Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Brief Drive: Nissan Sylphy 2.0 CVTC

Another new model is due to be officially added this Thursday (26th June 2008) to Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM) stable of Nissan cars in Malaysia. Here is a brief first drive impression of the new Nissan Slyphy 2.0 CVTC with XTronic CVT 'box.

The Sylphy is an all-new car from Nissan in the form of a C-segment sedan. In fact, it is a true Nissan Sentra replacement, for a long time coming from ETCM in Malaysia. With the MR20DE displacing 1,997cc and a wheelbase of 2700mm, it is encroaching into the D-segment dimensions of 5-10 years ago - much like the current Honda Civic 2.0S.

As you see above, the test driver is my brother Justin having a feel of the new Sylphy, which has a light EPS rack and an equally feathery feel of its ride and soft damping. The CVT 'box is nice, with very minimal rubber-band feel. So much so, I could still recall the rev counter dropped when it 'upshifts'!

The alloys you see above is of 15" shod with equally puny Yokohama Aspec dB tyres of 195/65 dimension. They are quiet on the roll but the thick body of Syphly dwarfs the wheels very much.

Steering appeared to be nicked from Grand Livina with leather grip and beige 'empty' panels at 9 and 3 o'clock. Not very dirt resistant we reckoned.

Based upon the short drive, Nissan's MR20DE (pic above) is sprightly, quiet and smooth, unlike the vocal Civic 1.8 lump and the thrumming new Altis' (4-speeder) 4-pot. Paired to Nissan's XTronic CVT the drive is a calm, cool and serene affair, with the 191Nm @ 4,400 rpm well utilised on those uphill spurts. On the flipside, the 133ps on tap at 5,200rpm may not see the light of day in the form of Vmax with the speedo reading only up to 180km/h, with just one scale beyond NOT even indicating 190km/h. Strange for a locally assembled car, mimicking JDM-spec!

Boot is a very capacious and useful 504L!

The new Nissan Sylphy 2.0 CVTC is priced at RM112,800 (on-the-road with insurance).
For RM4,000 extra you may opt for full V-Kool tinting, 6-CD in-dash radio-CD player and combo-leather seats.
It is available for viewing and test drive now at ETCM showrooms nationwide.

Related posts:

Nissan Bluebird Sylphy coming in Q1 2008?
Carlos Ghosn visits Tan Chong's new Nissan plant in Malaysia
Nissan Sylphy launch delayed to July 2008?

SsangYong Actyon Sports now with 6-speed automatic!

Competitive Supreme Sdn Bhd (CSSB), the sole importer and distributor for SsangYong Motor Company of Korea has introduced the first 6-Speed Automatic Transmission Sports Utility Truck in Malaysia by upgrading its Actyon Sports to 6-Speed Automatic.

According to Melvinder Singh, the General Manager of CSSB, “The gearbox is electronically controlled and the software has been designed to maximise the characteristics of the XDi 200 XVT power plant. An Artificial Intelligence program constantly monitors your driving style and adjusts the transmissions characteristics to maximise performance according to your driving pattern, which in turn optimises fuel efficiency and of course driving pleasure. The transmission is linked to the engine via a lock-up torque converter which minimizes energy loss and further improves fuel efficiency”. Melvinder also added that sales of the Actyon Sports had been very encouraging since its introduction on the 6th of June 2007 and is optimistic that the new 6-Speed Automatic gearbox would further enhance sales.

The Actyon Sports 6-Speed Automatic transmission is equipped with SsangYong's ingenious dual Thumb-Tronic controls and gear changes can be made via the buttons on the steering wheel or on the gear shift lever. It was developed and manufactured by Drivetrain Systems International in Albury, New South Wales, Australia.

The Actyon Sports 6-Speed Automatic is powered by the XDi 200 XVT engine. The two-litre high performance 3rd generation common rail turbo intercooler direct injection diesel engine that delivers 141ps (104 kW) at 4,000 rpm and 310 Nm (31.6 kg.m) of torque from 1,800 ~ 2,700 rpm. Maximum torque is provided over the widest possible rev range for better acceleration and overtaking performance. This is currently the most powerful two-litre diesel engine in its class and its performance easily rivals competitors with much larger engine capacities of up to three litres. It is also very economical and uses only 6.2 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres in the Extra Urban test cycle. The annual road tax (Private & Company Registration) for the Actyon Sports is also the lowest in its class at RM439.20 as a result of its two litre engine capacity. Additionally, customers who register their Actyon Sports as private vehicles will also enjoy the annual government rebate of RM625.

The Actyon Sports has an electronic shift on the fly (2-High, 4-High and 4-Low) part time four-wheel drive system that offers good on-road and off-road handling.

Apart from the 6-Speed Automatic transmission, the Actyon Sports now comes with a number of new features:

  • Chrome front grill.
  • A sporty integrated Shark’s Fin style radio antenna.
  • Chrome centre air vents.
  • Adjustable centre air vents.
  • Driver’s left foot rest.
  • Intergrated rear seat belt buckles with storage pockets.

Customers will also be pleased to know that there is no price increase for the revised 2008 Actyon Sports despite numerous improvements. The 6-Speed Automatic is priced at RM89,000.00 for the Standard package. The Actyon Sports 6-Speed is now available for sale and customers can view and test-drive the vehicle at all CSSB branches and showrooms.

The Actyon Sports is also fitted with convenient features such as an 8-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support, tilt adjustable steering wheel, front centre arm rest, height & tilt adjustable front head rests, electric folding door mirrors, a dash fit audio system with controls on the steering wheel, speed sensing door locks, three rear headrests and a rear centre arm rest to name just a few, it is truly designed with Luxury and Convenience in mind.

Its approach to rear seat comfort with a more relaxed rear seat angle of 29 degrees will definitely deliver a distinct advantage. The five-link rear axle with coil springs & dampers and double wishbone front suspension deliver excellent ride comfort and driving stability in comparison to its leaf sprung rivals.

The utilisation of space in the Actyon Sports is also excellent. It is easy to get in and out of thanks to its SUV like ride height and extra large doors. It also offers excellent legroom for all occupants. The deep & wide cargo deck and load bearing cargo door make it a better combination work and family vehicle than most.

There are more options for accessories now which include a full canopy or a sports rear deck cover, the rear D-pillar and 18” alloy-wheels with 255/60 tyres for a more sporty look. Other options include cruise control and leather seats.

Related posts:


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mitsubishi Triton 3.2 and Triton Lite

Click on images to enlarge

Catering to the growing popularity of pick-up trucks, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) added to its Triton pick-up truck line-up with the new Triton 3.2-litre 4x4 automatic and the Triton Lite 2.5-litre 4x2 manual. The two new variants will join the current line-up consisting of the Triton 2.5-litre 4x4 with automatic and manual transmissions.

Backed by a string of successes worldwide and its ever reliable racing heritage, the new Triton 3.2 and Triton Lite are distinguished by its revolutionary strong profile and aggressive looks that defies the conventional styling of a pick-up truck to offer passenger car-like comfort without compromising on its durability as a pick-up.

Reflecting a bold and stylish exterior, the new Triton 3.2 aggressive styling is distinguished by its chrome nose grill with stainless steel mesh coupled with a front bumper extender. It is the most powerful pick-up truck in its class and the Triton has the most spacious rear cabin space in its class.

Rallying power from the newly developed 3.2-litre Direct Injection Diesel Hyper Common Rail Turbo Intercooler engine, the new Triton 3.2 provides increased power of 160bhp at 3,500rpm and higher torque of 343Nm at 2,000rpm. Additionally, the new Triton 3.2 comes equipped with built-in immobilizer, automatic air conditioner and window visor.

Meeting the need for a spacious pick-up truck that offers versatility for commercial or personal use, the new Triton Lite is powered by 2.5-litre diesel SOHC 8-Valve engine, an engine that is economically efficient, durable and reliable. Boasting superior fuel efficiency, the new Triton Lite produces 75bhp at 4200rpm and 149Nm at 2,500 rpm.

The new Triton Lite achieves the turning radius of only 5.7 meters, the smallest turning radius among all pick-ups. Offering the most spacious rear cabin space in its class with intuitive compartment features, the new Triton Lite provides sedan-like refinement at a competitive price tag.

Speaking to the media at the official launch ceremony recently, Mr Keizo Ono, Chief Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia said, “Widely known for its remarkable handling, superior engine performance, radical and futuristic exterior styling coupled with a spacious cabin that provides car-like comfort, the Triton has indeed revolutionised the pick-up scene. The pick-up market has evolved much over the last few years and hence we believe there is a strong demand for a pick-up truck that exceeds the refinement of a conventional truck.”

“We are thrilled to expand the portfolio of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in Malaysia with the latest introduction of the new Triton 3.2 which is aimed at fulfilling the market’s demand for a stylish and powerful pick-up truck while the Triton Lite is affordable and fuel efficient.”
“In view of current rising petrol and diesel prices, the timely launch of the Triton Lite today will meet the market’s demand for a fuel efficient vehicle. The Triton Lite is light on your wallet and even lighter on fuel, thanks to its affordable price tag and good fuel efficiency,” continued Mr Ono.

Last year, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia’s total pick-up sales volume saw a notable growth with 3,480 units of L200 and Triton sold, an increase of 59.6 per cent from 2006. This continuous upward trend made Mitsubishi Motors’ pick-up the second most popular pick-up truck in the country with a 15.7 per cent share in the segment last year. “Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia will continue our concerted effort to strengthen the Mitsubishi Motors brand and we are confident that the introduction of the latest variants will shine through with its distinctive product value and competitive pricing as we target to achieve higher growth,” continued Mr Ono.

“Currently sold in over 140 countries worldwide, and since its launch in
Malaysia, the award-winning Triton has emerged to be one of the most popular selling pick-up trucks. To create the Triton, an extensive testing was conducted to collect data both in the engineering labs at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and on the courses of the grueling Dakar Rally. This has resulted in new innovations like flowing bodylines associated with the Dakar Rally-winning Pajero Evolution,” said Mr Ryujiro Kobashi, General Manager of Asia & ASEAN A Department, Overseas Operations Group Headquarters of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan.

Built on years of engineering expertise and tested on the gruelling grounds of one of the world’s toughest race, the Dakar Rally-honed Triton has earn praises and has been feted with many accolades worldwide and locally. This includes the Pick-up Truck of the Year award at the New Straits Times/ Maybank Car of the Year Awards 2007 and for the second year in succession, the Triton also claimed the top honours in the Pick-up of the Year category of the Autocar ASEAN Car of the Year Awards 2007. In its continuous commitment to quality and reliability, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia is offering a 3-year or 100,000km warranty and a 3-year or 60,000km Maintenance Free Program for the new Triton 3.2 and a 3-year or 100,000km Warranty for the new Triton Lite. Owners are assured of an excellent after-sales support and are provided with “Mitsubishi Assist 24” card which offers a host of privileges including 24 hour roadside assistance.

The new Triton 3.2 4x4 automatic and Triton Lite 2.5 4x2 manual is priced at RM97,041.50 and RM58,129.80 respectively (on the road without insurance).

In Sabah, price of Triton 3.2 4x4 automatic is RM97,280.40 while the Triton 2.5 4x2 manual at RM59,865.20.

Over in Sarawak, the Triton 3.2 4x4 automatic is available for RM97, 509.00 while the Triton 2.5 4x2 manual is tagged at RM59,618.30 (all on the road without insurance).

Colours available for the new Triton 3.2 are White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic and Black Metallic whereas the new Triton Lite comes in four colours, White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic, Red Metallic and Black Metallic.

Related posts:

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Fuel subsidy via roadtax rebates at post offices in Malaysia

Pos Malaysia Berhad (PMB) has announced that in line with the decision made by the Government on fuel subsidy, PMB has been appointed as the agent for disbursement of this subsidy to eligible vehicle owners. Eligible Malaysians can start to claim the subsidy at all 686 post offices countrywide effective on 1 July 2008.

As announced by the Government, vehicles with valid Road Tax from 1 April 2008 until 31 March 2009 are entitled for the annual subsidy. Owners of cars up to 2,000 cc as well as pick-up trucks and jeeps up to 2,500 cc will receive RM625 for each vehicle. Motorcycles up to 250 cc will receive RM150 each.

Vehicle owners who come personally to make the claim at post offices shall be paid in cash. Those who appoint third parties to claim on their behalf shall receive the Money Order that will be mailed directly to the owner’s address that is furnished to PMB when making the claim.

The following flow-chart explains the procedures involved in claiming the fuel subsidy at the time of roadtax renewal at post offices nationwide:

Click on image for detailed view

“PMB, through its extensive network of 686 post offices countrywide will be ready to serve our customers in handling the subsidy payments in a convenient and timely manner,” said Abu Huraira Abu Yazid, Acting Managing Director / Group Chief Executive Officer of PMB.

E90 BMW M3 DCT sampled at Sepang circuit, Malaysia

BMW's answer to the Audi RS4's (B7) and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG's practicality is finally here in Malaysia. Yours truly was there to sample the twin-clutched version aka DCT in the E90's 4 -door saloon form of the latest M3.

No, the above wasn't the writer in all his crowning glory (or the lack thereof) as the delegates of Destination M were only being ferried in the new M3 around the Sepang F1 Circuit. Upon close observation (thanks BMW Driver Trainer Kevin for that exhilarating ride!) the 7-speed DCT is as good as VAG's famed DSG but it was manic the way the manual cogs were being abused around the track. At one point the robotised tranny got confused when more than a couple of cogs were dropped in an instance.

The M engineered 4.0L V8 sounded pretty sedate at revs below 4000rpm but beyond that the V8 growl is unmistakable. That said, I found that most kinetic action took place circa 5000rpm, 6000rpm and above all the way to its lofty 8200rpm redline. No dramatic pinned-in-your-seat or eyeballs-pushed-into-your-orbital-socket feeling. But its darn quick around those turns, in fact as fast as 160 t0 180 km/h!

The BMW M3 sedan with DCT retails for RM713,800 (excluding insurance) and is available for booking now at Auto Bavaria and other BMW Malaysia's dealers. Be prepare to wait for more than 6 months if you want that E92 form of M3 with DCT.

For most of us regular drivers, we'd be better off on the streets with the 335i sedan (pictured below) or the sleeker E92 335i Coupe. The twin turbo 3.0L in-line 6 would be much more tractable, responsive and peppier in town or city traffic, more often than not. After all, the 335i's forced-induced torque is a more useable 400Nm beginning at 1300rpm and stays accessible (plateau) through to 5000rpm; as opposed to new M3's similar torque figure of 400Nm at a headier 3900rpm. A couple of the highly skilled and qualified Malaysian BMW Driver Trainers attested to this fact as well, after having driven a 135i Coupe that was on track that day.

The 335i is now available as 335i sedan Individual costing a shade over RM500k, with special paints, interior trims, more distinct alloy wheels and individualised specs.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Previewed: New BMW X6 xDrive35i at Destination M event in Malaysia

Story and pics: Dr Long

Click on images to enlargeWhat you see here is among the first few (right hand drive) X6 - the new Sport Activity Coupe (SAC) from BMW - to be available officially in Malaysia. In its xDrive35i form, the X6 asking price is about RM720,000 (excluding insurance) and sports the same twin turbo in-line 6 found in the 335i coupe. Expect slower performance figures from the sleek SUV Coupe though, with the extra bulk/mass and power-sapping permanent AWD likely blunting acceleration and Vmax somewhat. By the way, it sits only four despite its size, with ingress and egress is a little pain for the rear passengers, as experienced by the writer.

You can place your orders in advance with Auto Bavaria or any other of the BMW Malaysia dealers now. Booking fee is a cool RM20k :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Fuel prices up by 74 sen to RM1 in Malaysia

The new price of premium grade unleaded petrol is RM2.70 per litre beginning 12.01 am (just past midnight today) on Thursday, 5th June 2008. This was announced a moment ago by Malaysia's Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Shahrir Samad.

Diesel price is up by RM1 per litre while the price for unleaded RON 92 petrol will increase by 74 sen. The 78 sen hike or 40% increase for the RON 97 petrol effectively makes it RM2.70 per litre, a grade which is mostly used by petrol passenger vehicles in Malaysia. Expect another round of upward adjustments by August 2008, likely to full-float market price.

Revised fuel prices w.e.f. 5th June 2008:
Diesel: RM2.58 per litre
Petrol RON92: RM2.62 per litre
Petrol RON97: RM2.70 per litre

A cash rebate (during roadtax renewal at JPJ) of RM625 per year will be given to owners of private cars with an engine capacity of up to 2000 cc and pick-up trucks/4WDs/SUVs of up to 2500 cc. For vehicles over 2500 cc, there will be a reduction in roadtax of RM200 and for motorcycles up to 250 cc, a rebate of RM150 annually.