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  • Mazda CX-8 arrives in Malaysia for first official preview – 4 variants listed, six- and seven-seat versions, CKD

    The Mazda CX-8 has arrived in Malaysia as part of an official preview, and we’re being treated to preliminary details of the SUV that offers seating for up to seven people.

    For now, four variants of the CX-8 are being listed, with only one being powered by a 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D four-cylinder turbodiesel engine making 188 hp at 4,500 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The diesel option is also the only one that gets all-wheel drive system.

    As for the remaining three petrol variants, they all use the same 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with 192 hp at 6,000 rpm and 257 Nm at 3,250 rpm – drive goes to the front wheels. All variants use a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission.

    In terms of specifications, all the CX-8 variants are almost identical, with the only difference being the seat layout and material. However, keep in mind that the equipment list is tentative and could be changed moving forward.

    Getting back on track, all four variants are fitted as standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, keyless entry and start, triple-zone climate control, 10-way powered driver’s seat, MZD Connect, six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS with EBD and brake assist, traction control and Hill Launch Assist.

    Any i-Activsense active safety systems have yet to be decided upon, but Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control technology is present here, along with its i-Stop idling system.

    Focusing on the seating situation, the base variant will come with seven seats spread across three benches (2-3-2). Moving up a peg is a six-seat variant with two captain chairs in the middle row (2-2-2), which uses fabric seats along with the base variant.

    The remaining two variants both offer two captain chairs in the second row. The difference from the variants below them is the use of leather upholstery and the addition of centre console armrest for the second row.

    Once again, these details are not finalised as this is not an official launch but merely a preview. We’ve been told that the CX-8 will be a locally-assembled (CKD) model, with plans to export to other markets in the region. Interested?

    Mazda CX-8 2.5L (seven-seat version)

    Mazda CX-8 2.2D (six-seat version)

  • I will have failed if road fatalities go up in 5 years: Loke

    Transport minister Anthony Loke has said that he will have failed as a minister if road fatalities continue to increase at the end of his five-year mandate. Speaking to Astro Awani, he stressed the importance of lowering the death toll in Malaysia, adding that it was for the wellbeing of the people.

    “In 2017, the number of road fatalities was 6,740 people. That means an average of 19 people die on the roads every day, and that number has to decrease,” he said. “At the end of these five years, if that number does not decrease, then I would have failed. I would be too embarrassed to remain a minister. That’s why I have made it my mission, my responsibility, to reduce the number of fatal accidents.”

    Loke said that the government needs to employ stricter enforcement as well as a “carrot and stick” approach, providing incentives to encourage safer driving. One of the initiatives being looked into is a discount on insurance premiums if drivers do not incur summonses throughout the year. “I have discussed this scheme with a number of insurance companies, and we hope to implement it in the next few months,” he said.

    The issue of the Automatic Enforcement System (AES) was also raised, with Loke saying that the government’s decision to continue with the controversial programme is not a U-turn on Pakatan Harapan’s stance before the general election. “We began our stricter enforcement not to trap drivers and collect the money; instead, we want to educate drivers so that they don’t go over the speed limit.

    “So there’s no such thing as a U-turn on this issue. If we remove all AES [cameras] we will not have a means of effective traffic enforcement. There will surely be many accidents that would happen if there were no cameras, where drivers would speed up and so on. I was against the privatisation of AES, in which summonses would be paid to a private company, that was what I did not agree on,” he said.

    Last year, the government wiped out four million AES summonses worth RM605 million as a gesture of goodwill as it geared up to take over operation of the system. However, it then installed stricter enforcement of the system on September 1 that did away with discounts or exceptions.

    “Since September, the ministry found that the number of summonses fell. It means that road users feared summonses and were more aware, reducing the number of road accidents and especially the number of fatal accidents,” Loke said.

  • Introduce lemon law to protect car buyers, gov’t urged

    A consumer group is urging the government to implement a “lemon law” to hold automakers responsible for defective projects and compel them to repair vehicles in accordance with the law. The call to introduce this was made by the Penang Consumers’ Association (CAP), which said that doing so will provide vehicle buyers who end up with defective vehicles with an avenue for redress, The Malay Mail reports.

    CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said that a lemon law would require defective cars to be repaired or replaced, and a consumer may request for a reduction in price or get a refund. “Lemon law strengthens the consumer protection act. It should be introduced to provide consumers holding onto lemons — nice to see but sour to taste — an avenue of legal redress,” he said via a statement.

    He added that the association suggests that it would be reasonable that a maximum of a month be given for a seriously defective car to be repaired, and three attempts reasonable for the service centre to repair the same defect before the lemon law applies.

    “We need the lemon law to ensure that car manufacturers repair their defective products satisfactorily as required by law,” he said, adding that the number of defective new cars that Malaysians are holding on with no avenue for legal redress is worrying.

    Citing Singapore’s lemon law, which was incorporated into Singapore’s Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act 2004, he said Malaysia can do the same for its Consumer Protection Act 1999.

    Singapore’s lemon law allows consumers to make a claim for defective products purchased within six months. Sellers of defective product have to repair, replace, refund or reduce the price of the defective product, and the defective product must be repaired or replaced within a reasonable time. Consumers can ask for a price reduction or return the product for a refund if seller fails to repair the product.

    Such a call has been made in the past, but nothing came out of it. What do you think of the idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • BMW Malaysia launches Easy Drive financing plan

    BMW Group Financial Services Malaysia has launched a new financing solution called Easy Drive to provide customers with easier accessibility and flexibility when it comes to owning a BMW or MINI model.

    Under the Easy Drive plan, customers must first choose a downpayment of between 10-30%. Next, they will need to decide upon a lone tenure of three or four years, with mileage options of either 20,000 or 25,000 km annually.

    From there, a monthly instalment is calculated and the guaranteed future value of the car will be agreed and signed upon – the latter to protect customers from unexpected depreciation, and serves as the value of the final payment.

    Customers will then proceed to use the car (while paying the instalments) until the end of their tenure, whereby they will be presented with several settlement options. These include trading in the car and upgrading to another BMW or MINI model; returning the car with no further obligations; settling the final payment and purchasing the car outright; or extending their contract term.

    Those who are looking for more value-added benefits can choose to pay an additional RM110 to the monthly instalment for Easy Drive Prime. By doing so, they will enjoy two years of exterior and interior car care and a Premium Mobility package that includes a branded SmartTAG device (with TnG card) and BMW Lifestyle Collection merchandise.

    They will also be eligible for a three-year coverage of the Ultimate Protection Programme Elite, which covers both the driver and their vehicle for special relief, scratch and dent, compassionate flood cover and more. The coverage is underwritten by Allianz General Insurance Company.

  • Feb 2019 week three fuel price – diesel same, petrol up

    Another Friday, which means it’s time again for the weekly fuel price update. As was the case last week, the price of both RON 95 and RON 97 will be going up this coming week, but there’s no change in the price of diesel.

    From tomorrow, February 16, RON 95 will be priced at RM1.98 per litre (up one sen from RM1.97 last week), while RON 97 will go for RM2.28 per litre (also up one sen from RM2.27 last week). As for Euro 2M diesel, it continues to be priced at RM2.18 per litre, while Euro 5 diesel, which is always 10 sen more than standard diesel, remains at RM2.28 per litre.

    The government said that the increase in retail price at the pump was unavoidable due to the global price increase in the refined product – in the case of RON 95, this increased to US$63 (RM257) per barrel compared to the US$62 (RM253) from the previous week.

    It added that the pump price of diesel was unchanged despite it being increased from US$73 (RM298) to US$74 (RM302) per barrel, which would have resulted in an increase in the fuel based on APM calculations.

    These prices will be in effect until February 22, when the next set of fuel price adjustments will be announced. This is the seventh week of the weekly fuel price format, which is set to be announced every Friday. The prices will be effective from Saturday until the following Friday.

  • 2019 Land Rover Defender interior mock-up revealed?

    A tweet posted by UK-based designer Robert Charles (now deleted) has revealed what is possibly the interior of the next-generation Land Rover Defender, which is set to make its debut later this year.

    The image appears to show a mock-up of the Defender’s dashboard, and should be taken with a pinch of salt, at least for now. As far as we can see, Land Rover has thoroughly modernised the off-roader’s cabin with displays for the car’s instrument cluster and infotainment system.

    There also appears to be a heads-up display and touch interfaces on the rugged steering wheel, which isn’t unlike what you’ll find on the Velar. The carmaker also appears to be focused on ensuring driving-related controls are within easy reach, as the gear lever is propped up rather closer to the steering wheel. The “car” seen here has an automatic gearbox, but it remains to be seen if manual versions will also be available.

    Those dials beside the lever could serve a number of functions, given the use of contextual smart dials (with screens) in recent Land Rover models. If we had to guess, they could be dedicated to the car’s drive modes and/or climate control system. As we don’t see a lever to engage low- or high-range manually, we reckon easier-to-operate buttons will be used instead.

    Other cues seen include the use of the Defender logo on the wheel and passenger-side of the dashboard; two small air vents above the infotainment screen; and what is possibly three front seats. The ‘stop’ and ‘go’ stamped on the accelerator and brake pedals are likely just park of the mock-up, and may not be present in the finished product.

    As for the Defender’s exterior, Land Rover has already released numerous photos of disguised development mules in the past. In them, we see a boxy design that is more contemporary compared to the iconic shape we’re all familiar with. Spyshots also indicate the off-roader will come in two wheelbases – 90 inch and 110 inch – with a double cab attached to the latter.

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender prototype

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender 110 spyshots

    GALLERY: 2019 Land Rover Defender 90 spyshots

  • Changan world record with self-driving 55-car parade

    Changan has recently set a record for the largest parade of autonomous cars, according to Guinness World Records. A total of 55 vehicles were driven autonomously at the automaker’s test facility in Dianjiang, China on November 28, 2018.

    The convoy of CS55 SUVs took nine minutes and seven seconds to complete the 3.2 km course, travelling at 30 km/h, with each vehicle leaving no more than a two-car gap. Certain changes were made to the cars’ systems, including improved sensors that better detect lane boundaries and the position of the car in front. The aforementioned two-car gap used was also narrower than when compared to normal road conditions.

    This was achieved by reducing the cars’ systems’ event detection and response because of the controlled environment having fewer variables than public road conditions. The most important point in the preparatory stages was to detect risk factors in advance, said autonomous engineer Ren Chuanbing. These included field personnel walking the course, as well as the placement of photography equipment.

    Initially 56 cars took part in the record attempt, with the final count confirmed as 55 because one driver ended up taking control during the parade course. “The drivers who participated in the test had no contact with the autopilot system at all, so we should also build up their confidence in our system in a short period of time to let go of the controls,” said Changan autonomous car engineer Yang Guo.

    “The artificial intelligence and new energy of automobiles is a very important trend in the future development of automobiles. As the world’s first brand to break this record, we will make more efforts in the field of intelligence,” said the executive vice president of Changan automobile, Tan Benhong.

  • Singapore is tops in Asia – and No. 2 in the world – in terms of readiness for autonomous vehicle adoption

    For the second year running, a study reveals that Singapore remains the leading country in Asia in terms of readiness to embrace autonomous vehicles (AV). The second edition of KPMG’s Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI), which measures various countries’ preparedness and openness to AV technology, placed Singapore in second spot globally, behind the Netherlands.

    The index evaluated 25 countries globally, measuring their state of readiness for AV adoption against four pillars (policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance). Five new countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Israel and Norway) were added this year to bring the total to 25.

    Singapore was placed first in two of the four pillars, these being policy and legislation as well as consumer acceptance, and in terms of infrastructure, it’s only behind the Netherlands.

    It was placed 15th in technology and innovation, but according to Satya Ramamurthy, partner and head of infrastructure, government and healthcare at KPMG in Singapore, the country’s lack of conventional automotive manufacturing may prove to be a strength in developing electric vehicles and AVs, given that they use a substantially different set of components.

    The republic has been pushing hard on AV development – it opened the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles (Cetran) at Nanyang Technological University in 2017, which has a test town for driverless vehicles complete with traffic lights, bus stops, skyscrapers and a rain-making machine to offer realistic testing conditions.

    It is also planning real-world field tests with driverless buses and shuttles in three areas (Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District) for off-peak and on-demand commuting from 2022, and it is working with the Netherlands on an international standard for AVs.

    Ramamurthy says that the index results clearly reflects that the ecosystem for AVs in Singapore is ready and very much aligned with how the country is establishing itself as a Smart Nation and centre for AV development.

    “The government is very proactive in thinking about the future of mobility. It is seriously investigating the possibilities as well as preparing for a regulatory environment that will facilitate a future that is autonomous. Along with the release of TR-68, a set of provisional national standards that guide the safe deployment of AV, Singapore is well-positioned to harness the societal and economic benefits of AV,” he said.

  • SPYSHOTS: Kia Tusker – new small crossover caught

    Our spy photographers have spotted a Kia crossover running cold weather tests, and according to our sources, it could be a test mule for a production version of the SP Concept that has been slated to enter the Indian market this year. Though at first thought to be exclusively for that market, reports suggest that the productionised SP Concept – likely to be known as the Tusker – will also be launched in the United States.

    The Hyundai Creta – also the Chinese-market ix25 – will form the basis of the Tusker, and is therefore likely to share its engine range. At the Creta’s launch, this comprised a 1.6 litre petrol unit with 123 PS, a 1.6 turbodiesel with 128 PS, and a 1.4 turbodiesel. Meanwhile the Stonic, the Korean marque’s B-segment SUV for Europe, is powered by a choice of 1.0 litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol, 1.25 and 1.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol, and a 1.6 litre turbodiesel.

    The Tusker is expected to remain front wheel drive as with its B-segment hatchback sibling, in order to put clear air between it and the larger Sportage SUV in the segment above. No interior images of the compact SUV have appeared just yet, though this can be expected to a development of the cabin – or at least cues derived – from the current Rio.

    For now, the Tusker has been tipped for a debut as a 2020 year model, likely to make its debut late this year or early in 2020.

    GALLERY: Kia SP Concept

  • Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ get the Liberty Walk touch

    Liberty Walk is no stranger when it comes to modifying cars for more visual impact, as their long portfolio of projects clearly demonstrate. Recently, the company rolled out its latest creations that were previewed back in April last year, which involve the Toyobaru twins (Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ).

    Both sports cars received a full bodykit that includes a new bumper with attached splitter, signature wide fenders, a new rear diffuser and a rear spoiler. According to the tuners, there are two versions of both the bumper/splitter combo and the spoiler.

    For an extra couple of dollars, the company also offers an optional roof spoiler, side skirts, Valenti headlamp/taillights, stainless steel exhaust system, wheels and an air suspension kit.

    The main packages start from USD4,470 and peak at USD5,770, while options range from USD540 all the way to USD7,900. There are no performance enhancement options listed by the company.


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RON 95 RM1.97 (+0.04)
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Last Updated 09 Feb 2019


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