Saturday, 29 November 2008

NST-Maybank CBT Car of the Year 2008 Awards

The following are the winners of NST-Maybank CBT COTY 2008 Awards:

Entry-level Car of the Year 2008: Proton Saga

Premium small Car of the Year 2008: Honda Jazz

Family Car of the Year 2008: Nissan Sylphy

Executive Car of the Year (below RM200k) 2008: Mazda6 2.5

Premium Executive Car of the Year (above RM200k) 2008: Jaguar XF

Limousine Car of the Year 2008: Mercedes-Benz S500L

Performance Car of the Year 2008 (below RM300k): Honda Civic Type-R

Performance Car of the Year (above RM300k) 2008: BMW M3

Midi-MPV Car of the Year 2008: Honda Stream

Large MPV Car of the Year 2008: Renault Grand Espace

SUV Car of the Year 2008: Chevrolet Captiva

Premium SUV Car of the Year 2008: Mazda CX-9

Pickup Truck Car of the Year 2008: Mitsubishi Triton 3.2

Friday, 28 November 2008

NST-Maybank Cars, Bikes & Trucks (CBT) Car of the Year 2008: Mazda6 2.5L

The Mazda brand in Malaysia has undergone a revival yesterday, after clinching the coveted "Overall Car of the Year 2008" from New Straits Times' Cars, Bikes & Trucks.

The Mazda6 2.5 also came out tops in the Executive Car (below RM200,000) category. Bermaz Motors (the local Mazda distributor) has also added another feather to its cap when its roomy seven- seater Mazda CX9 won the “Best in Class” in the Premium SUV category.

This year's COTY judging panel is made up of 12 individuals, comprising senior Malaysian motoring journalists and professionals from the academic and medical fraternities, concurred unanimously to award the top accolade of “Overall Car of the Year” Award to the Mazda6 2.5 for maintaining a next to perfect balance between performance and comfort, two factors demanded by the Executive Car buyer.

Its build quality, power, interior comfort, handling, dashing good looks and attractive pricing were key criteria that earned the Mazda6 2.5 the top honours.

Being built on its own chassis has allowed the Mazda6 2.5 a sense of exclusivity that stays true to Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” tagline. The Mazda6 2.5 proves to be a smart purchase as it offers CBU quality at CKD price. This is a rarity, but Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd has managed to do it.

The winners for the New Straits Times/Maybank 2008 Awards were announced at a gala dinner last night in Kuala Lumpur hosted by the New Straits Times and title sponsor Maybank Berhad.

The guest-of-honour for the night was Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Second Finance Minister.
Also gracing the ocassion was Datuk Aishah Ahmad, President of the Automotive Association of Malaysia (AAM).

More details on the rest of the COTY 2008 winners later or go here: CBT COTY 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

2009 Porsche Panamera

Porsche’s completely new ‘sportscar’ for 2009, the Panamera, has been revealed to be a 4-door, 4-seater sports tourer/coupe. Set to make its world debut at Geneva Auto Salon in 2009, it will not be powered by the Boxster/Cayman/911 range of Porsche’s boxer engines. Instead, it will have V6 or V8 powerplants - much like the Cayenne’s - with output ranging from 300 to 500hp. In line with the 2008 facelift 911 (997) and the 2009 facelift Boxster (987)/Cayman (987c) range, this new Porsche ‘saloon’ will also boast of Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) and PDK twin clutch robotic-manual gearbox. The Panamera range will also have the top model designated as ‘Turbo’, which is very telling of what’s beneath the hood. By 2010, Porsche will likely extend the Panamera range by adding a hybrid version.

Design wise, it is claimed that the Panamera combines the sleek profile of a coupe, blending uniquely into a classical saloon body plus the benefits of a versatile interior - that can carry four occupants comfortably. Yet this all-new model lineup is still instantly recognisable as a Porsche.

In what is actually a five-door liftback - somewhat reminiscent (in concept) of the Toyota Corona Liftback or the Ford Telstar TX5/Mazda 626 Liftback of yesteryears - For Wheels reckon the new Panamera has that unique and characterful look that will grow on many, unlike the ugly-child in the Cayenne, when it was first unveiled in 2002. Even with Porsche's facelift exercise in 2007, the Cayenne did little to correct its ‘birth-defects’, only to pale aesthetically beside the Audi Q7 and even its much cheaper cousin, the VW Touareg.

The sporty 4-door ‘coupe’ Panamera measures almost 5-metres in length and is claimed to be bigger than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-series (think: R-Class in extended ‘L’ guise e.g. R350L). From these early pictures, you can safely tell that the base model will be the Panamera S (rear-wheel drive) and with the addition of all-wheel drive, next step up, the Panamera 4S. The top-dog of the family will be none other than the Panamera Turbo, which will probably be AWD. Will there be a plain vanilla and ‘entry-level’ Panamera without the ‘S’ suffix in the vein of the Boxster, Cayman or Carrera? How about a Panamera GTS or Panamera Turbo S for even more snob factor and of course, that little more speed?

Monday, 24 November 2008

Naza Rondo (Citra II) to spearhead Kia growth in Malaysia?

Naza Kia has had a stellar feedback on their recently introduced Rondo MPV, selling considerably well since its introduction in September this year.

"Sales results for the first two months of our Rondo introduction, more than 300 units, are in line with our objectives and confirm that more new customers are switching to Naza Kia products. I'm delighted to observe that this process is accelerating with each new model we introduce," commented SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin, CEO of Naza Group. "In this landmark year of change for Kia, the new Rondo and our other top models like the Optima, Sportage, Sorento and Spectra5 were both highly praised by members of the motoring media and our customers for having the best specifications for the prices offered in their respective segments. So far it looks like 2009 is already shaping up to be a great year for Kia in Malaysia."

Customer feedback thus far has gone beyond expectations, with many praising the Rondo's excellent fuel consumption which they can monitor thanks to the in-dash Trip Computer. Other features mentioned include the 6-speaker audio system with steering wheel mounted remote control*, automatic air-conditioning*, roof rack, folding door mirrors and attractive alloy wheels.

Journalists too, have come forward with nothing but praise for the Rondo. "Going uphill is again another starter for us as the Rondo, with seven adults, just cruised along without straining its engine. Seriously, it was such a refreshing experience as we never felt a Korean engine this good and this smooth," reported motoring news editor Hezeri Samsuri. "Sound insulation is good and on par with Japanese sedans in its price category. Bumps and holes are muted well, and so does the engine noise. The Rondo does have a good dashboard layout and the material used is also durable and does not look or feel cheap, which speaks of the improvement in quality noted over its predecessor.

* EXS Model only