. Control panels in the floor of the Mazda6 contain circular depressions that vibrate out of phase to cancel vibrations and keep the cabin quiet. Sound insulation in 18 major locations and a new engine mounting system helps to keep noise out of the passenger compartment.
The Mazda6 is a nice drive, you get a nice D-segment sedan, albeit a small-D, but this is likely the most driver-oriented D-segment car in its class. The car is not floaty at fast highway speeds, feels very well-grounded, and despite quite an amount of body roll (I don’t think this suspension is tuned for all-out sportiness), you just have to trust the car not to give up and you and it doesn’t disappoint. It handles much like what a well balanced FF car should, if pushed too hard it slowly begins to under steer, but lift off the accelerator pedal and the nose should correct itself provided you exercise good steering wheel control. While some have said the previous Mazda6 pre-facelift version is a lot more aggressive and raw, this one appears very well behaved to me, which might be a turn-off for some people who loved the pre-facelift, but to me let’s leave the unrefined aggression to the Mazda3, the Mazda6 has to go Zoom-Zoom in a more refined and classy way.

The front suspension is a high-mounted double wishbone design while the rear is of an E-type multi-link design with low-profile springs and angled dampers that minimizes intrusion into the car’s interior. The body is an evolved version of the Mazda Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System body (MAIDAS). It is a high-safety design includes front and rear crushable zones to absorb impact energy and a rigid “triple H” structure that forms a safety cage around the passenger compartment. In a front or side collision, impact energy is absorbed and channeled throughout the entire body, away from the passenger cage. At the rear, a straight, large-section rear frame soaks up energy from a collision to keep passengers protected and safe.
Brakes are grippy indeed thanks to ventilated discs at the front and discs at the rear coupled with a powerful vacuum booster and high-rigidity zero-loss brake hoses. It’s a very good thing the Mazda6 comes with this set of brake equipment as with the way you’ll want to drive this car, you’ll need them. It just inspires hard driving that’ll leave your tyres and brakepads stinky at the end of the drive.

Honestly, engine power is somewhat lacking, but none of the D-segment cars in this class in Malaysia can be described as powerful. The Accord 2.4 is only satisfactory, and I haven’t tested the Camry 2.4 yet, but with similar power to weight ratios it should be about the same. I’d say a good balance of power for the Mazda6 would be the 3.0 V6 version unavailable in our markets, as the Mazda6 MPS’s direct injection turbocharged 2.3 liter might just be too wild for some people. I took the 2.3 liter up Genting and the experience was far from effortless. It’s expected though, with 169hp on a 1,430kg car and a normally aspirated engine torque curve. It feels like the 2.3 offers not much over the 2.0 liter.

Safety features include ABS, EBD, and twin airbags. The 2.3 liter has DSC traction control, but to be honest the car is so well sorted out that you’ll rarely activate it unless you have bad surfaces with less than desirable grip – for example a sandy road.

Other accessories include a sunroof for the 2.3 liter model, which includes controls for both tilt and opening size. Driving up Genting with the sunroof open proved to be a fun experience, but other than occasionally opening it when our local weather permits, most of the time you’ll just feel happy that your car is well equipped enough to have a sunroof yet not have much chance to use it. The ICE system interface is done up in a lovely piano black, with large and friendly buttons, and features a 6-CD in-dash changer. The sound system has really good bass, but sound starts to distort a little at higher volumes. Climate control is a single zone auto unit for the 2.3 liter, while the 2.0 liter has a single zone manual unit. The Mazda6 loses out here; its competitors have dual zone climate control. There is a fuel computer integrated into the ICE system and climate control display, you can get readings such as remaining mileage in km, average liter per 100 km fuel consumption, average speed, and current fuel consumption in real time. Neat!

It’s hard to make a case for the Mazda6 if you want the large “boss car” look like what the Toyota Camry provides, and the Mazda6’s interior is smaller compared to other D-segment cars, but if you want to move up from the C-segment but still want a sportier drive that focuses on driver enjoyment and not feel like you’re wafting around without feeling very connected to the road, the Mazda6 is an excellent choice.

Interior feel is superior to its competitors; however it is not yet up to the level of European manufacturers, but build quality is so much better than any of its locally assembled competitors. Armrests are made of a thicker, laminated material for a softer feel, and vertical grip handles are incorporated into both front and rear armrests. Gaps between panels are flushed nicely. An example of this is the 1.5mm gap which separates the headlamp unit from the front bumper, and another similar gap where the rear bumper meets the rear fender - this level of precision according to Mazda, is normally found only in luxury cars.

The Mazda6 2.0 is priced at RM141,937 (on-the-road without insurance) while the 2.3 version is priced at RM162,318 (on-the-road without insurance). Both are fully imported CBU units from Japan.

Zhuang Mei Mei & Cars

SHE'S quite a regular on the airwaves, appearing in local Chinese dramas and TV commercials. You can catch her in the Chinese drama Love Is All Around on ntv7 Mondays to Thursdays at 9.45pm. Before Love Is All Around, she acted in another Chinese drama Falling in Love, also on ntv7.

In Love Is All Around, Eunice plays Zhuang Mei Mei, a typical tough single career woman who begins to show her feminine side in falling for a guy.

Leverage: Eunice’s business degree has come in useful in helping her run a spa consultancy.Eunice is also a health nut who runs her own spa consultancy.

But the one thing that hasn't changed much in the last nine years for Eunice, the Miss Malaysia Chinese International 2001 first runner-up, is her Perodua Kancil.

She bought the car in 1999 after graduating with an Australian business degree from the Charles Sturt University and had been using it since.

While most people start out their working lives with small cars or hand-me-downs before moving on to better things, Eunice was quite contented with the little 850cc hatchback with manual transmission.

With current high fuel prices and further increases looming, the Kancil, with its super low fuel consumption, is definitely a relevant vehicle for the times – besides being able to park in the tightest of spots.

However, the heavy running around to meet her business clients and for TV drama shooting, has somewhat taken its toll on the Kancil.

The car has started to show its age, with fading paintwork and more visits to the workshop.
“My parents have started nagging me again to get a new car.

“Besides, they say a businesswoman and well-known artiste should be seen driving better cars,” the slim 30-something tells StarMotoring Magazine with a wide smile.

“I am keen to get a reliable model which is quite stylish but give good fuel consumption,” said the chatty and energetic lass who hails from Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

She's quite taken in with the idea of petrol-electric hybrid cars such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, which are more economical and environmentally friendlier but knows that it costs somewhat at the moment.

We passed the keys to the trendy-looking Volkswagen CrossPolo five-door hatchback, courtesy of Volkswagen Group Malaysia to Eunice.

First thing to strike her was the 17-inch alloy wheels – which she found an immediate attention-getter besides the bright lime green body colour.

Driving the 1.6-litre hatchback around the Bukit Kiara and Sri Hartamas area, Eunice was impressed with the handling of the CrossPolo although she finds the ride much firmer than her Kancil.

“The interior mix of dark with bright lime green gives the inside a very youngish and stylish appearance.
“Although the car looks compact from the outside, the CrossPolo is quite roomy inside,” she added.

Priced at RM124,888, the CrossPolo costs more than other non-European cars of the same engine size and would definitely be a choice for those wanting something different, says Eunice.
“I might consider the car if it's cheaper. I still need to invest in my business.”

Hardcore Mazda

Naza World is now actively promoting 3 of their imported Mazda models as what they say are the ideal cars for the affluent family in a high earning neighbourhood.

Mazda CX7 - RM248,999
The Mazda CX7 SUV is positioned at the dad, and the 5-seater SUV (ideally 4, Naza says) has a 2.3 liter turbocharged DISI L3-VDT engine under its hood, mated to an Activematic 6-speed automatic gearbox. The turbocharged engine puts out 245 horsepower at 5,000rpm and 350Nm of torque, equivalent to a high torque output normally aspirated 3.5 liter engine, peaking at 2,500rpm but with most of it available across a much wider spread of between 2,000rpm to 4,500rpm.

This specification level imported includes an audio system (Japanese radio frequencies of course, which are not usable in Malaysia), GPS navigation, a television, 6 SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, traction control, heated front seats, a reverse camera, 18 inch wheels, and the Mazda Radar Cruise Control system which is an adaptive cruise system that uses a forward radar sensor to measure distance and speed from both moving and stationary objects. In the case that a moving object in front of you suddenly decides to become stationary, MRCC will apply the brakes and audibly alert you.

Mazda 8 MPV - RM198,999
Stereotypically, the mum gets to drive the MPV. The third generation Mazda MPV is officially available only in Japan and Hong Kong. It is called the MPV in Japan and the Mazda 8 in Hong Kong. Naza World has decided to call it the Mazda 8 here in Malaysia.
The Mazda 8 MPV has twin sliding doors for access into the rear, and can be opened electrically by the driver. It seats 7 and is powered by the same L3-VDT in the Mazda CX7, which has ample torque to haul the whole family plus luggage around on trips. It has a side view camera feature, which helps side-parking the large vehicle.
Mazda MX-5 - RM199,999
Naza World is bringing in the 2.0 liter, 4-speed automatic version of the Mazda MX-5. Too bad this is not the new one with the folding hard top roof. The 2.0 liter normally aspirated engine puts out 158 horsepower and 188Nm of torque.

Hardcore Mazda in Malaysia

Naza World is now actively promoting 3 of their imported Mazda models as what they say are the ideal cars for the affluent family in a high earning neighbourhood.

Mazda CX7 - RM248,999
The Mazda CX7 SUV is positioned at the dad, and the 5-seater SUV (ideally 4, Naza says) has a 2.3 liter turbocharged DISI L3-VDT engine under its hood, mated to an Activematic 6-speed automatic gearbox. The turbocharged engine puts out 245 horsepower at 5,000rpm and 350Nm of torque, equivalent to a high torque output normally aspirated 3.5 liter engine, peaking at 2,500rpm but with most of it available across a much wider spread of between 2,000rpm to 4,500rpm.

This specification level imported includes an audio system (Japanese radio frequencies of course, which are not usable in Malaysia), GPS navigation, a television, 6 SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, traction control, heated front seats, a reverse camera, 18 inch wheels, and the Mazda Radar Cruise Control system which is an adaptive cruise system that uses a forward radar sensor to measure distance and speed from both moving and stationary objects. In the case that a moving object in front of you suddenly decides to become stationary, MRCC will apply the brakes and audibly alert you.

Mazda 8 MPV - RM198,999
Stereotypically, the mum gets to drive the MPV. The third generation Mazda MPV is officially available only in Japan and Hong Kong. It is called the MPV in Japan and the Mazda 8 in Hong Kong. Naza World has decided to call it the Mazda 8 here in Malaysia.
The Mazda 8 MPV has twin sliding doors for access into the rear, and can be opened electrically by the driver. It seats 7 and is powered by the same L3-VDT in the Mazda CX7, which has ample torque to haul the whole family plus luggage around on trips. It has a side view camera feature, which helps side-parking the large vehicle.

Mazda MX-5 - RM199,999
Naza World is bringing in the 2.0 liter, 4-speed automatic version of the Mazda MX-5. Too bad this is not the new one with the folding hard top roof. The 2.0 liter normally aspirated engine puts out 158 horsepower and 188Nm of torque.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blue Box goes great guns

Things are looking good for Nasim Sdn Bhd, the new Peugeot importer and distributor in the country.

It opened its Blue Box centre in Glenmarie, Shah Alam last week, and since then, there has been quite a bit that has been happening. Besides offering the likes of the new 308 and 207CC as part of its new model line-up, the service part of things has been going great guns.

Yes, all lions need some TLC now and then ...As of Wednesday, the centre had received more than 60 service bookings, with 36 cars serviced since the opening.
To celebrate the inauguration, the first five Peugeot owners to utilise the service facilities received a gift of appreciation. Joseph Absolom Fernandez, Norizan Ahmad, Dr Abdul Majid Abdullah, Dr Daljit Singh and Mior Aljifin Bin Ghazali each received a 1:18 scale model of a Peugeot 407 Silhouette and other Peugeot merchandise from Derick Tan, marketing manager of NSB and William Beven, Blue Box's sales manager.

Can you spot the Pug owners?Actually, the first 100 service customers will be given mystery gifts, so there's at least 40 more of you Pug owners out there who stand to get something out of servicing your ride at the Blue Box.

On the new car front, those who are interested in the new 407 2.0 can now place a booking for the vehicle; the indicative price of the car is RM135,000. Bookings can be made at any Nasim or Naza Corporation branches and authorised Peugeot dealers throughout the country.
But back to the Blue Box service brigade. Customers looking to service their cars at the Blue Box or having specific requirements for their Peugeot cars attended to can call the Peugeot Careline at 03-2617 7777 for more info.

2008 Subaru Legacy 3.0 R Limited

The Subaru Legacy has always been one of my favorite mid-sizers, but it's been slipping a bit. In 2005, I gave it five stars. In 2007, I awarded it four. And now it's down to three.

Part of the problem is that Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet and Honda have all introduced excellent new mid-size sedans. But the bigger issue is that Subaru keeps giving me nicer and nicer Legacys to test. In 2005 I drove the base-model Legacy 2.5i, which is still a great deal ($21,500k nicely equipped with all-wheel-drive). In 2007, I tested the turbocharged Legacy GT. Lots of fun but a bit thirsty. This time I tried the new top-of-the-line 3.0 R Limited, which adds a 245 hp six-cylinder engine to a car that really didn't need more power.

2008 sees the addition of a much-needed tilt-and-telescope steering column and a much-appreciated optional navigation system. But they've tweaked things that didn't need tweaking, like exterior styling and wood trim. And the things that did need tweaking -- the lack of auto-down windows, front seats that need more thigh support, and a dual-zone climate control system that won't let you set the temperature on both sides of the car at once -- have been left to annoy a new generation of Legacy drivers. And there's a new annoyance: The steering-wheel paddles, which allow manual shifting of the 3.0R's 5-speed automatic transmission, are actually fixed to the column, so you can't reach them when the wheel is turned. Oops.

One thing I can't complain about is the handling. With standard all-wheel-drive and electronic stability control, the Legacy's grip on the road is truly awe-inspiring. But the six-cylinder engine simply isn't as thrilling as the turbocharged GT and Spec.B models, and it uses even more fuel. All in all, I don't think the 3.0R justifies its $32k asking price. I still love the Legacy -- just not this Legacy. -- Aaron Gold

Supercars Do Their Bit

If you're into the exotics, then the Supercars for Charity event happening this Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit will be just up your alley.

The event, organised by the Porsche Club Malaysia, the Ferrari Owner’s Club, the SIC and the Force of Nature Aid Foundation, is open to the public and the full-day track experience is perfect for those wanting to savour a supercar ride and do their bit for charity at the same time.
Taxi rides on the supercars - which will include Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis among the mix - are priced from RM300 for a Class 3 to RM1,000 for a Class 1 vehicle, per single ticket.

She challenges you to beat her. In a slalom competition, that is.For those wanting to do more for the needy, there are additional group, corporate and platinum packages to choose from. The charity rides are set to take place from 2pm to 4pm and 5pm to 6pm.

There's also a slalom challenge, organised by the Sepang International Drive and Race Academy (SIDRA), and for RM1,000, you get to drive a race-tuned Porsche Cayman S with a race instructor from the academy guiding you through the special course.

If that's not enough, Deanna Yusof has issued a personal challenge to any Malaysian driver – male or female – to beat her in a slalom competition at the event this Sunday. A regular in the annual Merdeka Millennium Endurance race (MME), Deanna is one of the guest drivers for the day, along with Alex Yoong, Tommy Lee, and Karamjit Singh.

For those not into the driving, there's still plenty of metal eye-candy to take in, in the form of a special display of rare supercars.

The event begins at 2pm and ends at 7pm, so there's quite a bit of time to soak it all in. All proceeds from the event will go to the Force of Nature Aid Foundation, in aid of Malaysian flood victims.

2009 Audi A4

Audi has released photos of the A4 Avant, the wagon version of the all-new 2009 Audi A4. Click the thumbnails for larger photos.

2008 Naza 206 Bestari

Naza has updated the Naza 206 Bestari with a new bodykit including a rear roof spoiler, door visors, and a new exhaust tailpipe. The rear seat bench now includes head rests, something that was optional on the car when it was initially launched, even though product images showed that it had headrests.

The 3 year or 100,000km warranty package has been upped to 5 years now, and includes 3 years free maintenance. With the additional accessories and warranty, the price remains the same at RM68,888 for the 1.4 liter French-rebadge.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Toyota Wish 2008 - Latest Updated Picture

There are rumors saying that the above pictures is Toyota Wish 2008, but some argue that it is not. The above car shown in the Tokyo Motorshow but it is not a MPV, it is a 5-seaters car !
Some rumors said that Toyota Wish will be launched in Aug 2008... Lets see!

New Honda Accord Euro 2008 (Details and Photo)

Honda has released a collection of 4 photos of the new European Honda Accord as a teaser before the car is unveiled to the public for the first time at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. We get to see the Tourer’s front and rear, the sedan’s rear, and a shot of the car interior which looks rather similiar to the American Accord/Japanese Inspire at first glance, then you notice the more gadgety meter panel with integrated LCD displays in the center of the dials, as well as the different more vertically-shaped air cond vents.
The 2.0 liter petrol engine in the Honda Accord Euro will be putting out 156 PS, and the 2.4 liter engine will be putting out 200 PS at 7,000rpm and 233Nm of torque at 4,500rpm which is up from 190 PS and 223Nm of torque in the previous generation Accord Euro - This 2.4 liter engine in the Accord Euro is a higher powered version compared to the low compression 170 horsepower version that we get locally in our previous generation facelifted Accord. The 2.4 liter has also had its engine’s compression ratio upped from 10.5:1 to 11.0:1. A 2.2 liter i-CTDi turbodiesel engine option is also available naturally, with 150 PS and 350Nm of torque - 10 PS more than before.
A new feature in the Accord Euro is called Motion Adaptive EPS, which detects instability in slippery conditions both during cornering and under braking and automatically creates steering inputs prompting the driver to steer in the correct direction. It is not an outright override of the driver’s inputs but more of a supportive steering torque to prompt the driver to act intuitively.

Acura TSX - Honda Accord Euro 2008

Acura has released a single frontal three quarter photo of the new Acura TSX based on the new Accord Euro.

While the new Accord Euro will be unveiled at Geneva 2008 in March, the TSX based on that car will be unveiled at the 2008 New York International Auto Show, also to be held in March.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Super Tyre - P Zero

In the ultra-high performance stakes where only the best will do, the new P Zero rocks. It showed its mettle at the F1-ready Dubai Autodrome.

It was a super tyre developed specifically for a super car which helped define performance parameters of the time, the F40 becoming the first street-legal production car to break the 200mph (322kph) barrier.

Come play with me: Pirelli P Zero the Hero is the centre of attention as a Porsche Boxster using the tyres zooms by at the Dubai Autodrome.The P Zero has since become THE reference point for all super car tyres and today the list of cars bearing that name as original equipment reads like the who's who in the world of automotive performance – Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, AMG, Maserati – to name a few.

The latest generation of Pirelli's new flagship ultra high performance tyre, launched in Dubai last year, promises to take things to a new level.
The 370kph rated tyre, which the company affectionately dubs “P Zero the Hero”, is a product of the company's experience in competition and its introduction coincides with Pirelli's motorsport centenary.

“It represents the state of the art of the P Zero collection. The new tyre has been designed and developed to control the ever-more-extreme performance of super cars and to offer even higher levels of driving satisfaction and safety for the most demanding drivers,” Pirelli CEO Francesco Gori told motoring journalists at the launch.

A bagful of patents and acronyms accompanies this fourth generation P Zero, which took two years to develop.

The bevy of high-performance machines are raring to go, too.Its principal feature is that it guarantees optimum performance in wet or dry conditions throughout the lifetime of the tyre, while combining sports handling with comfort.

To that end, there are special nano-composites in the compounds of the tread and the bead (the element of the tyre anchoring it to the wheel rim) that give thermoplastic stability for a comfortable ride without jeopardising the tyre’s performance in extreme driving.

An innovative tread pattern allows very high grip in wet conditions and lower noise while an asymmetric profile DA.Co (Dynamic Asymmetric Contour) promises even wear with a consistent footprint at all speeds.
The tread design combines three wide longitudinal grooves for water elimination with large, rigid shoulder blocks for good cornering performance.

Thanks to a hybrid cord system, the tyre carcass allows the deformation of the tyre profile to be controlled through to the highest speeds increasing the durability of the tyre. That extends not just to outright mileage, but in the consistency of performance throughout its life.

It has been said that the old P-Zeros needed a bit of warming up before they gave their best.

Pirelli says that thanks to the new tread compound in P Zero the Hero, optimum performance is available even during the first few kilometres of driving when the tyre is still cold.

Make the rubber squeal
At the 5.3km Dubai Autodrome – an FIA certified track which is home to the final round of the FIA GT Championship, we sampled the new P Zeros in a variety of conditions. And it was in a sumptuous buffet of performance cars put at our disposal – AMG 63 variants of the Mercedes S and CLK -classes, CLS 500, Audi TT and S8, Porsche Boxsters and 911 Carreras, MINI Coopers and some BMWs.

Beyond merely having very high levels of grip, the handling of the new P Zeros were one of the strongest traits.

In the dry, the P Zeros felt very precise and responsive under the various test cars.
The car follows its intended line when pushed around corners but push harder and it holds it without requiring too much change of steering angle. Cross the threshold and the grip gives way progressively.

There was a sharp and smooth reaction of the car to sudden lane changes.
Most of all, the new P Zeros seem to have the ability to fully exploit the phenomenal acceleration and braking potential of the most powerful cars available – something that was further borne out during some hot laps in a Lamborghini Murcialago and Ferrari 599GTB Fiorano with a professional racing driver.

In the wet pan, where the new P Zero was pitted against a leading European competitor on an Audi TT, the Pirellis came out with noticeably more bite. The sense of contact with the ground was more reassuring and when push came to shove, the car's rear end was breaking away more progressively.
Those in the exclusive club of demanding motorists who drive or own sports cars at the very top end of the market know that to get a car to respond to all your demands on the road, you have to know it well and as five time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio puts it “help it express its personality”

In the hardware stakes, tyres play a big role in that equation and it's an area where the new P Zero adds a new dimension to your driving.
You don't necessarily have to plonk down over a million ringgit on a super car to experience the P Zeros. They are also made for a number of premium cars and if you'd like to give your more affordable car a treat, your dealer might be able to find you a size.

They are far from cheap but you get what you pay for – as many owners of high-end, high-performance cars will attest. It is a product that comes from 100 years of motorsports involvement, made by a tyre company that spends more on R&Dthan any other.

The new P Zero is currently made in more than 33 sizes ranging from rim size of 16-20 inches.

More sizes are being planned in near future although at present, locally available sizes are limited due to strong worldwide demand.

Pirelli assures, however, that efforts are in place to make available the complete range here in a few months.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hyundai Genesis 2009

Hyundai is taking on the luxury market with the 2009 Genesis, which features a choice of V6 or V8 power (the latter via a new 368 hp 4.6 liter engine), rear-wheel-drive, leather-lined interior, and gadgets galore.

Hyundai says the new Genesis will compete with $60,000 luxury cars -- but pricing will start under $30,000. Click the thumbnails for a closer look at the 2009 Hyundai Genesis.

Replacement of Toyota Wish? Toyota Matrix 2009

Before I start picking the Matrix apart, let me start by saying that both it and the Vibe are great cars. They're practical, easy to drive, and comfortable to ride in. My half-day test drive of the Vibe revealed many good points and very few weak points. After living with the Toyota Matrix for a full week, my opinion hasn't changed.

The biggest difference between the two cars is styling. I prefer the Vibe; the Matrix's angles and curves make the car look awkward. It seems that Toyota is trying to present the Matrix a youth-oriented car -- so why not sell it as a Scion, Toyota's youth-oriented brand? One would think that Toyota's more conservative buyer base will find the Matrix a bit silly looking.

Matrix pricing starts $955 higher than the Vibe, and while it does include air conditioning ($950 on the base Vibe), it doesn't include a rear wiper or electronic stability control (ESC), which are standard on the Vibe. The entry-level Matrix Standard gets a 1.8 liter engine, while S and sporty XRS models get a 2.4 liter engine. Like Pontiac, Toyota offers all-wheel-drive as an option on the S model. An optional GPS navigation system is exclusive to the Matrix, but Toyota doesn't offer the Vibe's neat-o cargo management system. And the Matrix's warranty isn't quite as good -- 5 years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage versus 5 years/100,000 miles for the Vibe.

Of the two cars, I prefer the Vibe -- it's better looking, less expensive, and while the extra-long warranty may never be needed, it's still nice to have. The fact that electronic stability control is an option (albeit a cheap one at $250) is the only real disappointment -- why didn't Toyota put the same emphasis on safety as Pontiac did by making ESC standard? To sum up: The Matrix is good, but the Vibe is better. -- Aaron Gold

Porsche Boxster

THE limited edition Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder (pic) with distinctive design that echoes Porsche's motorsport era of the 1960s will be launched next month.

Based on the acclaimed Boxster S model, the new Boxster RS 60 Spyder reflects the sporting character and design purism of that successful mid-engined two-seater sports racing car.

Its 3.4-litre mid-mounted engine pumps out 303bhp and can also produce maximum torque of 340Nm from 4,400rpm to 6,000rpm. Top speed is 274kph and 0-100kph is done in 5.4 seconds.

With only 1,960 units to be made and bearing a silver placard on the glove compartment lid, expect the Boxster RS 60 Spyder to be snapped up fast.
The Boxster RS 60 Spyder costs around 64,000 euros (RM307,000) in Germany, while price for Malaysia is on application

10 Driving Distractions and How To Deal With Them

Like most young drivers, you probably live out of your car as you shuttle between school, work and home. Your ride is your dressing room, your nightclub on wheels, your lunch room and even your meditation room.But, unfortunately, as many young drivers discover each year, driving is a task that requires your undivided attention, especially since you're still green to the scene.

Fact is, drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 are four times likelier than older drivers to be involved in car accidents. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stats still list car crashes as the leading cause of death for teen drivers and attribute this to driver inexperience and juvenile behavior (i.e. tailgating, speeding, etc.). Throw multitasking in the mix and you're asking for trouble...and not the good kind.The following are driving distractions you may be all too familiar with as well as ways to preserve your focus when behind the wheel.

Chatting with friends: Turns out, young drivers with young passengers tend to get in more accidents than those driving alone, inspiring many states to include passenger restrictions in graduated driver licensing. Makes sense, since there's nothing like a friend to tease you or say something compelling to get you to take your eyes off the road. And, sure, no one wants to be the mom in the car, but when you're behind the wheel, it's OK to tell your friends, "Shut it, I'm driving."

Cell phone use: Regardless of whether you have a headset, save that phone conversation about where tonight's hot party is for later, preferably when you're stopped or, even better, out of the car. Turns out, conversing is a bigger distraction than fidgeting with a phone or headset. But if you just have to take the call, tell the person on the other end that you're on the road and will call them back later.

Text and go: Texting is probably one of the best ways to communicate: instant gratification without disturbing the receiving party and you don't have to talk to them if you don't want to. But typing while you're driving? Not a good idea — you only have two hands, and they're better off on the steering wheel. Best save this task for when you can safely compose a note. If you can say it in a text, the message can wait until you're parked.

Playing DJ: There's nothing like cruising to your favorite songs. But that split-second you lean over to change that CD or switch to a different radio station is just enough time for an accident to happen. To prevent this, invest in a CD changer with your albums of choice at the ready. And program your favorite radio stations into the presets so you don't have to use the "Seek" or "Tune" buttons to scroll through them. If you have an iPod and your car is equipped with an auxiliary input or you have another way to hook up your iPod, create a playlist of fave tunes to cruise to so you're not scrolling through the menus as you drive.

Taking it to go: Sometimes you only have so much time to enjoy a meal so it's yet another visit to the drive-thru for you. But instead of juggling your soda with your fries with your burger, wait until you're parked before you chow down. If not, you might find yourself in a situation in which the only recipe you're enjoying is one for disaster. It's hard to give the road the attention it needs when you're focused on getting your grub on and not spilling on yourself.

Feeling the music: Sure, everyone's guilty of blasting on their tunes in the car to accompany their singing and smoking-hot chair-dancing moves. Unfortunately, car karaoke can put you in danger since you won't be able to hear the horns of other motorists or emergency vehicle sirens above your falsetto high note. Instead, save that earth-thumping boom for your home. Enjoy your in-car tunes at a reasonable level since you need to hear as well as see when you're on the road.

Fidgeting with the controls: It's only natural to want to fine-tune your situation while you're on the road, but spend too much time messing with the controls and you could be messing with danger. Wanna turn down the thermostat, flick on cruise control or hit the recirculating button while behind the wheel? Then memorize the layout of your mobile mission control center beforehand so that you can program, turn things on and off, and switch functions without even looking at the dash.

Preening on the road: You may think you're saving time by multitasking as you're putting on makeup or brushing your hair while you drive. But what you're really doing is setting yourself up for a costly lesson in driving while distracted. All it takes is that couple of seconds you look in the mirror for a collision to happen. Besides, what's it going to hurt to just pretty yourself up when you get to your destination, before you get out of the car?

Mad as hell and taking it on the road: Sometimes a long drive seems like just the thing to calm you down. In reality, it could be the worst thing to do when you're angry or upset. Driving angry is like driving drunk. Your judgment is off, you're probably amped up and you don't realize that you're flooring the gas pedal. To prevent an ugly situation from getting uglier, just stay away from anything with wheels until your heart rate has returned to normal.

Lost in directions: Reading maps or directions with one hand on the wheel can be dangerous. Instead, map out your location and get a good idea of where you're heading before you get in your car, or pull over if you need to take a closer look at your flight plan while en route. Map sites like Google Maps and MapQuest make getting lost a thing of the past by giving you turn-by-turn directions to your destination.

2008 Saturn Outlook

Fuel Tank Capacity: 22 gal.;
EPA Mileage Estimates: 16 mpg / 22 mpg;
Range in Miles: 352 mi. / 484 mi.

Antilock Brakes: Standard;
Four Wheel Antilock Brakes: Standard;

Subaru turbodiesel to debut in Legacy and Outback

Oil burner versions of the Subaru Legacy and the Subaru Outback will be unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, and it will feature Subaru’s new turbodiesel boxer, which has so far been displayed as an engine with specifications released.

The aluminium alloy inline-4 boxer common rail turbodiesel puts out 150 PS at 3,600rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1,800rpm, with relatively lag-free operation thanks to a Variable nozzle turbocharger (what other manufacturers call VGT or VTG). Installed in the Subaru Legacy, it produces 148 g/km of CO2 emissions.

The new turbodiesel boxer is one of the smoothest diesels around thanks to the horizontally opposed design, as the right and left pistons negate each other’s inertia. In the Legacy and the Outback, it is matched with a new electric power steering system and a symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Proton Waja CPS

The showroom I visited only had the manual version on display, so you will not be able to see the new gated shifter in detail but then again you’ve already seen it in my previous spyshot post, so not too much of a loss there. Showrooms have started taking bookings for the new Proton Waja CPS beginning today, and prices are supposed to top out at about RM65K for the automatic version.

Nissan 370Z to debut at Los Angeles 2008

The Nissan Z-car will be receiving an update at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show, and the new car that some might consider the second generation modern Z-car will have a wider track than the outgoing model (shown above), and as its 370Z name hints, will be powered by the new VQ37VHR engine found in the Infiniti G37.

The all-aluminium VQ37VHR was on 2007’s Ward’s 10 Best Engines list, and the smooth high revving V6 puts out 330 horsepower at 7,000rpm and 366Nm of torque at 5,200rpm with the help of nifty technologies like VVEL, one of the first continuously variable valve lift systems in a Japanese car, which eliminates the need of a throttle butterfly, much like BMW’s Valvetronic.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Toyota Rush Launched in Malaysia

The new Rush is a 7-seater monocoque SUV based on an adapted Toyota Avanza platform, and is powered by a 1.5 liter VVT-i engine called the 3SZ-VE, installed longtitudinally in the Rush’s engine bay. It drives the two rear wheels. The 3SZ-VE produces 109 PS at 6,000rpm and 141Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

Three variants of the new Toyota Rush are available - the manual 1.5G, the automatic 1.5G and the automatic top of the line 1.5S, which is only available in automatic. The manual variant has the 3SZ-VE paired with a 5-speed manual, while the automatic version has a 4-speed auto with a gated shift. The drivetrain is 2WD, which is lighter and offers better fuel economy.

The Toyota Rush is 4,410mm long, 1,695mm wide and 1,745mm tall including the roof rails. Its wheelbase is 2,685mm long. Track is 1,445mm at the front and 1,460mm at the rear. The manual variant weighs 1,210kg while the automatic is 10kg heavier. The suspension is a MacPherson strut setup with stabilizer bar at the front, and a 4-link live axle at the rear, fitted iwth a lateral rod to maintain axle stability during fast cornering. Front brakes are solid discs while the rear brakes use drums. Turning radius is 5.2 meters, which is better than average for a SUV of this wheelbase. The Toyota Rush has an approach angle of 38.5 degrees and a departure angle of 24.5 degrees.

The Toyota Rush has an interior done up in beige with fabric seats. Cabin length is 2,440mm and cabin width is 1,385mm. There are 3 rows of seats in a 2-3-2 arrangment, and the second row has a 60mm fore-aft slid adjustment with a backrest reclining function. The Rush has second row air conditioning vents mounted on the ceiling, which also serves to cool the third row. The third row takes up most of the car’s boot space, but if you require this boot space you can fold it forwards against the back of the second row. Access to the third row is easy via the double-action folding second row seats, but the low-ish ceiling because of the high-ish floor will make it hard for people with back problems to get into the third row, so be sure to let granny sit in either the front or second row! Access to the boot space is via a side-hinged door which also has the spare tyre mounted on it.

On to equipment levels - the in-car entertainment is a single disc MP3-capable head unit that sends tunes to 6 speakers (4 speakers plus 2 tweeters). The emergency kit includes a jumper cable, first aid kit and a safety triangle. The boot comes with a luggage net. The wing mirrors have turn indicators integrated into them. The Toyota Rush rides on 16 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 215/65R16 tyres. The driver’s seat has height adjustment.

Storage areas are also aplenty - a glovebox, a little coin box, front center storage below the air conditioning controls for your mobile phone and etc, the center console box inside the arm rest, a sunglasses holder, door trim pockets on all doors, seat back pockets, and also third row storage on each side of the car.

The 1.5S has a few extra equipment options over the 1.5G - these include a 2-DIN head unit that also supports cassette other than a CD instead of a 1-DIN unit, projector headlamps instead of reflector lense headlamps, foglamps, an LED-powered high mount stop lamp instead of a bulb-powered one, a rear spoiler, power retractable door mirrors, leather wrapping on the gear shift and steering wheel, dual SRS front airbags (1.5G only has a driver airbag) and strangely - anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution. Yup, ABS and EBD are not standard on the Toyota Rush as the 1.5G manual and auto models do not have these safety options.

Warranty for the new Toyota Rush is for 3 years or 100,000km, and the Rush is a CBU import from Indonesia. The following is the price list for Peninsular Malaysia, OTR with insurance:

Toyota Rush 1.5G M/T - RM85,888
Toyota Rush 1.5G A/T - RM88,888
Toyota Rush 1.5S A/T - RM94,888

It comes in four colours - Blue Metallic (the signature colour), Silver Mica Metallic, Champagne Mica Metallic and Black Mica. Kinda looks like the love child of a Toyota RAV4 and a Toyota Fortuner… looks really attractive but the smallish engine and the lack of ABS across the range is kinda disappointing.