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What You Need To Know About the Toyota Yaris
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What You Need To Know About the Toyota Yaris

Buying Guides

You’re looking to buy a new car. You don’t need something high riding, so pickup trucks and SUVs are out. You want something compact, so you’re looking towards the B-segment of cars. And maybe you decide you’re willing to give up the extra boot space in favour of ease of parking. It sounds like what you need is a compact hatchback.
 

The Toyota Yaris ticks those boxes. It sits on the same platform as the Toyota Vios, and even shares its powertrain as well. But Toyota has made a couple of tweaks and changes to the Yaris in order to capitalize on its smaller overall footprint and make it a little more fun to drive. But if you’re going to look at the Yaris, it’s good to narrow down what you’re looking for to pick the best variant for you.
 

There are three variants of the Toyota Yaris to choose from – 1.5J, 1.5E, or 1.5G. The good thing is that no matter which you pick, you’re going to have a healthy amount of features and options – such is the nature of Toyota’s latest model line-up which goes the distance when it comes to meeting consumer expectations.
 

The most paramount of these is safety. Whichever Yaris you end up choosing, you will get Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control, as well as seven SRS airbags and ISOFIX at the rear to properly belt your child seat in – if you need to. If you want to go the distance and would like the Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, you will have to opt for the 1.5E or 1.5G models.
 

Opting for the 1.5J gives you 15-inch steel wheels, while the other variants get 16-inch alloy wheels. Other aesthetic changes are projector headlamps and LED rear lamps, as well as indicators on the wing mirrors – which automatically fold – and front fog lamps. These might be relatively small changes, but together they can really offset the way a car looks.
 

In terms of interior materials, all three models get the same black fabric with blue stitching – a nice bit of colour in a usually drab segment. Only the 1.5E gets a Multi Info Display, while the 1.5G sees that becoming part of the TFT screen that sits in its Optitron meter cluster – exclusive to this variant. Steering wheel switches also increase in number as you go up the list of variants, from none in the 1.5J, to Audio and Bluetooth in the 1.5E, and the addition of Multi Info Display controls in the 1.5G.


 

The entertainment system also sees upgrades depending on the variant. If you are happy streaming music from your mobile device, the 1.5J has you covered with a basic head unit that can play CDs, radio, or MP3s from USB or Aux sources, and even Bluetooth connectivity. Spring for the 1.5E or 1.5G and you get a 6.8-inch touch screen with all the above, and USB mirroring and voice control. You also get two more speakers for a total of six, compared to the 1.5J’s four speaker setup.


There are also a couple of extra goodies that owners will receive if they opt for the higher level variants. Premium Security and Solar Tint is included in the purchase price of the 1.5E and 1.5G, along with a Digital Video Recorder (or dashcam, as it’s more commonly known), and a reverse camera setup. It’s a pretty nifty package that more than makes up for the price difference across the range.
 

So what are the actual price differences between the three models? The entry level 1.5J comes in at RM 70,888, while the 1.5E goes for RM 76,888, and the top of the line 1.5G sits at RM 83,888. All three models come with a five year, unlimited mileage warranty for some true peace of mind. Of course, the only way to really know if the Toyota Yaris is the car for you is to visit your nearest Toyota showroom and test it for yourself.

2020 Mazda CX-30: First Drive Impressions
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2020 Mazda CX-30: First Drive Impressions

Reviews

Mazda’s latest crossover, the CX-30, slots between the existing CX-3 and CX-5, or so says the Hiroshima-based automaker. Look hard enough and you might see the gap between those two models for this newest sibling to occupy. But has Mazda kept those ‘in-betweener’ priorities intact? 

We already know the range-topping CX-30 variant is properly plush and well-specified, as it should be for its price, but with the car assigned to us being the base 2.0L, it was stripped of many of those materials and features. 

Still, even on smaller 16-inch alloys (instead of 18-inchers on the High), the base CX-30 certainly has looks that are a cut above the rest. Mazda placed emphasis on making this new model as visually appealing to as broad a demographic as possible, and this isn’t diminished by choosing the entry-level variant. It’s sleek and squat with obvious echoes of the Mazda 3, for better or worse.

The first leg of the drive was spent sat at the back, where overall headroom and legroom seemed only marginally better than the (technically) smaller CX-3. The seats were fabric instead of leather, but soft hide was used to accent portions of the door panel and dashboard in shades matching the exterior. Out back, the 430-litre boot is large enough for most needs and verging on CX-5 levels but definitely isn’t a stand out in this class.

Refinement was far from lacking and easily bests mass market segment rivals. Sound insulation is above average, any vibrational interruption was dampened well, and the car showed very little structural flex. This feels like a very secure place to sit in regardless of how many active/passive safety systems are at play. The fact that the CX-30 is (currently) the most highly rated vehicle Euro NCAP has ever tested certainly helps matters too. 

Behind the wheel, there was a rush of familiarity with the Mazda 3, one of the best-to-drive C-segment hatchback/sedans on sale today. Nearly every tactile and ergonomic cue has been carried over into the CX-30, giving us a dangerous expectation that it will drive just as well. Fortunately, it does come awfully close.  

The naturally aspirated SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre’s rev range needs to be explored to be taken full advantage of, and though it manages to sound aggressive (but never gruff) past 4,500rpm, harshness levels were never elevated. Shifts from the SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic were smooth but it needed to frequently downshift to access the power band as in-gear grunt can be in short supply if laden. For more effortless performance, the 1.8-litre SkyActiv-D should be considered as its maximum torque of 270Nm arrives much quicker and sustained for longer.

With our driving positioned dialled-in, the brief jaunt revealed an agile front end and eager direction changes that superbly mask its crossover label. Add to that the control weights and engine note from the 162hp/ 213Nm engine and it’s too easy to feel like you’re driving the Mazda 3. 

The suspension is tuned to allow for more compression (and body roll) when loaded up mid corner and the thicker tyres make for a ride that’s a touch more impervious to light road imperfections, but in normal driving situations distinguishing the two models by feel alone is difficult.

Hastily declaring that the CX-30 is a slightly jacked-up Mazda 3 made to appeal to the crossover-crazed buying public is both cynical and somewhat reductive, true, but that formula has also been a point of criticism levelled against so many vehicles being sold today.

That said, among the sea of rivals, the CX-30 is definitely a strong contender that ticks off all the right boxes. It’s fun to drive, has exceptional build quality, is decently practical, well-specified (in the High variant), incredibly safe, comfortable, refined, and is probably the best looking of the bunch - if you’re into that sort of thing. 

It’s very likely that Mazda has a winner on its hands, but we’ll have to wait for a full review to properly contextualise it and make heads or tails about the CX-30’s finer points and value proposition. Established players should watch their backs if and when Bermaz starts locally assembling these. 

B8 Volkswagen Passat Facelift Debuts In Malaysia – 1 Variant, RM189k
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B8 Volkswagen Passat Facelift Debuts In Malaysia – 1 Variant, RM189k

Auto News

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia today announced the introduction of the facelifted B8 Passat, featuring a redesigned front and rear end, an updated powertrain, an updated infotainment system, as well as new convenience and safety features.

Locally-assembled at the DRB-Hicom plant in Pekan, Pahang, the new Passat will only be offered in one variant – the Passat 2.0 TSI Elegance, with an asking price of RM189,012 on the road without insurance.

Prior to the update, the model was offered in three variants - Comfortline, Trendline, and Highline, with two engine options (1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI) to choose from, with prices ranging between RM159,990 and RM198,990.

Now, however, there will only be one powertrain option - an updated version of the current 2.0-litre TSI engine that is paired with a new 7-speed wet dual-clutch automatic gearbox, kicking out 190 PS and 320 Nm, which is 30 PS and 30 Nm lesser than the outgoing Passat 2.0 TSI Highline.

Prior to this, the Passat 1.8 TSI came with a 7-speed dry-type dual clutch automatic transmission, while the 2.0 TSI variants came with a 6-speed wet-type dual clutch automatic transmission.

On the exterior, a refreshed front and rear profile distinguish the new Passat from its previous iteration, while other distinctions include the “Passat” lettering stretched across its rear and bold 18-inch “Liverpool” alloy wheels.

The lights are also new, featuring an all-LED headlight system, front and rear sequential turn signals, and a three-wing tail light design.

Inside, updates include newly-designed door trims, a 30-colour ambient lighting system, and a new leather multi-function steering wheel with new ergonomic multifunction button for convenience and connectivity at the touch of a button.

Further complementing the interior is the 12-way powered electric driver’s seat, 3-zone Climatronic air-conditioning system for all passengers, and new power-operated roll up rear sunshades. Boot space on the other hand, stands at 586-litres.

Also new is the 11.7-inch Digital Cockpit which offers a high-resolution, thin-film transistor (TFT) similar to that of a smartphone, which incorporates functions and features in 2D and 3D graphic display for navigation and media. A six-view customizable screen offers a new level of personalization with over 30 combinations options.

While the outgoing range-topping Passat 2.0 TSI Highline came with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation and MirrorLink, the new one here comes with a 9.2 -inch touchscreen with voice control, gesture control, customizable three-view split screen, as well as Wireless AppConnect with Apple Car Play.

Other features include a wide range of connectivity options through a capacitive touch display, three illuminated USB-C ports and Bluetooth connectivity for mobile and audio streaming.

Where safety is concerned, new features include Side Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well as the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, which complement other features like the

Blind Spot Monitoring System, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Brake Assist (BA), Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), Hill-hold Control, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, and the Proactive Passenger Protection System.

Last but not least, the new Passat 2.0 TSI Elegance is available in six colours and two finishes - Aquamarine Blue, Manganese Grey, Reflex Silver, Tamarind Brown, Deep Black, and a new Oryx White.   

Toyota Outs GR Yaris, An AWD 261hp Rally-Bred Mega Hatch
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Toyota Outs GR Yaris, An AWD 261hp Rally-Bred Mega Hatch

Auto News

This is it - the next creation to emerge from Toyota’s still freshly minted Gazoo Racing division, from which the most high profile car to emerge so far is the European-made GR Supra. With that storming out the gate, the thought of an all-wheel driven rally-bred beast of a hatchback from that same bunch sound like an ideal sophomore effort. 

Toyota had been building up to the arrival of this GR Yaris rather extensively which for a good long while was being teased vaguely as the ‘GR-4’. At the Tokyo Auto Salon, however, the automaker finally pulled the covers off, revealing what’s probably the most extreme factory-built 3-door to ever emerge from Japan.

Engineered as a homologation special to allow Toyota to have its motorsport-prepared counterpart compete in the World Rally Championship, the GR Yaris succeeds the famous Celica GT-FOUR of the 1990s as the brand’s first all-wheel driven sports car since then. Gazoo Racing wanted to have as much of that DNA trickle down into this racy Yaris and worked closely with Tommi Mäkinen Racing to realise that. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the GR Yaris is its engine and drivetrain. Where previously the  limited run Yaris GRMN of 2017 used a 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder, this utilises a 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit that outputs a screaming 261hp and 360Nm, making it the lightest and most powerful three-pot petrol engine in production. And to optimise weight distribution, they’ve even positioned transverse motor as far back as possible and relocated the battery to the rear. 

With kerb weight at just 1,280kg resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 4.9kg/hp and all-paw grip, the GR Yaris can shoot to 100km/h from rest in just 5.5 seconds before stretching to an electronically limited top speed of 230km/h. 

Drive is channelled through a 6-speed manual transmission before being distributed between all four wheels. A high response hydraulic coupling manages the front and rear split while the optional Circuit Pack equips the each axle with a Torsen limited slip differential to manage power deliver between the left and right wheels.

Rather ingeniously, this 'GR-FOUR' system allows for a theoretical full gamut of front/rear torque division from between 100:0 (full front-wheel drive) to 0:100 (full rear-wheel drive) by using slightly different gear ratios for each axle. This delivers far more flexibility over the more commonly found ‘AWD on-demand’ systems that use twin-coupling or ‘permanent AWD’ systems with a centre differential.

This Yaris’ drivetrain behaviour can be altered through a 4WD mode dial switch within the cabin, selecting between a 60:40 front/rear split in Normal mode, a 30:70 split in Sport mode, or the 50:50 split in Track mode to maximise precision driving potential.

From the outside, the GR Yaris looks dramatically different than the European-spec hatch it’s based on. The much wider track and correspondingly bulged wheel arches give it a menacing presence while the lower roofline (by 91mm) endow it with a definite coupe-like silhouette. They’ve even added frameless doors - a staple coupe feature - probably because they just felt like it.

The body itself has been changed in shape and composition to yield maximum aerodynamic efficiency while being as lightweight as possible, hence the liberal use of carbon fibre polymer and aluminium in its construction. Meanwhile, reinforced side members reduces medial chassis flex and allows fitment of the uprated double wishbone rear suspension. 

Large 356mm grooved discs with four-pot callipers hide behind the front wheels and are tasked to handle the bulk of the GR Yaris’ stopping, which remain unchanged regardless of whether the Circuit Pack is selected. That said, that optional extra also arms the car with even firmer springs and set of 18-inch forged alloys wrapped around Michelin Pilot 4S tyres. 

This being a homologation model, we can’t imagine Toyota intending to match the production volume of the GR Supra, though the company has been silent on just how many they project to make. Regardless, the launch of the finished car is said to occur in the 2nd half of 2020. 

If only our patience extended as far as our excitement. 

 

BMW Malaysia Adds X1 sDrive20i M Sport To Local Range - RM233,800
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BMW Malaysia Adds X1 sDrive20i M Sport To Local Range - RM233,800

Auto News

BMW has officially announced the arrival of a new variant for their X1 to accompany the previously sole sDrive20i Sport. Coming in at RM233,800, the sDrive20i M Sport is RM13,000 dearer than the Sport but does offer more in terms of visual appeal, driver engagement, and some premium interior touches.

Most notably, the M Sport features an altered front end over the Sport with integrated LED fog lights, hexagonal LED headlight tubes, a revised LED rear light arrangement while the broader, sharper front bumper has larger air intakes for a more athletic looking fascia. 

To underscore the sportier aesthetics, the sDrive20i M Sport now has the M Sport Suspension fitted, resulting in a 1,588mm ride height that represents a 10mm lower suspension. Additionally, there are 18-inch M light alloy wheels and the M Aerodynamics Package that further enhances the SAV’s (BMW parlance, meaning Sport Activity Vehicle) look and airflow. 

Since we’re on the subject of millimetres, the tailpipes are now 90mm in diameter over the 70mm exits of the Sport. Under the bonnet lives BMW’s staple B48 four-cylinder engine displacing 2.0-litres. The turbocharged unit produces 192hp between 5,000-6,000rpm while peak torque stands at 280Nm from 1,350-4,600rpm. 

Drive is sent to the front wheels via 7-speed Steptronic dual clutch transmission, allowing it to achieve the 100km/h sprint from rest in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 224km/h. BMW claims that a 6.5-litres/100km fuel economy figure on a combined cycle while emitting 149g/km of carbon dioxide. 

Enter the sDrive20i M Sport and you’ll be greeted by the Welcome Light Carpet, projecting the ‘X1’ characters in dual tones onto the ground via an LED light source in the driver’s side exterior mirror. Inside, there’s an M Leather steering wheel, premium Black Dakota Leather upholstery, and additional accents of aluminium and brushed Pearl Chrome. 

Meanwhile, an 8.8-inch touchscreen displays BMW’s infotainment and vehicle management system and supports BMW ConnectedDrive, all operable through the rotary iDrive Controller.

The X1 sDrive20i M Sport is offered in four exterior colour options: Misano Blue, Black Sapphire, Alpine White and Mineral Grey. BMW Malaysia says that the new variant will be viewable at all authorised dealerships nationwide starting January 13th. 


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