October 17, 2016

Takata Airbag Recall - Personal Experience

Recall - Normally perceived as something negative due to fault in design or production stage of a product by the public. Things will get tensed when there are fatality caused by defective product and an immediate recall will be inevitable. The infamous Takata airbag rupture is one of the main reasons many car manufacturers are issuing worldwide recall to fix the 'ticking time bomb' in many of their cars fixed with Takata manufactured airbags. The defective component could send shrapnels to the occupants at the moment the airbags are inflated in an impact. 

In Malaysia, UMW Toyota calls recall as Special Service Campaign, and created a vehicle identification number (VIN) checker website which enable us to check any Toyota manufactured vehicle which is affected in the campaign by keying in the VIN. As my father owns a 2002 Toyota Corolla Altis, we got news that it is actually included in the campaign despite being aged more than 10 years. Using the VIN checker confirmed the validity of the news as well. In the VIN checker there was a form to fill in to request UMW Toyota to contact us (which was around mid of July 2016) for the airbag replacement. 

After submitting the form for 2 weeks, it seemed that there was no respond from UMW Toyota either in the form of phone call or email. So in early of August, I took the initiative to email the customer support which I got from the official website. It took UMW Toyota few days to respond via email, which they explained that they are still waiting for the principal confirmation on the parts arrival date. The good thing is the customer support personnel did ask which branch of service centre which I prefer to go to, which I chose the one nearest to my home. 

Then things got silence for a month or more... Sometime in September, someone from the service centre called, informing that there is still not available stock for the passenger airbag replacement (apparently only the passenger airbag is affected for the 2002 Corolla Altis). 

Thankfully the good news starts here. Finally in the first week of October, someone called to inform there is available stock and we can send the car into the service centre for 2 hours on a Saturday. I immediately placed an appointment on the first coming Saturday and sent the car in. Surprisingly the whole replacement process took just half an hour and it is free of charge! 

I believe both sides (manufacturer and the owners) should take initiative in this issue, or else unfortunate incidents are bound to happen. But one thing for sure, another giant Japanese marque in Malaysia (well, you know who) has put in greater effort in resolving this issue. 

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May 22, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Vento - Available with TSI and DSG!

 After a long hiatus, yours truly is back to blogging because the Polo Sedan CBU that I own has undergone another facelift ( and gained a new name to be exact!). I am intrigued when I heard that the Volkswagen Vento, the new name for Polo Sedan, comes with 3 variants - Trendline, Comfortline and Highline; where the latter is equipped with the infamous 1.2 litre TSI engine and a 7-speed DSG gearbox.  

I'm lucky that the showroom has all 3 variants as its display units, so a clear differentiation can be done visually. While the black car above is the Highline, the best item to differentiate it among the 3 variants is the 215/45 wide and low profile tyres with 16-inch 'Syenit' two-tone alloys, which is one inch above the other 2 variants with 185/60R15 'Riverside' 7-spoke alloys. 

The Vento bears some resemblance of the Passat, isn't it? It's not a bad thing, considering the facelift has given the Vento a more upmarket design. Below, on the left is the Comfortline while the right is the entry variant Trendline. Being the base model, the Trendline loses out chrome bar and fog lights in the lower air vent. Other than that, it is mostly identical to the Comfortline. 

The rear gained a new graphics for the taillights, a newly positioned chrome bar on the tailgate and a redesigned rear bumper. 

 One improvement over my CBU unit is the electronic latch found on the tailgate, much more convenient than using the latch on the driver door or the remote to unlock the tailgate. 

As for the Highline 1.2 litre TSI engine, it generates 105PS at 5,000rpm and 175Nm of torque from 1,550-4100rpm. On the other hand, the 1.6 litre naturally aspirated MPI engine produces 105PS at 5,250rpm and 153Nm at 3,800rpm. I have always feel that the 1.6 litre NA engine is just adequate to power the Polo Sedan, so this 1.2 TSI engine should be a great addition for drivers who want more power!

Interior wise, you will notice the steering wheel in the pic below looks a bit bare. Yes, it belongs to the Trendline, where it comes with basic features and chrome bits here and there are omitted. No front center armrest and rear aircond for Trendline as well.

Now this looks a little better in the Comfortline, with piano black finishing and control buttons on the flat-bottomed steering wheel. It comes with Climatronic automated air-conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, front center armrest with rear air-conditioned. Both Trendline and Comfortline are equipped with ABS, EBD, Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) and the Comfortline gained additional 2 side airbags, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity. Thus, I would say the previous Polo Sedan CKD units are on par with what the Comfortline is offering now. 

As for the Highline, it gained 'Cable' fabric upholstery. Volkswagen should offer leather seats for the Highline, in my opinion. However, I feel that the seats are padded more generously than the CBU units. Safety wise, it adds on hill assist control and Electronic Stability Programme (ESC) which finally make itself eligible for 5-star ASEAN NCAP rating! It will be perfect if it comes with 6 airbags though.

One thing I noticed is the graphic of the digital instrument panel in the Vento (left) seems like a downgrade from the one available in the CBU unit (right). It just does not look as premium. 

I would say the pricing (OTR without insurance) is well planned:
Trendline: RM80,646
Comfortline: RM87,646
Highline: RM94,461

Trendline is low enough to make buyers of usual Japanese B-segment think twice, while the Highline is well below the RM100k mark. Although the top-spec of Honda City is better equipped than the Highline, but the performance and handling should give the Japanese competitor a run for its money. 

Worried about the TSI and DSG reliability? The Vento comes with 5 years unlimited mileage warranty and 5 years mobility guarantee. But then, my experience with VW service center as well as showroom were not that pleasant either... 

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March 01, 2015

Fuel Price: March 2015

Fuel prices have been dropping recently, but what goes down, will come up again. Global crude oil prices have been increasing since January 2015, thus below is the updated fuel prices for the month of March 2015 based on a managed float system:

RON 95 Petrol: RM1.95 (+25sen)
RON 97 Petrol: RM2.25 (+25sen)
Diesel              : RM1.95 (+25sen)

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January 31, 2015

Fuel Price: February 2015

As we are marching into the second month of year 2015, new fuel prices have been announced due to the discontinued fuel subsidies:

RON 95 Petrol: RM1.70 (-21sen)
RON 97 Petrol: RM2.00 (-11sen)
Diesel              : RM1.70 (-23sen)

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January 01, 2015

Fuel Price: Jan 2015

It's a brand new month with brand new fuel price listing! Ever since the subsidy of fuel by the government is discontinued last month, Malaysian have been paying attention closely to the global crude oil price. As the global crude oil price continues in a downtrend, you can enjoy cheaper fuel now!

So here you go, the updated fuel price for January 2015, a good news to start the new year:

RON 95 Petrol: RM1.91 (-35sen)
RON 97 Petrol: RM2.11 (-35sen)
Diesel              : RM1.93 (-30sen)

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