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Car Reviews

On the road with VW Beetle 1.2 TSI

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When it comes to distinctive automobile shapes, few are as iconic as the Volkswagen Beetle. I have always been fond of the Beetle, my first car was a classic 1970 original. The ‘people’s car-turned-modern icon’, now in the second-generation of its contemporary form, dubbed simply as ‘The Beetle’, still continues to be one of the most recognisable cars in existence. We were given a chance to roll with the 1.2 TSI Beetle recently, and while the average petrol head would most likely mention the 1.4 TSI or range-topping 2.0 TSI variants, one can’t help but wonder how the entry level…

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Mercedes C 200 Avantgarde driven

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The C-Class has been a bread-and-butter model for Mercedes-Benz. Still is today, just as the 3 Series rival is to BMW, as they expand merrily into all sorts of niches in the pursuit of mo’ money. Where once it was the entry model for those aspiring for a little luxury in their lives, the Stuttgart car maker has since diversified to offer the world a trove of other models below the C-Class as it casts a wider net to capture a bigger base. Following the C-Class debut in 1993, other smaller models have popped up, with a brief to sally…

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Mazda Biante: Bring on the space

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Space – the looming question that comes to mind when we recently drove a Mazda Biante over the course of a weekend. And what a tiring weekend it was after becoming a makeshift ‘pick-up’ service for friends with this RM149,797 (on-the-road with insurance) eight-seater that’s in direct contention with the similarly-sized and shaped Nissan Serena S-Hybrid. Without passengers, the boxy Biante, with a 2,850mm wheelbase, seems relatively well-sized for a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) measuring 4,715mm-long, 1,770mm-wide and 1,835mm-tall. The Biante isn’t going to win any beauty pageants, because there’s nothing eye-catching about it, except for its beak-like front end –…

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Three cheers for the MINI Cooper S

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The MINI has evolved rather dramatically from its original platform although efforts are made to retain as much of the old character and charm as possible. In that respect, the three-door MINI would be the closest to the original in form and function. Having owned a Mini 1000 in the mid-60s, we could relate to what the MINI was all about. Back then, the MINI was a two-door subcompact for those who like some nippy driving and it had a small boot that could take in three medium travel bags at a squeeze for a long weekend holiday. The modern…

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Warming up to the BMW 320d GT

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Show some love to the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and it will love you right back. When it comes to choosing a BMW 3 Series luxury sedan, you’ve got more choices than most what with 11 variants on offer. There is however, a 3 Series that stands out among the pack (besides the range-topping M series that is) and it’s none other than the Gran Turismo or GT variant. We got our hands on the turbo-diesel 2.0-litre BMW 320d Gran Turismo Luxury Line (it also comes in the petrol version, the 328i GT) and, at first glance, it tends…

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Citroen DS3 Racing brings on the thrills

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This Citroen DS3 Racing is not for sale. The limited edition model was on loan to automania for a few days, as part of a media programme to highlight the design and sports engineering capabilities of Citroen. Naza Euro Motors, the official distributor for Citroen in Malaysia, told us they have no plans to sell the DS3 Racing here. This three-door hot hatch is what the standard DS3 can be, thanks to the expertise of the engineers at the Citroen Racing team. Citroen has claimed numerous victories in the Manufacturers’ category of the World Rally Championship, as well as in…

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First drive: Mercedes S 500 plug-in hybrid

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Talk about Scandinavia, and deep fjords, steep mountains and the Northern Lights come readily to mind. Toss in a certain Mercedes-Benz into the mix and it’s a tale waiting to be unravelled. We were in Denmark and Sweden in September to size up the Mercedes-Benz S 500 plug-in hybrid (PIH), the third of its kind after the S 400 and S 300 BlueTEC hybrids. The S 500 PIH, available only in long wheelbase form, is billed as blending an ultra-modern hybrid drive and emission-free mobility, with unique innovations and luxurious equipment. Before we get into the drive – a few…

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Ford EcoSport tested

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The Ford EcoSport is the result of the growing demand for SUVs (sport utility vehicles), due to perceived higher levels of safety, wet-weather driving demands and a preference for a higher ride height. Global demand for SUVs is up 88% since 2008, making utility vehicles the fastest-growing segment around the world, according to IHS Automotive which forecasts market information on the automotive industry. Based on Ford’s global B-segment platform that underpins the popular Ford Fiesta, the EcoSport (pronounced as “echo sport”) is billed as a five-seater urban vehicle that combines the agility, affordability and fuel efficiency of a compact car…

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Full report on Honda HR-V drive in Chiangmai

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Honda’s  success with the CR-V (Comfortable Runabout Vehicle) that had seen its sales outperforming that of cars in the US market last year, among strong achievements in other markets, has led the carmaker to look down the line. That is, a compact version to expand the market potential further. This has spawned the creation of an all-new model, the Honda Vezel, which was displayed at the Tokyo International Motor Show 2013 before being sold in Japan. For markets outside Japan, Honda decided to give the Vezel Crossover or SUV (sports utility vehicle) a different name based on feedback from the…

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I drove the Lexus NX, here’s what I think

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We had a little taste of the all-new Lexus NX compact SUV so read on to find out whether good things actually come in small packages. The premium Japanese marque, Lexus, will officially launch its first luxury compact crossover SUV (sports utility vehicle), the Lexus NX, in the Malaysian market today. Members of the Malaysian motoring media however got an early taste of the new NX, which comes at a starting price of RM299,873 (on-the-road with insurance), last week as Lexus Malaysia converted the empty parking lot in front of Setia City Convention Centre in Setia Alam into a showroom…

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