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  • GALLERY: Toyota Alphard, Vellfire facelift previewed – full specifications, equipment detailed, RM351k-541k

    Toyota Alphard 3.5 (left), Vellfire 2.5 (right)

    Bigwigs everywhere will rejoice as the facelifted Toyota Alphard and Vellfire are now on display at UMW Toyota showrooms, indicating that the luxury MPVs – which are already open for booking – will go on sale pretty soon. Along with showing the two people carriers, the official distributor has also released full specifications and equipment to go with pricing that was revealed last month.

    As we’ve reported, the cars are pricier than before, with the Vellfire 2.5 costing RM350,800 – around RM5,600 more expensive than the outgoing model. The Alphard, meanwhile, retails at RM429,800 for the standard 3.5 litre model and RM540,800 for the 3.5 Executive Lounge, RM26,400 and RM35,100 costlier respectively. All prices are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

    The biggest change – at least as far as the Alphard is concerned – is under the bonnet, where you’ll find a new 2GR-FKE 3.5 litre V6 with D-4S direct injection and VVT-iW. Outputs have been bumped up significantly to 300 PS at 6,600 rpm and 361 Nm of torque between 4,600 and 4,700 rpm, increases of 29 PS and 21 Nm respectively. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous six-speed unit.

    Toyota claims a fuel consumption figure of between 10.4 and 10.6 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle, down from 9.5 km per litre previously. The Vellfire’s 2AR-FE 2.5 litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder engine, making 180 PS at 6,000 rpm and 235 Nm at 4,100 rpm and paired to a CVT, has been carried over unchanged. All models make greater use of structural adhesives as well as high-rigidity glass adhesives for increased body rigidity, contributing to better handling stability and ride comfort.

    Toyota Alphard 3.5 (left), Vellfire 2.5 (right)

    Other changes are largely cosmetic in nature, with both the Alphard and Vellfire gaining a redesigned front fascia. The former receives an even more prominent full-height grille, with chrome trim that moves outward to bisect the headlights. Those headlights themselves – self-levelling LED units with cornering lights and LED daytime running lights – have also been given new internal graphics.

    Meanwhile, the Vellfire gets a giant chrome plated grille and triangular fog light surrounds, giving it an even more distinctive look. Lastly, there are new tail lights (with square light guides in the case of the Vellfire) and tailgate garnish, plus sequential front and rear indicators and a new 18-inch wheel design.

    Inside, there’s a new instrument cluster design, plus new standard features including a Qi wireless smartphone charger and a new digital, camera-based rear-view mirror called the full display mirror (FDM), first seen on the new Lexus LS. Front seat ventilation has also been added across all variants.

    Otherwise, kit count remains largely identical, with the Vellfire coming with keyless entry, push-button start, powered sliding doors, a powered tailgate, leather upholstery, ventilated and power-adjustable front seats, second-row captain’s seats with power recline, powered front passenger and second-row Ottomans.

    Toyota Alphard 3.5 (left), Alphard 3.5 Executive Lounge (right)

    Also fitted are a front sunroof and rear moonroof, three-zone automatic climate control with nanoe air ionisation, a DVD-AVN navigation system with a seven-inch touchscreen, a 10.2-inch rear seat entertainment screen and eight speakers, plus a black interior and dark grey Metal Wood trim. The standard Alphard 3.5 gets the same amount of kit, but with a beige interior and brown Metal Wood trim.

    Meanwhile, the Executive Lounge receives wider VIP second-row seats with ventilation and foldable picnic tables. It also gets semi-aniline leather upholstery, a larger eight-inch capacitive touchscreen for the navigation system, a Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system with a nine-inch display and a 17-speaker JBL sound system. Buyers get a choice of beige or black interiors, plus brown olive ash burl wood trim.

    Safety-wise, all models now get a blind spot monitor (BSM) and rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) to go with the usual seven airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). However, the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assists, which comes as standard in Japan, is nowhere to be found here.

    Going the official route will result in unique specifications for Malaysian weather and road conditions, as well as regulations. These include special tuning of the engine ECU, wider outer mirrors and customised audio and navigation systems. Of course, official cars come with the aforementioned five years of unlimited-mileage factory warranty, and assured 10 years of parts availability.

    GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Alphard 3.5

    GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Alphard 3.5 Executive Lounge

    GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Vellfire 2.5

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • GALLERY: Toyota Avanza 1.5X goes for the SUV look

    Last month, UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) announced the Toyota Avanza 1.5X, a new range-topping variant of the seven-seater MPV. Going for RM82,700 on-the-road without insurance, the Avanza X wears tougher styling for a pseudo SUV look. That’s the trick used by Honda for the BR-V, although that one was designed from the ground-up to look “rugged”.

    The Avanza 1.5X’s defining cosmetic add-on is the black cladding on the entire lower portion of the car – front, back and sides including the wheel arches. There are silver sections in the front and rear lower bumper to simulate skid plates. The matte black cladding is mixed with some gloss black bits higher up, and there are LED daytime running lights below the fog lamps.

    All the above lower body add-ons are matched with blacked-out D pillars for the “floating roof” effect. There are also ‘X’ badges on the front wings and the rear gets extra red reflectors next to the vertical tail lights.

    Optional kit shown here include two-tone multi-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels and a “roof ornament”, which we presume to mean that the roof rails are merely decorative. As usual for UMWT models, customers can upgrade the head unit to DVD-AVX or DVD-AVN systems, both with touchscreens.

  • Lamborghini Aventador successor could be a hybrid

    First came the turbocharged super SUV, now this. According to Car and Driver, Automobili Lamborghini is planning to electrify its future line-up of cars, and first in line could be the replacement for the seven-year old Aventador. If true, this move would mean the end of the company’s longstanding commitment to offer traditional naturally-aspirated engines for its super sports cars.

    With increasingly stringent emissions requirements and cities banning cars with the internal combustion engine, Lamborghini may soon be forced to adapt by combining big, high-revving engines with hybrid systems. Company chief technical officer Maurizio Reggiani told Car and Driver: “I am convinced that the naturally-aspirated engine coupled with a hybrid system can be the right answer to the super sports car of the future.”

    As with many things, it’s easier said than done. Reggiani admitted that there’s an internal debate within his team on whether the hybrid system should add short boosts of performance or prioritise pure electric range, but then went on to say that any production system will most likely have to do both.

    “It depends on the mission of the car,” Reggiani said. “In Strada, maybe it will have as long a range as possible. In Corsa, it will need to have the e-boost effect for a big power increase.”

    A hybrid system can also bring other benefits – an electrified powertrain could allow Lamborghini to build a transmission that utilises the e-motor to fill torque gaps during upshifts and downshifts. This is something the outgoing Aventador’s automated single-clutch transmission suffers from.

    “I think the main problem is not [refinement],” Reggiani told the publication. “It is what happens, for example, if you are in a corner and have to shift; then you could use the electric motor to guarantee that you don’t have torque interruption. I think that is a possibility to fill the torque hole that you have today, but the problem is that in some gears you have to fill a big amount of torque – when you shift up at low rpm, for example.”

    Lamborghini Urus

    Before you enthusiasts start flipping tables, don’t worry. Lamborghini will continue to offer its V12 engine, even for the Aventador’s successor. Reggiani promised that it will stick to the core ingredients that have made the Aventador Lamborghini’s biggest-selling V12 model. “I think the future for us is to do [something] similar to what we did with Aventador. We need to reinvent this icon of Lamborghini without missing the characteristics: carbon-fibre, the V12 naturally aspirated engine, and other components.”

    But before the new model rolls in, Reggiani hinted that there could be an even more hardcore version of the ageing super sports car in the works, more so than the Aventador Superveloce. “Our job is to try to have as much as possible from our investment,” he said.

    What about a completely electric Lamborghini? Well, as ghastly as that sounds, Reggiani believes Lamborghini will eventually get to EVs, but don’t expect to see one in the near future. “It is clear that the roadmap of the future will be hybrid and then after that will be electric. How many waves of hybrid will be necessary is difficult to forecast, but I know that sooner or later it will be electric.”

    GALLERY: Lamborghini Aventador Performante spyshots

  • Nissan to partner with Mercedes-Benz for new Z-car?

    Now this is a big one. Nissan is reportedly planning on a successor for the ageing 370Z sports car, and word is that the automaker will team up with Mercedes-Benz for the venture. According to Japanese publication Response, the interest was spurred from the warm reception the new race-spec Supra received, one that was co-developed with BMW.

    The report said the new “Z” may get a Mercedes-sourced 2.0 litre turbo four for cheaper variants, while the 3.0 litre VR twin-turbo V6 and seven-speed dual-clutch combo in the outgoing Infiniti Q60 – which makes up to 400 hp – could find its way into the top model. That’s 50 horsepower more than what the naturally-aspirated 3.7 litre V6 in the 370Z Nismo makes, and nearly 80 hp more than the standard 370Z!

    There might even be a hybrid variant among the cards, although exactly where it slots in the line-up remains to be seen. All variants of the sports car will be underpinned by a brand new platform that’s jointly developed by Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Development of the said architecture will be split by the two parties, and it is also expected to underpin several other tri-star cars in the future.

    The Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition

    Of course, the partnership between the two entities isn’t exactly new. The tie-up most recently gave birth to the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, so this lands some credence to the Fairlady project. If all goes well, the new Z will make its world premier at the 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show, just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

    However, some outlets think that the idea is borderline “wishful thinking”. Motortrend said “it’s a nice idea, especially for Z-car fans, but it’s not happening.” Sources familiar with the matter told the US publication that “Mercedes-Benz and Nissan really did talk about it, but the talks never went anywhere.”

    The new Supra/Z4 is jointly developed by BMW and Toyota

    The problem is that the convertible market is fast shrinking, and it wasn’t big enough to begin with. “Neither Toyota nor BMW could independently justify the cost of an all-new roadster that’s barely going to register on the sales charts each month, and neither can Nissan or Mercedes-Benz,” read the report.

    “None of these companies are hurting for resources, but they have shareholders to answer to. Even uber-profitable Porsche is wringing its hands over the future of the 718 Boxster and Cayman,” it added. Now, tell us, what do you think?

  • YY number plate series – bidding open until April 6

    There seems to be a new number plate series coming about just about every week now – another one has inevitably appeared, and this one is called YY. As is the case with special number plates, the YY plate series will be available for purchase through a bidding process.

    The series – numbered from YY 1 to YY 9999 – opened for bidding on March 15 and will end on April 6, with successful bids being announced on April 30. Unlike the UU plate, which is available on an open basis with no minimum tender price, the YY plates do have etablished baseline prices. Minimum bid pricing for ordinary numbers (example, 1389, 3569) is RM300, while that for special ordinary (er, yes, that is the term) numbers such as 2268 and 9962 is RM1,000.

    Bidding prices start at RM2,000 for gold quadruple numbers (2228, 3336, 6999), while special quadruple numbers (2266, 9898) go for RM3,000 on. Triple digit numbers start from RM3,000, while that for special triple numbers (335, 565, 898) is RM6,000.

    The YY series follows on the UU series plate that was announced last week. Other special number plate series that have come about include GTR, GG, SAM, K1M, T1M, A1M, US, SMS, NBOS, NAAM, VIP, G, GT, U, Y, PERFECT and PATRIOT. What next, then?

  • GALLERY: Toyota Hilux L-Edition – 2.4L AT 4×4 variant

    UMW Toyota Motor recently launched the Toyota Hilux L-Edition (‘L’ refers to luxury), marking the arrival of the facelifted pick-up truck in Malaysia. We now bring you a full gallery of the L-Edition in 2.4L AT 4×4 guise, which is one of two offered – the other being the 2.8L AT 4×4.

    As mentioned at the start, the L-Edition models are based on the refreshed Hilux, and therefore sport a Tacoma-inspired face. Highlights include a large hexagonal grille as well as a redesigned bumper. The latter features an upturned centre air intake and new fog light enclosures.

    Model-specific items include two-tone 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels (with 265/65 profile tyres), a chrome and black finish for the front grille, piano black trim instead of silver units, plus perforated leather seats.

    The 2.4L AT 4×4 L-Edition comes equipped with halogen headlamps (with bulb-type DRLs), a manual air-conditioning system, multi-info instrument cluster display, smart entry and start, regular head unit, eight-way powered driver seat, seven airbags, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), reverse sensor and ABS with EBD plus brake assist.

    These items are largely similar to those found on the pre-facelift Hilux 2.4L AT 4×4, including what’s under the hood. There, you’ll find a 2GD-FTV 2.4 litre turbodiesel with 150 PS and 400 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Also part of the powertrain is Active Traction Control (A-TRC) and a four-wheel drive system with on-the-fly switching and a rear differential lock.

    In terms of pricing, the L-Edition 2.4L AT 4×4 goes for RM119,300 (OTR without insurance), while the 2.8L AT 4×4 retails at RM133,900. Each purchase includes a five-year/150,000 km warranty, along with a choice of seven colours. Check out for detailed specifications of the new Toyota Hilux L-Edition models.

  • 2018 Volkswagen Golf R-Line, GTI and R Mk7.5 in Malaysia – what to expect; preliminary details

    We now have preliminary details of the new Volkswagen Golf Mk7.5 range, after it was first teased on Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia’s (VPCM) official website. At launch, three models will be offered to customers, including the Golf R-Line, Golf GTI and Golf R.

    On the Golf R-Line, a 1.4 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine will provide 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque, with drive going to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.

    As befitting the model name, the Golf R-Line comes with the range-topping R’s sporty styling. This includes a full bodykit – new front and rear bumpers, honeycomb mesh lower intake and high-gloss black air intake screens.

    It isn’t confirmed if the R-Line package will see changes to the interior as well. In other markets, the R-Line interior package consists of sport seats, sport steering wheel with contrast stitching, Dark Diamond Flag inlays and black rooflining.

    Standard equipment on the Golf R-Line are adaptive LED headlights (replacing the previous bi-xenon units), LED DRLs, Air Care dual-zone Climatronic system, 12.3-inch Active Info Display, App Connect (smartphone connectivity) and Driver Profile Selection.

    Moving to the high-performance Golf models, the Golf GTI will come with a more powerful 2.0 litre TSI unit that serves up 230 PS and 350 Nm. That is 10 PS more than the current GTI on sale, and all of it is directed frontwards through a six-speed DSG.

    Like the Golf R-Line, the GTI model will come with a 12.3-inch Active Info Display and App Connect, but there’s also an eight-inch Discover Media infotainment system. Other items include an Adaptive Chassis Control system, chrome exhaust tips and Vienna leather interior upholstery.

    As for the range-topping Golf R, it gets a 2.0 litre TSI engine that serves up 290 PS instead of 310 PS. This follows the same path set by the current Golf R on sale, where the engine is detuned for our market. With a seven-speed DSG, the Golf R will sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds.

    On the equipment front, there’s a more advanced Discover Pro infotainment system (with gesture control function) to go along with a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen. Other bits of kit noted in our previous report include 19-inch wheels, paddle shifters, chrome exhaust tips, Park Distance Control, Vienna leather upholstery, Driver Profile Selection and adaptive LED headlights.

    All Golf models will feature seven airbags and the Proactive Occupant Protection System, the latter first making its debut in the latest Polo. The system uses sensors to situations in which an accident is likely to occur and prepares the vehicle and its occupants for an impending collision – e.g. automatically tensioning the safety belts as well as closing the side windows and sliding sunroof.

    Keep in mind that these details (and photos) may not be fully representative of local models that will go on sale here, and we’ll have to wait for an official launch to verify them. In the meantime, what do you think of the new Golf Mk7.5 range?

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf R-Line facelift

    GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf GTI facelift
    GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf R facelift

  • February 2018 Malaysia vehicle sales down 9% from Jan, 4% down year-on-year; YTD down 2.3% from 2017

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released sales figures for the month of February 2018, and it shows that the industry is still suffering from a less-than-stellar start to the year, with a sales slump continuing into its third straight month.

    Just 40,578 vehicles were registered last month, compared to the 44,575 units that found homes in January, a drop of 9% or 3,997 units. February has traditionally been a weak month for vehicle sales in general, due to Chinese New Year offers and promotions usually coming to an end around this time of the year. A shorter working month as a result of the CNY holidays were also blamed for the sluggish sales.

    Compared to the same month the year before, last month’s sales were down 4% or 1,877 units, although February 2017 was a strong month with significantly more vehicles sold compared to 2016. It comes as no surprise, then, that the year-to-date figure is down 1,969 units or 2.3% compared to the same period in 2017, but of course, it’s still way too early in the year to make predictions about the coming months.

    The association expects March to deliver more sales, due to the longer working month as well as the car companies’ usual rush to deliver more vehicles to close off the financial year ending March 31.

  • VW is official car sponsor for Le Tour De Langkawi ’18

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has been appointed as the official automotive partner for the 2018 Le Tour De Langkawi. The company will provide a total of 180 units of cars from the existing line-up and will be used throughout the race by riders, safety marshals and officials.

    The fleet is comprised of the Polo, Vento Highline, Passat Trendline, Passat Highline as well as the Tiguan Highline. VPCM will also be presenting the White Jersey to the competition’s Asian Champion.

    “We are delighted to be able to support the race with our range of Volkswagen models, and we look forward to the amazing display of endurance, agility and strengths from the world-class riders taking part. On behalf of Volkswagen, we wish the participants all the very best,” said VPCM managing director Erik Winter.

    Volkswagen’s previous involvement in the prestigious race event was in 2016, while BMW assumed the role in 2017. The Le Tour de Langkawi has been held since 1996 and is a multi-stage bicycle race that has gained numerous accolades. It is now a highlight in the global competitive cycling calendar, attracting top cyclists from all around the world.

  • Peugeot eM02 FS Powertube – RM22k eMountain bike

    Peugeot has released a new electric mountain bike, called the eM02 FS Powertube (e=electric M=Mountain, 02=mid range, FS=Full Suspension). The bike, which is wholly designed by Peugeot Design Lab, made its world debut alongside the Peugeot Rifter 4×4 Concept and new 508 sedan at the Geneva Motor Show.

    A built-in 500 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, together with a small electric motor, enables a range of up to 125 kilometres on a full charge. The bike is finished in satin-finish anodised yellow, which is a nod to the design of the Rifter 4×4 Concept.

    “The new eM02 FS Powertube builds on the success of Peugeot’s eMountain bikes, fitted with Bosch lithium-ion batteries and the Performance CX motor. It also heralds the future of Peugeot eBikes,” said Cathal Loughnane, Manager of Peugeot Design Lab.

    For the avid cyclists, the eM02 is designed for endurance and cross-terrain use. It features a double suspension setup with 27.5-inch wheels for the front and rear. Peugeot says it guarantees comfort and makes traversing terrain easy, while the placement of the battery gives the bike optimal balance due to a low centre of gravity.

    “The compact battery is optimally located in the frames down tube to ensure the bike’s balance thanks to a low centre of gravity. It makes the battery easy to change and protects it from the dirt that is unavoidable during all-terrain use. The integrated components gives the bike a dynamic, flowing style,” added Loughnane.

    The mountain bike, which will be offered in two models, will go on sale later this month in selected markets. Prices start from 4,599 euros (RM22,080). So, dear enthusiast cyclists, is this bicycle worth your consideration?


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Last Updated 15 Mar 2018


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