Sunday, November 22, 2009

Was it my turn?

Mandate to put on seat belts for rear passengers? Since my wife's car can only accomodate 5 passengers, its about time to hunt for a bigger car. Btw, she was driving a Hyundai Matrix and it was already ageing. This car is definitely not to be driven fast! Going up hill is agonising. Its a highway cruiser though, comfy enough to overtake Kancils! :p Just joking, its neck to neck with big trucks when it comes to up hill revving.

It so happen during my wife's oversea assignment, I took the opportunity to roam around looking for a 7 seater to replace her ride. This would solve the growing family demand for space while travelling on the road. Mind ya, with kids eventhough they dont seem big physically, they can take a lot of spaces!

Off I go, looking at several major automotive makers like Honda, Toyota and Mazda. Being a Jap ride lover, my opinions are skewed towards Honda :) with the new RSZ kitted CBU Stream. The Stream however has only a new 1.8 iVTEC power plant, in which I reckon is quite underpowerd for a big family car. The white is nice. But my wifes preference is higher ride height, then we have also considered CRV. Wait, thats not a 7seater right?

As for Mazda, there was this CBU Mazda5. It has been built with cool features carefully designed mainly for family. The ride was good and comfy. With its 2.0L engine puffing away, it has good pull even for a heavy car with full load. We loved the white too.

For Toyota, there werent much choice as Wish was not as fancy in terms of design as Stream, but I heard its going to introduce a face lift soon. Furthermore, there was no test drive units.

Then, I suggest why not try to have a look at the contis since I heard there could be some special deals going on. That's where it gets interesting....

Its so happen that there was a nearest conti shop at VW showroom at Puchong.

We were looking at the nice Toureg, but a red 1.6L Beetle caught my wife's attention. We began to bring it out for a test ride. It is a cool iconic car with a fake flower (why?) sticking out at the dash beside the steering wheel. The handling was good with a tad underpower for the heavy body. The white is nice too with a sense of elegence!

Then came the Jetta, that comes with a 1.6L and a 2.0FSI power plant. All of us hopped in the 'test' car with 1.6 option and quickly started the engine....for a moment we thought wow, the engine sounds good with antracite grey leather that smells new! The striking blue and red combi meter cluster were nicely cluttered with nice silver trimmings adding touch of class. Not long after I quickly press the accelerator and went through some road humps tests. It has a very different feel in handling and suspension behaviour, very continental indeed unlike the Japs. Not forgetting it has ESP too, which is a combination of ABS, brake assist and traction control into one. Wow! This car is feature packed.

The good part is the cars will be discounted due to pre-registered. The difference is the car wil be registered to VW first, then the 'new' actual owner and all this is reflected in the car registration card. This is a common 'method' nowadays for big automobile companies to sell the car at a much lower price. The main purpose is to clear old stocks. The units are all new, some with very low milleage. After all it has a new smell to it!

Some shots using my iPhone's crappy camera!

My wife gave me the grin of satisfaction, witnessing my eagerness in getting the car. My kids behind us were having a cool time too. (Not forgetting they also liked the Beetle, hahah....)

Shall I?......

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Next choice of ride, an upgrade perhaps?

I still remembered I need a comfy car badly and that's when Honda launched the next successor of City. As with most Honda design, the car seems futuristic, with looks and richness in technological features being the main selling point. From close viewing the car seems acceptable for space and practicality, however, while rolling the view can be quite disturbing from far! Then came Toyota, with its more proportion compact Vios. IMHO, the car is cool but has less rear passenger headroom. and more ponies. I guess fuel economy is the in-thing then but City tops it with iDSI variant coupled with CVT 7 speed ala paddleshift! Colour, yes both has black body colour options. Black is cool! I quickly then make a booking at a Honda showroom. Thereafter, I went to strip my Wira naked selling off its parts to get some cash for more mods on the new City.

It was a good experience and feel to own a non-Proton when the day came. Everything about the car seems to be perfect! Nice torquey feeling with CVT gearbox, and bright interior. On the contrary, however, I start to receive remarks about the weird stance the car has. Obviously a sign of being green with envy, huh! Surprisingly, it does not bother me at all. And I know I can change the looks later.

Not long after, being my normal self, I quickly jumped on my routine mod-quest passed over from my Wira days. I can't remember the stuffs I did in sequence as this was like 5 years ago. So here goes:

  • Air Cool tinting, two layers
  • Airmaster full bodykit, with two types of rear spoilers and an exhaust tip
  • Front sarong, imported from Thailand by a friend who is kind enough to buy and bring back for me! (TQ, Phuah!)
  • Hifi soundsystem and sound-proofing -
  1. Alpine headunit and 6disc CD changer,
  2. a/d/s/ amp and
  3. RS Audio loudspeaker systems.
  • Sport wheels, changed twice
  • Spray painted headlight reflective part to matt black
  • Grounding cables
  • Eibach pro-kit springs - to lower the car
  • Meter cluster face panel - with blue or purple illumination lights.
  • HID kit
  • Headlamp eyelid
My ride has been nicknamed the 'batman car' by my many colleagues and received many praises. And I am proud of it!

The sad part was I met an accident 3 months after. It was along KL-Seremban expressway when a taxi hit me from behind. Then again, I was reminded that being a black car! The whole back portion has to be reconstructed. Boy, I was so heart ache then. It took a whole good month to fix!

The second accident was at a private compound near Astro on the third year. This time was worse, and I must admit that its my carelessness. I smashed into a Gen2 which was turning in from my right to a parking compound on my left. My gearbox was disengaged and the debris all over the place with my broken bumper kit slammed on the dirty tarmac. The airbag did not fire. This time it took 2 whole months to fix. When I took delivery, it wasn't well done. It was no longer the City I owned, with gearbox leaking from a crack!! Refix my front bumper lip, thats all. Not doing anything more, and my plan is to just use it until God knows when.....

When it was fully done up (2006)

A closer look at the 'eye-lid'

Was I too Fast? I dont think so....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where do I start?

Yes, I have come a long way. Well, to be frank I started off as a clumsy driver. I still remember clearly when I took my driving license. Its tough. Full stop. Somehow, I never thought my passion for cars could grow on me.

My first car 'lust' was a 3rd generation Honda Prelude 2.0XX 4WS - 1991 Model, yeah a prelude to my long pursuit indeed! My influence was from a panther black ride shoved with 16inch rims. Mind you, 16inch rim is something BIG that time. Soon after, I decide to place a booking for one second hand unit. But the deal didn't go through after some violent objections....*sigh*

To keep me moving about, I drove my mom's Proton Saga 1.5 12v Magma Aeroback. It has ample power for me to enjoy the ride coupled with a 5-gear manual transmission.

Next was an offer for a Ford Telstar Ghia 2.0, a 'big' company car carrying a price tag of RM43k. Being impulsive in nature, I seize the opportunity and took a loan for it. Not long, I discover its a fuel guzzler and definitely not in the league where I can afford to support its thirst! Imagine a manual, and its not fuel efficient for a pathetic low income earner trying to save some pennies. I was traveling in jam very often and its not viable. The manual gear shift is draggy and not responsive. I sold it off not long after for a Proton, a car that every one from my generation would at least enjoy once! With this swap over, the Ford is well known for high depreciation - and I loose RM14k within just a year or so.

There you go, back to 1.5 cc powered national car. But this time an export spec'ed Proton Wira. A national hero, with better interior. Without knowing, I began with my endless mods ranging from rear anti roll bars to body kits to sport bucket seats to in-car entertainment systems and back to adjustable coil overs. The only stuff where I left bone stock is the engine block! What a car indeed... economical in every sense and potent for mods. At least I drove this car for a good 4 year and it has served me well, but I got bored with manual. I need an automatic transmission ride to relieve my left foot. It has been aching for all these years, years of agony I have been going through...yeah, I know I am fortunate enough to own a car back then with all the money plonked into crazy mods. Believe me, it is crazy enough to make my better half go cuckoo too!

Well then, what next?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New to blogging

Hey all, after seeing so much fun from Azmir, I decide to blog. Frankly, I am not good at putting things into words. Not expressive la with flowery words and being hilarious with words. Btw, you may find Azmir at Man, he is good and has tempted me to blog too, at least to put my thoughts in words.

Well, one of the reason for me to blog is quite similar to Azmir. We have one (two actually!) common passion for cars. Yes, one of our expensive big-boys-toys! I will take this opportunity to blog my pursuit for my FAST! Its been a long journey for me being an enthusiast for cars, but a worthwhile wait.

For those who dont know FAST:

"Volkswagen also introduced the "Fast" marketing ploy for the North American market, dedicated to the "fast" that lives inside every driver. Drivers who purchase new GTI Mk5s from a dealership are shipped a model of said Fast, which employs GTI-like features, and appears as a small animal. " - wikipedia.

Here is how it looks like.

Not a pretty thing mind ya, but its hot!

Will blog more later, so stay tune....