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  • VIDEO: I do not like tolls – prime minister Najib Razak

    Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently spoke in a social media broadcast, which focused on the economy and the government’s policies under Budget 2018. During the near hour-long session, Najib, who is also finance minister, touched upon a topic that always sparks a conversation – tolls.

    At the 23 minutes and 24 seconds mark, Najib stated that he wasn’t a fan of tolls, but abolishing them isn’t that easy. “Take for instance abolishing tolls, oh very easy. It’s actually not, but I don’t believe that if you are charged toll a daily basis, it’s good for the rakyat,” he said.

    He continued, “if it’s the North-South Expressway, if it’s the Karak Expressway, then yes, you only use them once in a while. But if you are paying tolls daily, twice, four times, anyone would be upset.”

    “So, I don’t believe that. My predecessor was a great believer in toll. I do not like toll. Which is why there is no toll on the Pan Borneo Highway for the people of Sabah and Sarawak. Batu Tiga, Sungai Rasau, Bukit Kayu Hitam, EDL (Eastern Dispersal Link), we abolished (toll collection) there.”

    “Wherever I can, I will abolish toll because I don’t think it’s good. It’s upsetting and creates jam, but we can do it because I have to unravel some of the earlier decisions, legacy problem. I will unravel what I think is not to the interest of the people of Malaysia, that I will do,” he ended.

     
  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • New Peugeot 508 officially revealed – now smaller and with a tailgate, targets Audi A5 Sportback

    Here’s the new Peugeot 508 in full, now officially released after a low res set of images emerged online. It’s a fantastic looking big sedan, for this writer at least, and Peugeot is calling it “the radical saloon”. The French carmaker is aiming high with this one.

    “Following the success of our latest major launches and our SUV offensive with the 2008, 3008 and 5008, we needed a vision for the large Peugeot saloon that would continue to shake up the market with a vehicle that rivals the best. And in D-segment cars, we’re competing with the world’s greatest automakers. More than ever, the new 508 embodies the ambition we’ve been stating for several years already – to make Peugeot the top high-end generalist automotive brand,” declared CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato.

    The D-segment sedan isn’t a very hot one now, no thanks to everyone buying SUVs, and Peugeot acknowledges this. It was against this backdrop that the designers stated their clear aim: to move away from the conventional booted four-door shape and towards a five-door “fastback coupe-saloon”. The new 508’s design is inspired by recent Peugeot concepts such as the Exalt and Instinct. The i-Cockpit seen here is taken directly from the Exalt concept.

    A handsome car starts with good proportions, and the new 508 is shorter (4.75m vs 4.83m) and lower than before (just below 1.4m vs 1.46m). The 2.79m wheelbase is shorter by 2.4cm, which means that most of the reduction went into the overhangs. Wheels are from 16 to 19 inches.

    The aggressive front end features LED headlamps, distinctive vertical LED DRLs that frame the face and Peugeot’s latest grille with chrome chequerboard motif. A unique element is the 508 badge on the bonnet, above the lion logo, as seen on the 504 from the 1970s. Peugeot says that the horizontal bonnet has been lowered as much as possible.

    Adding to the car’s sleekness are frameless doors and the deletion of the roof aerial (now silk-screened). The 508’s fine behind sports 3D LED tail lamps in the marque’s signature claw motif, framed in a glossy black horizontal strip.

    There’s also a nicely hidden tailgate. Yes, there’s a tailgate in place of a regular saloon boot, which means access to the 487 litre boot (1,537 litres max) is easy. The 508 is technically a five-door then, which explains the frequent mentions of the Audi A5 Sportback in the press release.

    Inside, the new 508 features the latest version of the Peugeot i-Cockpit, which consists of a compact steering wheel, a 10-inch capacitive touch-screen in 8:3 format, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that Peugeot calls head-up display. The HUD has six different display modes and a new Night Vision system.

    The latter uses an infra-red camera and detects living beings in front of the vehicle at night time or in low-visibility conditions. The system ensures detection within a 200-250m range, beyond the headlights’ scope.

    The new 508 also offers i-Cockpit Amplify. With the choice of two completely customisable ambiences – Boost and Relax – it involves sight (ambient lighting intensity and screen colour), hearing (musical ambience settings), and touch (via multi-point seat-massage programmes). The i-Cockpit Amplify feature also controls the car’s driving performance (driving-mode selector has ECO, Sport, Comfort, Normal modes) and suspension, if the car is equipped with active damping.

    Interior highlights include seats with the AGR (Aktion für Gesunder Rücken) label and optional eight-pocket pneumatic massage system with five massage programmes, a wide-opening panoramic sunroof and a Focal sound system. Full-grain or Nappa leather, Alcantara and real wood are among the trim options.

    Space wise, the A5 Sportback is again the benchmark. Front and rear headroom is comparable to Audi’s, but there’s 5 cm more front elbowroom and 3 cm more rear legroom, although both cars share the same overall length, Peugeot says.

    The 508 sits on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, which translates to weight savings (70 kg less on average) and better fuel efficiency, safety and performance.

    Also introduced are a new body-welding technique (structural adhesives provide greater rigidity and durability), a damper front cradle, a multi-link rear axle linked to active damping (standard on GT and all petrol engines), recalibrated electric steering, and a new eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

    For engines, the big Pug will be offered with new-generation Euro 6.c PureTech and Blue HDi engines (with extended SCR technology) for best-in-class CO2 emission levels. The engines take into account new technical provisions and the WLTP procedure, which is more real-world than traditional lab tests.

    There are two petrol 1.6L PureTech engines to replace the Prince/THP units of old – the PureTech 180 and the PureTech 225 for the range-topping GT. The four diesel options are based on the 1.5L and 2.0L BlueHDi engines. They are the base BlueHDi 130 six-speed manual, BlueHDi 130, BlueHDi 160 and BlueHDi 180.

    All the engines have auto stop-start and are paired to the EAT8 eight-speed automatic, except for the base diesel MT. Peugeot says that a plug-in hybrid petrol drivetrain is in the works and will be available for the 508 in late 2019.

    The French-made 508 will make its debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next month and will go on sale from September this year.

     
  • 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe – 4th-gen SUV debuts in Korea with 2.0 turbo petrol, 2.2 turbodiesel and 8-speed auto

    The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has finally made its world debut in Goyang city, Seoul. The fourth-generation SUV, according to the company, is packed with the latest high-tech features and will go into production from the second quarter of 2018, with sales to follow after.

    Design-wise, the Santa Fe takes after the Kona, sporting slim LED daytime running lights (Hyundai’s new identity for its SUVs) and a large Cascading Grille. The main beams are LED (projector units) and are built below the DRLs.

    The Santa Fe’s profile is highlighted by a strong shoulder line that stretches from the headlights to the taillights, and the near-flat roofline gives off a familiar silhouette as its predecessor. The upswept window line is retained, but executed with more finesse this time around. At the back, it gets a pair of LED tail lights with unique checkered C-shaped graphics, and the more rounded rump does a fine job in masking the car’s bulk.

    The SUV measures 4,770 mm long, 1,890 mm wide and has a wheelbase of 2,765 mm. Just as a comparison, the preceding model measures 4,690 mm long (-80 mm), 1,880 mm wide (-10 mm) and a much shorter 2,700 mm (-75 mm) wheelbase. Here, it rides on 19-inch dual-tone diamond-cut alloys

    Inside, the cabin gets completely redesigned and takes after the Kona as well, featuring a three-tiered dashboard – the freestanding seven-inch infotainment display sits up top, followed by slim air vents, dual-zone climate control and a Qi wireless charging tray below. The leather seats are part perforated, part quilted for a more premium feel, and depending on the trim, there’s heating and ventilation function, as well as 10-way power adjustable front seats.

    Hyundai says rearward visibility is improved with this generation, thanks to the employment of a larger rear quarter glass that’s 41% larger than before. The longer wheelbase also means that there’s more legroom for passengers in the second and third row. In the second row, legroom is up by 38 mm and the seat is 18 mm higher. There’s a new one-touch seat folding function for easy access to the third row seats – headroom back there is up by 22 mm.

    For audiophiles, the Santa Fe gets a 630-watt, 12-speaker Infinity sound system with an 11-channel amplifier with Clari-Fi and QuantumLogic Surround Sound technology. Clari–Fi works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music, while QuantumLogic extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into a multi-dimensional soundstage for playback that is “clear, refined and full of detail.”

    The Korean automaker is offering six engines (four petrol and two diesel units) to go with the SUV. Its home market will receive the 2.0 T-GDI petrol turbo (232 hp) and both 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre CRDi turbodiesel engines, the latter producing 200 hp and 434 Nm (estimated). Also available for other markets are 2.0 GDI, 2.4 MPI and 3.3 MPI naturally-aspirated petrol units.

    All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s developed in-house. Despite having two extra gears, Hyundai says it’s lighter than the older six-speeder, and the extra cogs allow for extra thrust off the line, and it’s three percent more economical than before.

    Drive is sent to all four wheels (Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system) – it’s a multi-mode AWD system, providing an electronic, variable torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. There are four drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart) to choose from – in Sport, up to 50% of torque is distributed to the rear wheels. In comfort mode, about 35% is sent to the back, but in eco mode, power is primarily sent to the front wheels for optimal fuel efficiency.

    In the ride and handling department, the SUV’s steering has been tuned to be more responsive, and the upgraded suspension (now stiffer and angled more vertically for longer travel length) is said to improve vehicle stability while enhancing comfort, NVH and overall quietness. Road noise is also reduced through the use of more sound deadening materials. Those wanting more can opt for the self-load-leveling suspension continuously adjusts ride height regardless of vehicle load.

    For the first time in a Hyundai SUV, the Santa Fe comes with a full head-up display, and the company guarantees nothing but the best visibility in different lighting conditions. The HUD displays vital info such as navigation commands, fuel level and various alerts from the active safety and driving assistance features.

    Speaking of safety, the car features the latest Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance features. This bundles Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, Safety Exit Assist and Speed Limit Info Function.

    The Rear Occupant Alert system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect movements of children or pets in the rear seats. When detected, it alerts the driver that there are still passengers in the rear seat when leaving the car. It will also activate when children accidentally lock themselves in the car.

    As with all Hyundai models, the Santa Fe boasts extensive application of high-tensile strength steel – in fact it features more high-strength steel than any other Hyundai vehicle with 57%, or 15% more than the older model. Thrown in the mix are six airbags. So, do you like what you see? Let us know below.

     
  • Toyota develops new, neodymium-reduced magnet

    Toyota has announced it has develop the world’s first neodymium-reduced, heat-resistant magnet, which can be used in high-output motors found in electrified vehicles like the Prius. The new magnet uses significantly less rare earth metals, but doesn’t suffer from any performance degradation as a result.

    According to the carmaker, magnets used in automotive motors must have high coercivity, or the ability to maintain magnetisation even at high temperatures. This warrants the use of rare earth metals in such magnets, which accounts for approximately 30% of the elements used.

    When neodymium magnets are used at high temperatures, additional earth metals – terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy) are generally added to increase high-temperature coercivity. However, both are rare, expensive and usually found in locations with high geopolitical risks (affects supply).

    Toyota’s newly-developed magnet not only reduces the amount of neodymium (Nd) used by up to 50%, but also eliminates the use of terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy) altogether. In place of the reduced neodymium amount are lanthanum (La) and cerium (Ce), which are abundant and low-cost rare earths.

    However, merely reducing the amount of neodymium and replacing it with lanthanum and cerium results in a decline in motor performance. Therefore, Toyota has adopted new technologies to counter this negative effect so the substitution allows for high heat resistance to be maintained and loss of coercivity minimised.

    The first is by reducing the size of the magnet grains to one-tenth or less of those found in conventional neodymium magnets as well as the enlargement of the grain boundary area. Toyota also discovered a specific ratio at which lanthanum and cerium can be alloyed so that the deterioration of properties ((heat resistance and coercivity) is suppressed.

    The new magnets also feature a higher concentration of neodymium on the surface of the magnet grains, which is necessary to increase coercivity, while decreasing the concentration in the grain core. This creates a two-layer structure, which is more effective than a homogeneous distribution of neodymium within each magnet grain.

     
  • LVCHI Auto Venere – 1,006 PS EV sedan from China to debut in Geneva; 0-100 in 3 seconds, 500 km range

    Chinese carmaker LVCHI is set to unveil its all-electric four-seater car, the Venere, at the Geneva motor show next month. The model, teased here in a set of two pictures, will be produced by the startup company.

    Power comes from four electric motors to produce a combined output of over 1,000 PS. Each axle will get two electric motors, each drawing juice from a 100 kWh lithium ion battery pack. The car features a two-speed gearbox, also fitted on each axle. LVCHI claims that the Venere is capable of sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in under three seconds, and its top speed is said to be over 250 km/h.

    As for the car itself, it measures 5,118 mm long, making it 195 mm longer than the W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Apparently, the Venere boasts a drag coefficient of 0.28 Cd, helping it achieve a range of 500 km (based on the New European Driving Cycle) on a full charge.

    It’s designed by the Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering in Italy, and the bulk of its chassis is constructed from carbon-fibre. The entire car, along with the battery pack, weighs around 2,100 kg, or about 175 kg heavier than the Mercedes-Benz E 350 e. It also features two aluminium chassis supports that are attached to the front and rear electric motors.

    According to the automaker, the Venere’s cabin will feature a touchscreen unit built into the tunnel between the driver and front passenger. This replaces the conventional rotary control, although it’s unclear at this point what the purpose of the screen is.

    The Geneva debutant will be a production-ready example, but its official pricing and features remain to be seen. LVCHI was established two years ago in Shanghai and has a workforce of 400 employees, 75% of which is focused on research and development towards electric vehicles.

     
  • SPIED: Mercedes-Benz GLB showing production lights

    The upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLB has been spotted in public again, this time sporting what appears to be the eventual production-specification lights front and rear, giving us a better glimpse into its eventual shape, even though there is still some body cladding applied.

    Its more boxy exterior design draws from the Gelandewagen and therefore looks considerably larger than its GLA stablemate, despite sharing the MFA2 platform with that car’s future replacement. The GLB will be positioned in the line-up as a more rugged model, much like how the A-Class is complemented by the larger B-Class. The GLB will also have provision for seven seats, courtesy of a longer-wheelbase version.

    The GLB’s interior is also set to receive the latest in Mercedes-Benz cabin design, including the widescreen digital panel like the one installed in the A-Class, along with other interior design details such as that car’s circular air-conditioning vents.

    Though yet to be confirmed, the upcoming GLB can also be expected to feature the powertrain line-up from the MFA2-based A-Class, with petrol and diesel engines in sizes ranging from 1.4 litres to 2.0 litres. An AMG entrant is likely as well, though it remains to be seen if it will come in AMG 35 or AMG 45 tune. The German marque’s next compact SUV is tipped to debut in 2019.

     
  • Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia recalls the Outlander, ASX, Lancer and Pajero Exceed – about 5,000 units affected

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) has announced a recall campaign for imported units of the Lancer and Outlander, as well as the locally-assembled ASX.

    According to MMM, about 5,000 vehicles may be equipped with a faulty engine control relay. The relay serves to protect the engine’s ECU from any sudden surge of voltage, and if it fails, the engine’s ECU function may be affected.

    For the ASX, affected units are manufactured between March 2015 and November 2016. Meanwhile, Lancers made between December 2014 and February 2016, along with Outlanders produced between December 2015 and June 2016 are also listed as affected units.

    The recall campaign also includes 115 units of the Pajero Exceed, which may be equipped with potentially defective Takata passenger side airbag inflators. Affected units are manufactured between March 2010 and July 2012.

    MMM will issue notification letters to all affected owners, and the full cost of the replacement will be borne by the company. Customers are advised to check if their vehicles are among those affected, and to make an appointment at any Mitsubishi authorised service centre for a replacement.

    A dedicated page on MMM’s website allows customers to check if their vehicle is affected by any recall by keying in their vehicle’s VIN.

     
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200 unveiled in US – from RM39,146 to RM44,235

    MY18.5 Sportster Launch

    As part of its ever expanding line-up – 100 new models over the next five years from 2017 – Harley-Davidson (H-D) has thrown the covers off two new models in the Sportster range, the 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Special and the Iron 1200. Both cruisers carry H-D’s 1,202 cc Evolution V-twin, and join the current model Forty-Eight, 1200 Custom and Roadster in the Milwaukee firm’s “middleweight” bikes.

    Both the Forty-Eight Special and Iron 1200 have a distinctly retro look, with graphics and paint inspired by custom bikes from the seventies. Designed to appeal to a wide range of riders, H-D’s Sportster bikes offer a perfect combination of size, power and character, says Brad Richards, H-D vice president of styling and design.

    “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent,” says Richards, “What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations,” he continued.

    MY18.5 Sportster Launch

    Carrying on the design first seen in the Iron 883, the Iron 1200 brings an additional 319 cc to the table, resulting in an increase in torque of 36%, from 72.9 Nm in the Iron 883 to 98.9 Nm in the Iron 1200. H-D does not publish horsepower figures, but we would take a guess at the 1200 mill putting out about 95 hp or so.

    Styling cues are also carried over from the Iron 883, with blacked out V-twin engine contrasting with the chromed pushrod tubes and tappet covers. Wheels are nine-spoke affairs – 19-inch front and 16-inch rear – similar to the Iron 883, but lacking the polished highlights.

    The Iron 1200 comes with a mid-ride handlebar with 812 mm wide handlebar and 165 mm pull-back, making the rider sit a little more upright. Like the 883, the Iron 1200 comes with a single headlight, this time covered with a small screen.

    Rider accommodation is a solo seat and fuel is carried in a 12.5-litre tank, with ABS and security system available as factory options. There are three colour options available – Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White – and the 2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 is priced from USD 9,999 (RM39,146), depending on options.

    With the same engine as the Iron 1200, the Forty-Eight Special features a rather chunky front end, with its 49 mm diameter forks and 130 mm wide front tyre. This look is augmented by the over-sized forged aluminium triple clamps, and the lower half of the Evolution 1200 engine being clad in chrome.

    MY18.5 Sportster Launch

    Fuel for the Forty-Eight Special is carried in H-D’s trademark “peanut” 8.32-litre tank. Rolling on 16-inch nine-spoke cast aluminium, the Special has 16-inch wheels front and rear shod in Michelin rubber.

    Priced at USD 11,299 (RM44,235), the 2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special comes in Vivid Black, Wicked Red and Billiard White. Factory-fitted ABS and security system are available as options.

     
  • 2018 Volvo V60 unveiled – new T6 Twin Engine PHEV

    Say hello to the latest product to come from Gothenburg, the all-new Volvo V60. Set to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show next month, Volvo’s mid-sized wagon is the second entry in the 60 Series lineup, following in the footsteps of the XC60 and slotting under the larger V90.

    Like the XC60 and 90 Series (XC90, S90 and V90) models, the V60 is build on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), rather than the XC40‘s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) that’s also shared with Geely. It certainly looks that way from the outside, appearing like a shrunken version of the V90 and sharing its bigger brother’s handsome good looks.

    At the front, there’s the large six-point grille with the trademark iron mark and diagonal bar, flanked by slim headlights with the “Thor’s Hammer” LED daytime running lights protruding further inward, like the XC60. A sharper, more aggressive front bumper design give the V60 a sportier look compared to the V90, even without the R-Design appearance package.

    Even though it’s 175 mm shorter and just 48 mm lower than the Volvo V90 (with a length of 4,761 mm, a width of 1,850 mm, a height of 1,427 mm and a wheelbase of 2,872 mm), the V60 retains the former’s long, low stance, accentuated by the strong shoulder and simple side surfacing. The tall tail lights, which protrude into the tailgate like on the V90 and XC60, complete the look.

    Step inside and you’ll find a clean and elegant interior that appears to have been lifted wholesale from the XC60. As usual, a large portrait-format touchscreen for the Sensus infotainment system sits front and centre, flanked by slim vertical air vents. There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity available, as well as 4G wireless broadband.

    This being a Volvo wagon, doubtless you’d be wanting to know how practical the boot is, and the V60 doesn’t disappoint. With a cargo capacity of 529 litres, it’s barely any smaller than the V90’s 560 litres, and is significantly larger than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate‘s 490 litres and the BMW 3 Series Touring‘s 495 litres. Fold the rear seats and luggage space is expanded to 1,364 litres.

    The engine lineup includes one petrol and two diesel units, as well as not one, but two plug-in hybrids. Starting with the latter, the familiar T8 Twin Engine PHEV continues to utilise a 2.0 litre supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine, but has been detuned from 320 hp to 303 hp at 6,000 rpm, although it makes the same 400 Nm of torque between 2,200 and 4,800 rpm.

    Paired to an 87 hp/240 Nm rear electric motor, an eight-speed automatic transmission, a crankshaft integrated starter/generator (CISG) and a 10.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, the result is a total system output of 390 hp and 640 Nm – 17 hp less than the XC90, S90, V90 and XC60 versions.

    New to the Volvo lineup is the T6 Twin Engine, which drops the supercharger from the engine, now making 253 hp at 5,500 rpm and 350 Nm from 1,700 to 5,000 rpm. With the same hybrid gubbins as the T8, total output drops to 340 hp and 590 Nm, but it has the same combined fuel consumption figure of 2.1 litres per 100 km, the same 45 km all-electric range and, inexplicably, the same 4.8-second zero-to-100 km/h time.

    Moving to conventional power sources, the T6 AWD petrol uses the same engine as the T8 Twin Engine, but here it makes 310 hp. With the eight-speed auto and a all-wheel drive system, it sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds and has a combined fuel consumption of between 8.1 to 9.0 litres per 100 km on the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle.

    On the oil-burning side, there’s a 2.0 litre turbodiesel in 150 hp/320 Nm D3 and 190 hp/400 D4 guises. The entry-level D3 has a zero-to-100 km/h time of 9.9 seconds and has a fuel consumption of between 5.2 to 6.0 litres per 100 km, while the D4’s figures are rated at 7.9 seconds and 5.1 to 5.9 litres per 100 km respectively. Both are front wheel drive and have the option of a six-speed manual gearbox.

    Last but not least – certainly not on a Volvo – is safety. The new V60 comes with the same standard-fit driver assistance features as the XC60 and 90 Series models, including City Safety with Autobrake that recognises pedestrians, cyclists and large vehicles. A world-first is the automated braking function to mitigate the severity of oncoming collisions.

    There’s also the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system with improved cornering performance, as well as Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and other steering assistance features. The Cross Traffic Alert with auto brake is available as an option.

    The V60 will be available on the new Care by Volvo subscription service introduced during the launch of the XC40. This offers access to the car via a monthly flat-fee subscription instead of a lease or flat-out purchase, and Volvo says it makes having a car as transparent, easy and hassle-free as a mobile phone.





     
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