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  • REVIEW: 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 – riding the UJM


    In the 1970s, Honda came out with a rather interesting concept. Parallel twins from the English motorcycle manufacturers were in vogue during the post-war years, and that was accepted as “suitable for road-going use.”

    Taking the idea of the twinning two four-stroke parallel-twins, Honda designed its first road motorcycle with a multi-cylinder engine. With the creation of the Honda CB750, with its inline-four engine and overhead camshaft, the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) was born.

    Other Japanese manufacturers quickly followed suit, Kawasaki with the Z900, and Yamaha with its XJ and XS series bikes. But, in the late 1970s, the undisputed of the four-cylinder UJM, was Suzuki.


    Beginning with the eight-valve GS-series bikes, then upping the ante with the DOHC, 16-valve GSX-series, Suzuki Gixxers ruled the roads, and endurance racing. Nothing could hold a candle to the GSX, or even if they tried, like Honda with the CBF-series, that candle was quickly melted down in the thermonuclear furnace of the GSX engine’s performance.

    Which brings us to the present day, forty years on. The current Suzuki iteration of the UJM is the 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000, an inline-four in the traditional manner. The Suzuki inline-four has had a decades-long reputation for being bullet-proof, and we were eager to see what this current engine generation would be like.

    Read the rest of the 2016 GSX-S1000A review after the jump.

  • China adds 10% tax on cars priced RM839k and above


    Buyers of vehicles such as the Bentley Bentayga and the Ferrari GTC4Lusso will be paying more for their luxury cars; light vehicles priced at 1.3 million yuan (RM838,610) will be subject to an additional 10% tax, which is intended to “guide reasonable consumption”, lower emissions and save energy, according to China’s ministry of finance. This move comes as China’s population of wealthy consumers continues to grow, and is meant to tone down spending, according to Automotive News.

    “The tax increase is a display of the government’s attitude of advocating frugality. The increase in taxes on luxury cars may help make the extension of the small-car tax cut more likely given it is in line with the government policy of promoting cars with better fuel economy,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Association.

    The increase in tax is unlikely to have significant impact on mainstream luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

    “The majority of our business will not be impacted. But because this was just announced yesterday, we are still evaluating to see what impact we might see on our business,” a Beijing-based BMW spokesman said. Both Audi and BMW representatives in China confirmed that the impact is minimal because only a small portion of their respective products are priced above the 1.3 million yuan threshold.

    Meanwhile, the ultra luxury segment – which includes Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin – is in such rarefied demographics that the 10% hike is unlikely to pose much of a deterrent to those who are already able and willing to spend the requisite large sums on automobiles.

  • Updated Toyota Camry on sale in M’sia, from RM153k – two new variants, 7 airbags and VSC across the range


    Detailed and open for booking last month, the updated Toyota Camry range in Malaysia is now officially on sale. The range has been expanded to include four variants (up from three): 2.0E, 2.0G X, Hybrid Premium and Hybrid Luxury. In essence, the 2.0G X replaces the 2.0G, while the Hybrid version now comes in two versions.

    Prices, as announced previously are as such: the base 2.0E goes for RM152,900 (RM2k lower than the outgoing base model), the 2.0 G X for RM159,900 (RM5k down from the previous 2.0G), 2.5 Hybrid Premium for RM164,900, while the 2.5 Hybrid Luxury is priced at RM174,900 (unchanged from before). All prices are on-the-road, including insurance.

    No mechanical changes here, so the 2.0 litre models carry on with the 6AR-FSE 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with VVT-iW and D-4S direct and port injection, making 167 PS at 6,500 rpm and 199 Nm at 4,600 rpm. With a six-speed Super ECT automatic transmission, it gets to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds, and it’s rated to use 7.2 litres of fuel per 100 km.

    Likewise, the Camry Hybrid models continue with the 2AR-FXE 2.5 litre VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine (160 PS at 5,700 rpm and 213 Nm at 4,500 rpm), working together with a 143 PS/270 Nm electric with a nickel-metal hydride battery, good for a total system output of 205 PS. With drive provided via an e-CVT transmission, 0-100 km/h is done in 7.8 seconds, while using 5.2 l/100 km.


    The biggest update comes on the safety front. Like on the new Corolla Altis range, all Camry models now come standard with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee bag), VSC, traction control and hill start assist – features missing in the outgoing base 2.0E model. The old 2.0G also only had two airbags, so this is a major bump for the range.

    The Hybrid Luxury (basically the same as the outgoing Hybrid model) adds on a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, though the more affordable Hybrid Premium goes without the extra safety features.

    As before, the whole range comes with automatic dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, keyless entry/start, rear-seat Isofix anchors and body-coloured front and rear parking sensors, among other things. As part of the update, all models now get a gear lever leather boot for a more “premium image.”


    The new 2.0G X brings about a few new additions. The 16-inch alloys seen on the 2.0G have been replaced with 17-inch units, and the model now features a seven-inch touchscreen head unit. Unlike the seven-inch system on the Hybrid, there’s no navigation as standard, but the feature can be added on as an option. Dark brown leather upholstery, Mughal Teak wood trim and Qi wireless charging (previously only on the Hybrid) have been added too.

    As for the 2.5 Hybrid, the Premium is essentially a scaled-down version of the Luxury, priced RM10,000 cheaper. It rides on 16-inch alloys (17s on the Luxury) and comes equipped with a standard tuner/CD player audio system (a seven-inch touchscreen is available as optional kit) and a basic day/night rear-view mirror (electro-chromic on Luxury). It also loses the wireless charging and nanoe ioniser seen in the Luxury.

    The top-spec Camry Hybrid Luxury is almost identical to the previous range-topper, but with a few changes. The 17-inch wheels get a more toned-down silver finish instead of the outgoing model’s more overtly sporty black-and-silver look, while the front foglamps are now LED units. Inside, the JBL sound system gains two extra speakers for a total of 12, and a Driving Video Recorder (also on the Hybrid Premium) is now standard.

    Check out for full specifications of all four variants of the new Toyota Camry range.

    GALLERY: Toyota Camry 2.0G X
    GALLERY: Toyota Camry Hybrid Luxury

  • New Jaguar Land Rover showroom opens in Penang

    Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia has opened a new showroom in Penang for the northern region, via Sisma Auto (Utara) Sdn Bhd, the appointed exclusive dealer for the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Located along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah on Penang Island, the showroom is complemented by Sisma Auto Utara’s Jaguar Land Rover service centre along Sungai Pinang which has been operational since 2015.

    Sited on 28,000 sq ft of land, the new showroom in Penang is Sisma Auto’s third location after its flagship 3S centre in Glenmarie and its showroom in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The Penang showroom also serves as a drop-off point, from which Jaguars or Land Rovers can be sent for servicing.

    Sisma Auto Utara can be reached at 04-226 2279 for product enquiries and test drive requests, or at 04-288 1155 for aftersales service matters.

  • ASEAN NCAP Grand Prix Awards 2016 winners listed – Honda gets 10, Toyota 8, Nissan 4, Proton 3, Perodua 2

    After the award dinner earlier this week, we now know the full list of winners of the ASEAN NCAP Grand Prix Awards 2016. The awards were meant to acknowledge vehicles, companies and individuals in the name of vehicle/road safety.

    In this year’s winners list, Honda picked up a total of 10 awards, Toyota won eight, Nissan had four, while Malaysian carmakers received three and two awards respectively. Also, Mazda, Hyundai, Ford and Suzuki each picked up an award as well.

    Awards were given for models that achieved the best safety performance, according to vehicle classes. The scores of Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) and Child Occupant Protection (COP) are taken into account, with awards given for each category. The model with the best overall scores are also awarded.


    Here is the list of the safety performance awards recipients, by vehicle type:

    Mini car
    AOP – Toyota Agya
    COP – Toyota Agya

    Small family car
    AOP – Perodua Bezza
    COP – Perodua Bezza

    Medium family car
    AOP – Honda Civic
    COP – Honda Civic

    Large family car
    AOP – Nissan Teana
    COP – Nissan Teana

    AOP – Toyota Sienta
    COP – Toyota Innova

    AOP – Suzuki S-Cross
    COP – Toyota Rush

    Pick-up truck
    AOP – Ford Ranger
    COP – Toyota Hilux

    Best overall car
    AOP – Nissan Teana
    COP – Nissan Teana

    Do note that this is a regional award, not specific to cars sold in Malaysia only, hence the inclusion of models not sold here such as the Toyota Agya. The best overall car, the Nissan Teana, scored a perfect score for AOP, with 88% compliance for COP – highest ever recorded by ASEAN NCAP.

    Honda BR-V ASEAN NCAP 1

    New to this year are awards for affordable safety, given to the cheapest models in each ASEAN country with a full five-star ASEAN NCAP crash safety rating. The Proton Iriz took the honour for Malaysia, while the Preve won it for the Thai-market. Awards for other markets were all given to Honda models, namely the BR-V (Indonesia), City (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos), Jazz (Philippines) and HR-V (Brunei and Singapore).

    On top of all these, rising star recognition awards were handed out to the Proton Saga for the evolution of the model over the years; the Toyota Corolla for adding seven airbags and electronic stability control as standard fitment; and the Hyundai Elantra over the Global Safety Concept of No Zero Star Car.

    Special safety technology awards were also given to companies with specific safety features. For this year, Honda Sensing, Mazda i-ActivSense, Toyota Blind Spot Monitor and Bosch Motorcycle innovative technology each received safety recognitions. Last but not least, our own Jonathan Lee was given a Journalist Appreciation Award this year, to go along with the Media Contribution Award given to in 2014.

  • VIDEO: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid full walk-around tour

    Starting from RM100,328 for the base HEV variant, the 2016 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid appears to represent great value. Locally assembled by Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors at its Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah, the Hyundai Ioniq HEV is joined by the HEV Plus, at RM110,328 (prices are OTR, without insurance).

    The Ioniq is powered by a 1.6 litre Kappa GDI four-cylinder Atkinson cycle direct injection engine, which produces 105 PS at 5,700 rpm and 147 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is mated with a six-speed dry clutch transmission and a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, which provides 44 PS and 170 Nm, culminating in a total system output of 141 PS and 265 Nm.

    In Malaysia, the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid gets the full safety suite, including AEB, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor as well as Smart Cruise Control in its top-spec RM111k HEV Plus guise. However, even the base RM100k HEV model gets seven airbags and electronic stability control as standard. In fully loaded guise, the Hyundai Ioniq has scored the full five-star Euro NCAP rating.

    Concerned about the traction battery? Fear not, for Hyundai has it covered with an eight-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and should it require replacement after that period, it’s been guaranteed to cost less than RM10,000.

    As part of an introductory offer, Ioniq customers will also benefit from a three-year or 60,000 km free service package, three-year guaranteed automotive protection (GAP) insurance coverage and interest rate from as low as 2.28%.

    Browse the full specifications and equipment of the Hyundai Ioniq on

    Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid HEV Plus

  • MRT phase 1 route to be served by 112 feeder buses


    All 12 stations along the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) phase 1 route from Semantan to Sg Buloh will have 112 feeder buses operating along them from Dec 16, according to a Bernama report.

    “A discount of 20% will be given to students, senior citizens, holders of weekly and monthly passes,” said MRT Corp’s head of feeder bus and infrastructure planning, Rudyanto Azhar, when contacted by Bernama.

    He added that commuters need only pay RM1 for the feeder bus service, and that up to 300 buses are provided as feeders in a joint venture between MRT Corp and Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, via Rapid Bus.

    An additional 188 feeder buses are set to operate according to schedule when the MRT is fully completed from Semantan to Kajang on July 31, 2017, he said, adding that 26 bus routes travelling between stations will be deployed in the first phase with a total distance of 256.3 km.

    Three to five buses will be operating on each route with a frequency of 10 minutes each, according to Rudyanto. “The bus is equipped with comfortable seats, a special room for people with disabilities and security cameras (CCTV) and can accommodate up to 62 passengers at a time,” he said.

  • Kia GT – new sports sedan teased, due next month

    A short teaser video of the upcoming Kia GT has been released, along with a countdown to January 8, 2017, when the new rear-wheel drive sports sedan looks set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show. The video above doesn’t really show anything, though, other than a rather generic speedo hitting 244 km/h on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

    An image of the GT has been going around the Internet lately. Though we can’t share it here, due to‘s policy against internal leaks, we can say that it appears to draw direct cues from the original Kia GT Concept from 2011 (below), including its RWD cab-backward profile and unique thin-edged taillights.

    From recent spyshots of the model, we now know that it isn’t really a sedan per se, as it actually has a liftback tailgate, a la the Audi A7 Sportback. With a sporty rear-wheel drive platform, honed on the Nurburgring no less, the Kia GT looks set to take on the big boys in the sports sedan market.

    You can expect it to have a powerful engine up front, likely to be Hyundai’s 3.3 litre twin-turbo V6 already on offer on the Genesis G80, where it offers up to 365 hp and 510 Nm in Sport guise. So what do you think of this Kia sports sedan, everyone?

    GALLERY: Kia GT spyshots

    GALLERY: 2011 Kia GT concept

  • Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV teased, set for 2018 debut


    Rolls-Royce calls this an “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle,” but we know this as an SUV – albeit a very luxurious one. Dubbed Project Cullinan, the upcoming luxury SUV draws on current Rolls-Royce design cues such as a squared, chiseled front with an imposing upright grille, and the traditional coach door (also known as suicide door) layout has been confirmed for the Cullinan as well.

    Testing is well underway, with engineering mules built to develop the new all-wheel-drive system for Rolls-Royce’s latest design, and to test the new aluminium platform that will underpin all Rolls-Royces from 2018. The Cullinan is scheduled to undergo cold weather durability and traction testing in the Arctic Circle at year’s end, while hot weather and desert conditions testing will take place in the Middle East next year.


    An updated iteration of the 6.75 litre V12 is expected to power the Cullinan initially when it comes to market, but given that it is expected to compete directly against the Bentley Bentayga, the Goodwood marque’s 6.6 litre, twin-turbocharged V12 that is based on a BMW unit could be a possibility as well. Speaking of which, BMW’s upcoming X7 is said to share some of its components with the Cullinan.

    “This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world. Bringing together the new four-wheel drive system and the new ‘architecture of luxury’ for the first time sets us on the road to creating a truly authentic Rolls-Royce which, like its forebears, will reset the standard by which all other luxury goods are judged,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

  • Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen now selling better than ever


    Despite being 37 years old this year, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen has set its own production record – the 20,000th unit, an AMG G63 in Designo Mystic White Bright paint, has rolled off the line at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria.

    “The individualisation and continuous technical optimisation of the G Class contribute to the great success of the original off-road icon, which still makes no compromises when it comes to off-road,” said Mercedes-Benz head of off-road products, Gunnar Guthenke.

    “The production of 20,000 G-Classes in one year confirms the high demand for the ‘G’ and the quality of our vehicles, something that is highly appreciated by our customers. I am very pleased and also proud that some of our employees have been on board since production started 37 years ago,” Guthenke added.


    The venerable off-roader is set for a thorough refresh next year, with major changes for the next-generation model bringing a weight reduction of up to 400 kg compared to the present-day model. It is expected to be wider than the existing vehicle by about 10 cm, which will allow more space in the cabin. Inside, there will be a new cabin featuring technology and design cues from the W213 E-Class.

    When the next-generation G-Wagen arrives, it should carry over the 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 petrol from the current G 500 and G 500 4×4², and likely with a range of six-cylinder diesels too. Transmission will go to all axles via a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

    In Malaysia, the G-Wagen is available in top-spec Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 463 form, priced at RM1,181,888. Long live the legend.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG G63 Edition 463 in Malaysia


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