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Honda To Debut New VTEC Turbo Engine In Next-Gen StepWgn

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Last year, Honda announced that it has developed a new series of turbocharged direct injection petrol engines for small- and medium-sized vehicles. Dubbed VTEC Turbo, Honda’s latest engine series will come in three sizes – 2-litre four cylinder, 1.5-litre four cylinder and 1.0-litre three cylinder.

The 2-litre VTEC Turbo is expected to make its global debut in the European market Civic Type-R in 2015, but there is no official announcement yet for the smaller displacement VTEC Turbo engines.

However a report by Japan’s Nikkei says the 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo will make its debut in the Japanese market StepWgn.

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2014 Chevrolet Malibu Debuts In Malaysia: From RM153,888 For Just One Variant

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Naza Quest Sdn Bhd has just launched its all-new 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, with an official starting price of RM153,888 (without insurance).

Just one variant appears to make the cut for a local debut, and that’s the LTZ 2.4 AT. Not too long ago, we properly detailed the car for you inside and out, going off a few photographs of the local-spec car we were able to secure, and it appears quite accurate to what’s been made official on the website.

However, just as we told you before, this isn’t the latest iteration of the Malibu. In the US, a facelifted model is available, and features a new front-end, and interior design. Regardless, the pre-facelift model here isn’t as far back as you might imagine.

Overall, the package Naza Quest, the official distributors of Chevrolet cars in Malaysia, offers is pretty competitive in the local D-segment. While having only one high-spec variant to compete with Japan’s best (Honda AccordNissan Teana,Mazda 6) leaves the Malibu at a bit of a handicap for entry prices, those willing to cough up the slightly extra may be treated to a handful of goodies.

Being able to fully reveal the car to you early, here’s what you can expect:

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

EXTERIOR:

On the outside, the handsome D-segment sedan features front foglamps, acoustic-laminated windows for extra noise reduction, HID headlamps with auto levelling and washers, integrated turn signal indicators on the wing mirrors and a front grille with black inserts and chrome surrounds.

INTERIOR:

Inside, the premium appeal begins most notably with an ice-blue ambient lighting system. Beyond that, a seven-inch colour touch-screen featuring Chevy’s MyLink Radio system is at the ready – equipped with USB, Bluetooth, Aux, CD, and smartphone connectivity. But more on the tech bits later.

Leather seats are available for all, with the three-spoke steering wheel and shift knob wrapped in the material as well. The rear seats are of a 60:40-split persuasion, while the driver and front passenger enjoy eight-way electronically-adjustable seats.

There’s another treat for the driver in the form of a monochromatic display within the instrument cluster and delivers trip/fuel information, and draws various vehicle settings as well.

Chevrolet Malibu

FEATURES & EQUIPMENT:

As mentioned above, the Chevrolet Malibu is packaged fairly competitively for the segment it aims to contend. And leading that charge – apart from the handsome design and interior amenities – is the car’s feature & equipment offerings. Most notably being:

  • Seven-inch colour touch-screen (flips up to reveal extra storage space)
  • Chevrolent MyLink Radio
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Interior ambient lighting (Ice Blue)
  • Rear-view camera
  • Remote keyless entry with Push Start button
  • Remote engine start system
  • Eight-way electronically-adjustable seats
  • Cruise control

PERFORMANCE:

Motivating the 2014 Malibu is a 2.4-litre ECOTEC engine and a six-speed automatic transmission (with manual shifting mode). Performance figures equate to 165hp @ 5,800rpm, and 225Nm @4,600rpm, and just falls short of the Honda Accord 2.4 VTi-L’s numbers (Accord has 8hp more).

The steering system is a Variable Effort Electric Power Steering system, which continually adjusts the weightiness of the steering according to how fast you go.

Chevrolet Malibu

SAFETY:

Only four airbags have been spec-ed for the Malibu LTZ, reserved for the front passengers (front, side) only. Elsewhere, Chevy’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control is included as standard, and integrates the four-wheel anti-locking brake system, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. At the front, there are ventilated brakes to better disperse heat and maintain stopping power as well.

There is also a tyre-pressure monitoring system, door locks with power-programmable with lockout protection and rear-door child safety locks, and a theft deterrent system.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

BUYER’s GUIDE:

Available for viewing at any of Chevrolet Malaysia’s showrooms nationwide, the 2014 Malibu is above all things, a handsome competitor within the D-segment, which the likes of the Honda Accord and the Nissan Teana dominate, with their unbelievably-low base model prices, generous safety systems, and innovative features and equipment.

Price-wise, the Malibu 2.4 LTZ is a hair over what’s asked for the mid-spec Accord (2.0 VTi-L) and Teana (2.0 XL), which is a certain appeal in favour of the Chevy’s bigger engine displacement (more power).

There’s also a five-year/ 200,000km warranty (whichever comes first) that applies to the Malibu.

*Stay tuned for our full event pictures, coming soon.

2015 Kia Sorento Unveiled: Full Gallery & Details Here

By 2 days ago 0 comments

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Straight from its design studios in Korea, here is the all-new third-generation 2015 Kia Sorento in full detail, following its official local debut in South Korea. Evolutionary styling, new tech features and a larger body is the name of the game for this five, or seven-seater SUV.

Increased in length (+95 mm to 4,780 mm), reduced in height (down 15 mm to 1,685 mm) and given more width (+5 mm to 1,890 mm), the all-new third-gen car doesn’t actually stand as upright as its predecessor, but is now seen with a sleeker look.

2015 Kia Sorento

Lots of attention has been paid to making the car’s interior more luxurious, with Kia’s designers using higher quality materials throughout the cabin, garnished by a wider instrument cluster, a Swiss watch-inspired center-console design, and Kia’s latest human-machine interface (HMI) technologies.

Of course, a lot more room has been made available in the cabin as well, courtesy of the extended wheelbase (+80mm to 2,780mm). Kia tell us that while the roofline has been lowered by 15mm, repositioning the seat cushions has ensured more headroom is created for all three rows.

Tech-wise, the third-gen Sorento also benefits from an Around-View Monitor (four surrounding cameras) and a Smart Power Tailgate which Kia say opens when a key fob is detected near the boot lid. Improvements have also been made to significantly reduce the car’s Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels, while an updated R-MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering) gets in as well.

2015 Kia Sorento

Internationally, five engine options have been announced and will be offered to various markets around the world. Power outputs range from 172PS to a maximum 270PS, with direct-injection and multi-point injection options.

  • 2.4-litre gasoline direct injection (GDI)
  • 2.4-litre multi-point injection (MPI)
  • 3.3-litre multi-point injection (MPI)
  • 2.0-litre ‘R’ turbo-diesel
  • 2.2-litr ‘R’ turbo-diesel

Kia Sorento

A host of active safety systems can be spec-ed for the all-new Sorento, but of course, this will depend on individual markets. Here’s how that stacks up:

  • Adaptive Smart Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning System
  • Front Collision Warning
  • Blind-Spot Detection
  • Lane Change Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert: warns against other cars driving behind the Sorento in car parks
  • Speed Limit Information Function: Speed limit in the instrument from cameras detecting road signs.

All-New 2014 Proton Iriz High-Spec Revealed: First Official Pic & Details

By 2 days ago 1 comment

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In conjunction with a new microsite that was launched on Hari Merdeka, national carmaker, Proton, has put up a few teasers of its all-new 2014 Proton Compact Car (PCC), also believed to be called the Proton Iriz.

*Check out our Proton Iriz Info Hub for more

With an official launch to come very soon, Proton has put up a little bit of a challenge to those who want to see the car in full, requiring up to four friends to scan the QR codes on their microsite, for a quick glimpse of the car in full (see above for that image).

2014 Proton Iriz

Along with that, a few other key highlights of the Myvi-rivalling Proton were displayed, of which include:

  • Projector headlamps
  • A reverse camera with guide rulers
  • An engine start/stop button
  • Touch-screen display
  • Bluetooth, USB connectivity
  • WiFi hotspot capabilities
  • Satellite navigation
  • Vehicle Dynamic Control
  • Six airbags (dual front, side, curtain)
  • Five-Star ASEAN NCAP rating

Proton Iriz

We do think however, that these specs and images provided are of the highest-spec variant, judging by the extensive kits featured here: fancy alloy wheels, daytime-running lights, wing mirror indicators and more.

2014 Proton Iriz

If you remember our spyshots, there is another variant of the Proton Iriz that will ride on a different set of wheels, plus-or-minus a few other styling cues. In any case, here’s to hoping that at least the safety features isn’t reduced too much from one spec to another.

Pekema: Huge Implication On Bumiputera Businesses If Open APs Abolished

By 4 days ago 0 comments

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Abolishing Open APs would have a negative impact on Bumiputera entrepreneurs and the government’s revenue, says Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association Malaysia (Pekema) president Datuk Zainuddin Abdul Rahman.

Speaking to Bernama, Datuk Zainuddin said the annual tax collected from members of the association amounted to over RM2 billion.

“From the number of imports, the quantity that are brought in is not big however in terms of tax collection, our contribution is commendable. For example, in 2011 the government’s import tax collected from our members totalled RM2.8 billion, and this increased to RM3.3 billion in 2012.

“This did not include the annual corporate and indvidual taxes. Moreover, the government receives new revenue from the fees of each AP for used cars of RM10,000 which now amounts to more than RM1 billion,” he said in a statement in conjunction with Pekema’s annual general meeting here Friday.

His comments follow an earlier report by The Sun Daily saying that the review on the impact of terminating Open Approved Permits (APs) used by parallel/grey importers will be completed by the end of this year. Pekema is the country’s largest umbrella body for parallel/grey market car importers.

Earlier this week, the daily quoted MAI’s CEO Mr. Madani Sahari as saying “It is still under review. It (completion of the review) must be this year. It cannot be so long.”

Differing Opinions On Open APs

MAI, which drafted the country’s National Automotive Policy, believing that maintaining Open APs is a step backwards as it is limits the progress of the country’s auto sector. The institute believes that Open APs distorts the market by creating a lucrative business for a small group of players to import reconditioned used cars.

Meanwhile, authorised distributors and importers, who invest in setting up of local manufacturing plants and supports local parts manufacturers, have to contend with parallel importers who ride on their investments in brand building. They are given a smaller amount of Franchise APs to grow their businesses.

There are two types of APs issued by MITI: Franchise APs that are given out for free to franchise holders of car brands registered with MITI; and Open APs, which the government sells to parallel importers at RM10,000 a piece to import cars of any brand.

The total number of APs issued each year is capped at 10 per cent of the number of locally-assembled cars in the preceding year. Sixty per cent of APs are given to Bumiputera Open AP holders while the remaining 40 per cent are given to franchise holders, the majority of which are Bumiputera-owned.

The actual number of Open APs given out each year however is unclear as the information is not made public.

Pekema, as expected, disagrees with MAI’s opinion.

“The issue of ‘going backwards’ does not arise as the open AP policy has succeeded in ensuring the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the automotive industry. This is one of the government’s affirmative action in the implementation of the New Economic Policy,” Zainuddin said.

“Pekema has consistently said that the huge implication on Bumiputera entrepreneurs if the open AP policy is abolished is that it would kill the Bumiputera participation in the nation’s automotive industry…if the proposal is adopted,” he added.

This article first appeared on our sister-site LiveLifeDrive.com.

Patrotism, Volvo Style – Watch This XC60 Ad Featuring Sweden’s National Anthem

By 4 days ago 0 comments

While national anthems are a strong symbol of patriotism, they are hardly the assets of choice used by advertisers. Not for Volvo though. To promote its new XC60 (then), Volvo chose to create an ad using a remixed version of Sweden’s national anthem. It also chose an unlikely Swede to star in the ad.

The star in Volvo’s ‘Made By Sweden’ ad is the country’s biggest football star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose parents were immigrants from Bosnia and Croatia. The company probably eschewed conventional Swedish icons and opted for Zlatan, to reflect Volvo’s more global image.

“Volvo is part of a global world. Still, it is in Sweden that we find comfort, strength and inspiration. And we share our love for Sweden with one of our greatest: Zlatan Ibrahimovic,” the company said earlier this year, when the ad was first released to the world.

The music is written and produced by Swedish music producer and song writer Max Martin. It is a modern interpretation of the Swedish national anthem, performed by Zlatan who is reciting the lyrics. Max has written songs for artists like the Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Christina Aguilera, Bryan Adams and Celine Dion.

“Sweden means a lot to Volvo. With this campaign we want to celebrate Sweden and spirit that is the reason why we are able to lead in areas like safety, design and environment. And we are extremely proud to do this together with Zlatan and Max Martin”, said Åsa Borg, Marketing Director at Volvo Cars Sweden and coordinator for the campaign.

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In a separate interview with Swedish publication Dagens Industri, Zlatan said “This is Swedish as it gets in 2014. I don’t speak perfect Swedish, but that’s the way it is. A mix everywhere. I can be Swedish all the same. We are all different yet similar.”

“My father is from Bosnia and Muslim. Mum is from Croatia and Catholic. But I was born in Sweden and am a Swedish citizen. You can’t change that. That’s the situation, accept it.”

The ‘Made By Sweden’ campaign was initially only aimed at Volvo’s domestic Swedish market to promote the XC70 (video below), but seeing that the ad was so well received, it released a different version, with English subtitles to Swedish national anthem’s lyrics, to promote the new XC60.

Both ads feature Volvo models in the harsh conditions of rural Sweden, reinforcing Volvo’s tough image.

The irony is that Volvo now has a stronger Swedish identity under China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd than it ever had when it was under Ford’s now defunct Premier Automotive Group.

In the past, Volvo had to remain content with using Ford’s components and this limited the things the company could do. It was also compelled to share its technology with Ford. The City Safety autonomous emergency braking feature for example, was developed by Volvo but is also used across many Ford models.

Volvo Car Malaysia’s managing director Keith Schaefer told us that under Zhejiang Geely, Volvo is given far more resources than ever before, and its parent company Volvo Car Corporation has doubled its hiring of engineers, most of them Swedes.

The latest all-new XC90′s signature LED daytime running lights are aptly named ‘Thor’s Hammer,’ harking back to Sweden’s Viking past.