Monday, June 26, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2008

On our last installment in which we discover more of the Malaysian market, the year 2008 was somewhat fine despite the financial crisis that hit worldwide in the latter part of the year as well as high fuel prices. 524,000 vehicles were driven off Malay dealers in the 366 days of that given year.

We shall give out the thirty best selling vehicles sold in Malaysia in 2008.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2009

Previously we had listed down the best selling cars of Malaysia for 2010 and 2011. This time we shall check out 2009 before and see if vehicle trends at the turn of a new decade. 517,000 cars were sold in that year, despite a economic loom that lingered in that year.

Lets us go back to memory lane of Malaysia, to a time machine of year 2009.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Used Car Review - Kia Rio (2012-2017)

Improved? Let us revisit this model one more time.

2012-2017 Kia Rio


We all know the situation Kia faced at the turn of the millennium, decreasing sales and at the same time it cannot escape the stigma that it had faced during the period of the sub-compact Pride. While the Rio was cheap and a breath of fresh air (it was developed independently, not anymore based on a Mazda platform), quality is thumbs down plus the dominance of Japanese makes placed this car out of oblivion. The second generation model, launched in 2006, was an improvement but was relegated to the taxicab crowd thanks to a somewhat basic interior and some marketing push.

The UB Rio debuted first at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, which for the second time shares its platform and engines with the Hyundai Accent. While both sedan and hatchback models were available, a three door hatch was released for this generation.

For the Philippine market, the third generation Rio was first made available in the form of the 1.4 EX sedan in January 2012 with the lower 1.2 LX and hatchback a month later. Later variants for the sedan were added in 2013 covering both bases. This vehicle is an improvement over its taxi image with numerous changes ushering in especially in safety and interior quality.

Value and Costs
Kia vehicles, in general, have poor resale values which in return are bargains for second hand shoppers. A 2012 sedan can be had for as low as P280,000 while later models hover at the P600,000 below range. Do take note that hatchbacks cost more than their four box counterparts. In that price range however, some superior rivals exist which surpass the Rio in certain aspects, so do your research well.

Maintenance costs are similar to rivals of the same time period, with parts being similar to several Hyundai models. If you aim for one, do check out for the air-conditioning unit as it has the tendency to conk out. Kia models sold carry a five year or 100,000kms warranty, so eye for a unit with the remaining chunk.

Exterior and Interior
While the 2006-2011 model was dull at its best, this one has some European touches than something made from the land of Koreanovelas. The Tiger Nose grille gives the vehicle an aggressive yet classy approach. Hatchback models and the EX-S sedan have fog lights with its lowly models losing them, while the EX and SLX having alloy wheels and the base LX rides on steel wheels with hubcap covers.

Same goes with the interior, especially that it was a dramatic improvement (although still not to par with some established rivals) over the model it replaced. Another point of improvement is the safety department, with the 1.4 models gaining at least airbags and ABS brakes. 1.2 models do get at least front power windows and power mirrors and the hatchback/EX-S sedan gain cruise control, automatic climate control, and a push button smart key system.

Both engines are from Hyundai, so you may be familiar with these especially that they have been mentioned in several of my reviews. LX and SLX gets the Kappa 1.2 that has 86hp at 6,000rpm and 119Nm at 4,000rpm while the rest of the gang uses the Gamma 1.4 with 108hp at 6,300rpm and 137Nm at 4,200rpm. Both engines are capable on their best although the 1.4 needs some revving at certain times, worst for the latter is that its automatic version slurps gas more so stick to a manual if you want this.

Driving Impressions
Driving this one is at the middle ground when compared to the Ford/Mazda twins, with handling being on the safe side. Ride quality, despite the road imperfections our country has, is excellent.

Although Kia was relegated to the middle or lower class, the attempt for the third generation Rio is an improvement (although not quite, but going there). It is no longer the dull sedan it was known for inside and out, rather an effort to step up to its game.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Used Car Review - MINI Countryman (2011-2017)

Another MINI vehicle offspring gets the spotlight for today

2011-2017 MINI Countryman


Ever since BMW bought the British carmaker MINI in 1994, they wanted a car from that marque to incorporate vehicle characteristics from the German manufacturer. However, the MINI concept was untouched and instead the BMW 1 Series was introduced to fill that void. With the introduction of the new MINI hatch in 2001, its success prompted to introduce offshoot models while retaining its iconic shape that it is known for.

The Countryman was notable for the brand for two reasons: it was the first SUV for the marque which had jumped to the trend a bit late and the first five door vehicle to churn out of the brand. That impact made way for a second crossover in the line-up named the Paceman (which was killed last year) and the third generation MINI Hatch had a five door model.

In 2011, the local MINI distributor brought in the Countryman in FWD form with both non-supercharged and with SC gasoline engines available for sale.

Value and Costs
With a selling price of P2,380,000 for a non-SC model back in 2011 and the high horsepower option going for 500 grand more, second hand examples come rare and if there is one, it is priced expensively with the cheapest model going for P1,600,000. If rarity isn't an issue, there are more BMW X1s on the market to choose from or if you want to go large, their one size counterparts are aplenty.

No thanks to its limited dealer network, taking care of this baby may prove to be expensive although a bit high than its corporate cousin. Reliability isn't a strong suit with problems plaguing the transmission system, built quality, timing chains that stretch when its low on oil, and oil leaks that contaminate electrical components. If you want something that is trouble free, look elsewhere.

Exterior and Interior
The MINI name is an oxymoron, especially that the sizes are not mini anymore and what more with the Countryman, as it has gained more height and length. Although the Countryman name was used during the 60s, this is a different animal altogether. Its iconic style is retained but you have to get used to its oddball styling for sometime.

Going inside, the interior design still resembles the ones seen in its lower brethren but that is a good thing. Space isn't mini, its decent enough for five persons and you wouldn't feel cramped especially that this drives on its front wheels.

Utilized among other MINI (and some BMW vehicles) is a 1.6 gasoline engine which can be had in either normal utilizing 120hp at 6,000rpm and 160Nm at 4,250rpm or supercharged flavors that gains 181hp at 5,550rpm and 240Nm at 1,600-5,000rpm. For city driving you'll feel more satisfied with the normally powered engine but for long drives, the supercharged version is required (the low powered model has even has a sports mode).

Driving Impressions
No thanks to a taller profile, the Countryman gives you a somewhat stiff ride but when it comes to attacking corners, it comes perfect since it inherits its smaller brothers. Despite its larger size, it is easy to drive.

If you're buying this car with your heart due to its funky styling and topnotch driving fun, this is the one. If you're buying this car with your mind, go elsewhere since there are numerous practical SUVs that are fun to drive yet have more room and more dependable.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2010

Last week we had Malaysia's 2011 best sellers, let us traverse a year ago to see what they had purchased.

Next month, we shall go a decade ago: 2008 and 2009.

Out of the 12 months, let's look back on their best sellers.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of Malaysia for 2011

Malaysia is home to two homegrown brands: Proton and Perodua. The former is owned by the local government while the latter has Toyota/Daihatsu on their side. The third largest car market in ASEAN after Indonesia and Thailand, Malaysia has a fair share of brands that their smallish population (around 20 million) can buy with numerous assembly plants locating there.

Since the source we have found does not disclose per model sales for 2012 and up, we shall look a year before. 578,000 cars were sold to Malaysian households in 2011, a slight decrease.

For next week, let us discover Malaysians buying patterns in 2010 while we explore 2008 and 2009 next month. Check out what they had bought six years ago.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Toyota Wigo - Generation 1.1 (2014-2017)


Competing with the likes of the Mirage and Picanto, the Wigo is basically an Indonesian assembled Daihatsu with a Toyota badge.

Car Profiles - Toyota Wigo (2014-Current)

2014-Current Toyota Wigo

The Good: Easy to drive, practical

The Bad: Not so fuel friendly automatic, cheap interior

The Say: While the badge is good, there are other fine choices for less.

Go For: M/T
Avoid: A/T

Price Range: P320,000-P450,000
Our Rating: **

Related Review:
Latest vehicle profile: Toyota Wigo

See the different versions of this vehicle:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Car Features - Top 30 Best Selling Vehicles of the Philippines for 2015

If you think that 260,000 cars sold back in 2014 weren't enough, then prepare yourself for something big: 323,000 vehicles were driven off dealer lots in 2015. After the floods which nearly affected every ASEAN market in 2011, car sales in the Philippines were increasing each year. Now, if you know who to blame for the horrendous traffic, we will not drop names here.

While you are watching your Aldub and Jadine flicks back in 2015, let us make some throwback on what you have purchased two years ago.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Used Car Review - Volkswagen Tiguan (2013-2016)

Another SUV from a European brand gets the spotlight.

2013-2016 Volkswagen Tiguan


Alongside Toyota which dominated the Philippine market, we had Volkswagen selling the likes of the Beetle and Kombi during the 60s and the 70s before pulling out a decade later. The Ramos administration had some car manufacturers set foot (and for some, return) in the country with VW being one of them, only to close down ten years later. In 2013, the Ayala Group (which also has an ownership on Honda and Isuzu) brought back the German marque to our humble but growing market.

Slotting under the Touareg in terms of price and size, the Tiguan started life as a concept car displayed at the 2006 LA Auto Show and its production counterpart the following year in Germany. For those who are wondering what the name meant, the word Tiguan is a portmanteau of Tiger and Leguan (German for Iguana) and was the winning name sponsored by a German car magazine.

Alongside the Touareg luxury SUV, Touran MPV, and Jetta sedan, the Tiguan compact SUV were the first four models to be launched in VW's comeback. With a diesel engine and a basic interior befitting a mid level rival, it became a decent seller for the brand.

Value and Costs
Since this vehicle isn't that much of a volume seller plus having a short run of barely three years, used examples can be had for P1,100,000, 50% less than what is priced brand new.

Maintenance wise, VWs aren't that expensive to maintain compared to several high end German brands, they are just priced at that upper scale of the spectrum. If you want this vehicle, go for the diesel rather than the rare TSI.

Exterior and Interior
What the Philippine market got is basically the updated model, available since 2011. Just think of this as a baby Touareg, placed in a shrinking machine. Sure, styling may not be loud but it is more than enough.

Going inside, you'll be treated to an expanse space of passenger room good for five people. While the interior is somewhat bare for its price (the base model gives you fabric seats, though), a high quality interior greets you, a strength of German brands. Starting the car is possible via a smart key push button, whose ignition is situated near the shifter.

Shared with other vehicles in the VW group (such as from Audi) is this R4 2.0 which has 140hp at 4,200rpm and 320Nm at 1,750rpm. Sure it may have ordinary numbers but is more than adequate for this SUV.

Driving Impressions
Just like a tiger, it feels at home when driven on the open road especially that it eats curves for lunch. Using this as a city driver is fine but you have to live with its suspension absorbent (contributing for a smooth ride) characteristic and a wide turning radius for such car.

Want a German SUV that is both easy on the pocket and low profile, then this is the one. Expect to dig deeper and load yourself with lots of patience for this vehicle.