October 19, 2014

Toyota Corolla Altis 1.8G - New Variant

Good news for those who need lesser power but more features. UMW Toyota Motor has removed the 2.0G variant of its Corolla Altis and added in a new 1.8G variant. The 1.8G is priced at RM119,900 (RM3k cheaper than the outgoing 2.0G) while the 1.8E has increased its priced by RM1k to RM115,900. The top-of-the-line 2.0V is still selling at RM136k (add RM3k for Additional Safety Package which include Vehicle Stability Control and 7 airbags). 

Yes, there is still no VSC available for the 1.8G.

The powertrain for the 1.8 variants uses the current Dual VVT-i unit with 139PS at 6400rpm and 173Nm of torque at 4000rpm, mated to a '7-speed' CVT gearbox. What differ the 1.8G to the 1.8E is that the former has black combination leather seats, Optitron meter combination, Bluetooth handsfree function, DVD player with 7-inch touchscreen and reverse camera. 

The new 1.8E also gained Smart Entry and Start System and auto on/off headlights. 

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September 17, 2014


Perodua Axia, say "Ah-see-ya"! Read the name in our national language and you will find yourself saying 'Asia'. Nevertheless, it's a great name for one of the most affordable cars you can get in Malaysia. With price starting from RM24,600 OTR, many Malaysian can now own a car. The Axia is the replacement model of Viva, but somehow Viva is still selling in the market with its entry model selling at RM22k. However, the entry model Axia Standard E manual, which is just roughly RM3k dearer than the cheapest Viva, makes the former a hard car to ignore.

Perodua Axia, which has been granted the status of the first energy efficient vehicle (EEV) in Malaysia, has been given two faces - a cute, jovial face for the Standard E and G variants (above), and a more aggressive looking face for the SE and Advance (AV) variants (below). Which has the better look? In my opinion, the jovial looking front end suits better to this A-segment hatchback. However, the projector headlights and honeycomb grille on the SE and AV variants give the car a more upmarket design. 

The Axia is 3640mm long, 1620mm wide, 1510mm tall and comes with a 2455mm wheelbase. Surprise, surprise. The wheelbase of the Axia is actually 15mm longer than the Myvi's! Axia's interior length (+50mm) and width (+5mm) are than Myvi too! However, if compared with Viva, the difference is apparent. Perodua Axia is 65mm longer, 145mm wider, has a 65mm longer wheebase but is 20mm lower in terms of overall height. 

The brilliant packaging by the engineers also allow 4 suitcases to be fitted into the 260 litres boot, and we are talking about those big suitcases you will find in the airport! The boot looks averagely sized in person, but somehow it is capable of swallow more stuff than the upcoming Proton B-segment hatchback! 

Every variant is powered by the same 1.0 litre all-aluminium, 3-cylinder engine. It produces 66bhp at 6000rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3600rpm, mated to either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission. Both transmission are capable of achieving fuel consumption rating of 20.1km/l and 21.6km/l respectively in ECO mode, pretty impressive. I guess the Electric Power Steering (EPS) helps too. 

Cabin is where the Axia excels. Spacious for 4 full-sized adults, 5 at a squeeze (just a little). The rear headroom somehow felt more ample than the Myvi's. Cabin is wide for a small car like this, thanks to the thin door and door panels, but this contributed a sense of 'lightness' to the doors and they doesn't give a reassuring thud when closed. Material wise, hard plastics dominated the cabin but at least they doesn't look or feel cheap. Even the entry level's steering wheel felt good to the touch and the fabric seats are well sized and comfy!

What's weird is that the steering doesn't have tilt or telescopic adjustment. I was fondling around underneath the steering rack for quite a long time, trying to find the adjustment lever but to no avail. One thing though, I doubt the air-cond knobs' plastic labels will be able to stand the scorching heat in Malaysia as one of the showroom's unit already has bubble in it. 
From top: 1.0AV, 1.0SE and 1.0G.

Perodua upped the game by increasing the practicality and flexibility of the Axia's seating arrangement. You can fold flat the rear seat, or fold the front seats backward into a lounge. Not as cool as Honda's ULTRA-seat, but still better than nothing.

A nifty feature designed by Malaysian, for Malaysian. A handbag lock that can take a maximum of 3kg located at the inner side of the front passenger seat. At least now female drivers can have a place to hang their handbags instead of placing them on the seat. There's also an integrated tissue box holder at the back of the front passenger seat. It's good to prevent some people from putting the tissue box on top of the dashboard, where the airbag is located.

Perodua Axia has been rated 4-star in ASEAN-NCAP crash test and is equipped with two airbags across the range. However, ABS, EBD and BA is only available in 1.0SE and 1.0AV. No stability control available, not even as optional. One worth mentioning is the availability of front parking sensor for 1.0SE and 1.0AV. 

So there you have it, the affordable and value-for-money Perodua Axia. For the first time Perodua is also offering five-year or 150,000km warranty for the Axia, and the deal extended to Myvi and Alza too! All these make the Viva dull in comparison and the Axia a more sensible purchase, maybe better than a Myvi too... 

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September 01, 2014

Toyota Camry XV50 Facelift Unveiled!

 Looks much better isn't it? By taking cues from Toyota Camry's elder brother, the Avalon, the newly designed front end gave the Camry a fresh breath of air. No more squarish, Lexus-like front end and after market-like daytime running LED lights (now integrated in the headlights housing). 

Rear end received subtle changes. There's a new chrome strip which runs into the taillights now and a newly designed rear bumper. Other than that, it's still basically retained the design of the pre-facelift Camry. 

The most noticeable changes in the cabin must be the 3-spoke steering wheel and the 4.2-inch colour TFT display that is situated in between 2 dials in the instrument panel. The centre console is restyled too, but the overall shape is generally unchanged. 

Russia will be getting an updated 2.0 litre engine with 6-speed automatic transmission. Hoepfully Toyota Malaysia will bring it in. With this facelift, Toyota Camry should be able to gain more sales compared to the slow-moving outgoing model in Malaysia. 

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August 15, 2014

Perodua Axia Open for Booking - From RM24,900!

 From RM24,900? It's like Perodua Kancil all over again, but the all-new Perodua Axia is much more better equipped, better looking and not to mention a larger cabin too! Malaysia's first Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) is now open for booking with a booking fee from as low as RM250. 

Perodua Axia comes with 4 variants, where the entry-level E grade is only available with manual transmission while the top-of-the-line AV grade comes with only automatic transmission. Can't drive a stick? Have to start your options from the G grade. Measuring at 3640mm long, 1620mm wide and 1510mm tall, the Axia position itself in between the Viva and Myvi, not sure Viva will be sold along with the Axia in the future or not though. With 260 litres of boot space, that's larger than a Myvi's!

Perodua Axia is powered by a 1.0litre 1KR-DE2 engine which produces 66hp at 6000rpm and 90Nm of torque at a low 3600rpm. Together with the help of Electric Power Steering (EPS), the manual transmission Axia is able to achieve fuel consumption figure of 21.6km/l, a very impressive figure. 

SE and Advance grade are for those who need more features and style, as they will receive a sportier front bumper design, side skirting with chrome finishing and rear spoiler. It shocked me that the SE grade will have front parking sensor, a first in its class. It might be cool to have, but is it necessary to have a front parking sensor for a sub 4-meter long compact car? Advance grade is a little over-specced, unless you have a crush for leather seats and touchscreen multimedia audio system. 

Safety wise, 2 airbags are standard across the range, kudos to Perodua. ABS with EBD and BA are only available from SE grade onwards. Perodua claims the Axia is able to achieve 4-star in ASEAN NCAP crash test, presumably the Axia has gone through the crash testing in its facility. 

While Perodua decided to stop its 3 years free service campaign, it has been compensated to the Axia with a 5-year warranty! Talk about value for money!

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July 15, 2014

Cabin of Perodua Axia leaked !

 Shots of cabin of the upcoming Perodua Axia (is the name confirmed?) has leaked into the web. Posted in a renowned Malaysia's Mandarin forum, the two leaked photos show a dashboard design resembles to the Perodua GMA Space concept unveiled in KLIMS 2013. The photo above shows the trim level of a base line model, which looks contemporary and stylish for a small car.

The cabin below comes with a touchscreen unit and leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, hinting there will be at least two variants available for the Axia. 

This is most probably the 'Extreme' variant of the Axia, as the aggressive looking front bumper might not be everyone's taste. Will the Axia replaces the ageing Viva? With Perodua's recent move in reducing the selling OTR price of the Viva, it's either to help position the Axia in between of Viva and Myvi in the market later or trying to clear out the existing stock of Viva. 

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