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Car Reviews

Mazda2: From Bangkok to Penang on a single tank

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While the latest generation 1.5-litre Mazda2 SkyActiv launched locally in January had proven to be a success due to its innovative styling and design, local distributor Bermaz Motor wants to up its appeal by giving a taste of a more efficient diesel-powered variant. Called the Mazda2 SkyActiv-D, our test drive entailed a 1,200km single-tank journey from Wearnes Mazda, in the heart of Bangkok, to Penang. The journey was put together to see who among the motoring journalists could drive the most frugally. Our Thailand-spec Mazda2 hatchback came rather spartan and lacked the head-up display, paddle shifters, leather accents, commander control…

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First drive of Rolls-Royce Wraith

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The Rolls-Royce Wraith is the “ultimate gentleman’s gran turismo” as proclaimed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, chief operating officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös. And after having the opportunity of driving the Wraith from Petaling Jaya to Putrajaya, I can only agree with the sentiment. When it comes to the Rolls-Royce, my opinion of it had been that it is the ultimate car to be chauffeured in. And that is still true if you’re sitting in a Phantom or Ghost Series II (I sat in the latter on the way back from Putrajaya and it is an exquisite experience in-and-of itself). Where the Wraith…

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Chevy Malibu tested

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There’s a certain presence about the Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, which simply and silently states: “I have arrived”. It may seem chunky in appearance, but to some degree – it’s arguably stately as well, but while the male audience may find the Malibu manly enough to own, it also possesses a touch of grace for the ladies. Our Malibu (priced on the road with insurance at RM158,888) came draped in Olympic White with distinctive creases on the hood (that seems more form than function) – only to be downplayed by its curvaceous mid-section. Some of its styling cues have even been…

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Chery Maxime goes big on value

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Although Chery is an unfamiliar marque to many Malaysians, the Chinese automaker’s seven-seater Eastar MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) is not a strange sight on the road, especially in the Klang Valley. To recap, several thousand units of the Eastar people carrier were sold in the last few years as many saw it as a decent choice in the below RM90,000 MPV segment. There is even a Chery Eastar owners’ club which is quite active in organising get-togethers and road trips. However, the Eastar is a bit long in the tooth and its replacement is the new Maxime which is also locally…

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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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