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Thursday, June 21, 2007

CASE STUDY 3: Clarkson MAULED Kia Sorento...

Here’s an article by Jeremy Clarkson (JC) where he SCRUTINISED the car Kau Kau (badly). Note that my “Prelude to Case Studies” blog (3 blogs ago), I promised to blog about JC bad mouthed American in the Corvette C6 review. Well, It had been removed from the website probably because it’s deemed Sensitive to Anericans. Anyway, I managed to dig a SUPER NEGATIVE review by JC himself on Kia Sorento. Also, note that JC again, played down Proton, Perodua, Kia and Hyundai. Oh! At the 1st half of his article, Clarkson talked crap again, this time trying to be a "Standup comedian". "Enjoy exploring the article. If possible, do give comments on this article.

From The Sunday Times Online (UK)

March 9, 2003

Kia Sorento

Think of the dead parrot sketch, with four-wheel drive

by Jeremy Clarkson

"When I was eight I distinctly remember my father dragging me out of bed one Sunday night and telling me to watch a new show he’d found on television. It was called Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

I was tired. I had school the next day. And while there were plenty of sheep falling out of trees, there were no elephants standing on their hind legs and no clowns. But Dad wouldn’t listen to my protestations. “Son,” he said in a frowning, fatherly way, “you need to watch this. It’s going to be important.”

It turned out he was right. Ten years later I was faced with some enormous examination that would attempt to probe my knowledge of Shakespeare’s sonnets. An hour had been set aside but 10 seconds would have been enough because I knew nothing (except that they hadn’t been written by Brian Voles).

And then I thought: “Hang on a minute, I know every single Monty Python song, film, television show and book off by heart. So if I can recite, verbatim, the entire Travel Agent sketch, I can learn this old tosh.” It worked. I passed.

Monty Python was my life. My Big Red Book was signed by all the cast, the Holy Grail made me physically sick with laughter, and when people attempted to quote from the Four Yorkshiremen I would grow visibly angry when they got bits of it even slightly wrong. “No, no, no. It’s not a shoebox in middle of t’ road. In Yorkshire, you don’t pronounce a ‘the’ as a ‘t’. The whole word is substituted for a barely noticeable flick of the head. It’s why people in Leeds could never catch the The in action. They’d ring the box office and ask for tickets to see.”

So what’s funny now? Well, over lunch at Wimbledon last summer I sat between Ricky Gervais and Rob Brydon, and that was. It was verbal tennis, with moves that left the table breathless. Gervais served, Brydon sent a backhand reply down the line, Gervais scooped it up, added some Welsh abuse and sent it cross court for a winner. But the next point was won by Brydon with a devastating smash on the subject of fatness.

Strangely, however, their television programmes never raise a smile. Oh sure, I watched every episode of The Office and have the T-shirt, but it never finished with me on the floor, begging for oxygen. And as for Marion and Geoff, that’s some of the most keenly observed drama ever to worm its way into your sitting room but it isn’t even on nodding terms with comedy.

You’ve Been Framed is funnier. Especially when the host’s new boyfriend went back to his wife. I nearly laughed at that.

Maybe it’s a by-product of getting old. When I was six poo was hilarious. When I was 12 I’d howl at the Irishman on a plane with one parachute, and when I was 14 the St John Ambulance had to carry me out of Sheffield City Hall to escape from Jasper Carrott’s mole story.

But today everything’s different. I marvel at the quick-wittedness of Paul Merton on Just a Minute. I stand in silent wonder every morning at the genius of Matt. I have enormous respect for Jonathan Ross and Steve Coogan. I devour Viz and I’ve never once considered cancelling my subscription to Private Eye. But I don’t actually laugh at anything. I simply recognise that something is funny, wish that I’d thought of it and move on.

I don’t even laugh at Python material any more. But it still stands proud, because unlike any other comedy, it left an indelible mark on everything it touched. Freemasons. The Spanish Inquisition. John Stuart Mill. All were turned into jokes by Cleese, Palin et al.

They did the same thing to places as well. Bideford, for instance, is always somewhere you hike for. And, of course, you don’t want to come back from Sorrento to a dead cat.

Imagine my surprise then when I was presented last week with a car called the Sorento. I didn’t laugh, obviously, but I did say to myself: “That’s funny. It’s like calling a car the Slough. Or the Royston Vasey.”
The car in question is yet another dreary 4x4 from some godforsaken industrial conglomerate in the Far East. This one’s a Kia and in exchange for £18,000 you get nothing worth writing home about.

Let’s start by gently mauling the Sorento's 2.5 litre diesel engine. It will give you 33mpg, which isn’t bad, but the downside is that to cover 33 miles you need to set aside a fortnight. This is not slow, like a Citro├źn 2CV or a dustbin lorry; sometimes there’s so little power you don’t move at all.

No, really. At one point I made an uphill left turn in second gear and even with my foot mashed into the bri-nylon carpet, I ground to a noisy standstill.

I had a sense that the throttle wasn’t connected to the engine in the usual way. It felt more like the telegraph system on a ship. Putting my foot down sent a “full ahead” signal to some oily boilerman under the bonnet who put down his copy of the Sport and reluctantly shovelled some more coal on the fire.

This means you have plenty of time to admire the interior, which is a symphony of video rental box plastic with the sort of cloth normally used to make dogtooth suits for old ladies in Eastbourne. I was going to talk about the giant gear knob, too. But it fell off.

Then there was the traction. The Sorento wades into battle with big fat tyres, enough space under the prop shaft to shelter from the rain and switchable four-wheel drive. Kia itself calls it a capable and rugged workhorse. But it’s no such thing. It got completely stuck in a puddle of mud through which my four-year-old daughter had walked only moments beforehand. And she normally falls over in a light breeze.
It gets worse, because Kia says the Sorento is also aimed at the style-conscious buyer who wants presence on the road. And yet this is the very same company that urges us all to think before we drive.

It points out that a billion car journeys each year are less than a mile and even gives away a free bicycle with one of its spoon-bendingly boring saloons. So if it’s so anti-car, what in the name of all that’s holy is it doing making a dirty great off-roader? This hypocrisy isn’t my main problem with the Sorento, though. And nor is it the woeful engine or the Bambi traction. I don’t even care that it’s no more spacious inside than a normal hatchback. No, what I object to — violently — is the treacly nothingness of it all.

This car wasn’t designed to be the best 4x4 in the world or the easiest to drive, or even the most comfortable. It’s automotive KFC, a light bulb with reclining seats, a consumer good with the personality of a caravan site and the desirability of herpes.

You sense this with every Kia, and Hyundai and Proton and Perodua. They’re nothing more than reasonably well-made tools for African taxi drivers and government officials in Burma. They’re white goods that happen to be blue and red as well. So quite why we in Europe might want one I have absolutely no idea.

Value for money? Oh puh-lease. The Jeep Cherokee, the Honda CR-V, the Land Rover Freelander, the Toyota RAV4, the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin and the excellent Nissan X-Trail all cost the same or less than the tedious Sorento.

Pathetically, Kia defends the price by saying you get a free three-year roadside assistance package which even covers you if you go to the Continent, though taking your Kia on holiday is a bit like taking your ironing board. I’d rather take the free bicycle.

Cars may be tools in the emerging markets, like Vietnam, Rwanda and America. But Europe emerged from its shell a thousand years ago so here cars are much more than mere machines. They’re engineering with a purpose, social pointers, private booths in a bustly world, and they are sculpture. But unlike any Henry Moore, their power can marshal your internal organs in a small, tingly puddle at the base of your spine. They’re Helmet Heads with added G-force.

Like television, they expand your horizons, they excite you, they amuse you, they frighten you. I’m told, though I’ve never experienced it myself, they can even arouse you.

Look at it this way. Over a period of 20 years Monty Python poked fun at philosophy, literature, class, stupidity and even Christianity. But apart from a Welshman who wanted to swap a mint condition 1927 Rolls-Royce for one exactly the same — which was more an attack on the Boyos — cars were never mentioned. Some cows are just too sacred."


Model Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XE
Engine type four cylinder turbodiesel, 2497cc
Power 138bhp @ 3800rpm
Torque 232 lb ft @ 1850rpm
Transmission four-speed automatic
Suspension (front) double wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar; (rear) five-link live rear axle, coil springs and self-levelling
Tyres 245/70 R16
Dimensions 4567mm length; 1884mm width; 1804mm height
Fuel 33.2mpg (combined)
C02 226g/km
Acceleration 0 to 62mph: 14.6sec
Top speed 106mph
Insurance Group 12
Price £17,995

Verdict Woeful (1/5 star)


MY HUMBLE OPINION: Kia Sorento was on sale in Malaysia since late 2003 as CBU from Korea. It was priced at RM157,000 back then. In 2005 (2 yrs later), it was Assembled in Malaysia and renamed "Naza Sorento". The price had since dropped to RM138,000. Those who bought the "Kia" before it's known as "Naza" were not amused. Why?
1) They paid RM19,000 more, 2) Resale value badly hit.

Let's talk more about #2. The resale value of "Naza" Sorento's suffered as a result of the Rebadging. It only retained 45% of its value in 3 years. As a comparison, both Honda CRV and Ssangyong Rexton both retained 63% of its value in the same period.

Kia Claimed that Germans tuned their Sorento’s ride and handling. Did I hear Porsche? Am afraid yes. If it’s really“tuned” by Porsche, then why NOT a Single EUROPEAN Car journalist mention about it?

Would I recommend this SUV to you? Am afraid NO… For the money, you are better off with a NEW Nissan X-trail 2.5 CVTC which is A LOT More fun to drive or a nearly new 2005 Ssangyong Rexton which has proven and more powerful Mercedes E-class 2.7 CDI engine, it also happened to be a TRUE 7 seater. Both have DECENT 4x4 capability, WAY BETTER Resale value (65% retained value in 3 yrs for X-trail and only 2% less for a Rexton against 45% retained value for Sorento) AND MORE Rewarding to Own and drive. Dunno about you, but if I were you, I'll AVOID KIA cars (for the time being) unless there's improvements on their Future products... Hey, the NEW KIA RIO sounds promising, well I'll wait and see when it reached Malaysia...

Clarkson's CASE STUDY 2: Volvo XC90 V8 Sport

CASE STUDY 2: This is Clarkson's typical review where he spend 2/3 of the article crapping before finally reviewing the car. This is another car review where Clarkson sang praises to the subject. He also poke fun of Americans in this review. Check the article out... Read it WORD by WORD...

From The Sunday Times (UK)

January 7, 2007

Volvo XC90 V8 Sport

Worshipping the god of hell fire

by Jeremy Clarkson

(Picture source:

The three twentysomething Californians were fairly intelligent so although they’d never been to Europe before, they could take most things in their stride: the smallness of the portions, the warmness of the beer, the lowness of the ceilings, the absence of pick-up trucks and the gunlessness of the policemen.

But then I took them for dinner at a small Italian restaurant in Notting Hill where, shortly after sitting down, all three were struck dumb. “What,” stammered the first, staring at the ashtray, “is that?” If you’d asked them to list all the things they’d least expect to find on a table, in a restaurant, in a country that’s a member of Nato, an ashtray would line up alongside a child’s potty full of sick. They would have been less surprised if they’d been confronted with one of Saddam Hussein’s ears.

For all their adult life, these guys have lived in Los Angeles where you can no more smoke in a public place than stick your private parts in a cooked quail and run around shouting “I am the god of hell fire”.

Now, of course, in America, it’s very easy to enforce laws like the smoking ban because this is a nation where people make friends in lifts. So if you light a cigarette on a beach, for instance, you will be shamed into putting it out by a combination of dirty looks and threatening gestures from those in nose shot.

Here, though, we don’t like to make a fuss or cause a scene so the job of enforcing our smoking ban will fall to someone in a high visibility jacket.
We saw much the same thing on Boxing Day when 16m people climbed onto their horses and spent the day pretending not to chase foxes up hill and down dale. They were forced into the charade because each one was being monitored by someone in a high visibility jacket with a video camera.

Try selling a pound of sausages at a market stall in Britain these days. You’d last a week before the kilogram police descend on you like a ton of bricks. Or should that be a tonne? Since his Toniness was appointed supreme ruler, his government has imposed the equivalent of one new law a day. And with each new law, he’s had to employ an army to enforce it. That’s why the civil service now employs more people than live in the city of Sheffield.

Strangely, however, the American system of using dirty looks seems to be working already with the large off-road car.

It’s not banned, but a constant government-led attack on this type of vehicle, backed by a dollop of fury from the nation’s communists and cyclists, seems to be shaming everyone into buying something else. Fiona Bruce, the agonisingly gorgeous newsreader, wants to replace her Volvo with something less enormous. Davina McCall got pangs of guilt over her Range Rover.

The arguments for and against off-road cars are both fairly silly. On the one hand, you have some nitwit from Richmond council appearing on television’s Fifth Gear, saying that he doesn’t like the new Honda CR-V because it’s too tall; as though that has anything to do with it.

And on the other, you have Honda arguing that its new CR-V will cause no more damage to the planet than a toaster or a cow. Blah blah blah.
The facts of the matter, however, are irrelevant because if you drive a large SUV round a city centre these days you are almost melted by the hate. You’d get less reaction if you were caught videoing a school playground while wearing a Kiddie Fiddler T-shirt.

Even I’ve caught the bug. I look at people in Range Rover Sports, which have the same level of oikishness as Shane Warne’s hairdo, and I think: “My God, you must have a thick skin.” I’ve always wanted a proper Range Rover, but today I’m not sure I could actually buy one. It’d become wearisome, I’m sure, tuning in to the BBC news every single night and being told I was personally responsible for every single one of the world’s ills. It seems 4x4s kill polar bears, drown Indonesians, bankrupt ski resorts, vote Tory and don’t slow down for badgers.

This means the second-hand value is weak. Trying to sell a year-old Land Cruiser is like trying to sell a year-old piece of cheese. That’s why we read recently that sales of off-road cars have fallen by 5.5% in the first 10 months of 2006. Without a single piece of legislation, the bubble has been pricked.

Strangely, however, the car makers don’t seem to have noticed this. I mean, take Volvo as an example. Instead of launching a new small hybrid to quench the thirst of those who miss the Soviet Union, it has just announced the arrival in Britain of a Volvo XC90 . . . V8 Sport.

Not since Shane MacGowan last picked up a microphone have we heard anything quite so out of tune with the way of the world. But like Shane MacGowan, this thing does have a place.

Like half the school-run families in Britain today, I have an XC90 and it’s brilliant. Unlike various other alternatives, it really does seat seven, and even with a full load on board, the boot is still big enough for a couple of dogs.
Apart from all this, it’s reliable, good looking, quite well priced and it’s served on a big bed of honest to goodness common sense. The buttons, for instance, are designed so that you can operate them while wearing gloves.

The only drawback has been the choice of engines. The V6 was asthmatic and underpowered so I went for the diesel, which is noisy, as powerful as a cap gun and not all that economical either.

The V8 changes everything. I assumed that because Volvo is owned by Ford, which also owns Land Rover and Jaguar, it’d be the Jag V8, or perhaps the pig iron V8 from a Mustang. But no. It’s an all new 4.4 litre unit, designed in conjunction with Yamaha, and it’s really rather good.

It makes a nice noise, and because it develops 311bhp your big old Volvo bus will get from 0-62mph in 6.9sec and reach 130mph. You really can think of it in the same breath as the BMW X5.

Perhaps because the engine is mounted sideways, the handling is very good. The ride, too, is unchanged from the diesel and, best of all, you should get more than 20mpg. Not bad for any off-roader, leave alone a V8.

The only drawback is that the turning circle is now rubbish. You’ll make people angry by driving such a thing in the first place, but their anger will turn to a murderous blind rage when every mini roundabout requires a five-point turn.
But let’s not worry about what other people think. Let’s worry only about you and what car best suits the needs of your family.

The only seven-seat cars that are truly comparable to the V8 XC90 are the Audi Q7, which is a woeful thing with no boot and no go, and the Land Rover Discovery, which is a big and spectacularly heavy automotive V sign that chews fuel and breaks your fingernails every time you want to load a child into the back.

The Volvo, as a piece of design, has always been the best school-run car. And now, with that V8 under the bonnet, you can enjoy the run home as well. And if you are glowered at for bumbling round a city in something so seemingly vast and wasteful, simply take a leaf from the book of that great automotive thinker and motoring philosopher, Jack Dee.

Jack says he’s particularly fed up with abuse from van drivers who trundle around London in huge Mercedes Sprinters with nothing in the back but a hammer, while his Volvo XC90 is loaded to the rafters with six children. “By running a big 4x4, I’m keeping three other cars off the school run,” he argues, reasonably.
Have a great 2007, and don’t let the nonsense wear you down.


Model Volvo XC90 V8 Sport
Engine 4414cc, eight cylinders
Power 311bhp @ 5850rpm
Torque 325 lb ft @ 3900rpm
Transmission six-speed Geartronic
Fuel 20.9mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 322g/km
Acceleration 0-62mph: 6.9sec
Top speed 130mph
Price £45,950
Rating 4/5

Verdict A fine car, brilliant on the school run

Friday, June 15, 2007

CASE STUDY 1: JC: Do the funky German!

As promised in previous post. The 1st Case study of Jeremy Clarkson (JC). As I mentioned in the previous posting, JC is well known for spending 3/4 of his car review CRAPPING (or talking c0ck) before ACTUALLY reviewing on the SUBJECT itself. But strangely, all those crapping WILL eventually LINKED or LEAD to the SUBJECT itself... Well, this is an Out of the ordinary post by him as
1) He JUMPED to the SUBJECT @ 1/2 of the article.
2) He sang praises to the CAR he reviewed (which is RARE)...
3) He talked a bit about his past in the 1st 3 paragraph (EVEN RARER)

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, lets get the ball rolling and STUDY his Article...


"AFTER three years of on-the-job training interspersed with block released courses at a college in Sheffield, I became a qualified journalist (supposedly) proficient in the art of Law, Public admin, shorthand and how best to make a parish council meeting zing in print.

I saw myself becoming Jon Swain, dodging bullets and bombs in the World's troublespots as I dashed hither and thither in a neverending quest for the truth. But instead, I moved to London and became a teddy-bear salesman.

I was rubbish in it. I'd drive all the way to Cwmbran or Pontefract where the usually horrid proprietor of a gift shop would listen to my spiel and then say "No thanks." I knew of course that I was supposed to talk him round but instead I'd say: "Oh Okay," and then drive back to London.

In the course of two years, I covered 100,000 miles and sold 6 Captain Beakies, 2 stuffed dogs, a tea cosy and 14 Paddingtons. It was pathetic and backs up Adam Smith's observation that in order to survive you must specialise.

Bernie Ecclestone, for instance, is a superb businessman but would not, and I'm only guessing of course, be a very good Nurse. Can you see Kate Moss running the United Nations, or Jilly Cooper taking charge of Football League? I struggle too, to imagine Teddy Wogan as a terrorist.

Tony Blair is blessed with an ability to lie through his teeth, which is a useful tool if you want to be a successful lawyer, but it makes him a hopeless prime minister. And then there’s his deputy, a fine and conscientious ship’s steward, I’m sure. But how can the ability to mix a decent gin and tonic qualify someone to run the nation’s housing? We see the same sort of problem in the world of cars. For the past 30 years BMW has specialised in expensive, well engineered sporting saloons. So unsurprisingly its attempt to make a small hatchback, as we saw recently with the introduction of the 1-series, was as successful as my attempt to be a salesman.

Then there’s Audi. Since the beginning of the 1980s it has made nicely designed, technically innovative large cars, but then one day the boss woke up and thought: “I know, let’s build a supermini.”

The result was the catastrophic A2, which cost £14,000, leading some to believe that it was made from gold. In fact, it was made from aluminium that was so light and flimsy the whole car rocked from side to side when you turned the windscreen wipers on.

More recently Volkswagen decided to forget its roots completely and introduce a £50,000 W12 super-saloon called the Phaeton. It’s a wonderful car, one of my favourites in fact. But the small number that came to Britain are now being used to ferry Jordan and Kerry McFadden to and from glittering functions in the West End.

The most disastrous attempt to switch direction, though, came from Mercedes-Benz, purveyor of solid, quiet and dignified diplomatic transport to 85% of the world’s governments.

After a hundred years, that three-pointed star became an emblematic byword for quality and engineering excellence, a symbol of what capitalism could achieve. And as a result it’s probably true to say that it has done more to bring down tyranny and end oppression than even the B-52 bomber.

Then Mercedes decided to make a hatchback and the world woke up one morning to find the A-class had arrived.

On the face of it this seemed to be a fine idea; all that Mercedes quality in a package that every man could afford. But pretty soon the whole thing fell apart.

In the course of doing a standard lane change manoeuvre — known as the elk test — a Swedish motoring journalist found the little Merc had an alarming propensity to roll over.

If you suddenly needed to swerve while travelling at more than 50mph, the little car didn’t understeer, as you would expect from such a thing. It flipped onto its roof.

The problem was, of course, that Mercedes was not Fiat or Renault. It had no real experience of small front-wheel-drive cars and consequently no deep-seated understanding of the way they might behave in extreme circumstances.

So the A-class was taken back to the drawing board and given a traction control system that cured the problem. Then it was released again with Mercedes trumpeting a safety message.

Mercedes actually argued that it had two floors — the normal one, and then another to which the seats were bolted — so that in the event of a head-on accident the engine would slide into the gap between the two, underneath the occupants rather than into their crotches.

Sounds brilliant. But the real reason that the car had a sandwich floor was rather different. You see, the A-class had been originally conceived as an electric car and the cavity had been created as somewhere to store the batteries.

It was a complete hotchpotch then — Merc’s Edsel. A Daimler-Benz Corvair. But in Britain alone 88,372 people bought one. So rather than give up on the idea and go back to making big saloons, the company has just brought out A-class 2. The Sequel.

The first thing you’ll notice when you step inside is that this doesn’t feel like a cut-price Mercedes. There’s no sense of going to Barbados’s west coast and staying in a two-star hotel. You will find that the quality of the trim and the texture of the upholstery are pretty much exactly the same as they are on a £100,000 S-class.

Then there’s the size. This new A-class is bigger in every dimension than the original, so you’d expect more space. But not this much more. The back, in particular, is hugely roomy, and if you remove the rear seats completely — well, it’s a van.

It doesn’t look like one, though. I always rather liked the style of the first A-class but the new version is in a different league. The three-door model, especially, is the funkiest thing to have come out of Germany since . . . um. Crikey. I suspect it may be the funkiest thing to come out of Germany ever.

Then there’s the list of equipment. My test car had satellite navigation, an in-built telephone, an air-conditioned glove box to stop your chocolate melting, an airbag for my thorax, and a traction control system that came down like a big steel firewall if I even thought about swerving round an elk.

Sadly, it also came with fat, ultra-low-profile tyres, which made the ride harsh and jarring. If you’re asked whether you’d like these on your car it doesn’t matter how charming the salesman is being, or how much you think they improve the looks, Just Say No.

And please, don’t try to argue that they’ll improve the handling, because that traction control will step in long before the height of the tyre’s sidewall could make any difference.

Under the bonnet I had a diesel that was . . . well, it was a diesel. So it made a din when it started but compensated for this by being economical. Same as every other diesel, in fact.

Overall, though, I have to say that the A-class was very, very good. It drives and feels just like a much bigger Mercedes, and that brings me on to the only significant drawback. It’s also priced like a much bigger Mercedes.

Oh, sure, we’re told that the base model is actually a few hundred pounds less than the base model of the outgoing version, despite a bigger engine and a longer list of standard equipment. But the car they sent me, an A200 CDI, costs a simply massive £19,995.

This is probably why the car works so well. Because it’s not a diversion for Mercedes at all. It’s exactly what Mercedes has been doing for 100 years, only a tiny bit smaller.

Before signing off, I would just like to say that Merc’s dealers seem to be improving. For the past few years they were the worst in the industry — rude and utterly incompetent. But my own experience, and a sharp drop-off in the number of letters I get on the subject, suggest that they’re back on track.

VITAL STATISTICS: Well I decided NOT TO include it in this blog as the SUBJECT Model JC's review was a DIESEL. Hence, the Specification is for Mercedes Benz A200CDI SE which is "A Turbo Diesel model" and I dared to say that is NOT AVAILABLE Officially in South East Asia.

Rating 4/5

Verdict Just as good as its bigger brothers"


I only don't know the meaning of the following words:
1) "hither and thither", 2) "hotchpotch".

What do you think of this article? Feel free to comment...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Prelude to a series of Case studies: Jeremy Clarkson

From next blog onwards, I'm going to study Jeremy Clarkson's articles as published in "The New Sunday Times" and/or The Sunday Times (UK). Why? Read on...

It's because this "Joker's" write up of so called "Car review" always spent 2/3 of a typical article Talking crap before reviewing the car... The next blog is an "unusual " article written by him. This is a RARE article of him, going about reviewing the Mercedes A-class @ 1/2 of the article. The NEXT NEXT article of him is a review on Volvo XC90. The Volvo XC90 review is his typical car review, where he spent 2/3 of his article talking CRAP. But strangely, these craps eventually linked and/or lead to the car itself. The 3rd blog is his another rare article, Giving the subject car FULL 5 stars out of 5. There's going to be 2 more article, 1 depicting him THRASHING or Scrutinising the review subject car in which he played down Americans. This hurt an American in the process (when republished in Malaysia's New Sunday Times 1 week later) - see accompanying letter appended by me at the end of his review. Lastly, 1 of which is written by "HAMSTER", Richard Hammond.

I enjoyed reading his article. BUT I'm not a FAN of him. As he's racist, bad mouthed Malaysian and Korean cars. Two weeks ago, this joker criticised the NEW Civic Type R, giving it 2 stars out of 5. Ironically, TOP GEAR magazine gave the SAME CAR the "BEST HOT HATCH" title. Is it strange, when Mr Clarkson also worked as one of the columnists of Top Gear?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

REVIEW: Ssangyong Rexton 2.7XDi

Source: The Times Supplement UK
January 21, 2007

SsangYong Rexton

By Jason Dawe

It’s not the most photogenic vehicle in the world and it does have a rather strange name, but don’t let that put you off the SsangYong Rexton, because in every other respect it’s a used car gem.

Introduced to the UK in June 2003 (launched in Malaysia around mid 2002) the SsangYong Rexton gave buyers a bargain basement alternative to offerings from Nissan, Mitsubishi, Jeep and Land Rover. With new prices starting at just £18,000 (from RM138,000 onwards, launch price in Malaysia - 2002) for a full blown five-door 4x4 with a decent diesel engine, new Rextons should have been flying out of the showrooms.

But DRB HICOM's patchy advertising and some rather harsh reviews from journalists nearly consigned the Rexton to sales obscurity. Despite these troubles it soon found favour among buyers keen to put value before badge snobbery, and word began to spread.

One of the Rexton’s trump cards has to be its engines — 1 diesel and 2 petrols, 2.9XDI, 2.3 Petrol and 3.2 Petrol — all sourced from Mercedes-Benz. Such illustrious heritage stands any vehicle in good stead but you need to choose the right engine to suit your driving needs. In 2004, the 2.3 petrol model was dropped and 2.9XDi replaced with Newer 270XDi taken from 2nd Generation C class (C270CDI).

If budget is your main consideration then an early 2.9 litre diesel with 118bhp on tap should suit your needs. Prices start from about RM70,000 for a 2002 RX2.9 TDi with about 120,000 kms, to RM110,000 for a 2005 RX270 model. For Rexton 270CDI 2.7 you can expect to average around 32mpg.

Low mileage drivers may prefer the 3.2 litre petrol. With 217bhp there is no shortage of power but in combination with the standard four-speed auto box you will rarely better 20mpg. A 2003 model is yours for about RM78,000.

But the pick of the bunch is undoubtedly the 2.7 litre turbodiesel. It didn’t join the lineup until late 2004 and prices start at about RM85,000, but you do have the choice of a five-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic auto box.

It is the same engine and gearbox combination that you will find in the second generation Mercedes-Benz C-class and, as you might expect, the result is pretty impressive.

Fuel economy should average 30mpg-plus, regardless of transmission, and with 165bhp and 340Nm of torque it manages to give the Rexton a reasonable turn of speed. All Rextons can tow up to 3,500kg but this diesel is the one that feels most at home doing it.

On the road there is no hiding the car’s generous dimensions. At 4.72 metres long and 1.87 metres wide it’s a big vehicle and one that is happier on the open road than in the urban jungle. The turning circle is ponderous and, on models fitted with privacy glass, visibility when reversing can be a challenge. But these are problems common to most 4x4s so we have to forgive the Rexton these shortcomings.

Take the car off road and the depth of its abilities start to become apparent. It defaults to two-wheel drive under normal conditions, saving fuel and reducing road noise, but get it into the rough and at the touch of a button you have four-wheel drive. The system can be activated on the move and boasts a low-ratio function for extreme mud-plugging conditions.

Standard specification levels for the SsangYong Rexton were universally high with all models boasting alloy wheels, CD player, electric windows and twin airbags. Higher specification SE models feature climate control and all SX derivatives boast leather upholstery as standard.

Look at a used Rexton and it is often difficult to see how SsangYong managed to build such a well-specified car for so little money.

Any economies in terms of fit and finish do not show, and while the cabin is not quite leading edge in its design it is well screwed together and easy to use. Even well used examples seem to wear well. You can afford to be fussy when you are looking at secondhand examples and negotiate a price reduction if repairs or refurbishment are needed.

In a head-to-head contest the SsangYong Rexton outperforms many of its better known rivals. Factor in price and it starts to look like a champion of nononsense secondhand 4x4s.

Four-wheel drive Under normal driving the Rexton is two-wheel drive only — a button transforms it to four-wheel drive. Check it engages smoothly and that the dashboard indicator lights

Boot: Huge 935-litre boot swallows loads and allows the option of a third row of seats to make it a true seven-seater. Spare wheel Stowed in a cradle under the rear, it is exposed to the weather and thieving hands so check it’s present and inflated
Leather Upholstery Standard on top-spec models and a common and desirable option on all

Towing Massive 3,500kg towing capacity puts it on par with the best in class
Warranty Check the book has been stamped by SsangYong-franchised dealers; some cars have a void warranty due to nonfranchise service or repair work

Stereo CD comes as standard but buttons can be fiddly

Bonnet High, bluff styling makes the bonnet and headlamps prone to stone chips, so check these carefully


Model SsangYong Rexton 270 XDi SX7
Engine 2696cc, five-cylinder turbodiesel
Power 165bhp Torque 340Nm
Transmission Five-speed automatic
Fuel 30mpg (combined)
Acceleration 0-62mph: 13.2sec (Automatic)
Top speed 111mph (178km/h)


SsangYong Rexton 270 XDi 7 seater automatic 2004 with around 60,000 kms. Pay RM88,000 @ dealer or around RM83,000 privately. Note that the prices will drop as Rexton II's out in Malaysia

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New twist to this blog. My fave "quotes", articles from various...

From various Car related publications,Brochures , journals, newspapers... From this blog onwards, I'm going to post my favourite "Punch lines" which includes, 1) Quotes, 2) Opening, 3)Body, 4) Impactful Conclusion/Verdict/Closing...

I'll also study how other journalists start their articles (those who stand out), I'll post it here... Don't worry, I'll acknowledge the work of respective writers and/or the source of the articles. This is also for the benefits of "AMATEUR Car writer/journalists" or those INTERESTED to write about cars LIKE ME. It's an eye opening to see GREAT "write-ups" and learn from it or be inspired...

Why sudden change in my Blogging topics/patterns? Because It's Getting more and more difficult to Find Used car specifications. I mean what is the point of writing a Used car review without their specifications? It's JUST NOT COMPLETE. MOST Malaysian car publications can accept it (Especially CARS.MY, which I think is very unethical comparing 2-3 cars WITHOUT their SPECIFICATIONS side by side) BUT NOT ME... I'd STILL REVIEW Used cars, but this time UPON Requests only, so SEND ME your REQUESTS, I MIGHT REVIEW it if I have its specifications.

Here's the 1st one: Check this out... IMPACTFUL Opening taken from "SUNDAY STAR - STARMOTORING 3 June MO11. Author Either George Wong OR Hong Boon How...

"HAVING rolled through 66ookm of tarmac, the DUNLOP four have truly been scrubbed in.

It's 9.30 on a stormy April night. The downpour has petered out to a drizzle. The highway was wet and shiny as buffed pewterware. As the driver ramped up speed to take the corner at the Rawang Interchange, the rubbers were busy dispersing water away from themselves and the road.

Nary a screech nor howl was heard as the tyres gripped strongly and executed another routine manoeuvre without mishap. It's ALL IN A DAY's work for the Dunlop Formula D01 as it delivers on its promise of competent wet handling without giving the driver
a dreadful dose of aquaplanning fright."

YES, NO PRIZE Guessing. This is an impactful opening (1st 3 paragraph actually) for a TYRE REVIEW (Dunlop Formula D01). This literally knocked me off my chair... I was so inspired that I decided to post it here to share it to you guys/gals out there... ENJOY!