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Pioneer Presents Market’s First Smart Unit Receiver – More Than Just a Regular Head Unit
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Pioneer Presents Market’s First Smart Unit Receiver – More Than Just a Regular Head Unit

Buying Guides

Regardless of how awesome a vehicle’s infotainment head unit is, only the driver or the co-driver is usually responsible for the infotainment “services” throughout the journey.

Well, unless you’re in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a BMW 7 Series where you can fiddle with things from the rear seat like a boss, but more often than not, that is not the case, is it?

But what if we told you, that you don’t really have to own these cars to enjoy the same level of infotainment?

Say hello to Pioneer’s latest Smart Unit Receiver, a first of its kind in the market which combines a Google-certified 8-inch Android portable display with a smart receiver, making it more than just an in-car entertainment system.

So, in case you’re wondering just how impressive this new model is, let us break it down for you:

Quick access to music

While on the move, drivers can get quick access to their favourite music using the display’s dedicated source display for radio and Bluetooth as well as the PSS app’s smart receiver control. The app is a one-stop solution for getting the most out of the Android display, car stereo, and navigation, providing a new driving experience.

Voice assistant at your service

Drivers can discover new and faster routes to their destinations with the device’s built-in GPS, activate voice assistants, or even have unread text messages read out.

Safe and clear

Besides just playing music and providing navigation guidance, the Pioneer Smart Unit Reciver also boosts the safety of occupants by connecting the system to existing rear-view cameras and Pioneer’s parking sensors through the smart receiver. The cameras can then be accessed via the portable IPS screen which offers crystal-clear display.

Thanks to the clarity of the display, the head unit is also ideal for passengers to stream videos on the move through apps like YouTube and Netflix.

You can use it outside your car too

The Smart Unit Receiver also enables car owners to use it to work or play anytime, anywhere. The Android display allows drivers to download apps from the Google Play Store. With the ability to pre-select the cradle position, drivers can also adjust the display’s elevation for maximum comfort when watching videos and operating the device. The display can also be removed from the mount with just the press of a button, enhancing convenience and mobility. Drivers can use it beyond the car and stay connected to the digital world—on and off the road.

Value for money

With the Smart Unit Receiver’s multiple capabilities and flexibility, drivers will gain more value just from a single system solution. They stand to reduce their hardware requirements and costs by meeting a diverse range of needs—from entertainment and navigation to productivity and connectivity—from just one portable display receiver system.

Durability and longevity

Despite its usages and capabilities, the system is designed with safety and protection in mind. While the display is built for durability and longevity, the secure mount and display cover are robust, preventing damage and extending the usage life of the system.

“Today’s car owners are more than just drivers. They are digitally-savvy individuals who live a lifestyle that is integrated with their mobile devices and apps. This new wave of smart drivers doesn’t want just a system that accompanies them from point A to point B, but personalised tools and solutions that enhance their way of life and help them with their day-to-day tasks,” said Mr. Raymond Lee, General Manager of Sales and Marketing Department, Pioneer Malaysia.

“Our new Smart Unit Receiver is the first in the market to deliver our Pioneer Smart Sync (PSS) in-car infotainment app with the flexibility of a portable display and a smart receiver, allowing car owners to live a truly digital lifestyle wherever they go.”

“Drivers get to experience a truly seamless digital lifestyle within and outside of the car. For instance, they can pre- set their home or office addresses, and find the best routes to their destinations in no time by using the display to navigate. When alighting from the car, they can simply remove the display and reply emails, catch up on the news or their favourite shows, and connect with loved ones via messaging apps on the go. The transition is non- disruptive,” said Mr. Lee.

That being said, this new product will be available in Malaysia with a recommended retail price of RM2,588.

Volvo Celebrates 10 Years With Geely, Confident That Success Will Continue
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Volvo Celebrates 10 Years With Geely, Confident That Success Will Continue

Auto News

It was the 28th of March, 2010, when Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely) announced that it had purchased Volvo for USD 1.8 billion.

The purchase, which was China’s biggest ever acquisition of a foreign car brand, also marked the beginning of the nation’s rapid rise in the automotive industry.

At this point of time, Volvo had about 21,500 employees, and recorded global sales of 449,255 vehicles. They were not doing great at this point of time, but they were alright.

Following its separation from Ford, Volvo Cars and Geely mapped out a new future for the Swedish brand, based on a few fundamental building blocks - technical independence, a global manufacturing footprint, a strengthened brand identity, and arms-length governance by Geely.

Starting with the all-new XC90 flagship SUV in 2014, the company completely renewed its product portfolio with a range of brand-new SUVs, estates and saloons.

All new models were based on the Volvo-developed SPA modular vehicle architecture or on the CMA modular architecture, co-developed between Volvo and Geely.

The new model portfolio proved to be such a global success that it delivered six consecutive years of sales records and record profits. In 2019, Volvo Cars sold more than 700,000 cars for the first time in its 90+ years of existence.

The company also expanded its manufacturing and R&D network across the globe. While it started out with only two manufacturing plants and an engine plant in Europe, it now has four additional manufacturing sites and an R&D centre in China, as well as a car plant in the United States, providing a natural operational hedge.

In just 10 years, Volvo Cars saw a complete transformation of its business under Geely ownership, changing from a purely European firm to a truly global player in the premium car market, racking up record sales, revenue and profits along the way.

In fact, models like the XC40 even went on to win World Car of the Year award!
How is that for an achievement?

As it looks back on one decade and heads towards a new one, Volvo Cars said that it will build on this firm foundation as it aims to become a leader in electrification, autonomous drive, and new mobility models, while forging ever closer cooperation with its sister brands under the Geely umbrella.

Volvo also announced that by 2025, it wants half of its global sales volume to consist of fully electric cars, with the rest being hybrids. These cars will be part of a new generation of Volvos based on SPA2, the successor to its successful modular vehicle architecture.

“With Geely, we started a new successful phase that took us to a whole new level. We completely renewed our product portfolio, established a global presence, almost doubled our sales and went from break-even to profitable. Going forward, we will continue to grow our business together with Geely,” said Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars.

The Swedish carmaker also aims to establish millions of direct consumer relationships through new forms of mobility, and expects to play a leading role in the safe introduction of autonomous-drive technologies.

These and other ambitions have been made possible and credible thanks to the establishment of a sustainable and profitable business model over the past decade, providing Volvo Cars with a solid platform for further growth.

As of the end of 2019, Volvo Cars, which has 43,000 employees, recorded a record breaking global sales figure of 705,452 vehicles.

On a separate note, it is also going to be three years since Geely acquired our national carmaker Proton. With the brand showing strong signs of a resurgence, do you think that Proton will also be able to replicate the success story of Volvo and become a key player in the global scene?  

We wait and see...

MCO Phase Two: Road Closures To Increase, Stricter Enforcement
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MCO Phase Two: Road Closures To Increase, Stricter Enforcement

Auto News

To combat the abuse of the movement control order (MCO), police in Selangor have said more road closures are to be implemented, and will be done in stages over the coming days.

This follows the continuing closure of between 4 to 5 roads in Petaling Jaya and Kota Damansara, which was ongoing over the past few days in order to limit the crowd movement in the area. Of course, those roads were still accessible to ambulances and other emergency services.

Despite the inconvenience to residents there, during a press conference, Selangor deputy police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed clarified: “…we need to close certain roads that will allow police to filter and control public movement”, according to Bernama.

“The MCO allows the public to go out and purchase essential goods but it should not be abused. For example, if you stay in Kota Damansara, then buy your basic essentials there, instead of giving excuses for having to go to Kepong to purchase them,” he added.

At the same time, police confirmed that 8 individuals who were previously arrested for flouting the MCO have been charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code and Section 7 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases 2020.

As we approach the end of the original movement control order period, authorities have already prepared for the tighter enforcement needed to execute phase two, which tentatively runs until April 14th pending any revision.

In Putrajaya, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that phase two’s enhanced measures included limiting the operating hours of supermarkets, grocery shops, convenience stores and petrol stations to between 8am and 8pm. Restaurants will also need to comply with the same 12 hour open window, but will only be allowed to serve takeaways.

#StayAtHome folks!

Ante Up: Great Cars Around The RM25k Range
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Ante Up: Great Cars Around The RM25k Range

Insights

Last week we saw some great cars that were available for around the RM15,000 mark, so this week, we thought we would ante up and try to find some great vehicles for around the RM25,000 price range. 

Audi A4 (B7) (RM21,300)

If you're looking for a used vehicle that has a factory fresh looking interior, you should really look at some Audis. The German car manufacturer has a reputation for making robust and durable interiors and this example we picked from Carlist shows that their reputation does precede them. Although the vehicle is a 2006 model, the interior looks like it came off the factory yesterday. Most of you are probably worried about Audi's mechanical robustness, but this model was one of the good ones. It came with the reliable and powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged TFSI engine and non-problematic CVT transmission. The only thing about this particular car is that we would change it back to some OE rims.

Nissan Sylphy (RM24,800)

If going from A to B worry free is your priority, then the Nissan Sylphy will serve you well. Without the body kit, the car is not much of a looker, but with one, it does get some street cred. This example we picked shows how good it can look, especially if the previous owner takes care of it well. Even the interior of this one looks new, and that white paint job looks on point. Strangely on paper, the car doesn't seem very fun and fast, but just go try and drive one, we're sure you'll change your mind. It surprised us too! It felt fast, chuckable and planted - maybe some of that NISMO DNA is in there somewhere.

KIA FORTE (RM23,800)

The first generation KIA Forte was built around the turning point of KIA MOTORS - you know, the one where they managed to convince The Audi TT designer, Peter Schreyer to join them and lead them to better-designed cars. Although not personally designed by him, it was designed in KIA's swanky California studio, and the glamorous look is somewhat apparent in the vehicle. Already known for its bomb-proof build quality, KIA only needed a stylish and modern looking car, and the Forte definitely was that. The mostly grey interior with its red display panels really did mimic Audi's interior design language, but it was just how tight the car felt that made people fall in love with the Forte. If maintained well, they could go on for a long time, and maintenance costs are comparable to Japanese cars.

Nissan Navara (RM29,800)

If you need a truck to help you with your business' transportation needs, the second generation Navara is an excellent choice - although this one comes with a price. At this price range, you will only be able to get the manual version, but the truck will still haul a** especially when it pumps out 174hp and over 400Nm of torque from its 2.5-litre diesel turbocharged engine. At this price point which is way above our RM25k budget, don't expect it to win any beauty contests, but what you will get is a dependable truck that can do the necessary jobs like transporting workers and big heavy cargo. Mechanically they are bulletproof; it's just in the accessory and beauty section where they lose out the most.

Volvo XC90 (RM26,888)

The first-generation XC90 was a revelation when it came out. At the time where most full-sized SUVs were big-engined gas-guzzling hippos, the XC90 debuted in 2003 with a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine. Sales were higher than Volvo predicted, and it became Volvo's best selling vehicle in 2004, not bad considering that this was Volvo's first-ever SUV. Seating up to seven people, the SUV is roomy and offers removable seats for additional cargo spacing. At this price, you must think that the XC90 is a money pit, but the front-wheel-drive only, 208hp and 320Nm T5 model is actually quite reliable. Stay away from the 2.9-litre T6 version, as they have transmission problems. This is another car for people who are feeling brave, but you know what they say, fortune favours the bold.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Should Learning To Drive A Manual Be Mandatory?
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Should Learning To Drive A Manual Be Mandatory?

Insights

If you’re someone who got their Malaysian driver’s license before mid-2014, you are part of a large pool of people who share a unique bond. If the title hasn’t clued you in to that yet, it is because all of us had to learn how to drive a manual – it was the only option at the time, and it was something that we all endured regardless of whether we preferred nasi lemak, roti canai or dim sum for breakfast 

In a way it gave us all memories to bond over. The dreaded hill start test, trying not to stall while out on the road, and figuring out when was the right point to shift up. Some of us breezed through it, while others struggled and stumbled through it, but at the end of the day we all had to do it.

In the years following the introduction of the automatic license in Malaysia, there was a topic that popped up on occasion and it was whether newer drivers are ready to handle real world driving if they couldn’t handle the rigours of a driving a manual car. The problem is that there are pretty solid points on both sides of the aisle – so let’s get to it.

Manual Cars Build Character

After the vast majority of license holders completed their mandatory manual licenses, it was immediately obvious that they would almost never have to drive a manual car again. Even as early as the 1980s, automatic cars were popping up in the market and by the 1990s, they were becoming common in every segment of the market. By the time we entered the 2000s, manual options were scarcer than automatic variants.

And yet, learning to drive a manual helped drivers appreciate the convenience of an automatic transmission. It also presented the additional mental challenge for most who did not find it natural, as dealing with a clutch and gear shifts in traffic meant paying more attention to how traffic was flowing and getting ready to move off from a standstill.

There is some pretty solid logic to the idea that being able to drive a manual means that you will be better able to multi task when on the road – not to mean that you can play with your phone or fiddle with your car’s head unit, but you will be more ready for dealing with various changes in condition or erratic drivers on the road.

More Than A Mindset

To equate driving ability with whether one can drive a manual car is a bit of a tricky problem. The vast majority of current professional race-car drivers have probably never had to race with a manual car, and the next generation is likely to follow that route as race cars are adopting sequential gearboxes by and large – but nobody doubts the driving ability of a professional.

The secondary question is that we look at being able to drive a manual car as a testament to competence, but we never questioned not having to learn how to brake without anti-lock brake systems, or shift without synchromesh gears, or a myriad of other things that were introduced over time to make driving easier and more convenient. Why then should the manual transmission be the gatekeeper?

There’s also a very strong argument that driving a manual car badly doesn’t make one a good driver. For those of you who can recall, while everyone was forced to take the driving test with a manual car, it would hardly be fair to say that everyone was proficient at driving a manual car. Crunching gears, lugging the engine, slipping the clutch excessively, or holding gears unnecessarily were all part of the abuse that these cars suffered.

Where do we go from here?

The reality is that a lot of more local seasoned drivers view the ability to drive a manual car as a competence test because the general requirements for our driver’s licenses are woefully low compared to other countries. We wouldn’t have to regard it as a litmus test for driving ability if we had better standards in place for driving.

In other countries, the driving license syllabus includes advanced and defensive driving techniques. Drivers must be able to control a car during a skid and recover it among many other situations that a driver may face on the road. Guided driving hours during both day and night are required as well – all important things that our current driving tests never cover.

This is also why there’s immense value placed in modern active and passive safety systems during global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) testing and scoring. These systems may be unnecessary or intrusive for drivers with more experience, but they definitely bridge the gap and fill the holes in ability for the less trained, less seasoned drivers.

Whether these systems make us worse drivers – well, that’s something we’ll discuss another time.


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