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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LONGTERMERS #2, Volume 1: NEW Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

LONGTERMERS #2. Volume 1: NEW Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC


On 19 June 2008, my dad booked a new Sparkle Grey Pearl Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC. Initially, the salesman told my dad waiting list until 3rd week of August (more on that later).

“So called Luck #1”: Interest rate 2.35% by Public Finance. You know what? After 4 days booking, the interest rate shot up to a horrendous 3.5%. We took 6 years loan @ RM90,000.

“So called Luck #2”: Waiting list cut short by 3 weeks. It’s because someone cancelled the booking which is due 3rd week of July.

"So called Luck #3": The no plate I bought back in January 21 2008 (for the Nissan Grand Livina which my dad cancelled in March due to false promise by salesman (CALVEN of Tan Chong PJ)- Promised Chinese new year but Delayed till End-April) still can use. Selangor plate: B?? 1222. Thank God I DID NOT WIN the No. WRQ1222 which I bidded. If NOT...

We took delivery of the car on Monday 28 July 2008 12pm though the car already arrived 4 days earlier. It’s delayed due to Insurance “misunderstanding” between my dad and Honda Malaysia which I shall not cover in this blog.

This Is the delivery process: I) First, we inspected the car chassis and engine no, then inspected the whole car for defects. Mine has only 1 defect, the A-pillar right side corner of the dashboard uneven gap. The salesman said will rectify at 1st service. In a meantime, I had the pleasure “ripping off” the clear plastics covering the whole interior (see picture below which also shows the rear legrooms)

II) The salesman explained and demonstrates to us the features and gadgets of the car. Eg. How to split fold the rear seats, how the Climate control works, How the TCS works. We (me and my dad) spent another 15 minutes playing with the car until we were invited to the guest room. III) At the guest room, we were briefed about the Warranty – covers what & validity, given some freebies (eg. Umbrella, key chain), explained about the insurance & official invoice AND told us the DO’s and DON’Ts of running the car for the 1st 1000km. Eg. DO NOT REV PAST 3500rpm, DO NOT GO GENTING, DO NOT DO HARD BRAKING etc…

FINALLY, we were allowed to DRIVE AWAY the car. My dad drove the car to work while I drove the Ford Telstar back home :- (.


Year of manufactured: 2008 (Duh!)
Current Value: -NA-
Purchase price: RM128,000
Mileage when bought: 0008km.
Mileage now: 170km.
Average mileage per year: -NA-
Fuel consumption: UNKNOWN. See next entry in a Months time.
EXTRAS (ADD ONS): NONE at the moment.

How’s the car performance, ride and handling?
The car is “QUITE” Powerful. 0-100km/h cannot test yet as cannot rev past 3500km but pickup’s WAY BETTER than my Telstar. Estimated 0-100km/h: 9 seconds (my Telstar is around 11.5 seconds). Ride is a bit hard but then it’s fitted with 205/45YR17 Previous generation (EP) “TYPE R rims” and tyres - Michelin Pilot Preceda 2 fitted as Standard (WOW!) – See picture below.
As for the Handling, I cannot say much as it’s fitted with TCS (Traction Control) but all I can say that it “Glides” over speed-bumps and uneven roads.

The Specifications/Dimensions/Datas?
Please come back next month. Will present it to you in the Next Update (Update 2) along with the fuel consumption.

The Exterior and Interior? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, without further ado, let’s proceed to the pictures:

Above, at the “delivery bay” waiting for inspection. Below: MY DAD inspecting the car.

Delivery Mileage: 0008km. In a meantime, feast your eyes on the ergonomic yet stylish dash-meters.

Parked outside my house “Porch” beside my Telstar. Note the similar Number Plate. Also, do compare the size, the Civic is taller and wider than the Ford.

The Front Comfortable “DARK BLUE” leather seat. Below, this is what the Civic 2.0iVTEC distinguished itself from the competitors. Extra features like “SIDE SRS Airbag, Cruise control AND “5 speed Paddle shift auto” (see Next, next picture).

Paddle shift and Cruise Control in a Leather wrapped Airbag equipped steering wheel. Oh! With Audio controls (volume, channel, mode) on the left side of the steering wheel too

“LAST” PHOTO. “Mean side” of the Civic.

THAT’S ALL for PART 1. Do come back next month for PART 2.

LONGTERMERS #1, Update 1: Ford Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v

LONGTERMERS #1, Update 1: Ford Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v.

INTRO: The Ford Telstar is the TWIN Brother of Mazda 626 V6. It’s produced in Malaysia from April 1992 to Early 2001 in CKD form. The Telstar is a “Japanese car”, Made in Australia and assembled in Malaysia. In Malaysia, The Telstar came in either 147hpV6 Quad-cam 24v or 130hp 4 cylinder DOHC 16v. My car’s the latter. Without further ado, here’s some information about my car.

Year of manufactured: 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM19,000 (As at June 2008)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM7,667 (will explain later whether this is good or bad)

Mileage when bought: 97,000km.
Mileage now: 134,700km.

Average mileage per year: 12566km. Ie. 1,000km +/- monthly.
Fuel consumption: (Before price increase: RM100 full tank (RM1.92/L) => 360km mixed driving = RM0.28/km or 6.2km/litre. (Best: 440km and Worst: 290km)..
After price increase: DON’T bother to ask. Why so high consumption? Will explain later.

Extras (Non-stock items):
I) 17” LENSO NX-01 polished rims and Bridgestone MY-01 215/45R17 tyres (see picture above).
II) Pioneer DEH-4750MP. MP3/WMA/CD/CDR head unit
III) Reverse sensor (rear)
IV) That’s about it.

If you are following my blog from the beginning, I posted a blog entry on my Telstar’s owner report back in 26 August 2006. Two years have since passed since my update. I’m here to announce a “LONG TERM TEST REVIEW” which will be updated every month. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I update what I did over the last 4 months (1 quarter):

NOTE: I officially inherited the Telstar from my dad effective this month as my dad bought a NEW HONDA Civic 2.0IVTEC (See "Longtermers #2). My dad did not do a good job maintaining the car. As a result it broke down 2 days ago (why? Read on).

April 2008: Replaced Strut mount (cracked).

May 2008:
Changed the Rear absorbers: Kayaba OEM Mazda 626 V6

June 2008: Changed rear tyres: RM300 apiece. Bridgestone MY01 215/45R17.

July 2008: Car broke down on 26/07/2008. Towed to workshop by AAM. Spent RM260 repairing the car. 1) ENGINE OIL dried up (last oil change Sept 2007). 2) Spark plugs KO’ed. 3) Air filter too dirty (last change 2006).

Did oil change (mineral 15W/40 oil), Fuel filter, Air filter, Flush Auto transmission oil, changed to NGK Spark plugs.

Why engine oil dried up?
The mechanic told me that the car “Eat engine oil”. It’s caused by the worn off Piston ring. It means it needs top overhaul. I told my dad this story he immediately said “Let’s sell off this car”. When will I sell off the car? In few months time.

Engine, Dimensions and other technical information, see my 1st Telstar blog entry in August 26 2006.

Well, there’s a saying a picture’s worth thousand words. I now present the pictures of the car. One picture of the rear. The rest, the interior of the car.

Picture above, the Digital Climate control Air cond with Heater and Oscillating air vents (Useful features BUT only available in very few cars).

Above: The Original comfortable “Semi-bucket front seats. Bottom: The rear seats and its legroom.

The user friendly dashboard with integrated push up ashtray and 2 cupholders (below the CD Player). Note: My Pioneer DEH4750MP headunit.

END OF LONGTERMERS #1 Series/Volume/Update 1. Thanks for reading...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Record hits! Thank you for your support...

Check out my hits... Picture 1: Hits from 2006 to 2008. Picture 2: Last 7 days hits. Also, an interesting stat showing COUNTRIES of ORIGIN of visitors visiting my blog (Picture 3). Thanks to

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SUPER TEST: Subaru Forester GT 2000-2003

In this blog entry, I’m blogging about Subaru Forester ST/b @ GT. The Forester I covered were the “Facelift” version from 2000 to July 2002. I wish I have a unit to test and “brag” about it but unfortunately I don’t. Here’s hoping for Subaru Forester owner(s) who read this will offer his/her/their car for me to test drive. I will write about it and APPEND it to this BLOG Entry.

IN MALAYSIA, The resale value (used) are as follows:
2000: RM78,000
2001: RM85,000
2002: RM95,000
2003: RM106,000 (Pre-facelift – Early 2003 onwards new Generation launched => RM135,000 for an unregistered car).

Prices sourced from 1) Motortrader (Every issue form Issue 384 to 392), 2) The Star Metro Classifieds.

As usual, all is not lost. I dished out a “14 PAGE” review from John Mellor’s Go Auto Australia. It’s what they called “SUPER TEST”. Originally written by Justin Lacey on 03/05/2001. ENJOY:

"SUPER TEST: Subaru Forester GT (St/b outside Australia & NZ)

Model release dates: 2000 - July 2002


THE Forester GT is the flagship of Subaru's three-model Forester range, offering the performance of a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and luxury options like heated seats and suede trim, on top of a full gamut of standard equipment. When it was first released three years ago, the GT introduced a whole new level of performance to the light-duty four-wheel drive segment and it was really the only option for those wanting something more than the standard fare available. Rivals such as Mazda and Hyundai are only just starting to catch up now with the V6-powered Tribute and Santa Fe, although both are more suitably categorised as medium-size offerings.


THE Forester's boxy styling pitches it at the traditional four-wheel drive buyer, as it reflects the utilitarian image of vehicles like the Nissan Patrol and the Toyota LandCruiser. However, the overall design has been taken out of proportion in the search for traditional off-road looks. The roofline has been raised too high for the bonnet and waistline, creating an impression of top-heaviness that doesn't exude the strength and muscular looks often sought by vehicles in the light-duty 4WD segment. The pronounced flaring of the front and rear guards helps to reduce the slab sided nature of the basic design, assisted by the side cladding - although only when it is painted in the contrasting Warm Grey Opal colour. The Forester GT is available in both single (monotone) and two-tone colour combinations, whereas previously the entire colour range comprised only two-tone offerings. The full colour models look quite different to the two-tone jobs, creating perceived styling differences, particularly when viewing the rear profile directly from behind. They also stamp the GT as a road car, whereas the duo-tone finish is more commonly associated with off-roaders.

Did you know?
The Subaru Forester has won 15 major motoring awards in Australia since its debut in 1997

The Car - Seat Plan

THE Forester GT offers the same five-seat accommodation as the rest of the Forester range - bucket front seats and a three-person bench in the rear. However, dual front airbags and seat-mounted side airbags are fitted as standard on the GT model. All four outside seating positions have height adjustable seatbelts, while the centre rear seat position has a lap/sash belt that retracts into the roof over the luggage compartment when not in use. There are four cupholders: one in the dash, one in the centre console storage bin - accessed through a sliding section in the bin lid, with a folding arm to hold the drink - and two in the rear of the centre console. The glovebox and above dash storage bin are both flock lined. Front and rear door armrests contain "secret" storage compartments.

Did you know?

Subaru says the Forester was designed to combine the strong points of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) and a passenger car


THE Forester GT, as with all Forester models, has Captain's Chair-style front seats - each with a folding armrest adjacent to the centre console. The driver's seat features manual four-way tilt adjustment for the seat base, but lacks any lumbar adjustment. All seating positions are fitted with height adjustable head restraints. Hip point height at the front seat of 595mm, combined with the high roofline, allows easy entry and egress of the cabin. The Forester GT tested came with the optional Escaine (suede) upholstery on the seats and door trims.


THE Forester shares its dashboard, instrument panel and centre console with the previous generation Impreza. The instrument panel in the Forester GT is clear and easy to read with two large dials - speedometer and tachometer - featuring white-on-black markings and orange indicator needles. Two smaller gauges for fuel and engine temperature are located either side of the main dials. All dials and gauges have metal-finish surrounds. An external temperature indicator is set within the instrument display.


THE steering wheel adjusts for height (rake) but not reach, although it is still relatively easy for to find a comfortable driving position. Electric window controls are located on the forward section of the door armrest - which is angled towards the driver - just below the electric mirror switches. There is a separate switch to activate the heating function for the mirrors, which also heats the base of the windscreen where the wiper blades rest. A roof console houses map lights, a clock, sunglass holder and the sunroof controls (when fitted). The driver's sunvisor has two cardholders and a pen holder. The internal fuel release is cable operated, but there is no separate release for the rear door as it operates on the central locking.

Did you know?
That Subaru's Impreza WRX, Liberty and Forester models rank fourth, fifth and 10th respectively in a list of Australia's top ten cars according to resale value - as of June 2001


THE Forester GT is fitted with 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, mounted on semi off-road Yokohama Geolandar tyres. There is easy access to the plastic valve caps as they protrude well clear of the rim. A full size spare wheel is located under the floor in the luggage compartment. A hook is attached to the cargo floor to enable it to be held up when removing the spare wheel. As is the norm with Subaru's, the spare wheel is steel rather than a fifth alloy rim.

Did you know?
The Forester GT is sold as the S-turbo in Japan and the UK


LUGGAGE capacity in the Forester GT, as with all Forester models, is 406 litres with the rear seat up, increasing to 1525 litres with the seat folded down. The rear seat split folds in a 60/40 ratio to give added flexibility to the load space. Three storage compartments are located under lift up panels in the floor of the cargo area, although one houses the toolkit and jack implements. Tie down hooks are provided for securing loose luggage, while additional storage bins can be found on either side of the compartment. There is also a 12-volt outlet to provide power to camping appliances or an air compressor. The cargo area is fitted with a rolling security blind, which can also be removed when carrying large objects.

Did you know?
Subaru uses the abbreviation AWD to distinguish its unique driveline from conventional off-road (4WD) systems


WITH the upgrade to 2001 model year (MY01) specification, the Forester GT picked up standard cruise control and a revised stereo system (now 2 DIN) with a six-disc in-dash CD player - as per the MY01 Impreza WRX. The dash surround for the stereo and HVAC controls is now finished in fake carbon fibre. Engine power has increased by 5kW to 130kW at 5600rpm, while peak torque is up by five Newton-metres to 245Nm at 4400rpm.

Did you know?
Subaru's Forester GT is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the car used to set the record for the fastest time driving from the northern most tip of North America to the southern most point of South America. Nearly 24,000kms were covered in 18 days, 1 hour and 11 minutes in May 2001


THE Forester GT is the only car in its class to be powered by a turbocharged engine - it uses a detuned version of the 2.0-litre engine from the Impreza WRX. Subaru promoted the GT as the world's first off-road sports car when it was released in 1998 and rightly so, as it produces 20 per cent more power and torque than its nearest four-cylinder competitor - as well as even outdoing some of its larger V6-powered rivals.

Jeff’s observation: Another selling point they forgotten to mention is the Optional EXTRA LARGE Electric Tilt-and-slide MOONROOF.

The Car - Climate control

THE heating and ventilation system is quite basic and, like the audio system, easy to use. Large, rotary dials operate the temperature and direction of air to the outlets, while there are slide controls for the four-speed fan and air recirculation. Air-conditioning is manually operated, as climate control is not available on any of the Forester models. Four dashboard vents direct air onto the face of front seat occupants, while ducts under the front seats direct air to the rear seat passengers. Vents for demisting the front door windows are located on either side of the dashboard.

The Car - Sound system

THE six-speaker sound system in the Forester GT comprises an AM/FM radio, auto reverse cassette player and six-disc in-dash CD player. There is a speaker mounted in each door as part of the door pocket trim, while tweeter speakers are located forward of the door handles in both front doors. The large buttons are clearly marked and arranged in a logical manner, making the system one of the easiest to use of any currently on the market.

The Car - Security

THE buttons for the remote central locking facility are now integrated into the key head, after having been updated from the separate fob and key combination used on the previous model. An immobiliser is fitted as standard. A single dome light provides illumination for the main cabin area, along with map lights for the driver and front passenger in the roof console. But there are neither courtesy lights in the doors nor any safety reflectors.

+VE: Performance, standard equipment levels, seating position, all-round vision
-VE: Relatively expensive, over-assisted steering, hard interior plastics

Our Opinion

By JUSTIN LACY 03/05/01

EVEN though the Forester GT has been around for a few years now, it remains somewhat elusive when you try to pin a label on it.

Some say it's a true four-wheel drive, others a crossover vehicle, while a few even consider it a sports car, albeit with four doors and a large luggage compartment.

In reality it is a combination of all these, which probably explains why it sells so well in spite of its boxy, uninspired styling. It simply offers a wider range of buyers the package and lifestyle accompaniment they are looking for.

The Forester GT has certainly got some street-cred these days, more than the standard model anyway, with its WRX-style bonnet scoop and broad spoke 16-inch alloy wheels announcing to the world that it is not just another off-roader. And with a detuned WRX engine hiding beneath that scoop, it has the performance to back up the sports car attitude.

It sets the performance benchmark for the light-duty four-wheel drive class, despite lacking the low down torque of a naturally aspirated engine. Once the turbo lag is dispatched it will happily pull all the way to redline, accompanied by the requisite whistle from the turbo.

The GT is one of those cars where an automatic transmission is the preferred choice, like with the Porsche 928 if you can stretch the association that far. Driven back-to-back with a manual version, the automatic GT impressed as a better match to the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.

There is nothing particularly wrong with the manual mind you, it's just that the auto does a better job of keeping the turbo on song and overall it comes across as the more complete package.

The auto is not perfect though, as gear changes are quite harsh until everything gets up to operating temperature and it is none to keen to kick down to first gear out of slow speed corners - when you are otherwise left in second, waiting for the turbo to spool up. When full throttle prompts it to drop down, the change is slammed home in a mechanically unsympathetic way.

The steering is another area of contrasts, as it is undoubtedly over-assisted and it takes quite a while before its lightness begins to feel natural. But it doesn't cause any problems with accuracy and placing the car where you want from one corner to the next is simple.

In the car park though, it is all too easy to bang it against its stops and overload the power steering pump, as full lock is wound on with surprising ease. The GT's road holding and handling is certainly as good as you'll find amongst any of its competitors. Bodyroll is pronounced, betraying its off-road focus, but it can still be hustled through corners at a remarkable pace.

The semi off-road Yokohama Geolandar tyres prove to be the limiting factor though, as tyre squeal sets in relatively early and it takes familiarity to push beyond the warning signs and utilise the grip of the four-wheel drive system.

On dirt and gravel roads the GT's tyres and raised suspension endow it with a comfortable ride and help to isolate the body from much of what is going on underneath.

On really loose surfaces, especially road verges and in corners, it doesn't feel totally stable though. The car feels light and disconnected from the road with the tyres moving over the surface rather than cutting through it - a sensation heightened by the overly light steering.

The brakes are adequate for everyday use but they do lack initial bite and faded noticeably after repeated use on a winding, downhill run - a result of the extra weight in the car over the Impreza models.

Given the Forester's strong links with the previous generation Impreza, it is interesting to note the better build quality and finish of the interior. The glovebox and centre-dash storage compartment are both flock lined in the Forester, which stops any loose items from moving around, rattling and scratching.

The door trims are also a slightly different design, made up of three or four separate parts rather than the single skin design of the Impreza. While more components, especially when made of hard plastics, usually means more places where flexing and frequency vibrations can occur, the Forester is distinctly more solid and quieter than its stablemate.

The storage compartments within the door armrests are a good idea but are not particularly well executed. The latches are quite flimsy and can cause the entire mechanism to rattle, especially when being used for their intended purpose ... as an armrest.

One of the few ergonomic mistakes in the Forester's interior was the choice of locating the outside temperature indicator in the dash while placing the digital clock in the roof console - as one would imagine needing to check the time more often that the outside temperature. Liberty's and Impreza's both have their clocks in the dash, so it would seem a strange choice to change the situation just for the Forester.

Front passenger accommodation is good, with ample headroom and comfortable Captain's-style seats with folding armrests. The only quibble was the seat base lacked support on long stints behind the wheel, which is a common problem in other Subaru models as well.

Rear seat accommodation is adequate but can border on restrictive, especially if there is a tall driver using most of the front seat travel. The rear seat base is also mounted higher than the front seats, which, combined with a vertical backrest, means headroom borders on marginal.

Parents with young children will find rear space limited for baby seats, which can easily - and illegally - end up making contact with the front seats.

Head restraints for all seating positions are a good safety feature, but the large centre position item intruded on rear vision. A smaller, adjustable item would help solve the problem.

The option pack available on the Forester GT brings with it one of the biggest sunroofs you're ever likely to see - as it creates a hole nearly half the size of the roof, from the front passengers right back over the rear seat occupants.

Given its size there is naturally no tilt function, but the wind-in-the-hair feeling it provides certainly adds to the Forester's lifestyle appeal.

When compared to the host of models entering the booming "soft-roader" class at present, the Forester is certainly starting to look old fashioned and in need of some major changes to freshen its face.

But having said that, it still offers an excellent combination of packaging, performance and equipment the others are yet to match. As a result it remains one of the top sellers in its class and is not quite ready to be pensioned off just yet.

Mechanical - Plan views

THE Forester's drivetrain, as with all Subarus, is mounted longitudinally - meaning the engine, transmission, propeller shaft and rear differential are all arranged in a straight line. The GT's front-mounted 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine drives all wheels.

Mechanical - Engine

THE Impreza WRX's 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve turbocharged engine finds another home under the bonnet of the Forester GT, albeit in a detuned form. It produces 130kW of power at 5600rpm and 245Nm of torque at 3200rpm, down from the Rex's outputs of 160kW and 292Nm. The all-alloy unit naturally conforms to Subaru's familiar horizontally opposed format. Ninety-five RON premium unleaded petrol is recommended, indicating the engine's performance origins. Subaru claims the GT accelerates from 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds.

Mechanical - Suspension

THE Forester GT has independent suspension all around. The front end employs a MacPherson strut system with lower L-arms, coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear uses a trailing arm set up with lower transverse links, coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension on the GT is also self-levelling, which means it will maintain a constant ride height when loaded to the maximum capacity or when towing. The Forester's 200mm ground clearance means the body sits reasonably high on its suspension, with plenty of space between the top of the wheel arch and the actual wheel. While the clearance is still not high enough for serious off-road adventures, it is high enough to push the car's handling away from being completely car-like on the road.

Did you know?
The use of four-wheel drive systems was limited to off-road vehicles until Subaru released the Leone 4WD Station Wagon in 1972 - the first mass-produced 4WD variation in any ordinary passenger vehicle series

Mechanical - Electronic system

IN automatic transmission Subarus - the Forester GT tested was an automatic - the all-wheel drive is a computer-controlled electronic system that regulates drive to all four wheels through a multi-plate transfer clutch. The active torque-split system works in conjunction with the automatic transmission to monitor speed, gear selection, throttle position and wheel rotation information and vary drive to the front and rear wheels accordingly. The manual GT uses a different system with a viscous limited-slip centre differential. In normal conditions this system operates with a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear axles, but the viscous LSD automatically adjusts the torque distribution under unstable driving conditions such as on slippery surfaces or during hard acceleration. The Forester GT also uses a limited slip differential (LSD) on the rear axle to enable the transfer of power between the rear wheels depending on available traction.

Did you know?
All Subaru's have an auto off feature for the headlights to prevent the inconvenience of a flat battery

Mechanical - Transmission

THE Forester GT is available with a choice of transmissions, either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic with three modes - normal, power and winter/hold - and a lock up torque converter. When matched to the auto, the GT's 2.0-litre turbocharged engine pulls 2200rpm at a constant speed of 100km/h. The final drive ratio in the auto is 4.444:1. The manual transmission has the additional feature of Subaru's innovative hill-holder, which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards when stopped on an incline, provided the clutch remains fully depressed. The dual range transmission that is available on other manual Forester models is not offered on the GT.

Did you know?
Subaru is named for a star cluster in the Taurus constellation, in which six of its stars are visible to the naked eye - hence the six stars in the Subaru corporate logo

Mechanical - Brakes

THE Forester GT has ventilated discs - 277mm in diameter - on the front and solid discs - 266mm - on the rear, as well as an anti-lock braking system (ABS) fitted as standard. The ABS used in the Forester GT, as with all Subaru all-wheel drive ABS systems, is a four-channel, four-sensor, three-phase system. Each wheel has a speed sensor that transmits information to a computer, which then operates the activation of the three-phase cycle used to control braking force.

Mechanical - Steering

ENGINE speed sensitive, power assisted rack and pinion steering is standard on all Forester models. The steering wheel in the GT is a leather-wrapped four-spoke item containing a full-size airbag. The Forester's minimum turning circle - measured at the wheel - is 10.8 metres for all models in the range. The steering wheel in the GT goes from lock to lock in a reasonable 3.0 turns.

Did you know?
Subaru's first all-wheel drive (AWD) car, the Leone 4WD Station Wagon, was at one stage the world's top selling 4WD passenger car


THE Forester achieved a four-star result (out of a maximum five stars) when it was last crash tested by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in April 1999. It reported the Forester's passenger compartment held its shape reasonably well in both the full frontal and offset frontal crash tests, offering good protection from serious injury for the driver and front passenger. However, protection from serious lower leg injury was poor for the driver in the offset test. The upper seatbelt anchorages are height adjustable, while the front seatbelt buckles are mounted on the seat, which means they move with the fore/aft travel of the seat. These features are said to improve the fit of the seatbelt. Dual front airbags and front side airbags (seat-mounted) are fitted as standard on the GT."



Note: The following are NON-JDM Specs (outside Japan). JDM Specs are in bracket.
* Engine code: EJ20
* 1.994-litres front-mounted transverse DOHC 16-valve turbocharged horizontally opposed (BOXER) four-cylinder
* Max Power: 130kW (177hp) at 5600rpm (Max.power: 240 ps (176.52 kw) / 6000 rpm)
* Max Torque: 245Nm at 3200rpm (308.91 Nm at 4000 rpm)
* Compression ratio: 8.5:1 (9:1)
* Bore/stroke: 92.0mm x 75.0mm (same)
*Power to weight: 89kw/tonne


* Five-speed manual/four-speed automatic


* Front: Independent MacPherson strut system with lower L-arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar
* Rear: Independent trailing arm system with lower transverse links, coil springs and anti-roll bar, plus self-levelling.


*Ventilated discs - 277mm in diameter - on the front
*Solid discs - 266mm - on the rear
* Anti-lock braking system (ABS).
- The ABS used in the Forester GT, as with all Subaru all-wheel drive ABS systems, is a four-channel, four-sensor, three-phase system. Each wheel has a speed sensor that transmits information to a computer, which then operates the activation of the three-phase cycle used to control braking force.


* Power assisted rack and pinion
* Turning circle: 10.8 metres
* Turns lock to lock: 3.0


* Length: 4460mm
* Width: 1735mm
* Height: 1580mm
* Wheelbase: 2525mm
* Track front: 1475mm
* Track rear: 1465mm
* Weight: 1457kg

Fuel tank capacity: 60L


* Dual front airbags
* Front seat-mounted side airbags
* Anti-lock brakes (ABS)
* Air conditioning
* Remote central locking
* Electric windows
* Electric mirrors
* Cruise control
* Six speaker sound system with in-dash six-disc CD player
* Alloy wheels
* Variable intermittent wipers
* Fog lights
* Leather steering wheel, gearshift and handbrake

*Oversized Electric Moonroof
*Leather seats

END OF A L-O-N-G Review. Thanks for reading this.

1) – Main Article sourced.
2) - for some pictures
- for some specifications

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tyre care and maintenence

Source: Sunday Star May 7, 2006

Tyre care and maintenance

Proper tyre care and maintenance are vital. Did you know that your car’s whole load is carried only by four contact areas, each about the size of your palm? And, did you know that incorrectly inflated tyres are dangerous?

For a safer and more comfortable ride, less premature tyre wear as well as lower fuel consumption, it is necessary that you take care of those tyres and have them maintained regularly.

Tyre Pressure

Incorrect tyre inflation can cause significant loss of steering precision, making the vehicle unstable especially when cornering. This not only compromises the comfort of the drive and ride, it actually endangers the lives of the driver and passengers.

Under-inflated tyres may cause the tyre to unseat from the rim, resulting in a dramatic loss of control of the vehicle. The main risk of an under-inflated tyre is that it may burst on the road, resulting in your losing control of your vehicle!

Over-inflation of tyres is also unsafe as it reduces the tyre’s contact with the road surface, resulting in lesser grip and thus threatening your safety. Also, the tyre is more easily damaged when travelling over potholes or debris on the road.

Look at your tyres every time you get into the car, do pay special attention to the passenger-side rear tyre because this tyre tends to be forgotten in our day-to-day use of the car.

You see the ones on the driver side every time you get into the car, you “feel” the front tyres via the steering wheel, whereas you will only see the passenger-side rear tyres if you go looking for them.

If they are under-inflated, the tyre is worn on both shoulders; this is also called “domed” wear.

If they are over-inflated tyre, the tyre is worn in the centre, therefore called “centre” wear.

For a more accurate measure, check the tyre pressure at the petrol station at least once a month. Do so at the beginning of the day, when the tyres have not yet heated up through driving.

The correct inflation pressures based on the original tyre size (including the spare) are listed on a vehicle placard. Some manufacturers also list the original tyre pressure in the vehicle owner's manual.

The placard can be found at:

·Driver-side door or doorjamb;

·Glove box or counsel door;

·Fuel filler door; or

·Engine compartment.

And did you know that tyre inflation is perhaps the most important factor for economical motoring? Incorrect inflation can increase fuel consumption by up to 5%! And, the tyres will wear out unevenly thus shortening the tyre’s life span. Tyre tread life alone can be reduced by as much as 25%!

Cleaning and inspection

Cleaning tyres removes foreign substances from the tyre surface that can degrade them. Just use soap and water.

Check your tyres at least once a month for uneven wear and foreign objects wedged in the tread. Always look for bulges, cracks, cuts, penetrations and abnormal tyre wear, particularly on the edges of the tread.

A tyre that needs more air all the time should be taken off the vehicle and checked thoroughly.


It’s a professional’s job! To fully assess what type of repairs are required, tyres MUST be completely removed from the wheel rim, regardless of the apparent damage (or lack of) from the outside. Certain damage is only visible inside the tyre.

Plug-only repairs done on the wheel are considered improper and therefore, not recommended. Such repairs are unreliable and can cause further damage to the tyre.

However, before you decide to repair your tyre, consider how worn it is. This is because it may actually be more cost effective to replace it.

Changing tyres

1.6mm is the minimum legal tread depth that indicates that the tyre needs to be changed. Tread Wear Indicators are set at this depth and moulded into the base of the tread grooves.

Michelin tyres have Bib (Michelin’s mascot) tread wear indicators on the shoulder, other manufacturers use the letters “TWI.”

Using worn tyres increases the likelihood of tyre failure. In wet conditions, it can cause the tyre to loose traction completely. Clearly, worn tyres are a huge risk to your life.

New or the least worn tyres should be fitted to the rear. This will ensure that vehicle stability is maintained when braking and cornering, especially on wet or slippery roads. It will also provide additional protection against the effects of a sudden deflation.

Don’t forget the valve! This should be changed every time a new tyre is fitted, or if the tyre is removed for repair of examination and the valve has been in place for a considerable period.

Valves play a very important role in keeping the tyre airtight, its long service life and also vehicle safety.


Tyres last longer when tyre wear is uniform. Think of the soles of your shoes, if one side of the sole is more worn out than the others, chances are you’ll have to replace them sooner.

For tyres, there is a way around this: by rotating them regularly. This is especially important in tropical countries and for urban use. If no rotation period is specified, the tyres should be rotated every 7,000km.

Wheel balancing and alignment

Wheel balancing is necessary for eliminating vibrations. Unbalanced tyres can cause the vehicle to shake from side to side or hop up and down. It also leads to premature wearing of the suspension and steering components, rotating parts and tyres.

Incorrect alignment can cause rapid, irregular tyre wear and can affect the handling and safety of the vehicle. The problem is you will probably not notice this while driving, only careful and regular examination of the tyres will reveal incorrect alignment.

Remember, your tyres are the only link between your car and the road, take good care of them and they will take good care of you in return!

END OF Article, thanks for reading this.

Monday, July 07, 2008

FULL REVIEW: Renault SCENIC 1.6 & 2.0 16v RXE

BEFORE THE REVIEW, Feast your eyes on these Photos of Renault Scenic:

MY REVIEW: The Renault Scenic’s on sale in Malaysia from 1997 till 2003. The 1st version between 1997 till 1999 was 90hp 1.6 8v SOHC MPI model with Manual or Auto Transmission and DUAL AIRBAGS But no ABS. The position of the gear lever is upright and the steering position is angled 130 degree upright (think Van driving position). The engine’s crying for more power, and refinement’s not there.

In end-1999, Quasar Carriage (the previous Renault distributor) brought in an Updated Version with 1.6 AND 2.0i 16v SOHC MPI engine. The 1.6 model now has 107hp while the 2.0i model has 140hp. The driving position especially steering location has changed to normal car like type. The Scenic now has 4 (Yes 4!) Airbags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist , Better trim, Optional TWIN Sliding GLASS SUNROOF (at RM9,000 more, which explained why Sunroofed Model’s EXTREMELY RARE TO FIND).

I found one metallic red 2001 model facelifted Scenic 1.6RXE up for sale @ RM34,800 at a dealer lot. I climbed in the car. It has 16 storage compartments, 5 of which’s under the seat (3 below the floor), 4 at the top, 5 in front and 2 at both corner of the boot area. Also, there’s cooling box for 2 drinks. The rear seats are 3 individual removable type with 3 point seatbelts and 3 height adjustable headrests. It is also foldable and slidable (forward/backward). It also have aircraft type foldable “tray” behind the front seats. Light grey trim brightens the cabin. (see picture 2).

What a pity it DOES NOT HAVE TWIN SUNROOF. I was not allowed to test drive the car, so again, like my previous few reviews, I dished up FOUR Owner’s review on RENAULT SCENIC.

2) – For Pictures of Renault Scenic
3) Whatcar? UK Magazine June 1997. For Performance specification and extract of review.

Ref source 1,
OWNER’s REVIEW 1: Scenic RXE 1.6i 16V
by 137699 - Rating: (4 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages Hugely Practical, Good Drivers Car, Cheap to maintain
Disadvantages No option for 7 seats, Early models have lower build quality, Not the best ergonomics

I have recently bought this car for my wife.

The Scenic won hands down - mainly as we didn't need a 7 seater, five good seats was what we were looking for, so that we can put the child seat in the back, and then still seat two adults along side it, in comfort.

So we bought a 2nd-hand one privately - a later shape 1999/V reg with 62,000 miles and full service history for £7000. We decided to pay for the slightly higher mileage, to get the later shape model, which seems to withstand day to day wear and tear much better.

The RXE model is extremely well equipped. It has power steering, electric windows front & rear, electric mirrors, electric twin sunroofs, driver & passenger airbags, ABS, CD player, fuel computer & air conditioning. The only thing it misses is alloy wheels. The interior has a nice cloth design, and is remarkably roomy and airy.

The dashboard has been modified from the standard megane model, and whilst it works reasonably well in the scenic, one or two of the switches aren't the easiest to find when watching the road ahead. It is a shame that the ergonomics were overlooked a little, as it detracts from what is otherwise an extremely well sorted car.

On the practicality side - this car is unsurpassed. All the rear seats slide forward s/backwards, fold down and if necessary can be removed - this was invaluable on a recent trip to Ikea, when the scenic basically became a small van for the day! With the seats in, the boot is cavenous (much bigger than the 7 seater MPVs), remove them, and you could fit a tall fridge/freezer in the boot, and still have loads of space. On top of this, there are extremely useful stowage facilities under the rear carpets, under the rear seats, by the rear seatbelts, and in the side walls of the boot. There are fold down tables for rear passengers, and there are an absolute wealth of accessories available from Renault, including fridges, dog-guards, etc - although these are not cheap, and some can be purchased 2nd-hand. A 2nd cigar socket in the back can be used for powering laptops, dvd players, or one of the electrical accessories.

The seats are extremely comfortable, especially on long journeys, and the drive is surprisingly positive - plenty of feedback through the steering wheel, and good cornering capabilites from a low centre of gravity. This is good praise for me - I'm more used to driving Escort Cosworths & Clio Williams. The 1.6i 16v engine is lively, and whilst it won't set any land speed records, it will comfortably beat the metros and micras away from the lights. In hindsight, I'd have preferred to go for a 2.0i model.

The fuel economy is very good for a car of this size - it returns 34mpg typically. They are simplicity itself to service, and I don't think that this car will need to see a Renault dealer again, as we have a reliable local garage who is more than capable of working on what are rather basic components for this day and age. Which is a good thing - as that means it is easy and cheap to maintain!

If you're buying one, I'd strongly consider going for a later shape version (i.e. 1999 on) as it is clear that the build quality came on leaps and bounds in that facelift. Check carefully for body damage, many people can't handle the fact that these cars are so big, and are easily bumped in the car parks. Also, children getting in/out of the back seats can scuff the door sills, and damage the internals. Look at the front of the car- the early one's especially pick up stone chips very easily which can soon turn to rust. If you can afford it, get electric sunroofs, and air conditioning, as models without these features are very hard to sell on later.

If you do buy one, I think you'll be very pleased with it - a fantastically comfortable & practical car, which is good to drive, performs well, and is reliable & great to look at.

OWNER’S REVIEW 2: Dear Scenic: an End of Term Report
by zero - written on 06.03.01 - Rating: (5 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages practicality, reliability, value for money
Disadvantages None

Dear Scenic,

I remember when I was young, like you, being told that there are two kinds of report: those that are embarrassing to give (for poor performance) and those that are embarrassing to receive (for good performance). This, my dear Scenic, is one of the latter, you’ll be pleased to hear.

We bought you almost three years ago – my, how time flies! Now, as you prepare for your first MOT-level exam, it is time for my report to you.

Your aptitude for school work became obvious immediately. From the start, you have ferried our children and neighbours to and from school, with all their school stuff and without complaint.

Of course, school work isn’t everything, is it, eh… you have a decent spread of extracurricular activities. Commuting, motorway-speed cruises the length of the country and so on, all have been fine, even with all your amazing range of storage and cubby holes filled up. We’ve really enjoyed finding new places to stow things in you actually – it’s nearly as much fun as trying to remember what is where when it comes to unpacking! And your rear seats adjust and can be removed easily; they are not too heavy at all (but do watch your own weight as you get older!). Your stereo with steering-column remote controls helped make long journeys with kids calm too, especially once we found out how to control the sound levels at front and back separately.

Driving you has been better than we expected. The much-feared body roll turned out to be not bad at all in the end, though I think you probably encouraged us to tone down our driving style a bit, didn’t you… not that your 2 litre engine lacks power, no, not at all, in fact you accelerate quite impressively when ligh tly-loaded. Maybe its something to do with the high driving position?

And talking about driving position, I was particularly pleased with the excellent visibility you provided. From the driver’s seat it seems at first that there is a bad blind spot, making it impossible to tell if you are being overtaken. But on second look, I found that your electrically-adjustable convex door mirrors are curved precisely right, so there is absolutely no blind spot between the central rear view mirror and the door mirrors. Full marks for design. And, also on the safety front, congratulations on being considerate to others – the middle seat belt at the back is a proper lap and diagonal one, very cleverly fitted in, not the simple lap-only belt some lesser cars tolerate.
You have an exemplary attendance record, never letting us down when we needed you, and always keen to get started. The only blot was when you refused to shut one of your two sun roofs on that rainy Saturday in your first week with us, embarrassing us in front of friends. Anyway, it was a common problem in those days with young Scenics, and I think it has been fixed by Renault. You’ve certainly not suffered that problem since.

On the subject of problems though, do remember to be easy on your brake discs. I still don’t understand what happened to the first set. Do look after the new ones, they are quite pricey.

Other than that, you have been trouble-free. No mechanical problems at all, and no complaint about the quality of the insides – other than a couple of minor squeaks. An exemplary young car. But do remember not to flaunt your features too much (air conditioning, in-dash radio/CD, electric sunroofs, twin airbags, adjustable headlight level, and so on).

Is there anything you can do to improve, you ask… well, I have always wished we could turn the front seats round to face backwards, since you ask. Some MPV cars can do that, you know, so why can’t you? But apart from that, difficult to improve on your design unless you junk the whole concept, I suppose.

Will I give you a good reference? Of course, of course. But there isn’t too much point, as so many of our friends already have a Scenic of their own. You can join the second-hand market full of confidence.

So, good luck with your MOT-level. I am confident you will pass. Knowing you as I do, you probably don’t even need to revise!

Owner report 3:
The Ultimate Family Car
by Medusa - written on 29.06.00 - Rating: (5 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages Luxurious comfort and easy to drive
Disadvantages Pedals close together

If you have children and want a comfortable, "child friendly" car, I'd recommend the new Renault Scenic. With two children, both under 3 years old, it has everything they could want.. including a multi cd player. The air conditioning, compete with re-cycle is fabulous.. in-car entertainment is changeable on a stalk arm.. you can change the position of the steering wheel, to suit your height/seating position, boot space is very large and kiddies car seats fit easily into the rear. From a safety point of view, you're high up... above a normal saloon/compact vehicle and there are airbags in the front and at the side of both forward seats. There are "nice to haves" like rear drop down trays (similar to airline seats) and a rear power point.. to plug in an extra mobile phone etc. A cool box in the front of the car, working in conjunction with the air-conditioning, can keep baby's milk/kiddies drinks chilled.

All in all, a fabulous car for any family but be warned.. having moved from a small Peugeot (205) to the Scenic, my first experience of driving it was scar.. don't be put off by a test drive, you soon become used to the extra size of this vehicle.

OWNER’s Review 4: Renault Scenic 2.0RXE (A)

Comfortably riding 140hp's
by Geoff C - written on 25.07.03 - Rating: (5 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages Comfort, Fleaxability, Space
Disadvantages None
This is my first Scenic. Bought second hand. I have several friends who own various different versions. Originally I intended to get a Diesel, for the economy, but somehow ended up with the 16V 2.0 140BHP version!!
However, the economy doesn't seem to be a worry. I'm impressed to say the least!. Ok - if you have a heavy right foot you'll have to pay for it. A trip from Croydon to West Wittering for the day returned 41.5MPG going. On the return I tried the AC and was suprised to get ...41.5MPG ! - I reckon it could do better on a long run - but also it could do worse if you constantly break the national speed limit!!
I think the AC will reduce the economy on full fan in town.Talking of which, I watched the computer closely for the first few days and local trips return around 28 MPG - heavy traffic drops it down to 26, heavy right foot as well makes it worse. But evening short journeys to friends or less busy local driving and it creeps up towards 33 MPG
Enough about the economy.

I'm sure you will have read reviews for other Scenics - so I will round this off.
This one is very brisk when pushed. It handles well. (Slightly stiffer suspension I believe?) It is comfortable - like the others. I like the driving position, though I opt for the lowest seating position otherwise the handbrake and gears are a bit of a reach. Mine's also got the six CD changer - that's nice to have. No complaints yet.
As others have said in reveiws - this is a well thought out design, very flexable with lots of usefull places to put stuff.
Service intervals are quite wide appart - I suggest changing the oil far more often than they recomend - and always use a good oil (check API rating).
I would recomend this car to anyone who needs a roomy flexable car that isn't too large on the outside. This one replaces an Astra and is parked on a limited width hard standing and it fits beautifully.
by Geoff C on 26.07.2003 at 03:47

Further to my review, and for the benefit of those who have already
added their comments' I would like to point out the following observations
and comments.
The Scenic also has a more flexable rear seat arrangement than Zafira (appart from not having 7 seats - but they are bringing out a 7 seater Scenic!) Any rear seat can be folded, tipped up, or completely removed. If you remove the centre seat - then the outer two can be moved inwards. Under each seat is a cubby hole flap for stuff (in addition to the 2 cubby holes under the passengers feet). Just behind the passengers there are two holes at the edge of the parcel shelf which will nicely accept 2 litre water bottles.
Inside the passenger area there is generally more air and space than a Zafira.
I also looked at the Citroen Picasso - which some people may also like, obviously I prefered the Scenic.
This is a deceptive vehicle. It feels, at first, quite big and wide - but it isn't!
It's hardly bigger than my old Astra (mk3). It's about an inch longer if at all.
It goes through gaps well, if you look directly at the front you can see it's not
so wide. It's just bigger inside!

SPECIFICATIONS: Renault Scenic 1.6RXE 16v and 2.0RXE 16v (in bracket)

Engine: FWD. Petrol 4 cylinder in line 1598cc (1998cc), SOHC 16v Multi-point Injection (MPI) with bore/ stroke of 80.5 x 79.5mm (83 x 82.7mm) and compression ratio 10:1 (9.8:1)

Max Power: 107hp@5750rpm (140hp@5500rpm)
Max Torque: 148Nm@3800rpm (188Nm@3750rpm)

Gearbox: 4 speed auto transmission with gear ratio of:
1) 2.710, 2) 1.550, 3) 1.000, 4) 0.680 rev. gear 3.780. Final Ratio: 4.110 (2.0RXE same)

Front suspension: Independent McPherson struts and coil-springs, dampers, anti-roll bar. Rear suspension: Trailing Arms, twin transverse torsion bars, damper and coil springs.. (2.0RXE same)

Wheels/tyres: 14” alloy/185/65R14 (15” alloy/205/55R15)
Brakes: Ventilated discs/solid discs with ABS EBD and Brake assist (2.0RXE same)

Length: 4130mm, Width: 1700mm, Height: 1600mm, Wheelbase: 2580mm.
Front and rear track: 1450mm and 1470mm
Ground clearance: 145mm. Weight: 1250kg (1320kgs)
Fuel tank cap: 60L Fuel consumption: 34mpg combined – 1.6RXE, (2.0RXE 26-41mpg)

Top Speed: 185km/h, (200km/h)
0-100km/h: 12.8 secs (Renault Claimed). (10.7 secs) (2.0RXE Tested by Whatcar? UK Magazine)

PRICE: RM110,000 when new for 1.6RXE and RM129,000 when new for 2.0RXE. Excluding Optional TWIN SLIDING GLASS SUNROOF – extra RM9,000). TODAY, a 2001 1.6RXE model is yours for RM33,000. And 2001 2.0RXE is yours for around 45,000. As at Feb 22 2007.

FROM 2003 Onwards, RENAULT changed Distributor, from Quasar Carriage to "TAN CHONG". Yes, the TAN CHONG from NISSAN. They also Assembled Renault (the Kangoo). Aftersales service now back by them with 24 hrs emergency assistance. I don't know about the efficiency and parts prices but I heard (from an Espace Owner) that it's quite reasonable maintaining a Renault nowadays. GOOD LUCK SEARCHING for a used SCENIC. IF you FOUND a TWIN SUNROOFED UNIT, GRAB IT! As it's EXTREMELY RARE...

FULL REVIEW: Toyota Camry 2.2GX 1993-1997

FULL REVIEW: Toyota Camry 2.2GX 1992-1997 3rd Generation.

In this blog entry, I'm “reviewing” Third generation Toyota Camry (1992 to 1997 but on sale in Malaysia from 1994 to 1997). BUT, the review is not done by me as I only have a car to test for a short 10 minutes.

My brief experience: "Man, the car's HUGE with a length of 4725mm and a long 2620 wheelbase. How's the ride? I'd very happy to report that IT IS A MINI LEXUS. Why MINI LEXUS? The build quality, interior nicely put up with consistent gaps, Nicely contoured seats, Smooth and silent engine. There's virtually no-noise heard from the engine when you sit inside the car. At 100km/h, the cabin is silent. So silent that we can only hear the tyres roaring. The owner's using standard 15" rims with Goodyear NCT5 tyres that's why.

The rear seat back can be folded 60:40. There were digital climate control air-cond, air cond vents (see picture) all angled towards the driver. Also, there were 2 cupholders in front. There were 4 power windows, power door mirrors etc… The year 1995 models were fitted with 4 wheel ABS, while 1996 onwards comes with a Driver’s airbag. My test subject’s a 1995 unit."
That's all I can review, no proper test car to evaluate and 10 minutes ride's NOT ENOUGH. THIRD Generation Camry owners, feel free to borrow me your car for at least 2 hours to test the car.

All is not lost, I dished out extracts of a WELL WRITTEN review by "Highway Malaysia", the September 1994 issue by written either Editor Uncle Chips Yap or Mr. LEEPS Lee (Managing Editor).


"With Proton Intent on extending its range upwards - a 2.0 litre model has been confirmed, thus the traditional high-volume companies in the Non-Proton Segment have had to review their strategies for the future. It would be hard to compete with Proton which enjoys lower duties on its cars and can therefore price its products significantly lower than other companies.

Thus, a number of companies which concentrated on models only up to 2 litres are now focusing their product above that limit.

One of the first entries was Honda with its Accord 2.2EXi-S and now, UMW Toyota Motor had introduced its rival, the Camry 2.2GX. More will surely come in the future.


Another interesting fact about the new Camry is the origin of the CKD (Completely knocked-down) packs for its assembly in Shah Alam, Selangor. Rather than coming from Japan, they come from Australia where Toyota Motor Company (TMC) has a huge factory that has been assigned the task of producing Camrys for many market in Asia.

The factory is modelled after TMC's factories in Japan and is said to have some sort of high standards, TMC emphasises to dissipate any critical views that Australian made products would be of lesser quality.

For those who have never heard if the Camry before until its introduction here, be assured that this is a well-proven model line in Toyota-range. The 1st generation was introduced in Japan in 1980 and was highly regarded.

The first Camry was also a significant car for Toyota in that it had front-wheel drive - at a time when Toyota had only one other FWD car, the Tercel. It had a LARGE V6 engine and through it, the engineer gained much experience in FWD development that was used in models such as Corolla and Corona that come later.


The Dimensions of the Camry led to it being designated as Toyota’s second “world car” after the enormously successful Corolla (the best selling car in the world). Exactly what “World car” means varies according to different manufacturers but for Toyota, it probably meant a model which would be heavily promoted in all markets worldwide.

To lend credence to this designation, the Camry was chosen as the first model to be built at Toyota’s US factory in May 1988. It was certainly a wise choice as the car penetrated the North American market so well that it was among the top sellers. In the 1st quarter of 1994, it came within about 500 units of being the best-selling car in The USA – quite an achievement when you consider just how big and competitive that market is.

In Australia too, the Camry has been selling well although the home-grown Fords and Holdens tend to be more popular with the somewhat patriotic Aussies.


(Diagram below sourced from ""

The success of the Camry in these 2 markets has been attributed to the size of the car, as well as its “international styling”. This was as it was intended to be by Toyota’s designers who have given it the looks of “downsized Lexus LS400”. Some may feel that the styling is plain but it has never been Toyota’s philosophy to offer radical designs, preferring to inject a certain degree of conservatism.


Two engine options are available: a 2.2 litre in-line 4-cylinder unit and a V6, the latter available only as CBU from Australia.

In the locally assembled Camry, the Toyota 5S-FE engine is used. When first introduced by TMC, this “family” of Toyota powerplants for the 1990s was considered so advanced and innovative that the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers awarded a “medal of technology” to TMC.

The 2164cc engine, like most of today’s Toyota passenger car engines, has 16 valves and DOHC (Double overhead camshafts). While the exhaust camshafts is driven by a timing belt, the intake camshaft is rotated by a scissor gear off the exhaust camshaft. Such system allows for more compact cylinder head and also narrower valve angle. Other benefits include low-gear noise and accurate timing of the valve opening and closing throughout the rev range.

Fuel delivery is by a computer controlled “semi-sequential Electronic Fuel Injection system which injects fuel into two cylinders at a time. This is more precise method of fuel delivery as it meets specific combustion needs (other systems typically inject fuel into all cylinder simultaneously).

The 5S-FE engine is claimed to be tuned for superior low-to-mid torque levels to give driving ease in all situations. It’s maximum output is 95kw@5200rpm and a maximum torque is 189Nm@4400rpm.


The Toyota Camry 2.2GX is available with either 5-speed manual transmission or a 4 speed automatic transmission with electronic controls and a lock-up clutch. For the 4 speed auto transmission, a microcomputer controls the changes of gears with great accuracy, enhancing driving smoothness and optimizing fuel efficiency. There are also 2 driving modes – POWER and ECONOMY – which can be selected by the driver at any time.


The suspension is fully independent, the front employing universal MacPherson struts with lower arms made from very rigid forged steel. These arms connect to a subframe at two points instead of one, giving a more positive linkage. At the rear, a dual-link arrangement is used with MacPherson struts. The lower arms are long to minimize tread change for optimum tracking in corners.

Like the front suspension, the rear suspension is also mounted on a subframe, preventing road noise and vibrations from being transmitted to the body.

Large disc brakes are fitted, the front being ventilated. To ensure that the brakes are kept cool, the profile of the front bumper directs some air over the brake systems.

Broad 205/65R15 tyres on steel rims (Alloy rims optional) are installed on the Camry.

The power-assisted rack and pinion steering is said to have been engineered for precise directional inputs without excessive feedback of road shocks. Extensive testing has resulted in the weighting of the power-assistance so that the driver retains a good “feel” of what the front wheels are doing all the time.


Intended as “World Executive Saloon”, the Camry has been given a roomy interior which is immediately apparent upon entering.

There’s plenty of legroom, shoulder room and headroom, this generousity of space being provided equally for front and rear passangers.

The sense of spaciousness comes not just from the extra-large cabin but also efficient planning and the design of the dashboard and door trim panels. It is in the little details that the thoughtfulness of the interior designer shines.

The well-shrouded instrument panel has warning lights positioned on either side which illuminate conspicously to warn the driver. These lights include one which alerts the driver when something wrong with the Electronic Fuel injection system.

Power windows are provided at the front and rear, with individual controls on each door. If necessary, the driver can prevent the operation of all other windows except the one on the driver’s door. The driver’s door window also has 1-touch up/down feature. Central locking is standard and
This is integrated with a customized COBRA anti-theft system. This sophisticated system has a motion sensor which will detect un-authorised intrusion of the cabin space. An anti-scanning feature prevents detection of codes from disarming the system.

For additional safety, the fold-down rear backrests have a lock. This overcomes the problem of preventing access to the boot from inside the carwhen it is left in the hands of parking attendants. (see picture on the left).


The Air-conditioning system uses electronic sensors to control the cabin temperature. Like more expensive models, it has an auto mode which adjusts the blower speed to effect cooling of the whole cabin when necessary. The system uses a refrigerant that contains “No CFCs” for the sake of the environment.

The standard audio system is an exclusive high quality system newly introduced in the Malaysian market. It includes a compact disc management system used to operate CD-Changer. The system uses a keycard as an anti-theft device. For convenience, a motorized antenna extends automatically when needed.


When we 1st drive the Camry with an automatic gearbox during the preview in Penang and in the Klang Valley subsequently, the overall impression was one could just sit back and drive at a relaxed pace. The Camry encourages that sort of driving style with its easy, mid-range pace rather than frentic wheel-spinning departures. So it was hardly unusual to find it clocking 10.3 seconds in 0-100km/h runs, not bad for a saloon this size.

Joining the main stream of traffic, we could pick up the pace quick enough to flow in without getting frustered going about it, the kickdown dropping a gear or two smoothly. The tall gearing of the Camry is obvious as it cruises at 100km/h at a relaxed 2300rpm in top gear. Floor the accelerator and you can take it all the way to 194km/h on the open highway.

The mid-range torque feels strong enough in the lower rev range to putter around effortlessly. The aspects of being nicely geared obviously contributed to the fairly good fuel consumption of 11km/litre.

The strongest factor is the impressively quiet interior. The engine sound is a mere murmer most of the time, albeit with some rustling of air generated by the rear quarter window or window frames which we noticed in our testcar.

The handling is good for this type of saloon as the Camry goes into corner with a pretty neutral feel and holds its lines very well even at higher speeds. Body roll is keep well in check and understeer is mildly progressive. A pretty enjoyable car through winding roads, it stops well too, with little fade.

Executives should appreciate its ride comfort. The suspension soaks up harshness nicely, riding over bumps without jarring the occupants. Over bigger “obstructions” such as speedbreakers, the Camry merely rolls over them: you feel only the motion, not the discomfort of the impact.


The most lasting impression driving the Camry will be its refinement. You don’t realize it until you get back to your own car (in most cases) and find it seem noisier and “looser” with an engine that seems to have suddenly gotten rougher.

The Camry’s Chief Engineer stressed that in developing the Camry, the objectives were not limited to just 1 or 2 aspects, the goal was to produce a car which would be an excellent all-round package that would appeal to executives in any market.

They seems to have succeeded and fleet managers should take a close look at this latest offering because it will certainly be welcome by those who are entitled to company cars as well as individuals.”


We like (+ve): Space, refinement, dynamic abilities, Toyota reliability and durability, vast ground-covering abilities
We don’t like (-ve): Bland styling inside and out

SPECIFICATIONS (Source: Highway Malaysia September 1994 issue):

1) Engine:
- 4 inline, transversely mounted 2164cc DOHC 16 valve
- Compression ratio / bore x stroke: 9.5:1 / 87 x 91mm.
- Cylinder head Aluminum and Cast Iron Block
- Fuel: Electronic Fuel Injection
- Computerised ignition system, catalytic converter.

2) Power:
- Max power (DIN); 95kw@5200rpm [130ps @ 5200RPM]
- Max torque: 189Nm@4400rpm

3) DRIVETRAIN: Front wheel drive, 4 speed Automatic
1st: 2.810
2nd: 1.549
3rd: 1.000
4th: 0.706
Rev: 2.296
Final drive: 3.944

- Side impact bar, Claimed Cd: 0.32.

- Front suspension: Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, telescopic absorbers with L-shaped lower arms

- Rear suspension: Independent with dual lateral links, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.

- Steering: Rack and pinion power steering

- Wheels: 6Jx15: 205/65R15

- BRAKES: Fr: Vented discs. Rr: Discs

Overall Length: 4725mm
Overall width: 1770mm
Overall height: 1400mm
Wheelbase: 2620mm
Front/Rear track: 1550 / 1500
Kerb weight: 1325kgs
Turning circle: 10.8m

- Top speed: 194km/h
- 0-100km/h: 10.3 seconds
- RPM @ 100km/h in top gear: 2300rpm

(Diagram source:
7) Fuel Consumption:
- Fuel tank capacity: 70 litres
- Fuel consumption: 11.4kms/litre (29.2mpg)

NB: Performance tests were carried out at 5250kms on a test car supplied by UMW Toyota Motor. Actual performance may also vary depending on mileage clocked, state of engine tune, atmospheric conditions, etc. Dunlop J-Cinq tyres were fitted on the testcar.


Below: A nicely done up 3rd generation Camry.

8) PRICING: RM113,000 OTR when new in 1995.

9) What’s the used car pricing like? The 3rd generation Camry’s on sale in Malaysia from Mid-1994 to End-1997. The value as at July 2008 are as follows:

1994: RM20,000,
1995: RM22,000
1996: RM25,000
1997: RM30,000

Specifications No.1 to 7 were sourced from Highway Malaysia September 1994 issue.
“PRICINGS” were entirely my research, averaged from Motortrader, Star Metro classifieds and random visit to used car dealers.

Without further ado, let’s proceed to OWNERS’ REVIEW:

For owner’s review. Please click the following links to read the reviews:

-THE END-. Thanks for having the patience to finish reading this blog entry.