Thursday, 23 April 2009

Driven: Hyundai i10

I felt a little rushed to word this piece together – that reminder of a phone call and all. Nevertheless, I believe all things happen for a reason and this may be a blessing in disguise for my excessive procrastination of late. Also, I shall be out of town for a hopefully nice drive and to attend an off-coast medical seminar. Honestly I am looking forward to more of the former, what with a rather iconic roadster.

It has been ages since I actually drove a micro-mini. That was when my then girlfriend – and subsequently my missus - had a Perodua Kancil 850EZ. It was a bumpy, shaky and buzzy little box of steel, rolling on four puny wheels. Imagine my enthusiasm when I picked up the Hyundai (aka Inokom) i10 from Hyundai Sime-Darby just last weekend. Nothing at fault with this Korean marque or its reputation, it’s just that I thought I had outgrown such sub-1000cc hatch for close to decade now.

Not knowing the exact engine capacity and the class it belonged to, I just drove it out of Malaysia’s Hyundai HQ in Glenmarie. The first thing that impressed me was the supportive, firmer than average seat with adequate (just) thigh support too! (Front seats better than the ‘T’ marque a few classes up). This little thing also rides with aplomb, with a damping and suspension rebound finesse that even puts the ever-popular Myvi to shame. Well, I must admit was getting hooked there and then. It even take to corners more planted than what you’d expect from a car of this class, with reasonably good feel and weight to the steering. My, how mini hatches have improved over the generations. In fact, this is actually Inokom Atos replacement model but the i10 is more akin to the one-size-up Getz in chassis & platform et al.

There is even a more appealing frontal visage that’s simply neat, cute and modern. What impressed me even more is the dashboard and the centre column mounted gear lever. While the dash may a little drab in monotonous grey, I absolutely like the triple layered execution with different textures materials. Albeit hard plastics, the end defect is far from bargain-basement or el-cheapo. Nice.

The i10 is also spacious for its dimunitive size. You can sit three abreast at the back and it is far from being a tight squeeze. Elbow room at the front is adequate even for my ‘petite’ built. On the go, the i10 feels more Conti-esque than Korean and that’s a good thing considering that some of the local and even Japanese marquees don’t convey such feedback, yet.

Hyundai’s 12-valve SOHC 4-pot engine here may be vocal when stretched and the i10 may be mostly left lane mover - especially if you have slowed down on the way up a gradient - but that’s to be expected from this1086cc lump worth a 66bhp and 99Nm combo. Overall, I find the i10 more convincing than any of the mini hatches from Perodua. Pity that the i10’s RM47k price tag will likely lead to early elimination from many potential buyers’ shortlist.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

New Proton Exora plays the value-buy card to the hilt!

By now, most of you motoring enthusiasts would have known that Proton's new Exora is retailing for RM69,998 and RM75,998 (metallic colours, OTR) for the M-Line and H-Line respectively. Both specs are currently available only in 4-speed auto guise. Responsibly, both M-Line and H-Line also have dual frontal SRS airbags and ABS+EBD as standard fitment.

Proton's high performance 150Nm capable Gen.2 facelift', Waja facelift' and Satria Neo CPS' engine is carried over to lug close to 1.4 tonne and the debate is still on whether this will satisfy the many young families' drivers out there.

Whatever it may be, I am impressed with the extreme value that this MPV represents. Good job Proton! Personally though, here's to wishing there's a Campro CPS LPT (light pressure turbo) in the making...meanwhile, I absolutely loved the slow-mo (dampened mechanism) opening of the lower glove box. Splendid.

Go check it out, even if you do not intend to buy one. This may just as well represents the value-buy-of-the-year...or possibly even this decade!

*pictures courtesy of (Thanks Paul!)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Proton Exora MPV undisguised!

First and foremost, my sincere apologies to my readers (if anyone left!) for the recent comatose state of my blog. There are many excuses from being caught up in frenetic clinical work & hectic family life, writer's block to the fancy excuses given by TM Net's Streamyx for not giving me a broadband home connection. It has been more than 6 months since I last applied for one! I have been running to the nearest TM Point more than half a dozen times...and it's always "No Port" excuse.

Anyway, here I am on Maxis broadband, trying to recuscitate my little online automotive journal...with possibly the hottest topic for the month of April 2009.

Click on all pictures to enlarge

Thanks to faithful fan Darren & reader Justin, we have here some email pictures of the Exora in its natural state, uncamouflaged. Judge for yourself how the new Proton Exora has maxed out on its size. Visualise it as big as the Innova, except for the wheelbase and height. Yes! It's even longer than the Innova from bumper to bumper. As you can see above, it 's definitely larger than both the Toyota Avanza & Nissan Grand Livina.

Intial preview drive by noted blogger Paul Tan seemed to have suggested that the Campro 1.6 CPS with Auto tranny is barely adequate to move it, more so should you wanna hurry things up. Well, you can judge it for yourself soon - before this month is over - after the Exora's official launch.

In the meantime, you can point your browser to and search for all its glorious details. Alternatively, there are some articles on the same preview drives by Hezeri Samsuri of and Chips Yap of MTM online.

Indicative pricing for the Exora 1.6 CPS Auto is RM72k and RM76k for M-Line and H-Line respectively, judging from some pre-applied bank loans figures. The manual versions should be cheaper by some RM3k to RM5k, spec for spec.