30 August 2013

Proton Suprima S Review & Test Drive: The Unpolished Gem

It has been two weeks since Proton Suprima S hits the ground, and Proton itself said Suprima S is about to surpass its target of 750 units sold permonth, so I guess it is quite well received for its niche. I had a go in the car and thinks Suprima S is quite well conceived, albeit still needs some polishing, preferably from the experienced-global hand. There's a lot of likeable points and it represent the best Proton to date.

As an introduction, repeating the launch article (Read all the details of Proton Suprima S HERE) , Proton Suprima S is the hatchback derivative of Proton Preve. It is 107mm shorter while other dimension remain status quo. It comes in two version, all powered the turbocharged 1.6L mill punching 140PS and 205Nm of power and torque and can only be had with CVT gearbox. The cheapest version goes for RM76,388 while the top version won't give much change for your RM80,000.

Now lets unravel Proton Suprima S slowly,start with the styling. Firstly, styling is subjective so there's no correct ugliness or wrong beauty. Personally, since Proton Gen2 and Proton Satria Neo, Proton hardly makes good looking car, as it keeps churning something close to mid 90's Korean design effort from Saga BLM onwards. Things in for a change for Proton Preve, the claim was it was penned by Italdesign Giugiaro although one wonder how dominant that legendary Italdesign was during the process. Fortunately, Suprima S saves Preve element pretty well, as if Preve is the booted version of Suprima S instead of the de-booted of the former. It has to be appreciated under the light reflection of the environment instead of the camera lens. The intricacies of the rear fascia with its intertwined of protruding lights and multi-faceted surfacing actually works well. Trust me, look for one on the road instead of showroom and you'll know it.

Proton redesign the upper and lower grille insert,as well as fog lamp housing

It appears solid, somewhat further accentuated by the 17' alloy wheel which gives it a ground hugging stance. The reverse-angled rear door, chunky C-pillar and the tailgate spoiler gives it a sporty pretension. The over-sized rear bumper lower garnish helps in breaking the visual mass and lightened the rear end appearance, but the totally hidden exhaust make it subdued again. It is visually acceptable, although not arresting one like the Korean, or impart tense-solidity like the European. I still think Proton should employ Royal College of Art student which makes up a good statistic of global-level designer instead of sticking to employing people who graduated from the same town all the way.
The interior wears similar clothes to the 2012 Proton Preve. Key differentiation come by playing color palette. I am not a fans of Preve dashboard, as it has a vast emptiness on its fascias. There's so many unfilled voids as Proton is running out of features that have its switch/button on the dashboard. The dark trim on Preve somewhat masked this (although the small screen infotainment is a glaring flaw), but the cubic-motif silver trim on Suprima S makes the emptiness more obvious. The single surfacing for the dashboard fascia further accentuate this. I am sure if the fascia is broken into at least two planes, one for the audio system while the lower one pushed slightly inwards while accommodating the dials for air conditioning will reduce the empty feeling somewhat. However, good quality plastic used throughout the essential surface and the infotainment is now 7' in size so there's plus points to note.

Although Proton stylist has brightened the central fascia by silver insert, the new found light was clawed back by the high gloss black trim used on the gearknob and steering wheel. The paddle shifter is finished in the same dark color. However, all is not lost. Out goes the water repellent fabric upholstery and in comes a soft leather with good quality feeling. It occupies the seats, door trim and handbrake lever (Premium version only).

Practicality is very good. None of Preve cabin spaciousness is lost in the de-booting process. Not un-like many cars in the budget segment, the painted metal can still be seen in the cabin particularly on the untrimmed surface of the door frame, both front and rear. The boot volume has been reduced by massive 200L down to 309L VDA although the swept volume is still significant 427L provided you can pack your things in plastic bag so that it can be squeezed around. The fully-flat rear seat folding mechanism will come handy when needed.

Driving is height adjustable, but I feel it is a tad too high even at its lowest position. The correct combination of seat and steering could be better but this is no deal-breaker. At all. More discussion point after the jump.

Leak: Land Rover Discovery Facelift

Land Rover Discovery has been in its current form since 2009, when it received a host of styling and drivetrain update from the original 2004 model. For 2013, LR Discovery is set to be updated again to bring the styling on par with Land Rover latest design theme.

The front end will get new headlight, grille and bumper assembly. The current LR Discovery embodied the LED-laden light arranged in intricate structure which was the trend back then, and now as the LED tube come into play, the new headlight is set to change again for a sleeker and more modern appearance. The upper radiator grille insert also is redesigned, together with minor enhancement to the bumper detail.

The change at the back is more subtle, appreciable only by the eagle-eye observer. Customary update include the new rear combination light, albeit very minor as the major detailing is retained.  The rest of the item looks visually similar to the current car.

Facelift photo source: Jokeforblog

29 August 2013

Volvo Concept Coupe : A P1800 Remake

Volvo today released the information of its newest concept car, called Volvo Concept Coupe, which was the mysterious concept car that went viral in the internet this week.Inspired by contemporary, progressive Scandinavian lifestyle and design, as well as iconic elements from the past, the elegant new Volvo Concept Coupé is the first of a series of three concept cars that reveal the design possibilities created by the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).The concept car is the first design by the new Senior Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath, showcases how design builds emotion into the Volvo brand and points towards the next generation of Volvo models, starting with the forthcoming XC90 in 2014. Developed in-house for Volvo Cars only, the Scalable Product Architecture liberates Volvo’s designers and engineers from the limitations of previous cross-brand platforms.

The visual impact of the new proportions is most powerful when viewing the Volvo Concept Coupé from the side. The distance between the dashboard and the front axle is extended and the greenhouse has been moved slightly rearwards, reminiscent of the memorable P1800 Coupe.

A low bonnet, roof, and the five-spoke, 21-inch wheels also contribute to the impression of an elegant Gran Tourer oozing effortless power. The confident stance is emphasised by a beltline that spans an elegant bow along the whole car.

The face of the Volvo Concept Coupé is characterised by a new topography on the bonnet and the ‘floating’ grille, flanked by headlights featuring new T-shaped DRL light guides. Just like the rear light signature, the DRL lights are distinctive elements in the new design direction of Volvo Cars.

The blue-grey exterior is echoed on the inside of the Volvo Concept Coupé. Refined, handcrafted elements such as the leather instrument panel, inlays made of naturally aged wood and the dark blue woven carpets are blended with beautifully machined metal details.”

The concept car also includes a totally new approach to Volvo Cars’ human-centric user experience. A large portrait touch-screen in the centre console interacts with an adaptive digital display and head-up display in front of the driver.

The concept car features a two-litre high-performance Drive-E petrol engine with a supercharger and turbo. The petrol engine is teamed with an electric motor on the rear axle. This gives Volvo Concept Coupé a total output of around 400 hp and over 600 Nm of torque
The petrol plug-in hybrid driveline in the Volvo Concept Coupé reflects Volvo Cars’ strategy to use electrification to create the most powerful versions in the new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family. This will take power figures up into V8 territory. More photos of Volvo Concept Coupe can be found after the jump.

26 August 2013

Volkswagen Golf GTI Landed In Malaysia

Volkswagen Malaysia has launched the 7th generation of Volkswagen Golf GTI last week, and this time around both the 3 door and 5 door versions are made available. The car is the continuation of the legendary hot hatchback which sets the benchmark on how the hot hatchback should performed. The new GTI is priced from RM211,060 for the 3 door while the 5 door is priced at RM219,060. Both are OTR without insurance, and in case of the 5 door version you can opt for 19' Santiago wheels upgrade for RM3,000 and Tech-Pack (Adaptive Chassis Control, Electric Driver Seat (!) & Vienna leather seats) for RM10,000.

As per MMN earlier coverage (read HERE), the exterior of the Mk7 Golf GTI is subtly different from the cooking TSI version, although it does give a visual tension of dynamism despite the subdued exterior makeover. The front of the car gains the customary red insert inside the upper grille, which extends into the headlamp internal. The front bumper air intake has been enlarged, and flanks by the straked fog lamp housing.  Side profile is garnished by the fender motif which enhanced the aggressiveness together with 18' Austin alloy wheel (3 door make do with 17' item, although both are wrapped by 225-mm tyre section). Rear changes are limited to spoiler and double exhaust outlet.

The interior is where the action will be. The sense of occasion is heightened by dark trim, accented by Tartan seat upholstery, leather wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching while similar treatment can be found on the gear knob too. The dashboard and the door trim (surprise, surprise which is not unlike Proton Preve/Suprima S, only the front door trim upper section is soft padded while the rear door is moulded of hard plastic) are adorns with the textured black deco. Driving position is occasion-like, likewise the relative positioning of the control item and dashboard ergonomics are all showing the depth of experience of the company designing it.

Underneath the hood lies the 220PS 2.0L mill packing the BlueMotion technology including the direct injection system and the turbocharger. The headline power figure is reached from 4,500rpm and sustained until 6,200rpm, whereas the fat torque curve spread from 1,500-4,400rpm where all 350Nm of it is available continuously. Drive is channelled via 6 speed DSG transmission. Performance is scorching, with 6.5s century sprint and 244 km/h of top speed.

The comprehensive equipment level however is not mirror by the 3 door version which unfortunately lose the Bi-Xenon headlight (get halogen instead and no LED fog lamp), only 17' Brooklyn alloy wheel, elimination of auto wiper, auto dimming, electric foldable mirror, USB and Bluetooh player while the aircond unit is of  manual type, smaller 5' infotainment system (down from 5.8') and there's no cruise control either. So there's quite a big chunk of equipment lost for the RM8,000 you save. The choice is yours. The gallery of the interior of the Volkswagen Golf GTI can be found after the jump to whip up your wet dream.

21 August 2013

Volvo V40 Enters Malaysian Market

The sexiest car ever to wear Volvo badge has entered Malaysian market, and it is even locally assembled for your buying pleasure. 3 variants of 2 bodystyles are on offer, starting from the V40 T4 at RM173,888, V40 T5 at RM188,888 while V40 T5 Cross Country weights in at RM198,888. Assembled in Shah Alam, it is a big deal at these Volvo can be yours all under RM200k.

Volvo V40 T4 is powered by turbocharged 1.6L paired to dual-clutch powershift transmission. Power and torque are rated at 180bhp and 240Nm, while performance figure are 225km/h and 8.5s sprint to 100km/h. No slouch! The higher performer T5 is powered by i-5 turbocharged 2.0L, punchier at 213bhp and 300Nm, channeling the drive via Geartronic 6 speed automatic (single clutch though). Performance is Golf-GTi alike with 6.9s century sprint and 230km/h top speed. The Cross Country is powered by the same engine, however the top speed reduced to 210km/h.

The new V40 is 4,369mm long, 2,041mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,445mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,647mm. The Cross Country version is essentially the same apart from from pseudo-SUV appearance thanks for higher ground clearance and muscular body cladding to lend it a tougher look. This gives it 40mm increased in height compared to the hatchback.

Small gallery during the model global debut can be found after the jump.

18 August 2013

Proton Suprima S Photos In All Colors

Proton Suprima S has been launched yesterday. It is a hatchback version of Proton Preve which debuted last year, and has been pounding our streets for testing for quite sometimes can better known as CH@P3-22A during all the spyshots. You can read all the details about Proton Suprima S in our coverage by following the link HERE. In essence, it is all Preve, except it is 107mm shorter, different interior hue and has a smaller boot of 309L VDA, down 200L from Preve. It has 6 airbags instead of 4 compared to Premium Preve and also Android-powered infotainment system with 7 inch touch screen, and in case of Suprima S Premium, it also comes with anthracite leather upholstery and reverse camera on top of the usual amenities found on Proton Preve Premium. It comes in 5 colors namely Atlantic Blue, Fire Red, Genetic Silver, Solid White and Tranquility Black. You can find the gallery of each color further down the article.

Atlantic Blue (new color)

Fire Red

Genetic Silver

Gallery continues after the jump.

17 August 2013

Proton Suprima S Launched - Detail Specification & Photo Gallery

Here it is today, another product of blood and sweat of our fellow Malaysian has been born. Launched today at Martrade Convention Centre by the man who conceptualized Proton himself, Tun Dr Mahathir, Proton Suprima S is tagged "fully loaded with built-in value" by its maker. Main headlines includes 5-star ANCAP rating, handling tuned by the fame Lotus, turbocharged engine, cutting-edge infotainment with Android OS and blessed with pleasing and athletic styling, all packaged in a reasonably priced for a C-Segment hatchback. What's there not to like then? Sticking truth to the karma on national car, it is always easy to fall in love at the first sight to Suprima S.

Obviously a derivative of Preve sedan launched last year, Proton Suprima sports an all-new structure post the B-pillar. The swooping trunk line of the sedan has been replaced with a more upright hatch. It is easier to imagine the silhouette if you know Honda Civic EP (Euro), there is a lot of similarities in the outline. The profile is not as truncated as you might think, there is enough gradient to make it flowing making the transition seamless as if the hatchback variant has been there right from the beginning (we heard it is). The larger 17 inch alloy wheel lends it a more solid stance too. Cheaper Executive variant will use 16 inch item, but we did not see them during the launch. Sporty description is applicable, from most angle. Not surprising though as Proton clearly stated that they are targeting a younger buyer who don't fancied a sedan bodystyle.

The newly design rear end is fashionable if such word is applicable here. Proton has been experimenting with rear light design for quite sometimes, starting with Proton Exora. Encrusted in LED in pretty much hapzard arrangement, coupled with multi-surface lens appearance, moved on the shrunken but LED-laden rear light on Proton Saga FLX, before stretching the light back on Preve (missing the alignment with trunk lid plinth by the way), Proton Suprima S is the best execution yet. Joining the bandwagon on cathode tube light, there's certain degree of success here as far as aesthetic is concern. The tailgate is muscular, in coherent with the strong shoulder from the side structure. The missing lower bumper garnish on Proton Preve reappeared here, albeit in much higher position. Incorporating rear fog lamp, the garnish is good half-way in height as far as rear bumper is concern. However, despite the sporty intention, the exhaust outlet in nowhere to be seen. Confused designer? You bet.

Taking the advantage of the redesigning activity, Proton also has revised the front end detailing on Proton Suprima S. The upper and lower grille has swapped the insert type between them, as opposed to Proton Preve. The upper grille is now mesh type, instead of louvered in Preve. The lower opening meanwhile, has swapped the Preve's mesh for a louvered type. The fog lamp housing however, is totally new design element, and perfectly in place there. Photos above described all these design change clearly.

While side profile remains unchanged, pre-B-pillar of course, the rear end has seen quite a drastic change. Much more than merely chopping the boot, Proton has designed the C-pillar, rear tailgate and the afore-mentioned rear light cluster accordingly. Resemblance to the older Honda Civic EP is limited to the silhouette (simply because they are both tall hatchback). The tailgate fascia is full with courageous curve, attempting to project the much said muscular image. The rear light cluster has a protruding outer section, and the inner graphic is attractive. Spot on we would say. 

The rest of the body and chassis are mostly carried over from Proton Preve, itself still new. This include the 1.6L in-line 4 cylinder engine with force-induction, output a healthy 205Nm of torque from lowly 2,000rpm all the way to 4,000rpm. The horsepower stays 138bhp@5,000rpm. The claimed fuel efficiency in mixed cycle (as opposed to 90km/h) is 9.1L/100km. Performance is sprightly than stellar, with 9.9s (what's up with under 10s claimed if it is just under?) with top speed is 190 km/h. Top speed, century sprint and fuel consumption are all a little worst than the sedan breathen, Preve. Suspected due to extra kerb weight which stands at 1,395kg compared to 1,340kg. Suspension hardware remains McPhersons strut at the front and multi-link at the back, and braking power provided by all around disc setup, with ventilated item at the front. Proton Suprima S Premium rides on 215/45 R17 tyres, while the Executive version uses slimmer 205/55 R16.

In terms of body dimension, Proton Suprima S is 107mm shorter than Preve at 4,436mm, width is same 1,786mm, height 1,524mm and wheelbase is 2,650mm.

To add the touch of variation, the interior has been subtly revise. The changes are mainly trimmings.The simulated wood or gold-ish dashboard insert is now textured silver. It joins the silver beam than run along the front floor console. The silver paint of the steering wheel, gear knob and paddle shift are however gone, and replaced with glossy black item. So it is brighten the cabin certain areas, but add the darkness somewhere else. Why, ask the designer who hide the exhaust? The silver section is illustrated below. We however, still can't accept the vast emptiness of the centre console, which appeared spartan due to the lack of button or trimmings.

The chopped back did nothing to the cabin spaciousness. The head and legroom for both front and rear occupants is massive. The Premium version seen here sports a sumptuous leather upholstery which covers the seat, door trim and steering wheel. The Executive version makes do with fabric though.

If there  is a penalty, it is the boot space. Gone is 508L from Preve, reduced to 309L VDA in Suprima S. It is however sufficient for small family use. It is almost similar in volume to the Ford Focus Sport. The volume is however expandable with the folding rear seat which go almost flat. 

Proton Suprima S is the most well-equipped Proton ever, particularly the Premium version. In terms of safety, all variant of Suprima S gets 6 airbags, anti-trap power window, ABS, ESC, traction control and all these are on top of the carried over safety features from Preve which is RESS safety cell consist the mixture of hot-formed body reinforcement. This contribute to the crash safety rating of 5-star by ANCAP.
The infotainment system is also as cutting-edge as it can get, with Android Operating System which the capability of GPS, WiFi, DVD player, not to mention the typical use of Bluetooth, USB and iPOD.

The Premium Suprima S is further enhanced with reverse camera, starter button, paddle shifter, auto cruise, auto wiper and 2 tweeter at the A-pillar.  4G WiFi and tinted comes standard. For safety reason, the DVD player and WiFi can only be used when the handbrake is engaged.

By now everyone knows the price already. Proton Suprima S carries small premium over the equivalent Proton Preve. This is due to the additional safety and equipment level, not to mention the tooling cost too for the exclusive equipment to Suprima S, which potentially has lower volume than the Preve itself. The price starts at RM76,388 for Executive version, while the Premium version starts at RM79,638 OTR. Metallic paint cost another RM300. Proton also throw in its 5 Star Program, consists of 5 Year Warranty or 150,000km whichever earlier and 5 year Free Road Assist. Proton Suprima can be had in one of the five colors, which include the new Atlantic Blue together with Fire Red, Genetic Silver, Solid White and Tranquility Black.

The gallery of Proton Suprima S can be found after the jump.