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More Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in use in Europe

Hyundai XCIENT FCEV truck

Even before full electrification with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) has gone mainstream in global markets, some manufacturers are already moving ahead with fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Hyundai Motor was among the first with production FCEV passenger models and is steadily growing its hydrogen fuel cell commercial trucks with the XCIENT Fuel Cell model.

Fuel cell (FC) technology is particularly well-suited to commercial shipping and logistics due to long ranges and short refueling times. The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive the heavy-duty trucks up and down regions with mountainous terrain.

Hyundai XCIENT FCEV truck

“XCIENT Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project. By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society,” said In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice-President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Division at Hyundai Motor. “Building a comprehensive hydrogen ecosystem, where critical transportation needs are met by vehicles like XCIENT Fuel Cell, will lead to a paradigm shift that removes automobile emissions from the environmental equation.”

Joint venture in Switzerland
The XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, manufactured in Korea, are marketed a joint venture company which has Swiss company H2 Energy as a partner. The joint-venture company, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), offers the XCIENT Fuel Cell in a leasing deal which includes all costs, from import to technical support to the availability of green hydrogen. The big advantage is that there are no initial costs for the end customer.

Hyundai chose Switzerland as the starting point for its business venture for various reasons. One of the reasons is that zero-emission trucks do not have to pay Swiss roadtax charges. This nearly equalizes the hauling costs per kilometre of the FC truck compared to a regular diesel truck.

400 kms of range
The XCIENT Fuel Cell, the hydrogen FC version of its Xcient truck, is equipped with a 180-kW hydrogen FC system incorporating two 90-kW fuel cell stacks. With a 350-kW e-motor, the vehicle is claimed to be able to travel 400 kms on a full tank and requires only 8 to 20 minutes to fill up. Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 32.09 kgs of hydrogen.

To date, Hyundai has exported XCIENT FC trucks to Switzerland, where it has 23 corporate fleet clients, and more recently, to Germany where 27 units will be used by 7 companies in the logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Ford customises Explorer design just for China

2022 Ford Explorer (China)

The new vehicle market in China is the biggest in the world, having overtaken the US market in 2009. Last year, around 26.3 million new vehicles were sold, about 15 million more than the US volume. Every manufacturer would like to sell in China as even a small share of the market still means big volumes. However, apart from its own regulations, the China market also has some specific requirements which need to be met if a model is to appeal to the consumers and sell well.

And because of the potential volumes, foreign manufacturers are willing to develop models or alter existing models to meet the tastes of the Chinese customer. These tastes extend to styling and also size, with extended wheelbases being favoured.

One example is the Ford Explorer SUV which was recently unveiled in China. The model, an extremely popular SUV in America, has been sold in China since 2012 and for the latest generation, Ford has given it an appearance and features that are specifically for the market.

Designed in China for China
The Explorer for China was developed in China, at Ford’s design centre in Shanghai. The company’s sixth global design studio, the China Design Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that also encompasses a full showroom and in-house clay workshop.

Ford China Design Centre
Ford China Design Centre in Shanghai

The design team is a fusion of east and west, with 75% of the staff being local but maintaining close connections to the design teams globally. With their international outlook and local insights, this diverse group was given the task of designing the model for the Chinese market.

“Being the first time the Explorer was designed outside of North America, it was important that it continues its successful heritage of pioneering innovation and adventure whilst being modernized for the progressive China market,” said Simon Brook, Chief Designer of Ford China Design Centre. Elaborating on further differences when it comes to design, he said: “We know our Chinese customers value a high degree of sophistication, luxury and premium refinement, from exterior to interior.”

The process began with the creation of hundreds of detailed sketches to define the thematic direction. These themes were then narrowed down to strong proposals that ran from luxury to progressive to bold, to ensure that the optimum balance was achieved in the sense of strength and luxury while staying true to the Explorer heritage. High-tech solutions such as Virtual Reality and digital review tools were used to evaluate the themes from the sketch phase before committing and identifying the core design directions.

Ford’s China Design Language
Brook defines the ‘Progressive energy in strength’ mantra as being ‘all about taking Ford design heritage and that trust, and then innovating, and taking us somewhere new’. The Explorer design fully integrates the design DNA of the Explorer and combines it with modern Chinese aesthetics.

The frontal appearance of the Explorer for China (above) is significantly different from the version sold in the USA and other markets (below).

The key visual signatures of the Explorer heritage – such as the connected grille to lamps, C-clamp rear lighting signature and an open and expansive cabin – are all retained in the latest Explorer. The luxury yacht inspiration can be found throughout the  exterior design. The new 21-inch Turbine fan wheels spin like a ship’s propeller, the iconic C-pillar graphic echoes the mast of a luxury sailboat, while the front end captures the essence of a ship’s bow as it breaks through the waves.

With the luxury-yacht feel retained and established, the key to the new Explorer’s design innovations for the Chinese market were to be found by leveraging the ‘Progressive Energy in Strength’ Chinese design DNA to capture three main principles: Agile, Responsive, Commanding.

High-tech interior
The philosophy behind the main interior elements is based on three fundamental aesthetic principles: clarity in build, harmony within composition and detailed craftsmanship. Aside from the overall proportion and form language, Chinese customers pay close attention to the mastery of craftsmanship and are more willing to embrace new, advanced technologies.

Explorer for China has a very wide display screen in the middle, whereas the US version (below) has the portrait-oriented screen that is also found in the new Ranger and Mach-E.

The overall interior architecture and prominent 27-inch touchscreen both reflect the commanding presence of the exterior, giving the Explorer a ‘Masculine Presence’ while ensuring it lives up to the ‘Tech Enhanced’ demands for well-integrated high technology. That’s further heightened through the newly designed instrument panel and centre console with its strong horizontal emphasis.

Time spent within the vehicle and the overall driving experience were considerations that remained at the forefront throughout the design process, with ‘customer voices’ prominently declaring comfort to be equally as important as safety and reliability. Driving an Explorer had to remain a rewarding experience, which necessitated finding a balance between comfort and technology. This was achieved via the harmonious integration of the technology itself and its intuitive usages, combining them with experiences that stimulate the senses.

New seating
In order to improve physical comfort, and place an emphasis on ‘Premium Quality and Solidity’, Ford’s designers came up with new seating with wider seat dimensions and fuller side bolsters to enable an optimally comfortable seating posture.

A standout feature is the unique China seat material and patterns designed in cooperation with Eagle Ottawa. Via the application of high-definition technology, the design team was able to express extremely fine detailing and new innovative patterns that would not have been possible using traditional quilting techniques, resulting in a design that is immaculate in its precision without sacrificing functionality.

As expressed through the interior colour scheme, the premium brown and black theme represents a confident presence by projecting an image of strength and sophisticated adventure, while the ruby and black theme represents an exquisite premium expression combining a commanding quality suffused with elegance and a premium feel through the accent colours and selected finishes.

Counterfeit parts industry growing globally

Genuine parts

Motorists are always urged to use genuine or original parts for their vehicles as the consequences of using fake parts can be fatal. Fake or counterfeit parts are typically made of poorer materials with processes that may also be inferior, which is why they cost much less. Such parts may not last as long as genuine parts at best – and could even break up or fail, causing an accident or severe damage to the engine or other parts of the car.

While there are also replacements parts for many models which are not original parts (ie with the carmaker’s branding and packaging), these are not fake. They are made by other companies and while they may or may not have similar quality and performance standards as original parts, they nevertheless would still meet certain basic standards and would be safe to use.

Counterfeit parts are parts which come in packaging that is identical to the original item, in order to mislead the customers. They would not be sold by authorised parts dealers but are still available in the open market. In recent times, there has also been a growing trade online which worries carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz.

During the pandemic over the past 2 years, sellers of counterfeit parts increasingly used online platforms and social media channels to offer their fake goods. This may have contributed to the significant increase of 6% compared to the previous year (2020) where in 2021 alone, more than 1.86 million counterfeit products were seized in over 650 raids initiated by the German carmaker.

It requires much more effort for brand protection experts to research the online trade in counterfeit products. Counterfeit goods can be placed on online platforms at very short notice and sold with the support of social media. For this reason, Mercedes-Benz has further expanded its strategic and operational measures against counterfeiting in online trading.

It is not easy to know a part is not genuine just by looks. In the picture above, both wheels look similar but the one on the right is fake and stress testing showed it to be weaker. The brake pads pictured below look identical but the one of the left is actually a fake and likely to have poor stopping performance which could result in an accident.

The brand protection strategy comprises three pillars: Detect, attack and prevent. Mercedes-Benz has brand protection experts who can identify counterfeiters by checking suspicious offers on online platforms and social media or trade fairs worldwide. The monitoring focusses on components such as brake discs, wheels and body and steering parts, and rigorous action is taken when possible.

“The trading in counterfeit products on online platforms and social media is further increasing. Our brand protection experts have quickly adapted to the counterfeiting industry’s growing business model. In 2021, more than 126,000 counterfeit products were removed from online platforms,” said Renata Jungo Brungger, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Integrity & Legal Affairs.

“The counterfeiting industry has organised crime structures and often generates higher profits than drug trafficking. We are working closely with authorities around the world in order to curtail these structures and combat threats to road safety,” she added. “Counterfeit products are not only illegal, they are also relevant to safety and can endanger the health of road-users.”

In many cases, organised counterfeiters have their goods produced under inhumane conditions with no regard for human rights, environmental standards and occupational safety. The global Mercedes-Benz Intellectual Property Enforcement team works closely with customs and law enforcement authorities in various countries. In addition, it regularly offers training events and information material for the preventive raising of awareness among different target groups.

Recalling a case in 2021, Lita Silje Janisch, Head of the Global IP Enforcement department at Mercedes-Benz Intellectual Property GmbH & Co. KG, said that the driver of a Mercedes-Benz car was travelling at about 130 km/h when unexpectedly, the bonnet popped open and smashed the windscreen. Fortunately, nobody was injured when this happened.

Fake brake pads are likely to have poorer performance and can mean the difference between stopping safely and having a collision.

“Upon investigation, our colleagues discovered that the driver had replaced the genuine grille with a counterfeit one ordered on the internet. It was technically faulty manufactured, and prevented the bonnet lock lever from engaging properly when closing. This shows that even more ‘decorative’ vehicle parts can be safety-relevant and you have to be very careful when replacing original parts,” she warned.

Customers and road-users can also support the prevention of product counterfeiting in their daily lives and check unusual offers very carefully. Typical indicators of counterfeit products are an extremely low price, questionable product quality, or sale via dubious online sources. It is often even possible to see from the product images or designations that the parts cannot be genuine, since Mercedes-Benz simply doesn’t manufacture such items!

It’s best to buy from authorised dealers or parts stockists when replacement parts are needed.

“It’s not always easy to spot a fake at first glance. However, there are signs that may indicate counterfeiting. In the case of an online shop, one of these may be that the seller offers a conspicuously large number of different brands, or that the prices are unusually low. One should always be wary of apparent bargains on the internet or on parts forums,” Mrs. Janisch advises.

Bentley Bacalar by Mulliner project nears completion

2022 Bentley Bacalar by Mulliner

The Bentley Bacalar by Mulliner was unveiled in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to sweep across the world. Though a model of significance, it was overshadowed by global affairs that included shutdowns of industries and businesses in many countries. Nevertheless, when introduced, it already found customers for all 12 units to be built.

This exceptionally rare car is appropriately named after Laguna Bacalar in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, a lake renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, continuing Bentley’s strategy of naming cars after remarkable landmarks which started with Bentayga in 2015.

Pinnacle bespoke project
The Bacalar represents the first in a new series of pinnacle bespoke projects that have spearheaded a return to coachbuilding by Bentley Mulliner – the oldest coachbuilder in the world. Eight units have been delivered to customers, with four more to soon be finished. Once their work is finished, the Mulliner team to focus attention towards their next project, which the carmaker says will be revealed soon.

The Bacalar also launched a new Bentley Mulliner operation, part of a new strategy that will see the division offer three different portfolios: Classic, Collections and Coachbuilt.

6 months of work
With the level of handcraftsmanship, each car has taken around 6 months to complete. Needless to say, each one is unique in more than just the colour as each customer has chosen from a myriad of options and materials. For the Bacalar, Bentley Mulliner revived its specialism in providing rare coachbuilt cars to discerning customers.

A roofless Barchetta design with all-new and highly muscular coachwork, the Bacalar has a carbonfibre bodyshell. The car sits on unique 22-inch Tri-Finish wheels, with polished faces, dark grey satin spokes and accent highlights to complement the exterior.

2022 Bentley Mulliner Bacalar

“Designing a Bacalar is an exercise in imagination, with the material, colour and finish of practically every interior and exterior surface being bespoke. Regardless of  personal style, whether it be  specifying a bold Yellow Flame exterior paint synthesised with rice husk ash, or a more subtle Moss Green that reflects Bentley’s heritage, developing personalised artisan piping, or co-creating a unique fabric blend, the Bacalar has provided all of these opportunities,” said Maria Mulder, Head of Colour, Materials and Finishes.

6-litre 12-cylinder engine
The Bacalar is powered by an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine. Claimed to be the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world, it produces 659 ps/900 Nm. An advanced Active All-Wheel-Drive System varies the torque split between front and rear wheels. It allows the Bacalar to use rear-wheel drive as much as possible during normal driving for optimum efficiency and dynamic performance.

Uniquely designed details and features in the cabin emphasise the coachbuilt character of the car, with an almost infinite number of ways for the 12 customers to express their personal taste and commission a unique interior. From the use of precious inlays and unique finishes to the driver controls, to the 148,199 individual stitches needed to embroider the unique Bacalar quilt on each seat, owners will find details and components not seen before on a Bentley.

Displayed at Goodwood Festival of Speed
One of the finished Bacalars was shown off at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England where it was also handed over to its new owner. The car was finished in bespoke Sunset Orange, with customised tri-colour wheels and gloss black highlights providing a bold contrast to the vibrant exterior.

The centres of the headlamps were colour-matched to the Sunset Orange bodywork, either side of a set of gloss black grilles and surrounds. The bonnet vents provided a textural difference being finished in satin carbonfibre, as were the wing mirrors. Satin carbonfibre also gave additional definition to the ‘power humps’ behind the front seats – accented with Sunset Orange brightware – along with the side skirts and rear diffuser, complemented by exhaust finishers with gloss black outers and matte black inners.

The customer chose a white and black cabin with Mandarin Orange accents, creating a striking contemporary interior theme. A satin carbonfibre technical finish encapsulates the occupants, sweeping from one side of the cabin to the other, matching the exterior technical details harmoniously. Every panel and detail of the interior was specified to the customer, through careful combinations of leather and Alcantara in white, black and orange, gloss and satin metals in black, dark tint and bright chrome finishes, and the twin usage of both gloss and satin carbonfibre.

2022 Bentley Mulliner Bacalar

Mandarin Orange leather accentuates the form of the top roll, the centreline in the steering wheel and both the door release and gear lever. This continues with further stitching details to the rear of the seats within the oval perforated Beluga piping and hand cross stitching along the door following the styling line around to the centre console.

Other fine details include the analogue clock faces of the Bentley Rotating Display provide a splash of contrast in Bacalar Blue. The carpets feature a ‘diamond carved’ pattern, with binding and stitching in Mandarin Orange, while the split line between satin carbonfibre and gloss black in the luggage area – usually unseen and hidden by luggage – was specified to be in satin dark tint.

For each customer, personalising the Bacalar was ‘a voyage of discovery’, and this too applies to other models which are configurable in literally billions of ways. The process of designing a Mulliner goes even further – with infinite combinations of materials, colours and finishes. The only limitations are vehicle construction laws and the imagination of the customer… the cost is unlikely to be a concern.

MazdaSports Academy resumes Advanced Driving courses

MazdaSports Academy
BHPetrol

After a period of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MazdaSports Academy is revving up again to show Mazda owners the potential of their cars, and teach them safer and more enjoyable driving. The academy was established in 2018 by Bermaz Motor, the distributor of Mazda vehicles in Malaysia.

The syllabus has been developed by the Bermaz MazdaSports division (formed in 2016), which handles vehicle development, parts and accessories development as well as experience programs for customers.

While there are various training modules, the coming course for Mazda owners will focus on advanced driving. Participants will be shown the potential of their cars (and SUVs), especially how jinba-ittai can help them to be better drivers and enjoy driving. Jinba-ittai is a Japanese term that refers to the unity between a ride and his horse, enabling movements with precision and confidence. This quality is a key feature of every Mazda model.

While some other advanced driving courses provide vehicles for participants, the Mazda one requires them to use their own vehicles. This is actually better as they will be familiar with the vehicle, and they will also be using what they learn on the vehicle they have trained in.

Generally, most people who attend advanced driving courses feel that they do benefit from what they are taught. Some of it may seem boring – like seating position and how to hold the steering wheel – but these are important fundamentals that must become second nature. They can make crucial differences to how well the car is handled and how effectively a driver can respond to an emergency situation.

Mazda’s SKYACTIV vehicle technologies – like G-Vectoring Control (GVC) – contribute to better dynamic performance but many owners may not fully appreciate how this helps them when driving. At the course, they will be able to gain better understanding of this innovative technology that improves chassis performance by controlling the engine output. Since 2016, GVC has been improved and GVC Plus, available in some of the newer models, enhances vehicle smoothness and handling during cornering.

Such advanced courses also enable participants to experience things like skids and slides in a safe and controlled environment. Apart from knowing what these conditions feel like, they are also taught how to recover from them or to control the car on wet and slippery surfaces.

We’re not sure if this course will have it but usually, there will be a competition (like a slalom) at the end of the day and there may be prizes. Certainly, all participants would receive a certificate of participation when they complete the course.

If you’re interested in attending the course, these are the requirements and conditions:

  1. For owners of Mazda vehicles (except Mazda BT-50 and MPVs models).
  2. All participants have to use their own vehicle.
  3. Participants must be 18 years old and above, and have a valid driving license.
  4. There is a commitment/registration fee of RM100 per vehicle.
  5. Each vehicle is limited to 1 participant only. First come, first served basis.
  6. Each entry is valid for 1 day only. Participants can choose one of these dates: August 27 or August 28, 2022.
  7. The course will be held at MAEPS in Serdang which is outside Kuala Lumpur (on the way to Putrajaya). It will be held from 8:30 am to 5 pm on both days.

Registration can be done online by clicking on this link.

What if Porsche had built a Cayenne convertible?

2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype

The Cayenne was Porsche’s first SUV and has been extremely successful over the 20 years it has been on sale. The success of the Cayenne brought forth the smaller Macan, which has also been selling very well.

While the Cayenne has remained in its 5-door SUV form all this while, there was a period in the early years when other bodystyles were considered – a coupe, a version stretched by 20 cm with an additional row of seats, and even a convertible. And surprisingly, what might have appeared the least conventional option – a Cayenne-based convertible approximately 4.8-metres long – was not immediately discarded. In fact, it was even built.

Today, there is still a single example of the open-top Cayenne kept in storage at the Porsche Museum. It is not a roadgoing prototype, however, but what is known as a Package Function Model – or PFM for short. The designers had the roof removed, but dispensed with the body-stiffening measures necessary for a convertible. Incapable of providing a safe and stable drive, the vehicle is transported to its destination when required. Test drives were never planned, as the convertible PFM was only built to assess four criteria.

The criteria were: Is the seating comfortable throughout the vehicle when the roof tapers in a more coupé-like way towards the rear and when the windscreen and A-pillars are shortened? How practical is the Cayenne as a 2-door model with doors which are 20 cm longer? Is it possible to accommodate an elegant, high-quality soft top that can also be folded quickly? And how should the rear end be designed?

There was still disagreement on the final issue in 2002, and two different rear sections were designed for the Package Function Model. The left-hand tail light was set low on the rear of the car, while the right-hand one was noticeably higher.

Had the car reached production, a single rear design would, of course, have been settled on in the end, and the technical issues would undoubtedly have been resolved. A now-familiar soft-top mechanism was envisaged: the luggage compartment lid of the Cayenne-PFM was attached at the front and rear, allowing it to be opened in both directions. The roof would travel over the fixed roll-over bar and be ‘swallowed’ in the rear by the luggage compartment lid, which opened in the opposite direction, folding in a z-pattern.

It has worked in a very similar way to this on the 911 Targa since the 991-generation model. The mechanism never got past the computer simulation stage for the Cayenne convertible, however, and was never fully constructed. Today, the fabric top is stowed in the luggage compartment of the museum piece and must be fitted manually if required.

While the coupe idea of 2002 was later taken up again and implemented in 2019 in a production model, Porsche did not pursue the convertible idea further. Forecasts regarding profitability were not particularly promising and doubts remained as to whether the car would look as appealing as a Porsche should.

“An SUV as a convertible is a challenge both aesthetically and formally,” said Michael Mauer, who was not yet in office in 2002, looking at the concept today. “An SUV always has a large and heavy body. You combine this with a small top half and then cut off the roof – you get very strange shapes emerging from that!”

Final battles of 2022 Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship take place this weekend

Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship

Besides the successful and popular Toyota Vios Challenge one-make series, UMW Toyota Motor has also been running another motorsport series – in the virtual world. This is the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship which is in its fifth year in 2022. The most lucrative local online racing series in the country offering cash prizes, it is also the first and only E-sports motorsports-racing event promoted by a Malaysia car company.

First held in 2018, the number of participants in the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship has grown exponentially, with the event drawing more than 1 million online spectators per season. “2022 marks the fifth season of not only the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship, but also the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge race series. It used to be that virtual racing and real racing are two very different entities, but we are honoured to have witnessed first-hand how both disciplines are contributing immensely towards producing Malaysia’s next generation of competitive racing drivers,” said UMW Toyota Motor President, Ravindran K.

He noted that the company has successfully pioneered the transition of 4 young simulator drivers into saloon car racing over the last 2 years. One of those drivers is Nabil Azlan, who finished third in last year’s GR Velocity Esports Championship and is today not only competing in saloon car racing but is also one of the championship frontrunners in the Rookie Class of the Vios Challenge race series.

Fighting for RM70,000 price purse

This weekend will see the final showdown of the season at the 1Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. With 11 races in 4 distinctive racing cars. this year’s winner will emerge from the 20 best online racers competing against each other for a total prize pool of RM70,000 and a ticket to represent Malaysia on the international arena.

The 20 racers have come up from an initial group of more than 500 contestants who had participated in a gruelling qualifying round held between July 9 and 17. This weekend’s Grand Finale will see 2 rounds of semi-final races being held to decide the top 10 drivers for the final.

The semi-finals will see racers battling it out on two circuits: the 4.265-km Brands Hatch and 3.8-km Goodwood circuits in the United Kingdom. The racers will drive the Toyota SFR Racing concept and a Toyota 86 Group B rally car, respectively.

For the final races, the battle will take place on Brazil’s 4.309-km Autodromo Interlagos behind the wheel of a 591 bhp Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept, and also a 1,000 bhp Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the 7.004-km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Past winners return

Among the favourites returning this weekend are 2-time defending champion Taj Izrin Aiman Taj Madira, and the 2020 runner-up and third place winners Muhammad Iqbal Ahmad Suji and Mior Hafiz, as well as 2018 winner Muhammad Uzair. All 4 racers have had the opportunity to go on to the Regional Finals and will be hoping that 2022 will be the year which sees the first Malaysian driver going on to represent Asia in the Global Finals.

Exhibition races

There will also be 4 exhibition races during the weekend event, involving drivers and celebrities competing in the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge. Members of the media, invited gamers and young drivers in the Vios Challenge rookie class will also be invited to join in.

2020 Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship

The celebrity line-up includes actors Zizan Razak and Shukri Yahaya; television hosts Nabil Ahmad, Ain Edruce and Ahirine Ahirudin; and singers Khai Bahar, Wany Hasrita and Nabila Razali. The Vios Challenge rookies will be 4 young drivers – Adele Liew, Nabil Azlan, Sharique Zulqarnain and Muizz Musyaffa.

Besides watching the event live at 1Utama, the races will also be broadcast live on Astro’s eGG Channel, as well as the Toyota GAZOO Racing Malaysia Facebook and YouTube pages.

Seven Great Things about the Next-Generation Ford Ranger

Next-Gen Ford Ranger

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in different ways. The situation has now become endemic, meaning we have to live with COVID-19 being around, but life can progress to some degree of normalcy.

For many, the pandemic and what was experienced with lock-downs and the fear of being infected would have brought on a re-evaluation of priorities. The quality of life would become even more important and with it, the need to have a true balance of work, family and play.

For driving enthusiasts, that balance would include doing more and going further with whatever vehicle is owned. It can be at work, going off the beaten track on an adventure, or on a leisurely weekend outing with family and other like-minded individuals, or even doing community service.

The next-generation Ford Ranger can be an ideal vehicle for all these activities. It is the smartest, most versatile and capable Ranger yet, an inspiration for a new generation of owners to make their own routes in life and Live the Ranger Life to the fullest.

Here’s a quick overview of the most important things about the next-generation Ford Ranger:

1. A trusted partner for the Ranger way of life

The Ranger was a pioneer in the pick-up segment in Malaysia, transforming what was a basic workhorse machine into an all-round lifestyle vehicle. And as its numbers grew, the community of Ranger owners also grew with shared values and the enthusiasm for life and all that it offers.

The Ranger’s versatility makes it a trusted partner not just for work but also for family and play. It is a single vehicle that can do more – and do it well. When it’s not used for work, it can provide shared experiences through the exclusive Ford Ranger Getaways community and experiential platform.

2. Large infotainment screen with 360o camera view

From the first generation, the Ranger has led with the technology it offers and the next-generation Ranger continues this. Apart from its high-level of well-integrated technology is a multitude of features that include a connective experience with the large first-in-class 12-inch/10,1-inch infotainment touchscreen. The large space on the screen means bigger displays of maps and information, while there’s enough room left at the bottom of the screen for other menus such as climate and entertainment controls. The infotainment system is powered by Ford’s cutting-edge SYNC 4A communication and entertainment system.

Additionally, with the 360o camera on the WildTrak, parking the next-generation Ranger is ‘no sweat’. Whether it’s tight urban spaces, navigating tricky terrain or manoeuvring through narrow streets, the driver can easily see the situation on every side.

3. Digital instrument cluster

The next-generation Ranger has done away with the analogue instrument panel and all information is now presented on a digital display. This not only enhances clarity but also allows for personalisation of information preferred by the driver. Graphics featuring realistic bodystyle avatars are available to suit different moods on each journey.

4. Next-gen safety

Safety is paramount to Ford, whatever type of vehicle it is. The Ranger nameplate has always been a leader in the segment with an array of safety features and advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) that has expanded and become more advanced.

With the next-generation Ranger, there are more of the latest crash protection features and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist System). The ADAS features include Evasive Steer Assist, Lane Change Warning and Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and High Beam Assist. This will make the driver feel more secure and confident in every driving situation and enjoy the drive.

5. New interior – like being in a premium SUV

The Ranger changed people’s perception of a truck because it had the same comfort and convenience as a passenger car. With the next-generation Ranger’s redesigned interior and soft-touch materials as well as a more comfortable and spacious cabin than previous models, this is now elevated to give the feeling of being in a premium SUV. Except, of course, you can do more and enjoy more with the capabilities of the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger.

6. Stand out with a bold new exterior

The Ranger has always appealed as a stylish looking truck. It continues this attribute in the next-generation Ranger which has a commanding presence and athletic exterior design. From the pronounced wheel arches and strong horizontal upper grille bar to the unique new C-clamp matrix LED headlights (on selected variants), the next-generation Ranger once again leads in looks.

7. Power and performance

Though looking stylish, the next-generation Ranger has all the capabilities that Ford trucks have been known for. It can work as hard as it plays and for those who use it for work, Ford’s proven 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine is the ideal powertrain to get work done.

There’s also the more sophisticated Bi-Turbo engine with its muscular character that provides maximum power of 210 ps and a whopping 500 Nm of torque. And though it is powerful, it’s also efficient which means good fuel economy as well. A proven 10-speed automatic transmission gives the wide spread of ratios to have a gear for every kind of situation.

Nationwide debut tour

Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC) will be organising a nationwide debut tour for the next-generation Ranger ahead of the showroom launch. For an exclusive invitation to a debut event at a city near you, sign up here. You’ll also receive regular updates to keep you informed.

For more information about the next-generation Ranger and full launch schedule, follow the Ford Malaysia Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channel or visit www.sdacford.com.my.

Perodua Ativa customers can be ‘test-drivers’ for Daihatsu Rocky Hybrid

2022 Daihatsu Rocky HYBRID

Although its vehicles are very fuel-efficient, Perodua will also be starting on an electrification journey with hybrid powertrains. This will begin with a fleet of 300 Daihatsu Rocky Hybrids that have been imported for the purpose of testing in local conditions. The Rocky is the Daihatsu equivalent of the Perodua Ativa, while Toyota’s version is called the Raize.

Rather than conducting the testing itself (which it will also do), the carmaker will be offering the model to interested customers under a subscription program. The customers who will be offered the chance to participate will be existing customers who have booked an Ativa but have not received it.

5-year program
Under the program, they will pay an upfront fee of RM2,150 and a monthly fee of RM500. The costs relating to insurance coverage, roadtax and scheduled maintenance will be covered by Perodua. The period of subscription will last for 5 years and customers will be required to allows tracking of their vehicle movements (using a GPS device) so that data on their driving and usage can be collected.

They will also have to provide feedback regularly and report on any technical issues they face. Within a year, the data from 300 SUVs should provide Perodua with a lot of information on the running conditions of the hybrid powertrain which they can use in developing their future powertrain for a later model. Whether it will be for the Ativa or another model remains to be seen.

The e-SMART HYBRID system
Daihatsu has worked on hybrid powertrains for a long time, with the first prototype shown as far back as 1981. The latest hybrid powertrain in the Rocky Hybrid is an e-SMART HYBRID which has the capability of running purely on electric power. It uses a 1.2-litre engine and a transaxle specially developed for hybrid electric vehicles.

The transaxle, which efficiently transmits the motor output to the wheels, consists of a motor generator that drives and generates power, a speed reduction mechanism, and a differential mechanism. The two motors are optimally arranged to achieve compactness so that they can be installed in compact vehicles.

The Rocky HYBRID also has a Smart Pedal (S-PDL) which can adjust the vehicle’s speed just by stepping on or releasing the accelerator pedal. When using the S-PDL, the amount of regeneration increases due to the reduced deceleration caused by the brake pedal, contributing to improved fuel efficiency.

Second time having CBU vehicles
This would be the second time that Perodua is importing completely built-up (CBU) Daihatsu vehicles. Back in 2008, the company brought in a batch of Daihatsu Terios SUVs from Indonesia. These were to be badged as the Perodua Nautica, the successor to the Kembara. However, the plan was scrapped after a year and Perodua did not have a SUV until the Aruz was introduced in 2019.

2008 Perodua Nautica

Isuzu D-MAX X-Terrain is Official Ultimate Lifestyle Vehicle of 2022 KL Fashion Week

Isuzu D-MAX X-Terrain

There was a time when the pick-up truck was seen as just a workhorse, a vehicle that was used in rough conditions and the important requirement was durability, not style. The manufacturers therefore made it simple, focussing on the engineering to make it lasting, and capable for tough tasks.

That image gradually changed and in Malaysia, it changed in the late 1990s when the law changed to permit ownership of pick-up trucks for personal use rather than business use. Overnight, a new segment was created and because of the go-anywhere capability of the pick-up truck, it became a popular choice for those who had an adventurous lifestyle.

Isuzu D-MAX

And being a lifestyle vehicle also meant that it had to be stylish. Isuzu responded to this trend and today, its latest D-Max X-Terrain combines style with the ruggedness expected of such vehicles. No longer would be it embarrassing to drive a pick-up truck to a hotel lobby or have to park it some distance and walk to an event. Today’s trucks like the D-MAX makes a statement for their owners.

It’s therefore not surprising that Isuzu Malaysia has chosen to be associated with the KL Fashion Week (KLFW), now in its 10th year in 2022. The company is supplying the D-MAX X-Terrain as the Official Vehicle of the event which has the theme ‘The Bigger, The Better’ (which also seems appropriately related to the D-MAX).

Isuzu Malaysia’s COO, Kenkichi Sogo (right) with Andrew Tan, founder of the KL Fashion Week.

Commenting on their involvement in the 2022 KL Fashion Week, Isuzu Malaysia’s Chief Operating Officer, Kenkichi Sogo, said: “With its cutting-edge design, superlative features and extraordinary go-anywhere, do-anything capabilities, the Isuzu D-Max is all about challenging the norm and allowing you to forge your fondest memories. Together with the KLFW, we aim to bring forward novel, imaginative and inspiring designs to share with the Malaysian audience.”

As the event’s Official Ultimate Lifestyle Vehicle sponsor, the D-MAX X-Terrain showcases a fresh dimension to its identity, one that hinges on its appeal as an urban vehicle and not one purely focused on its talents as a capable cargo-mover and dependable off-roader.

Being the flagship of the range, the D-MAX X-Terrain has a premium look and feel within, with high-quality materials used throughout. It also has a passenger car-like environment which offers comfort that would be expected of a lifestyle vehicle.

Standard are high-tech features like a 360˚ Around View Monitor and wireless charging for compatible smartphones as well as Android Auto and wireless Apple Carplay connectivity. The driver also has a host of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems to make driving safer as well as less tiring.

Isuzu D-MAX X-Terrain

The D-MAX X-Terrain will be feature prominently at the KL Fashion Week which will be on from August 15 to August 21 at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in Bukit Bintang. Three units will be showcased – a Valencia Orange unit that depicts the truck’s fun and adventure nature;  an Onyx Black version that highlights its stylish and premium side; and a Silky Pearl White unit which presents a sophisticated and intelligent character.

To know more about the D-MAX and where to test-drive one, visit pickuptruck.isuzu.net.my. For information on the 2022 KL Fashion Week, visit klfashionweek.website.

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