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  • Skoda Rapid gets second facelift for Russian market

    Skoda might have largely replaced its Rapid with the more sophisticated Scala, but the former has been so successful in Russia that the company has evidently seen fit to leave it there. Instead, the Czech carmaker has drafted a second, more comprehensive facelift for the budget-oriented family notchback, giving it a new look more in line with the rest of its modern lineup.

    To that end, the car has received a heavily creased front end, consisting of a hexagonal grille that is linked to the arrow-shaped LED headlights. This, together with the full-width lower air intake and horizontal fog lights, makes the car appear wider. The rear end also gets broader L-shaped tail lights, a re-profiled bumper design and spaced-out Skoda script on the bootlid.

    The wheel options available measure up to 16 inches in diameter, and unique to Russia is a standard-fit “bad road” package that adds a raised ride height to protect against chassis damage. Inside, the Rapid gains a new dashboard that is again inspired by recent Skoda models, incorporating a cutout for the freestanding centre touchscreen that measures either 6.5 inches or 8.0 inches across.

    Elsewhere, you get two USB-C ports and the steering wheel is now a two-spoke item, although you can still specify a heated three-spoke sports wheel if you so wish, along with sports seats. Safety-wise, the Rapid is now available with autonomous emergency braking, while hill start assist is also on the options list.

    Two engines will be offered, starting with a 1.6 litre MPI naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with either 90 PS and a five-speed manual gearbox or 110 PS and the option of a conventional six-speed automatic. There’s also a 1.4 litre TSI turbo four-pot with 125 PS and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

     
  • No bespoke sports car from Seat’s Cupra brand – CEO

    Seat’s Cupra sub-brand will not be having a bespoke sports car anytime soon. The performance arm of the Volkswagen Group’s Spanish brand will focus on SUVs, Cupra CEO Luca de Meo told Autocar.

    “You want roadsters, two-seaters, cabrios? This is a typical perspective from your (British) market. We don’t get that question from other markets… sometimes from Germans,” the Seat president said, drawing attention to the SUV.

    “SUVs are called sports utility vehicles because they represent a new concept of sportiness. These kinds of things, SUVs with a coupe look, this is what for us was the two-door – an impractical coupe you could barely fit in, but it was fast, the handling was amazing because of a low centre of gravity etc. These things are gone,” he explained.

    The 52-year old Italian – who is reported to be a target of Renault to be its next CEO – told the UK mag that the argument about building a sports car is an emotional one, not a rational one, for now.

    “I cannot afford to drop a few hundred million on something where I sell 15,000 cars at a loss just for the sake of doing a sports car. When I have some resources, I can tell you we have a lot of creativity, but right now this is not a priority. Seat sells 500,000 cars (a year). I do not have the luxury to do that sort of thing, although I do like it,” he elaborated.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise what Cupra’s focus is on. Since the brand was floated in early 2018, its first three models were all SUVs. First was the Cupra Ateca (based on the Seat Ateca B-segment SUV), and then came the Formentor concept and the Tavascan concept you see here. The Formentor is set to debut as Cupra’s first standalone model next year, while the Tavascan – a full EV – is likely to surface as a production car in the next two years.

    The Seat boss admitted that the original plan for Cupra was less ambitious. “I wanted to create a business around the motorsport division to protect it from my successor coming in and saying ‘Racing? We don’t need that’ and closing (it). I wanted to create a business around motorsport that can finance its operations. That was the initial idea. Then it became much bigger.”

    GALLERY: Cupra Tavascan concept

     
  • TNG eWallet can be used to pay for street parking

    Paying for street parking can be a bit of a hassle at times when you have insufficient coins or when a parking machine isn’t in sight. However, this is less of an issue for Touch ‘n Go eWallet users, as they now have access to a cashless parking payment method through the app, which is valid for street parking under the jurisdiction of five city and municipal councils.

    These include Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Perbadanan Putrajaya, the Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) and the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB).

    To use the TNG eWallet for street parking, you’ll first need to tap on the Parking icon under “Services” in the main screen and add your vehicle number and description. From there, choose the desired parking location followed by the duration, and make the necessary payment.

    The app will send you a reminder when the amount of parking left is down to 15 minutes, and you can extend the duration through the service. There’s also no need to display a parking ticket, so there’s no need to go back and forth between a parking machine and your parked car.

    The service is certainly convenient, but how will council officers know if you’ve paid for your parking if there’s no ticket as proof? Well, according to a check done by Lowyat.net, officials can key in your car’s registration plate number into a device to determine if you’ve made a payment in the system, so that answers that.

    More locations will be added on later on, as Touch ‘n Go is working with other councils to enable this feature. If you’ve used this feature, let us know how the user experience has been for you in the comments section below.

     
  • Perodua Tweckbot offering free inspections in Kota Kinabalu on Dec 21 to 22 for Christmas, New Year

    Perodua’s vehicle inspection service Tweckbot is participating in the Perodua Road Safety Programme ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays, offering free inspections for Perodua owners in Kota Kinabalu on December 21 and 22.

    A Tweckbot booth will be set up at the ITCC Mall in Penanmpang from 10 am to 5 pm. Here, customers who send their cars for inspection will also receive a 20% discount voucher for selected Perodua parts and accessories, redeemable at any authorised Perodua service centre.

    As usual, the inspection will cover over 50 points on the vehicle, including the engine, transmission, cooling system, brakes, power steering, clutch, tyres, suspension and electrics.

    “As Christmas and the New Year approaches, many will be taking to the roads for vacations and to visit family and friends. Therefore it is crucial that their vehicles are in good working order at this time, more so considering the large travel distances in East Malaysia.

    “The Perodua Tweckbot team will thoroughly check your vehicle and give you a condition report for free. While you wait, our friendly staff will engage you in fun activities designed to increase road safety awareness,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

     
  • Ford Ranger 2.2L XLT Special Edition launched in Malaysia – limited units; additional kit; from RM121k

    Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC) has launched the new Ford Ranger 2.2L XLT Special Edition, which gets a number of additional equipment and features over the regular 2.2 XLT Automatic variant currently on sale in Malaysia.

    Prices start at RM120,888 on-the-road without insurance in Peninsular Malaysia, which is RM4,000 more than 2.2 XLT Automatic, and includes a three-year/100,000-km warranty. The model can be had in either Arctic White or Absolute Black, and the company says the pick-up will be available in limited units, although it didn’t reveal just how many are actually available.

    Under the bonnet, the 2.2L XLT Special Edition features a 2.2L TDCi VGT Puma engine, with the four-cylinder turbodiesel unit serving up 160 PS at 3,200 rpm and 385 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. The mill is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, a four-wheel drive system with on-the-fly shifting and an electronic-locking rear differential.

    Add-ons that are unique to the variant include fender flares, geometrical decals and a bed cover on the exterior, while the interior features a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The system is an upgrade over the default 4.2-inch head unit found in the 2.2 XLT Automatic, and it has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as selected apps such as Spotify, Waze, YouTube and Google Chrome via a hotspot connection.

    The rest of the kit list is similar to the 2.2 XLT Automatic, as it includes halogen projector headlamps with DRLs, 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, a reverse camera, fabric seats, two airbags (driver and front passenger), ESC, ABS, EBD, EBA, Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist, Isofix child seat mounts, Rollover Mitigation, Trailer Sway Control and Adaptive Load Control.

     
  • Euro 4M RON 95 petrol confirmed for January roll-out

    In a confirmation of the planned roll-out for the Euro 4M RON 95 petrol, the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry (KPDNHEP) has said that the Euro 4M-grade petrol will be made available from January next year, Bernama reported.

    “The (Euro 4M) RON 95 petrol is of higher quality and the consumers will be able to enjoy it starting next year,” the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Muez Abd Aziz said, adding that the new fuel has benefits for the environment as it reduces smoke production.

    Industry players are preparing for the sale of the new petrol with works being carried out at depots and retail stations, he added, also noting that the ministry has gained the cooperation of companies such as Shell, Petronas and Petron for the implementation of the initiative.

    The introduction of the higher-quality RON 95 petrol is one of the efforts towards achieving the goal of the National Green Technology Policy 2009, which is to reduce environmental pollution and its impact of public health, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said previously.

    The goal of reducing environmental pollution is also the 39th promise in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, he said. Meanwhile, action will be taken against any company found to violate these directives under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, Muez said.

    The roadmap towards increasing fuel quality was first introduced in 2006, which is part of the National Green Technology Policy 2009. Now, consumers have access to Euro 4M-grade RON 97 petrol, which was introduced in September 2015, and Euro 5 diesel which was introduced in November 2014, ahead of its gazetted date in September 2020.

     
  • FIRST LOOK: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC in Malaysia

    This week’s big news is the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz GLC facelift range, with prices starting from RM300k for the entry-level GLC 200. This is followed by the GLC 300 AMG Line with an estimated pricing of RM350k, as well as the GLC 300 Coupe at RM420k. All models come with a four-year/unlimited mileage warranty.

    As facelifts go, the SUVs each get a notable styling revision inside and out, but more importantly they share the M264 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. In the GLC 200, the engine makes 197 PS and 320 Nm of torque, enough for a 0-100 km/h sprint of 7.8 seconds and 217 km/h top speed. The pre-facelift GLC 200 was powered by the M274 and made 184 PS and 300 Nm, while the century sprint was done in 8.7 seconds.

    For the GLC 300 and GLC 300 Coupe, the same engine is fettled to deliver 258 PS and 370 Nm, allowing it to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds (6.3 seconds for the GLC 300 Coupe) and hit a top speed of 240 km/h. A nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission is standard across the board. The GLC 200 is rear-wheel drive, while 4Matic is only available for the GLC 300s.

    Other big upgrades include the fitment of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) that’s linked to a new 10.25-inch touchscreen, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities, as well as a brand new LTE module that enable the Mercedes me connect services. A new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also standard.

    For safety, there’s, seven airbags, Active Brake Assist (autonomous emergency braking or AEB), Blind Sport Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, cruise control, Pre-Safe and a tyre pressure monitoring system are standard across the range. The GLC 300 adds on an Active Lane Keeping Assist system.

    X253 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic facelift

    X253 Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 facelift

    C253 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic Coupe facelift

     
  • West Coast Expressway stretch between NNKSB and Bandar Bukit Raja now open – WCE 71% complete

    Click to enlarge

    Here’s some good news for those who frequent towns on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Section 5 of the West Coast Expressway (WCE) has now opened, connecting the New North Klang Straits Bypass (NNKSB, or Shapadu Highaway) and the Bandar Bukit Raja (North) elevated intersection.

    The 9.7 km stretch is the first out of seven sections in Selangor, and will make it easy for those traveling to Kapar from Shah Alam, vice versa. The stretch was opened by Malaysian Highway Authority director-general Datuk Mohd Shuhaimi Hassan at the new WCE management office in Bandar Bukit Raja this week.

    Prior to this, the WCE was opened in stages in Perak. Back in May, the the Hutan Melintang to Teluk Intan stretch welcomed motorists, followed by the stretch from Kampung Lekir to Beruas in September.

    There are 12 sections of the 233 km coastal highway that will connect Banting in Selangor to Taiping in Perak – five in Perak and seven in Selangor. Eleven of the WCE’s 21 interchanges are in Perak and 10 are in Selangor. The RM5.04 billion project is currently 71% complete.

     
  • German Tesla Gigafactory to make 500k cars a year?

    It’s been revealed that Tesla plans to build up to 500,000 electric vehicles at its new Gigafactory in Berlin, Germany. According to Bild, the plant will create 10,000 jobs, and documents show that the facility will be as large as 420 football fields.

    Construction of the Gigafactory is scheduled to begin in 2020, with Tesla boss Elon Musk identifying a site in Gruenheide, Brandenburg, as the place where the plant will be built. The American automaker will also establish an engineering and design centre in Berlin near the capital city’s new airport.

    More specifically, the factory will manufacture batteries, powertrains, and cars starting with the Model Y crossover, Musk said. The Model 3 sedan, its best-selling model, will be built there later, sources say. Tesla will reportedly invest up to 4 billion euros (RM18.5 billion) in the plant, according to another German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    The Berlin Gigafactory will be the fourth facility in the company’s portfolio, with the most recent being Gigafactory 3 that is located in Shanghai. The other two Gigafactories are located in the US, specifically in Buffalo, New York, and Storey County, Nevada.

    However, do note that the aforementioned US sites do not cover vehicle production. Instead, those are dedicated to supplying battery packs and solar products. Instead, Tesla’s vehicle production in the US is handled by the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, which makes the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and is being prepared to produce the Model Y.

     
  • 2021 Volkswagen Atlas facelift teased in 3 sketches

    After making its debut three years ago, the Volkswagen Atlas is set to receive its first facelift, with the automaker releasing three official sketches to give us some idea of what to expect. Set to go on sale for the 2021 model year, the refreshed, seven-seat SUV is said to receive interior upgrades, new driver assistance and technology features, as well as a revised exterior.

    Based on the sketches, the facelift will see a redesigned grille that is more trapezoidal in shape compared to the rectangular one that was seen initially. Within this frame, you’ll also find new headlamps that feature L-shaped daytime running lights, which blend into the louvres for a more elegant look.

    If this look seems familiar, that’s because it is pretty much identical to the newer Atlas Cross Sport that appeared earlier this year. Meanwhile, the lower apron appears to receive corner inlets in place of the previous fog lamps, while a more prominent skid plate is highlighted in silver.

    No changes are seen on the sides, as the rugged cues of the Atlas are carried over, with black body cladding and pronounced haunches. At the rear, the new taillight graphics mimic the look of the front headlamps, while a red strip has been added along the top edge of the reprofiled bumper.

    There’s no view of the interior, but expect items from the Atlas Cross Sport to be present, including a new steering wheel and the latest infotainment system. Improvements to the list of available safety and driver assistance systems are also to likely.

    In its current, pre-facelift guise, the Atlas sold in the United States is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 235 hp and 350 Nm of torque, or a larger 3.5 litre V6 with 276 hp and 361 Nm. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed transmission, with power being sent to the front wheels, or via the brand’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

    GALLERY: Current Volkswagen Atlas

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM2.08 (0.00)
RON 97 RM2.64 (-0.02)
RON 100 RM2.16
VPR RM3.50
DIESEL
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Last Updated 07 Dec 2019



 

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