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  • Kia K4 – production segment-straddling sedan shown


    Earlier in the year at Auto China 2014 in Beijing, we were presented with the Kia K4 concept and were promised that a production version would come to market in the second half of the year. Bang on time, then, that the real deal appeared at the recent Chengdu Motor Show.

    Not much has changed, has it? Apart from the smaller wheels, subtly reprofiled front and rear fascias and more production-friendly head- and tail lamps, the new car is pretty much exactly the same as the concept that presaged it. That’s no bad thing, as it’s handsome in a mini-Optima sort of way.


    At 4.7 metres long, 1,815 mm wide and 1,465 mm high, the K4, based on the Hyundai Mistra, slots in between the C-segment Cerato/K3 (4.56 metres) and the D-segment Optima/K5 (4.85 metres) in length. Its 2,770 metre long wheelbase also sits neatly between the two, and is shared with its Hyundai twin.

    The interior, on the other hand, bears a striking resemblance to that of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, especially the arrangement of the centre air vents, the large screen and the CD slot at the top. Elsewhere, it’s typical modern Kia, with the sporty-looking three-spoke steering wheel and T-shaped shifter picked from the Optima. Kia claims “plenty of space for occupants” both front and rear.


    At launch, the K4 is available with two engines from the Nu family – a 143 PS, 176 Nm 1.8 litre four-cylinder and a 155 PS, 192 Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder – mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. No sign of the concept’s pro_cee’d GT-derived 204 PS, 265 Nm 1.6 litre GDI turbo mill or its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, however, although that might come later.

    Fancy a Kia K4? Don’t hold your breath – like the Hyundai Mistra, it’s designed for the China and will be sold only in the Middle Kingdom itself.

  • The BHPetrol Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest is now live! Take part today and win a lifetime experience to the Nurburgring plus RM40,000 worth of prizes!

    Your chance to win a dream motoring adventure is now here! BHPetrol has officially launched the three-month-long Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest which will see one lucky winner win two super exclusive passes to the legendary Nurburging circuit in Germany for a once-in-a-lifetime motoring adventure.
    Trust us, it does not get any better than this! And that’s not all folks. You will also get the chance to win prizes equivalent to a year’s usage of fuel, which will be given out to 10 lucky winners, on a monthly basis for three months.
    This ultimate three-day grand prize includes the chance for you to:

    • Spectate an actual race weekend
    • Take part in the BMW Ring-Taxi experience with Sabine Schmitz
    • Score some laps around the legendary Nurburgring circuit in a sports car such as a Nissan GT-R and more!


    The BHPetrol Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest starts today, till November 18. There will be three rounds in total (one round per month), and at each round, you will have to answer different sets of questions about the BHPetrol Infiniti Advanced 2x premium fuel. For each round, 10 winners will be selected to bag away prizes equivalent to a year’s usage of fuel worth RM40,000*. Out of these 30 winners from all three rounds, one will be selected to head to the Nurburgring, fondly known as the Green Hell, with a friend.
    On to the monthly prizes, up for grabs are:

    • 1 x First Prize: RM4,800
    • 1 x Second Prize: RM3,600
    • 1 x Third Prize: RM1,500
    • 7 x Consolation Prize: RM500

    Now, taking part is the easiest thing ever! Spend a minimum of RM20 in a single receipt at any BHPetrol station outfitted with a BHPetromart (official store) with cash or credit card, and then head to our Paul Tan’s Automotive News official Facebook page, hit the BHPetrol Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest tab and answer all the questions. It’s that simple! To help answer the questions, you will need to find the clues on our posts about the contest, as well as the short video above. Remember, you will need to keep the official receipt as the Sale or Transaction Code will be required to submit your entry (click here to view an example).

    And here’s the best part. You can take part as many times as you’d like to help increase your chances of winning. For example, with a single receipt of RM100, you can submit five entries. You have till September 28 to submit your entries for Round 1, while Round 2 will be launched on September 30. So, head to the nearest BHPetrol station and start submitting your entries.
    The BHPetrol Fuel Your Way to Nurburgring contest exclusive to the network, and brought to you by BHPetrol and its Infiniti Advanced 2x premium fuel with 800ppm double dose of German additives, giving you more mileage, more savings and more power.

    Click here to head to the contest tab on the Paul Tan’s Automotive News official Facebook page.

  • Honda XR-V – China’s HR-V/Vezel gets its own looks


    What you see above is the Honda XR-V, China’s unique version of the B-segment SUV we’ve come to know as the Vezel, and later the HR-V. To be produced locally by Dongfeng-Honda, it features completely new front and rear ends, reworked side body panels and even its own dashboard design.

    Unlike the HR-V/Vezel’s rather fussy face, which closely mimics that of the Jazz (on which is it is based), the XR-V gets a much more aggressive front, with slim lights and a healthy serving of traditional SUV-style black claddings. The back end (which we don’t have a picture of, unfortunately) is interesting too, with a far sportier set of tail lamps.

    The side body panels are new too. Gone is the rising character line of the original design, replaced by much more subdued (but muscular) wheelarch ‘humps’. The wheels and side mirror caps are unique to the China-only compact SUV as well. Inside, the HR-V’s square-set dashboard is replaced with a more rounded one featuring four circular air con vents.

    In China, the Honda XR-V will have a choice of two petrol engines (1.5 or 1.8 litre), paired to either a manual or CVT transmission. While we await our own version of the Ford EcoSport fighter (tipped to be called the Honda HR-V), care to tell us which version you like more – this XR-V or the Vezel below?

    Japanese-market Honda Vezel at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show

  • SPY VIDEO: Proton Compact Car on PLUS highway

    We saw a convoy of four Proton Compact Cars while we were driving up the PLUS highway last week, and managed to snap a few photos as well as a video. These aren’t exactly useful now that Proton has released a full front three quarter photo of the new Proton Compact Car.

    We thought we’d post it up anyway because you can see how it compares in size with other cars on the road. It actually looks pretty tall and wide, similiar in size to a Perodua Myvi or a Honda Jazz. Stay tuned for more updates on the new Proton, for now you can read our Proton Compact Car Infohub.

  • Volkswagen Lamando debuts in China: it’s a ‘Jetta CC’


    As early as February 2013, we told you about Volkswagen’s plans to introduce an MQB-based ‘four-door coupe’ – a ‘Golf/Jetta CC’ of sorts. Then it got real – the New Midsize Coupe concept surfaced in Beijing in April 2014, and photos of the road-going version found their way online quickly after.

    The handsome vehicle has finally been unveiled at the Chengdu motor show, and it’s called the Volkswagen Lamando – what a name. Being based on the MQB platform used by the Mk7 Golf, the Lamando has no relation to the current Jetta, which uses an older platform shared with the Mk6 Golf.

    We don’t have official shots of the cabin yet, but as previous leaked images show, the interior is similar to the Mk7 Golf’s.

    According to CarNewsChina, the Lamando will be built in China by the Shanghai-VW joint-venture, and will go on sale there in November, priced from around 180,000 RMB (RM92k). There’ll be 1.4 and 2.0 TSI petrol engines; both linked to a seven-speed DSG.

  • Proton “Iriz” Compact Car – more colours rendered

    Proton only released a single full exterior shot of the Proton Compact Car over the Merdeka weekend, in which the car was painted in green. This probably means green will be the ‘hero’ colour for the car, used in ad campaigns. We also know that there’ll be at least black, blue, white and of course by logic, the absolutely necessary silver exterior colours for the car.

    Rendering whiz Theophilus Chin decided to have some fun with the teaser image by changing the car’s colour to a variety, and enlarging the wheels. These aren’t official PCC colours. The black and blue could be close to what the production car will offer, but we haven’t seen a red prototype on test yet, and wow, that yellow! Will Proton offer yellow for those who love yellow on their Myvi SE and Myvi Extreme so much?

    What’s your favourite Proton Compact Car colour?

  • Proton “Iriz” Compact Car – first official images!


    Selamat Hari Merdeka everyone! It looks like national car company Proton has decided to give us a little Merdeka gift in the form Proton Compact Car teaser images on their new microsite for the car –

    There are a few teaser images on the site showing us things like the headlamp design and the touchscreen head unit. Proton has also given us a way to unveil the full car using four mobile phones to generate four pieces of the teaser image. Try it, it’s pretty fun.

    We did that and pieced together the teaser image especially for you, dear readers. So here you have it, the first official full exterior body view of the new Proton Compact Car that’s NOT leaked from classified areas.


    The first teaser image released for this car in Proton’s Raya 2014 video already gave us a glimpse of how the Proton Compact Car’s headlamps will look like, but in this photo the angle is slightly different. The Proton logo in the headlamp is a nice touch usually found on premium cars.

    The headlamp appears to use both projector and reflector lenses, and the yellow tinge (as opposed to the more whitish colour of xenons) seen in this photo could mean halogen bulbs.

    This teaser image shows a top cutaway view of the car. We can see that the high spec variants (if not all variants, here’s wishing) of the Proton Compact Car will come with six airbags (front, side and curtain). Thanks to the angle, we also have a preview of the interior layout.


    There are five seats of course, and the rear seats look like they have three headrests, and the bench looks like it has a 60:40 split. We can see that the gear lever is in the usual position close to the dashboard, and behind it there are two cup holders and a handbrake lever. It looks like there’s also another cup holder behind the handbrake for the rear passengers.

    This teaser image gives us a first look at the Proton Compact Car’s touchscreen head unit. It looks different from the Android one found in the Suprima S. The four icons seen here are for Navigation, Radio, Media and Bluetooth, so we know that the PCC has integrated navigation maps.

    Our previous spyshots also show what could be a regular non-touchscreen head unit for the more affordable models. Another interesting bit – if you look at the bottom left edge of the image, you can see what appears to be faux stitching on the dashboard for a more premium look, just like in the new Toyota Vios dashboard.

    Click to enlarge

    This teaser image shows that the variants of the car that has the touchscreen head unit can be equipped with a reverse camera function. If it’s standard, even better. The reverse camera video feed has guide lines super-imposed onto it to help with parking.

    Upper end variants of the Proton Compact Car will be available with keyless start, according to the photo below. On the left side of the image you can see what appears to be a normal key hole that’s blanked out.

    The image also allows us a closer look of the dashboard plastic texture around that area. This part of the dashboard is the lower half, and Proton could be using a combination of textures, as the dashboard texture of the area surrounding the air cond vents seen above look a little different.


    Best news of all – safety. The Vehicle Dynamics Control logo seen below confirms the availability of electronic stability control in the Myvi-fighter; what remains to be answered is if it’s standard on all variants. There’s also a five-star ANCAP crash test rating logo, so the PCC looks strong on safety.

    Proton recently revealed that the PCC will be powered by new engines, 1.3 and 1.6 litre units with variable valve timing (VVT). Not just the Campro with VVT bolted on, the PCC’s engines feature a new block, pistons and valves, and is the first of a new series of engines that will power future models and replace the long-serving Campro family.

    More technical details in our previous PCC stories.

  • ASEAN NCAP Grand Prix Awards 2014 commemorates the best vehicle crash test results so far


    ASEAN NCAP held a Grand Prix Awards 2014 last week to commemorate the crash test results of the cars involved in the ASEAN NCAP assessment program since its first testing. The awards also featured segments for safety technology (OEM and car maker category), media contribution and appreciation awards to organizations and individuals involved in the ASEAN NCAP committee.

    The cars are divided into seven categories for these categories, according to body style and for hatchbacks and sedans – kerb weight. Here is the list of the awards recipients.

    Best Child Occupant Protection (COP)
    Mini Car: Kia Picanto
    Small Family: Volkswagen Polo
    Medium Family: Honda Civic
    Large Family: Toyota Prius
    MPV: Perodua Alza
    SUV: Honda CR-V
    Pickup: Isuzu D-MAX
    Best Overall COP: Toyota Prius

    Best Adult Occupant Protection (AOP)
    Mini Car: Mitsubishi Mirage
    Small Family: Honda City (2014)
    Medium Family: Proton Prevé
    Large Family: Toyota Prius
    MPV: Toyota Avanza
    SUV: Honda CR-V
    Pickup: Chevrolet Colorado
    Best Overall COP: Honda City (2014)

    Safety Technology Award
    Car Maker Category: Honda LaneWatch
    OEM Category: Bosch Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
    Academician: No Winner

    The nominees for the awards above consist of cars crash tested by ASEAN NCAP based on crash test performance. The next round of awards will be in 2016 – hopefully more Malaysian or ASEAN market cars will have been crash tested by then so we’ll be able to see award winners picked from a larger pool of nominees. The Prius ended up in the Large Family category because of its kerb weight of over 1,400kg.

    ASEAN NCAP Chairman, Prof. Dr. Wong Shaw Voon said, “I’m very indebted to all parties who has helped MIROS and realized our NCAP dream so far. It started with a small effort with outdoor crash testing, the paper-based star-rating evaluation in MyVAP (Malaysian Vehicle Assessment Program) and today we managed to have the NCAP not only for Malaysia but also for the benefit of the ASEAN region. I’m also indebted to the government of Malaysia for putting the trust on us, MIROS and ASEAN NCAP, to introduce this kind of intervention in road safety with both financial and technical support.”

    ASEAN NCAP Secretary-General, Mr. Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim, added, “We hope ASEAN NCAP will grow stronger and be one of the influential platforms for car safety as well as for road safety as a whole. I’m looking forward for healthy competition among the manufacturers to produce safer cars with commendable safety standard. I personally looking forward for a 5-Star car with an affordable price in the region, and perhaps with only one or two variants per model for ASEAN region with safety not being compromised. We will see the result in the next Grand Prix two years from now.”

  • VIDEO: Petronas Merdeka 2014 – A Walk Through Time

    We’ve come a long way since independence, and sometimes it’s easy to forget how the journey was made since those humble beginnings 57 years ago. To celebrate the passage that is nearly six decades of our country’s existence, Petronas has come up with A Walk Through Time for Merdeka and Malaysia Day 2014.

    The three-and-a half-minute webfilm, capturing the spirit and gestalt shown by the late Yasmin Ahmad in previous outings, relives our nation’s history, viewed through a series of significant milestones.

    Merdeka, the formation of Malaysia and the historic 1992 Thomas Cup win are just some of the key moments captured in the compelling shorty, produced by Leo Burnett Malaysia and crafted by film company Reservoir Production.

    Petronas Merdeka 2014 lead

    Plenty of nostalgia on show, from the (in)famous two-decade-long KL Mini Bus service and the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee’s iconic Laksamana Do Re Mi from 1972 to a time when rickshaws were routine daily transportation and bell bottoms a norm. A Petronas station from the 80s is also depicted.

    A high level of care and attention to detail is evident throughout, most impressively showcased by the props, from the Ruby Theatre in Ipoh (now housing a furniture store, but which had its exterior restored to its former glory for the film) to items such as an Everyday milk tin and an immaculate Broadcast Relay Service Rediffusion television.

    Accuracy happens in the background as well – for example, even if it’s not visible in the film itelf, the tear-off calendar on the wall in the scene that depicts Monday, September 16, 1963 (Malaysia Day) actually reflects the date.

    petronas merdeka 4

    Vehicles from the eras are also featured – the first Proton Saga, Mark I Mini, MG TF and Morris Minor are among the metal to be seen (the Ford Escort Mk II propped in the Ruby frameset didn’t actually come into production until 1974, but let’s not split hairs about this, seeing as the two-door example chosen is representative of the decade).

    Kuala Lumpur’s modern skyline is also represented, with the Petronas Twin Towers, KL Tower and the Rapid Rail LRT system featured. The neat touch is that the two protagonists never age, despite travelling through the six decades of the country’s transformation, which encapsulates the film’s tagline of “Reflect on yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow” rather nicely.

    But enough of that now. Enjoy the video (and once you’re done, catch the The Making Of), and we at would like to wish all Malaysians Selamat Hari Merdeka! May we always remember who we are, where we came from and how we got here.

  • PEKEMA: Abolishing APs will affect govt revenue

    Import duties

    Abolishing Approved Permits (AP) for the import of cars will affect the government’s revenue through tax collection from AP holders, and have a negative impact on Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the automotive industry, the Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association of Malaysia (PEKEMA) has said, according to a Bernama report.

    Although the number of cars sold made up only five percent of the overall market, annual tax collected from members of the association total over RM2 billion, PEKEMA president Datuk Zainuddin Abdul Rahman said.

    “From the number of imports, the quantity that is brought in is not big. However, in terms of tax collection, our contribution is commendable,” he said in a statement in conjunction with PEKEMA’s annual general meeting.

    “For example, in 2011 the government’s import tax collected from our members totalled RM2.8 billion, and this increased to RM3.3 billion in 2012.


    “This does not include annual corporate and individual taxes. Moreover, the government receives new revenue from the fees of each AP for used cars of RM10,000 which now amounts to more than RM1 billion.”

    The irony, said Zainuddin, is that out of the more than 800 types of APs issued, APs for cars are the only ones on which the government has imposed a fee.

    It was reported earlier in the week that the review on the impact of the termination of the Open AP system should be finished this year, according to the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI). The institute is in favour of abolishing Open APs because, it says, they limit the development of the automotive industry.

    But, according to the PEKEMA president, this is unfounded, as “… the Open AP policy has succeeded in ensuring the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the automotive industry. This is one of the government’s affirmative actions in the implementation of the New Economic Policy,” he said, according to Bernama.


    On this, Zainuddin said PEKEMA was grateful to the government for considering the issues that could be faced by AP holders, especially its members.

    “PEKEMA has consistently said that the huge implication on Bumiputera entrepreneurs if the Open AP policy is abolished is that it would kill the Bumiputera participation in the nation’s automotive industry…if the proposal is adopted,” he said.

    According to the national news agency, International Trade and Industry minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said earlier this month that the government is still studying the proposal to put an end to APs for the import of cars, and that whatever policy will be introduced to replace the AP system will compensate for the loss in government revenue.

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