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  • Toyota Land Cruiser 300 goes on sale in Japan – 309 PS and 415 PS twin-turbo V6s, GR Sport, from RM196k

    Revealed to the world in June, the new Toyota Land Cruiser has gone on sale in its home market of Japan today, available in five variants and two engine choices. Known as the 300 Series, the sixth generation of the luxury-oriented “wagon” version replaces the 200 Series, which has been kicking around since 2007.

    As previously reported, the new Land Cruiser rides on a new ladder frame version (GA-F) of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Utilising the latest welding techniques, the chassis is 20% stiffer than before and contributes to improved collision safety, refinement and ride quality.

    Together with the increased use of high-strength steel and an aluminium bonnet, roof and door panels, the new construction also makes the car some 200 kg lighter. The Land Cruiser boasts an improved weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity as well, as the powertrain has been positioned 70 mm rearward and 28 mm downward. Toyota says that revisions have made for a better ride and reduced emissions.

    While the front double wishbones and rear solid axle remains, the suspension has been redesigned, with the rear dampers repositioned for a more comfortable ride and increased steering stability. The suspension arms have also been relocated for greater wheel articulation and a more stable body posture even under braking. The available adaptive dampers feature a new linear solenoid to improve ride and stability.

    Despite the all-new design, the Land Cruiser still uses hydraulic power steering, albeit with an optional electric steering actuator (an electro-hydraulic system, essentially). This allows for the fitment of lane centring assist and delivers increased low-speed manoeuvrability, reduced off-road kickback and sharper steering. The brake-by-wire system is also claimed to ensure that braking is more linear.

    Other off-road-friendly features include an optional Torsen rear limited-slip differential, a Multi Terrain Select system (now operational in high-range four-wheel-drive mode) with Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock settings, a 360-degree Multi Terrain Monitor with a Land Rover-style underfloor view and a dedicated off-road information display in the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.

    Aside from the new underpinnings, the Land Cruiser also receives twin-turbocharged V6 engines that replace the old V8s. The V35A-FTS 3.4 litre petrol mill is derived from the Lexus LS 500 and makes 415 PS at 5,200 rpm and 650 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 3,600 rpm, while the F33A-FTV 3.3 litre diesel is all new and gets optimised combustion chambers, intake ports and injectors, plus two-stage variable geometry turbos.

    The result is 309 PS at 4,000 rpm and a whopping 700 Nm between 1,600 and 2,600 rpm. Both engines are mated to a Direct Shift ten-speed automatic gearbox with a wider lock-up range, smaller gear steps and a broader ratio spread, providing a smoother drive, increased high-speed fuel efficiency and improved starting acceleration and off-road performance.

    Land Cruiser owners are typically a traditionalist bunch, so even though the new model rides on a brand new platform, it shares the same overall length, wheelbase and approach, departure and breakover angles as the previous 200 Series, retaining the old car’s manoeuvrability and off-road performance.

    The basic proportions have also been retained, with a cab-backwards profile, a tall positioning of the headlights and grille and bumpers that are designed to provide optimum ground clearance. Instead of the rather meek look of the outgoing model, however, the new car has quite an extroverted design, with a much more aggressive and angular appearance.

    At the front, the slim headlights are joined together by a prominent U-shaped air intake that runs underneath the large grille, giving the car a Stormtrooper-like aesthetic – especially when combined with the new Precious White Pearl paint. The tall bonnet also features a noticeable central channel, claimed to improve pedestrian safety as well as outward visibility.

    Moving to the side of the car, you’ll find prominent squared-off fender bulges and an upswept window line that give the car a more dynamic look. The wing mirror posts have also been moved to the doors to improve aerodynamics, while the rear end is equipped with trapezoidal taillights.

    Inside, the Land Cruiser benefits from a redesigned cabin that features a modern freestanding centre touchscreen, analogue gauges for ultimate clarity, a curved centre console and a tall transmission tunnel. The interior is said to have been designed with off-roading in mind – the horizontal upper dashboard, for example, allows the driver to easily assess the body’s attitude even in extreme circumstances.

    The intuitive grouping of all controls – including the drive modes, air-conditioning, infotainment and off-road data – also allows for easier operation when driving off-road, while a single dial is responsible for selecting the drive modes, hill descent control and Crawl Control low-speed cruise control. The latter is positioned so that it can be used while viewing the centre screen.

    But the Land Cruiser is also a flagship, so it comes with all the creature comforts that you’d expect, such as heated and ventilated seats on the first and second row, a Lexus-style two-sided opening centre armrest, an optional cooler box, Panasonic’s nanoe air ioniser, multiple user preferences and a hands-free powered tailgate. There’s also a Toyota-first a fingerprint reader on the starter button to authenticate the driver.

    The company has also revised the seating layout to increase comfort, luggage space and collision protection, pushing the front seats rearwards and revamping the structure and positioning of the second and third rows. Toyota has also added a power-folding and unfolding function for the rearmost seats.

    The redesign has allowed the Land Cruiser to receive the latest Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assists, including pedestrian, cyclist and oncoming vehicle detection for the autonomous emergency braking, low-speed AEB, pedal misapplication control, a door opening warning and car-to-x communication.

    Aside from the standard variants, the Land Cruiser is also being offered for the first time with a GR Sport model, inspired by the Dakar Rally. In fact, Toyota is planning to participate in the 2023 edition with an entry based on this version of the Land Cruiser.

    Designed to deliver even greater off-road capability, the GR Sport is differentiated by the unique honeycomb grille with the “Toyota” script, as well as redesigned front and rear bumpers with an unpainted black finish for even better approach and departure angles and increased durability. There are also smaller 18-inch Mud Grey aluminium wheels and rear mud guards.

    Inside, the GR Sport comes with exclusive black or red leather upholstery, GR seat embroidery, machined carbon-weave steering wheel and dashboard trim and a unique start-up trim; you also get GR-badged keys. But the changes are not just skin-deep, with the car also gaining the world’s first Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS), which adds electronic control to the hydraulic cross-linked anti-roll bars. The front axle also receives a locking differential to join the rear.

    Pricing for the petrol-powered Land Cruiser ranges from 5,100,000 yen (RM196,700) for the base GX to 7,700,000 yen (RM297,000) for the GR Sport. The diesel models are limited to the range-topping ZX and GR Sport trims, priced at 7,600,000 yen (RM293,200) and 8,000,000 yen (RM308,600) respectively.

  • 2022 Honda HR-V e:HEV – UK pricing announced, three variants, from RM159k, deliveries from end-2021

    Having revealed details of the e:HEV hybrid powertrain on its European-market HR-V last week, Honda has now confirmed pricing of the compact SUV for the UK market, along with the variants it will be offering there.

    A total of three grades will be available, starting with the Elegance, which is priced from £26,960 (RM158,600) and features LED headlights, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and seamless smartphone connectivity as standard.

    The next step up is known as the Advance. Priced from £29,210 (RM171,700), the mid-range grade adds a power tailgate with a ‘Walk Away Close and Handsfree access’ function, a heated steering wheel as well as synthetic leather/fabric upholstery into the equation.

    Finally, there’s the Advance Style, which is available from £31,660 (RM186,000). It adds premium audio, unique details and stand-out design elements such as a two-tone exterior paint finish and orange detailing to the cabin.

    In terms of pricing, that for the third-gen starts at a higher price point than the outgoing car, which is available in a multitude of guises. At its cheapest, the current HR-V starts from around £20,000 (RM118,000) for a 1.5 i-VTEC S grade, and at the highest end of the range that of the 1.5 VTEC Turbo Sport hovers around the £29k (RM170,000) mark, making the new car nearly £2,500 (RM14,700) more in its range-topping Advance Style form.

    New bits on the HR-V include Honda Sensing, the suite introducing a raft of safety and driver assist items to the vehicle, as well Hill Descent Control, which makes its way on to European models for the first time. There’s also an Air Diffusion System, which features unique L-shaped air vents at the corners of the dashboard – these can be used to direct air along the sides and roof of the car, rather than directly at the occupants’ faces.

    As it is in Europe, the UK will get only one powertrain option for the new car, and that’s the e:HEV hybrid system, made up of a 131 PS/253 Nm electric motor and a 108 PS/127 Nm 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC engine, qirh the latter charging the battery and helping to provide motive power at higher speeds. Euro-spec performance figures include a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 10.6 seconds and a fuel consumption of 5.4 litres per 100 km combined on the WLTP cycle.

    In the UK, the new HR-V will continue the fight against the likes of the Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-30 and Hyundai Kona as well as the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. First deliveries for the UK market are expected to begin from late this year.

    GALLERY: 2022 Honda HR-V, European-spec model


  • 2021 Indian Scouts – “One Hundred”, “Red Wings”

    Hailing from the Lorraine region of France, Indian Motorcycle Metz has produced two customs based on the Indian Scout Bobber. Inspiration for this pair of custom bike builds is drawn from two different areas, the “One Hundred” is based on the motorcycle sprint drag strip racers of days gone by while “Red Wings” draws traditional styling cues from the American cruiser scene.

    Red Wings is an old school drag racer at heart, with design details such as the Monza style fuel cap and the Joker machined pulley cover as part of the build. The seat is a custom unit made by Les Leathers Joff le Barbu and incorporates the Indian Motorcycle brand and the Metz logo.

    HD Wheels USA supplies the chrome wire wheels with 200-section rear tyre, complemented by the Freedom Performance exhaust. The rear end of Red Wings features Arnott air suspension and the tyre is covered with a custom made fender from Metz, with Candy Apple paintwork by AR Performance tying the whole together.

    The telescopic front forks from the Indian Scout Bobber are gone, replaced with a girder style springer front fork made by German metal fabrication specialists Blechfee. A lenticular front headlight, Kellerman turn signals and a reinforced Klock Werks handlebar completes the build of Red Wing.

    Celebrating Metz selling 100 motorcycles in a business year, One Hundred comes straight from the DNA of American muscle bike drag strip racers. A drag racing seating position and Biltwell handlebars flipped upside down leave no doubt Hundred wants to go in a straight line, fast.

    The intake tract on One Hundred is an open unit, feeding a Task Performance air filter with gases exiting through a Freedom Performance exhaust. Alloy wheels from Revtech are fitted with Avon Cobra Chrome rubber while suspension and braking are taken care of by Arnott pneumatic rear suspension and Galfer petal brake discs.

    A saddle kit from Wunderkind and risers for the turned over handlebars complete the riding position for One Hundred. Paintwork in Lamborghini Orange is a seven-coat affair, including a final ceramic finish, and done by AR Performance.

    GALLERY: 2021 Indian Motorcycle Metz Scout Bobber “Red Wings”

    GALLERY: 2021 Indian Motorcycle Metz Scout Bibber “Hundred”

  • BMW i4 M50 Safety Car to debut at Spielberg, Austria for FIM Enel MotoE World Cup on August 15

    BMW has unveiled the BMW i4 M50 as the first fully electric vehicle from its line-up to be tasked as the official safety car for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, and will premiere August 15 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. This takes over safety car duties from the BMW i8 in the motorcycle racing series, and which as also the safety car for Formula E in 2014.

    The i4 M50 Safety Car carries over the i4 M50’s setup of a duo of electric motors – one on each axle – for a total system output of 544 hp and 795 Nm of torque sent to all four wheels. Exterior changes to all-electric four-door coupé are bright green graphics applied over a grey exterior base paint finish, while the grille inserts, side intake inserts and rear diffuser panels are also finished in bright green.

    The base vehicle is the first fully electric vehicle to emerge from BMW M, and is positioned as the zero-emissions sibling to the M440i, and thus the i4 M50 is positioned above the regular i4 eDrive40.

    In series-production guise, the i4 M50 packs an 83.9 kWh battery that offers up to 510 km of range on the WLTP cycle, and can be charged at a rate of up to 200 kW via a DC CCS Combo 2 connection that yields 140 km of additional range from a 10-minute charge. From its 11 kW integrated AC charger with a Type 2 connection, charging from 0% to 100% will take just under 8.5 hours, according to BMW.

    Distinguishing the M50 variant are adaptive M dampers with uprated springs, self-levelling rear air suspension, near-actuator wheel slip limiter, custom anti-roll bars and an additional spring strut tower brace, variable sport steering, M sport brakes and wheels ranging from 18 to 20 inches in diameter.

    All i4 variants including the M50 get an acoustic pedestrian protection system as standard which warns pedestrians of its presence by emitting artificially generated sounds through exterior speakers. This is activated when driving below 21 km/h in Europe, or 31 km/h in the United States.

    Meanwhile, the safety car fleet for the 2021 MotoGP season is comprised of the G80 M3, G82 M4 and the F90 M5 CS, as well as the BMW Motorrad M 1000 RR Safety Bike, along with the BMW M8 Competition Coupe Safety Car, the F93 M8 Competition Gran Coupe Safety Car, an F95 X5 M Medical Car and an additional M 1000 RR Safety Bike from April.

    GALLERY: BMW i4 M50

  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class facelift in Malaysia – live photos of the E200 Avantgarde and E300 AMG Line

    Last week, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia launched the new W213 E-Class facelift, which is available in two variants, namely the E 200 Avantgarde and E 300 AMG Line. Pricing for the former is RM326,943 on-the-road without insurance, while the latter will set you back RM375,432.

    These prices take into account the ongoing sales tax exemption, which is 100%, as the latest E-Class is locally assembled (CKD) like the pre-facelift model. You also get a four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty with each purchase.

    While we would usually put out comprehensive galleries of the new variants within a few days of a launch, the SOPs currently in place during phase one of the NRP make it difficult to do so. However, thanks to Jason Lai, a sales advisor for Cycle & Carriage Bintang PJ Autohaus, we now have some live photos of the refreshed E-Class for you to check out.

    Styling changes at the front include a new front grille that is now slimmer than before, and on the Avantgarde variant, the grille is hexagonal in shape with two slats running across a black lattice. Meanwhile, the AMG Line gets a trapezoidal-shaped nose with a single slat on top of a sea of chrome pins.

    Another way to tell the two apart is by looking at the bumper design, with the Avantgarde sporting a wide homeycomb mesh in the lower apron compared to the AMG Line’s vertical bars and prominent faux corner inlets. The AMG Line car also gets bold 19-inch AMG five-twin-spoke wheels, while it’s just 18-inch, non-AMG units for the Avantgarde.

    Both come with power domes on the bonnet and two-piece taillights, with the latter replacing the pre-facelift model’s vertical-oriented clusters. Dual exhaust “outlets” are also present, although the accompanying chrome garnish differs slightly between the two styling packages.

    Inside, the E 200 and E 300 variants come with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system as standard, which is part of the facelift, and consists two 12.3-inch displays for the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment.

    The E 300 AMG Line’s cabin comes with black open-pored ash wood trim, an Artico leather dashboard, Nappa leather seats, a Burmester sound system and a sports steering wheel. Moving inside the E 200 Avantgarde, you get a normal steering wheel, light longitudinal-grain aluminium and black open-pored ash wood for the centre console and Artico upholstered seats.

    Under the bonnet, it’s still the familiar M264 engine instead of the newer M254, with both cars powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit. In the E 200, the mill serves up 197 PS (194 hp) and 320 Nm of torque, while the E 300 provides 258 PS (255 hp) and 370 Nm. The standard transmission here is a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic, with drive sent to the rear wheels.

    Naturally, the E 300 is the quicker in a 0-100 km/h sprint, taking just 6.2 seconds to complete the feat, while the E 200 requires 7.4 seconds. The top speed is also higher for the former at 250 km/h instead of 240 km/h.

    GALLERY: 2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 300 AMG Line

    GALLERY: 2021 W213 Mercedes-Benz E 200 Avantgarde

  • 2021 Proton Iriz, Persona facelift official teaser – new SUV-style ‘Iriz Active’, centre console; floating screen

    This is the official teaser video of the 2021 Proton Iriz and Persona facelifts, which we got an unintended glimpse of last month. Proton’s B-segment hatchback and sedan were last facelifted in 2019.

    What do we see here? First, the Iriz seems to have received an SUV-inspired version, replete with black body cladding and wheelarches, plus roof rails, much like the Perodua Axia Style. This “rugged” variant is seen here with new multi-spoke wheels. The red example in the teaser video is matched with a black roof, which helps the silver rails stand out.

    It looks like the interior gets some red trim too – we can see that the frames of the centre console and head unit (both of which are new, more on this later) are in red, matched with part-leather seats with red stitching. Could this new flagship variant be called Iriz Active? Proton did come up with the Iriz Active Concept in 2014 if you remember.

    The Persona’s door cards are shown, and we can see perforated tan brown leather inserts. The sedan also gets new wheels, which are in a twin-six-spoke design. If you’re thinking “those wheels are rather big”, it appears that top-spec cars will get 16-inch rims now, an inch larger. The big interior news is a larger free-standing a.k.a. “floating” central head unit touchscreen (for both cars) that pushes the central AC vents downwards.

    The screen still shows Joox as the music app – no Spotify yet – but the “Hi, Proton” voice command system is now able to control the windows and air con (previously, it was just the audio). The centre console is also new – now, there are three cupholders in various shapes next to the handbrake (from two). Also, we noticed that the gear selector has an ‘S’ position in place of ‘L’.

    Both cars get a fresh grille design with Proton’s new round tiger badge, new bumpers and LED headlamps. Proton has opened a registration of interest page for both these facelifted models, which are just around the corner now. Check out our screenshots below.


    2021 ##Proton ##Iriz & ##Persona facelifts teased! Launching this week! ##paultancars ##paultan ##carsoftiktok ##malaysia ##fyp? ##foryou ##foryoupage

    ? I Can’t Stop (Ekali Tribute) – Flux Pavilion

  • Three-in-a-row for Lettenbichler in 2021 Romaniacs

    Stamping his mark on the FIM Hard Enduro championship, Manuel Lettenbichler of Germany took the race win for the third year running in the 2021 Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye. Touted as one of the toughest odd-road events in the Enduro race calendar, this year’s Romaniacs was held in the Carpathian mountains near Sibiu, Romania.

    Race favourite Graham Jarvis, riding for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing started Romaniacs strongly after completing the first day’s prologue in first place, while Lettenbichler finished the 18 km course in fourth. While the race initially shaped up to be a battle between Lettenbichler and Jarvis, a knee injury put paid to Jarvis’ race hopes, dropping him further down the ladder as racing progressed.

    Capitalising on this, Lettenbichler powered his way to the front of the remaining races on his KTM 300 EXC, increasing his race margin with every checkpoint. At the end of the five days of racing, including a marathon overnight stage on day two with no team assistance, Lettenbichler won the 2021 Romaniacs ahead of Wade Young and Mario Roman in second and third place respectively, both riding Shercos.

    Lettenbichler finished the race with a comfortable 27 minute 28 second lead, after close to 20 hours of racing. With the 2021 Romaniacs win, Lettenbichler now tops the Hard Enduro World Championship with 37 points, followed by Billy Bolt of Great Britain in second with 33 points and Wade Young of South Africa with 25 points.

  • Volkswagen Cares mobile app for iOS and Android now updated as one-stop sales and aftersales centre

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has now launched the revised Volkswagen Cares mobile app that now includes a host of new features, in addition to the aftersales functions which featured in the app at its original launch in 2019.

    The new app has been developed with feedback from customers, says VPCM, and it now serves as a virtual one-stop centre for customers’ sales and aftersales needs. In addition to the seamless management of customers’ vehicle information and online scheduling of service appointments, users can also connect with the Volkswagen Malaysia and its network of dealerships.

    Here, the Volkswagen Cares app incorporates Volkswagen Insurance Plan reminders, and helps customers manage the use of vouchers received. Future upgrades planned for the app include a rewards system, as well as a payment gateway.

    The aftersales aspect also includes pick-up and drop-off options for vehicle service appointments, an online, complimentary 5 Star Service Check, Service Cam, as well as a range of payment plans and cashless payment options, said Volkswagen Malaysia.

    Volkswagen Malaysia has around 30,000 registered owners to date, and more than 50% of this total are members of the Volkswagen Care Plus (VCP) programme with with vehicles that are five years of age or older, said VPCM managing director Erik Winter in a statement.

    Replacing the previous version with immediate effect, the latest iteration of the Volkswagen Cares mobile app is available on the Apple App Store for iOS devices, and on the Google Play Store for Android devices.

  • Puspakom Cheras, Glenmarie, JB and Taman Daya branches closed for sanitisation – auto refunds

    Puspakom has announced the temporary closure of its Glenmarie, Johor Bahru, Cheras and Taman Daya (Johor) branches for the disinfection and sanitisation process. The outlets will remain closed until further notice.

    The Glenmarie and JB branches have been shut since July 30, and the latter’s closure includes all mobile inspection for Johor. The Taman Daya branch closure is from August 1, while Cheras will be closed from today onwards.

    As usual, all payment made in advance for appointments scheduled during the closure will be automatically refunded. One will have to make new appointments when the branches reopen. Should you receive it, ignore the MyPuspakom appointment reminder.

    However, there are some options for those who have appointments at Glenmarie and JB. For Glenmarie customers, you can bring your appointment slip and walk-in at Puspakom branches at PJ and Padang Jawa. JB customers can opt to do the same at branches in Pasir Gudang, Senai and Kluang. If you opt to walk-in at alternative branches, payment must be made there, as your original payment would be auto-refunded.

  • Toyota Yaris ECOVan debuts – hatchback converted into light commercial vehicle; 720 litres of boot space

    Converting passenger vehicles into light commercial vehicles is pretty common in Europe, as we’ve seen with the Citroen My Ami Cargo and Renault Zoe Van. Toyota has now done the same for the Yaris, introducing a new ECOVan variant in Spain just over a year after the regular model went on sale in the region.

    From the outside, the Yaris ECOVan looks like any other Yaris, although the automaker does provide the option of vinyl-covered rear windows if you want to personalise the vehicle with a corresponding corporate branding.

    It’s on the inside where things are quite different, as the rear seats have been removed to allow for a lot more cargo space. Toyota quotes 720 litres of capacity, which is more than the 286 litres of the passenger version, and the conversion also adds a wooden boot floor with a rubber overlay, plus tie straps.

    The ECOVan can carry up to 430 kg of cargo and the flat floor has surface area of 0.9 cubic metres, with a maximum length of 1,242.8 mm between the caged divider and the end of the boot. Meanwhile, the minimum width is 866.8 mm and the height, from floor to ceiling, is 694.8 mm, while the height available at the loading area is 670.2 mm.

    The conversion will cost an additional 1,300 euros (RM6,518) on top of the base model and there are two trim levels to choose from: Business Plus and Active Tech. The former starts from 23,373 euros (RM117,214) and comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense, a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels as well as fog lamps or LED headlamps with automatic high beam.

    The Active Tech builds upon this list by adding on LED taillights, a leather steering wheel, keyless entry and engine start, a rear-view camera or an eight-inch touchscreen, all for a starting price of 24,498 euros (RM122,846).

    Regardless of trim level, the ECOVan is powered by a sole hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The total output is 116 PS (114 hp or 85 kW) and 120 Nm, with drive being sent to the front wheels via an e-CVT.

    Toyota notes that the ECOVan is intended mainly for small companies and freelancers like repairers, electricians, distributors, representatives, medical material services and other commercial purposes. For now, it is only available in Spain, but will likely be offered in other European markets in the future.


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Last Updated 29 Jul 2021