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Monday, September 29, 2008

How to protect your automotive leather hide?

Easy Leather Care

How to protect your automotive hide

By: Don Fuller/

Ask a random sampling of automotive consumers what single thing most typifies luxury in a car and the first answer is likely to be "leather upholstery," even though leather can be had in cars with nameplates that are much more associated with low price and thrifty transportation than those we more commonly think of as luxury models. All that leather is nice in the showroom, but many car owners are at a complete loss when it comes to caring for it.

Skin Deep

Leather has undergone a huge transformation since Babe Ruth grabbed a ball glove or Buffalo Bill threw a leg over a saddle. The tanning processes of the old days were found to be quite environmentally unsound, so new leather preparation techniques had to be developed. As it turns out, what most of us think of as that "leather smell" is not really the leather itself, but was the residue of the old tanning processes; when the processes changed for environmental reasons the smell went away, so the scientists had to find a way to artificially re-introduce that familiar, friendly smell of leather.

Another point that few people know is that virtually all automotive leather is finished with a kind of opaque "paint" that leaves a more-or-less impermeable surface on top. Thus, it cannot be "restored" by rubbing some kind of "oil" into it, for the simple reason that the stuff you're trying to rub into it cannot get past the painted surface. What might work on a baseball glove or saddle will most definitely not work on the seats in your car.

Keep It Clean

The absolute best thing you can do for automotive leather upholstery is actually quite simple: Keep it clean. When the leather gets dirty, that dirt is in small particles that collect on the surface. Every time you open your car door and slide into and across the seat, your backside is grinding those tiny dirt particles into the leather finish. Think of your backside as a sanding block, the dirt as the sandpaper. Grind it enough and you'll grind the finish off, then you'll have cracks, then more dirt will have places to hide, and you're on the downhill side of a vicious cycle of destruction.

Use a vacuum to remove dust buildup; a crevice tool will help get into those tight areas around seams and so forth. For cleaning you can use any of several good leather cleaners on the market; just follow the manufacturer's directions. Or, you can use a soft cloth or sponge—make sure they're clean before you start, with lukewarm water and a moderate amount of some very mild soap. Be careful not to rub too harshly, or you'll just be grinding the wet dirt particles into the leather finish. Remember, you're trying to get the dirt off the leather, not rub it in. When you're done, make certain you get all the soap residue off the leather by wiping softly with a slightly damp and clean cloth.

Conditional Care

It's also beneficial to keep the leather protected from the elements, primarily heat. In the summer, parking in the shade as much as possible, or using one of those windshield sunscreens, will keep the sun's heat and UV rays from drying out the leather, which can cause it to become brittle and crack. A visit to your local auto parts store will also acquaint you with a variety of leather protectants and conditioners. As always, follow the manufacturers' recommendations.

The biggest point to remember about leather care is this: Taking care of it up front, by keeping it clean and protected, is by far a better, wiser and cheaper alternative than trying to save it after the damage is done.

1) © Copyright 2004 Inc. All Rights Reserved.

END of Article, thanks for reading...

Longtermer #2: Volume 3: Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

Longtermer #2: Volume 3: 2008 Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC

In this “Longtermer #2” entry (Volume 3), I’ll cover the Civic’s ride and handling.

Due to the 17” rims and low profile tyres (Michelin Pilot Preceda 215/45 R17), the car’s ride can be a little hard hence comfort’s a bit sacrificed. Eg. You can feel the “yellow speed-breaker lines” (soft thump… thump… thump… thump… thump…). In contrast, my Telstar (also with 17” rims but shod with 4 Bridgestone My-01 tyres), went past the same speed-breakers with barely audible noise.

Another negative point’s the Tyres (Michelin Pilot Preceda) noise (roaring) which can be noisy at certain roads. In fact, the noise of the tyres shut-out the engine noise (below 4000rpm).

But there’s always some positive points, the handling’s quite amazing. The Civic cornered with minimal bodyroll. The engine’s surprisingly quiet (whisper) for an IVTEC. Engine noise only crept in during hard acceleration (from 3500rpm onwards)- eg. traffic light start upshift from low gear to higher gear AND during kickdowns (eg. 4th gear to 3rd gear or 3rd to 2nd gear).

So far, I haven’t:

1) Tried the cruise control.

2) Tested the Acceleration. In fact, my highest speed’s only 110km/h as I don’t dare to drive far (only 10km radius within my house and make sure the roads are not narrow. This is because I haven’t familiarize with the width of the Civic as it’s significantly wider than the Telstar (scared scratching other car/s in narrow or tight roads often made worse with double parked cars. – eg. Damansara Uptown, PJ, Taipan USJ). Note: Most of the mileage (4240km) driven by my Dad, I only driven about 120km, over the past 2 months. One of the reason’s I already have my own car (Telstar), more comfortable driving my own car.

3) Haven’t made the TCS (Traction Control) and ABS kicks in (ie. I didn’t trash the car). This car will be very difficult to understeer or SKID with the TCS, unless you off it. Note: There’s a switch to activate or deactivate the TCS.

Without further ado, Here’s the updated LOGBOOK:

Year of manufactured: 2008
Current Value: RM113,000 (As at September 2008)
Purchase price: RM128,000 (less 55% NCB Deduction.= RM126,000).

Mileage when bought: 0008km.
Mileage now: 4240km – see picture above taken on 28 September 2008, 11pm.
Average mileage per month: 2120km.

Fuel consumption: 40L worth of petrol good for around 470km (11.75km/L) mix driving of 45% city, 55% highway. Best: 40L of fuel, 510km (12.75km/l). Note: An improvement over last month’s 8.9km/L.

Extras/Expenses: NONE at the moment.

Had an Interesting observation. The unique Handbrake design which positioned beside the Gear-shift lever (below).

That’s all folks, thanks for reading. Do come back next month for volume 4 on October 29.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

LONGTERMERS #1: Update 3: FORD Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v.

LONGTERMERS #1: Update 3: FORD Telstar GC6W 2.0i4 DOHC 16v.

This month, I Tried mixing half RON 92 and half RON 97 fuel from Mobil. The effects?
Ideal mix, No more power loss compared to100% RON92. Fuel consumption improved from 5.3km/l to 6.6km/l. Yesterday, after 2 times of mixing fuel, out of “No choice” I went back to Shell RON97 (as Shell in my area don’t have RON92). Guess what?

The Fuel consumption went up to a horrendous 5.8km/l. That’s it, I’ll stick to my “plan”, ie. Mixing fuel, from the next fill up.

Last week, the temperature increased again, I brought the Telstar to the mechanics, they just flushed the Radiator. I also asked them to check my ongoing problem which my dad’s mechanic failed to diagnose, he said “It’s alright”. But “klock… klock” sound from rear left suspension was louder on uneven roads and if there’s passenger at the back of the car. My mechanic (Kim Wen motor, Jalan Kilang, Petaling Jaya), immediately pinpointed the problem and changed the Lower arm thingy for RM120 (see photo below).

Also, I’m proud to show you in my opinion ONE OF THE “MOST ESSENTIAL” feature in a car. Prior to buying this Telstar, I was keen on the Accord 2.2i SV4 (Local assembled 1997 model). I didn’t buy that car because Its rear seat cannot “60/40” Split-fold. I’m glad I chose this car as it’s rear seatback can Split-fold. It happened as recent as yesterday, I did my shopping in TESCO, the boot’s full, the solution? I just split-fold the seatback and viola, see picture below.

Without further ado, let’s proceed to the Logbook.


Year of manufactured: 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM19,000 (As at September 2008)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM7,667

Mileage when bought: 97,000km.
Mileage now: 136,800km.

Fuel consumption: See text above.

Expenses (this month)
1) RM120. Replaced rear left lower arm suspension (not sure what is it called but attached photo above.

That’s all folks, do come back next month (End October) for further updates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FULL REVIEW: Nissan X-trail 2.5 CVTC.

FULL REVIEW: Nissan X-trail 2.5 CVTC.

In this blog entry, I’m covering Nissan X-trail, especially the 2.5CVTC model.
In Malaysia, the X-trail costs RM133,000 for 2.0i and RM145,000 for the 2.5 model. If you find a good salesman, you’ll get few kays discount or freebies such as Bodykit, tinting.

If you are buying new, AVOID this salesman (from Tan Chong, Petaling Jaya), his name’s “CALVEN CHIN”. Have bad experience with him early this year. False promise, of delivery of Grand Livina. We booked the Grand Livina back in 30 December, as he promised Chinese new year can get the car, but it delayed till End February => Beginning March => End March => Beginning April and finally 3rd week of April (Based on the factory delivery chart). We cancelled our booking on 2nd week of March and got our RM3000 deposit back.

On top of that, his social skill’s bad. He blamed my dad for going back to hometown 1 day late and also can’t take the pressure from my dad (on delivery status).

Instead, look for “ROYCE ANG” from the same showroom (Tan Chong, Petaling Jaya). A very good salesman from Penang. Friendly too… He tried to transfer the Grand Livina RM3000 booking fee to Nissan Sylphy but my dad turned down. If my dad allowed, we would have been ONE OF THE FIRST to own the Nissan Sylphy.

The outcome?
We bought a New Honda Civic 2.0IVTEC in June (as featured in this blog under “Longtermer”) for RM126,000 (after FULL NCB deductions) at interest rate of 2.35%. 4 days later, the interest late jumped to 3.5%. How lucky.

Anyway, back to topic:

The used car prices of Nissan X-trail in Malaysia are as follows.

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Rm70K m77K rm84K Rm92K 105K

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
RM74K RM82K RM90K RM97k RM113k

I NEED at least TWO Nissan X-trail owners to write a review on their car. I will append it here and give credit to you. Please include AT LEAST 2 photos of your car. Writing style => Up to you.

At the moment, I don’t have a X-trail to write and/or brag about. All is not lost, I came out with a “Super test” from GOAUTO Australia (AGAIN). Enjoy!

Start of GOAUTO review.

Model release dates: October 2001 - October 2007

IT WOULD not have come as a surprise if Nissan's product developers had insisted on turning the X-Trail into the best performing bush-basher in its class. After all, there is reputation at stake here. But to its credit, the Japanese off-road expert has thumbed its nose to tradition and built a vehicle that impresses with its emphasis on around-town economy, ease of use and safety. There are some glaring omissions hindering its cause - yet there is cleverness, too, not to mention generous interior space and a solid equipment base. This is one to take a long, hard look at.

The Car

X-TRAIL has nowhere near the same level of off-road ability as others in the Nissan stable, however, the Japanese company has ensured its recreational four-wheel drive looks every bit as tough and rugged as Patrol et al, with its large front bumper with (plastic) bashplate, flared wheel arches and big headlamps flanking the familiar V-shaped grille. Nissan, in the tradition of all other SUV manufacturers, describes it as "muscular yet refined and dynamic". Both front fenders are constructed from durable synthetic material designed to resume its original shape after minor impacts. These panels are also lighter than traditional pressed metal panels and reduce the vehicle's weight by about 5kg. The flagship Ti model tested here is differentiated from its entry level ST sibling by alloy wheels that are also larger, front fog lights, a rear roof spoiler, body colour (not black) side mouldings, a chrome (instead of body colour) grille, chrome/body colour (instead of chrome/black) door handles and chrome (not body colour) rear door finisher.

The Car - Seat Plan

X-TRAIL is fitted with dual front airbags. No other airbags are available. Four out of five occupants are provided with three-point seatbelts and a head restraint, the centre-rear passenger drawing the short straw in this regard. Storage solutions are plentiful, the most innovative of which are two lidded bins in the dash that are ducted to the vehicle's air-conditioner and capable of holding 500ml water bottles or soft-drink cans. Front door bins, lidded centre console box, a bin in front of the steering wheel and pull-out cupholders at each extremity of the dash do not go unnoticed either.

The Car - Seats

IN KEEPING with their off-road pretensions, both X-Trail models employ a seat trim that is both water-resistant and dirt-resistant. The large front seats are designed to reduce fatigue on long trips and help reduce vibrations, most notably when driving off the beaten track. There is no lumbar support for the front passengers and seat height adjustment is also absent - seat cushion angle adjustment is all that's there. Cloth trim is used on the centre console box lid, which also serves as an armrest, however the doors are an all-plastic affair.

The Car - Dash

THE expansive and quite unusual split-level X-Trail dash has the instrument panel mounted in its centre, allowing the driver to adjust the steering wheel height to a suitable position without fear of obscuring the important gauges. Rather than use digital readouts, Nissan has gone with conventional analogue gauges for the speedometer (to 230km/h), tachometer (redline 6500rpm) and fuel level and coolant temperature. Different materials are used across the dash, including cloth trim on the upper portion's outer extremities and strong metallic influences throughout. Lots of hard plastic is there, too, along with a number of useful storage compartments.

The Car - Controls

THE high-mounted, upright seating position means the driver is provided with quite a commanding view of the road and a good seating position is helped, to a degree, with seat cushion angle adjustment and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel. There is no steering reach adjustment or genuine seat height adjustment, plus no steering wheel controls. Unlike the X-Trail ST, Ti models get cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, an in-dash six-CD stacker and climate control air-conditioning. There is, however, good driver assistance with sensible placement of important switchgear such as electric windows (including driver's auto down), electric mirrors and the trio of dash-mounted 4WD-related buttons (2WD, auto and lock). Front map lights, passenger vanity mirror, remote fuel release and an instrument dimmer are also provided.

The Car - Wheels/tyres

X-TRAIL Ti is fitted with 6.5 x 16-inch alloys instead of the ST model's half-inch-narrower 6.0 x 15-inch steel wheels with alloy-look five-spoke plastic wheel covers. However, both models make do with 215-section tyres, with the ST's rubber being slightly higher profile at 215/70 R15 instead of the Ti's 215/65 R16 98H Toyo Tranpath A14 tyres. A full-size spare is provided underneath the cargo floor, with a separate compartment for jacking tools. The jack itself is underneath yet another lid on the opposite side.

The Car - Luggage

THE X-Trail luggage compartment is unique with its hard plastic surface, designed to be durable and resist water and dirt. Tie-down hooks, shopping bag hooks, 12-volt power socket, full-size spare with a deep bin inside the wheel well and a separate (small) underfloor storage box are all provided, though with no retractable blind to hide items from view. A high (720mm) loading height is provided and a flat floor available from the rear bumper right through to the front seatbacks when the 60/40 split-fold rear seatbacks are put into action. Doing this extends the floor length from 930mm to 1640mm.

The Car - Stand out features

IT MIGHT be late on the scene, but strong performance and the promise of moderate consumption from the 2.5-litre engine, attractive pricing, reasonable equipment levels and good manners on and off the beaten track all combine to make the X-Trail a strong contender in the recreational four-wheel drive segment. For the most part it mimics the popular CR-V in basic design and packaging, although it makes a notable departure with some unique features (the hardback luggage compartment and dash-mounted bottle chillers/warmers, to name two) as well as disappointing omissions such as a centre-rear lap-sash seatbelt.

The Car - Climate control

AIR-CONDITIONING is fitted standard to all X-Trail models, the ST using conventional manual controls and the top-spec Ti upping the ante with automatic climate control. The ST's trio of rotary dials are smaller than might be expected and mounted quite low on the dash fascia. The Ti employs a compact HVAC unit with LCD display panel, which includes an outside temperature gauge, plus a lower row of buttons for fan speed, auto function, direction control, windscreen demist, air-conditioning on/off and recirculation. Interior temperature is controlled by a large rotary knob placed ergonomically close to the driver on the right-hand side of the unit. A trio of vents - one more than usual - sitting on top of the centre stack aids ventilation to the rear.

The Car - Sound system

WHILE the entry level X-Trail ST has a four-speaker AM/FM radio with single in-dash CD player, with the Ti model going a step further with two more speakers and a six-disc in-dash CD. Both models have a centre roof-mounted antenna. There are no steering wheel controls on the X-Trail, though basic controls and a right-hand on/off and volume knob on the stereo head unit make sight-unseen operation a relatively simple task.

The Car - Security

SECURITY measures fitted to the X-Trail include an engine immobiliser, (one stage) keyless entry, automatic lighting of the interior dome lamp when the unlock button is pressed and a panic button on the keypad which activates the horn and hazard lights for 25 seconds. The automatic function on the driver's window applies only to opening, however, the cluster of controls on the driver's door includes a central door lock button. There is no retractable security blind over the luggage compartment.

We like (+ve) Engine performance, ride quality, equipment level
We don’t like (-ve) mediocre handling, uncarpeted cargo area, centre-rear lap belt

Our Opinion

By TERRY MARTIN 11/04/2002

NISSAN might be half a decade or so late in the ever-popular recreational four-wheel drive market, but the Japanese manufacturer - well regarded in Australia for its off-road expertise - has arrived with a formidable entrant.

Given its heritage with Patrol and others, we were not surprised to find that Nissan has ensured the X-Trail is a reasonable performer off the beaten path.

Indeed, we were expecting Nissan to be single-minded in this respect.

But go searching for low-range gearing, a live-axle rear suspension and a ladder-frame chassis - to name three "certainties" one might contemplate when it comes to Nissan off-road product development - and there will be nothing of the sort to be found.

Looks can be deceiving. Although its imposing stance, large front bumper with (plastic) bash plate and unmistakable V-shaped grille give the X-Trail the requisite rough-and-tumble look, it soon becomes evident this is a vehicle which thumbs its nose at tradition.

Following the likes of Honda and Subaru, Nissan has - with the help of its Renault bankrollers - built the X-Trail with a monocoque (car-like) chassis, suspension suited more to roadwork than rock hopping and an engine offering both sparing fuel consumption and strength.

Combine this with generous amounts of interior space, a host of clever details throughout the cabin and a solid standard specification list, and the X-Trail shoots right to the top end of its class.

Four adults fit with ease into this wagon, the rear bench seat in particular featuring generous room for the head, feet, shoulders and legs, plus large seatbacks and a recline function. Disappointing, though, is the inclusion of a centre-rear lap seatbelt - an inferior design to a lap-sash - and one-position rear head restraints.

Rear-seat storage facilities also take a back seat to some quite wonderful innovations to be found up front, which include big storage bins - the lidded hole in front of the driver has a power outlet for recharging a mobile phone - and a couple of chutes in the dash for cooling cans or stubbies.

In case you were wondering, these drink holders will also warm up a small tin of baked beans - in the true spirit of the suburban adventurer!

The driver sits up high in an armchair-like seat though support under the ribcage is lacking for when the road starts to snake and a perfect position for some people could be hindered with the lack of adjustment for full-seat height and steering wheel reach.

The instruments mounted in the centre of the dash are simple enough to view after a settling-in period - digital instruments would be better - and selection between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive presents no cerebral challenge.

Push the 2WD button and the vehicle is locked in as a front-driver to save a little bit of fuel during normal road conditions. Hit the "auto" 4WD button next to it when the surface becomes loose or wet and drive will be sent to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled coupling if the sensors detect a need for traction.

And push the "lock" button when crawling through the bush at speeds up to 30km/h and 4WD becomes permanent with a 57:43 front-rear split - above that speed, the system reverts to the auto mode.

The system is a variation of the serious four-wheel drive system underneath Pathfinder (but with a push-button not rotary dial), except that in two-drive the X-Trail drives its front wheels and there's no low range. Put another way, it's a part-time automatic four-wheel drive system like the popular Honda CR-V's, but with the ability to select two-wheel drive - saving fuel and component wear.

But not all aspects of the X-Trail are this effortless and well thought-out. The clock disappears when the trip meter is selected, the interior plastics are scratched with alarming ease and there is no luggage blind to hide items from view when the vehicle is left unattended.

What's more, the uncarpeted luggage floor - which can be removed and hosed down after a dirty weekend - tends to cause cargo to slide around, leaving scratches and raising a horrible din when in transit. Sunglasses are also recommended when unloading in direct sunlight.

In fairness, a both a cargo blind and rear protection carpet mat are listed on X-Trail's extensive genuine accessories menu, along with the likes of an alloy bar, bonnet protector, cargo net, carpet mats, sheepskin seat covers and towbar.

It would be remiss of us not to mention redeeming rear-end aspects such as shopping bag hooks, luggage tie-down hooks, another power socket and a flat cargo area created when the 60/40 split-fold is put into action.

There's the excellent dose of standard equipment to consider, too, which on the baseline ST runs to remote locking, air-conditioning, a four-speaker single-CD stereo, electric windows, twin airbags and a strong-performing quartet of disc brakes backed with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

The top-spec Ti model adds climate and cruise control, an in-dash six-CD stereo with six speakers, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, rear roof spoiler, different interior trims, different rub strips, doorhandles and grille, plus a smattering of leather on the steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake - most of which is available as an accessory on ST models.

Then there's engine performance to dwell upon, the X-Trail's 2.5-litre inline four producing 132kW at 6000rpm and a big 245Nm of torque at 4000rpm - exceptional figures in this class - and impressing with its verve and mid-range strength.

The engine gets loud and uncouth as revs rise, forcing the driver to work the light (if a little notchy) manual gearshift into a higher gear and return to a point where the torque can pull the 1440kg vehicle along with a minimum of fuss.

This is also the sort of driving where frugal fuel consumption of less than 10 litres per 100km can be realised.

Yet on the whole, the Nissan newcomer is a faithful servant around town, a capable open-road tourer and a confident traveller when the road turns from black to brown.

The all-strut suspension provides quite a well-controlled ride during directional changes and all manner of road ruts and bumps (except deep potholes) are ironed out - and associated noise suppressed - with aplomb.

But the vehicle does not handle well through switchbacks, the front wheels losing traction without much prompting and the nose pushing straight ahead rather than negotiating the bend.

And while there is more composure once the switch is made to "auto" mode, the dynamic limits still are not high.

Despite the lockable 4WD option, serious bush work is also better left to four-wheel drives with tough-terrain tyres, more ground clearance than 150mm, better protection of the vitals underneath and low-range gearing.

But Nissan has not missed the point here, and nor have we. Lightweight steering, an agreeable 10.6-metre turning circle, effortless and economical engine performance, a feeling of safety and comfort, a modicum of off-road ability and a big helping of butch looks - this is the stuff people want.

And this is what the X-Trail delivers.


LIKE many of its compact soft-roader rivals, X-Trail employs a transversely mounted inline four-cylinder engine up front, driving only the front wheels during normal conditions (or when 2WD is selected) and the rear wheels only when the front tyres lose traction (in Auto mode) or when Lock is selected (only below 30km/h).

Mechanical - Engine

POWERING the X-Trail is a 2.5-litre, DOHC 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 132kW at 6000rpm and 245Nm at 4000rpm. Codenamed QR25, the engine is a lightweight, compact (and therefore fuel-saving) design and has strong torque characteristics with continuously variable valve timing control. No official acceleration figures are available. Claimed fuel consumption figures point to 9.5L/100km on the city cycle (with manual transmission) and 6.6L/100km on the highway. Normal unleaded petrol is used in the 60-litre fuel tank.

Mechanical - Suspension

THE X-Trail suspension comprises MacPherson struts with coil springs and stabiliser bar at the front, and multiple "parallel" links with coil springs and a stabiliser bar at the rear. Minimum ground clearance is 150mm.

Mechanical – Transmission

X-TRAIL is available with a five-speed manual transmission and an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The automatic features Nissan's "E-flow" torque converter designed to increase the efficiency of the transmission and improve driving performance. X-Trail uses a version of Nissan's All Model 4WD system, which drives the front wheels in normal conditions and, when in auto mode, automatically sends torque to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled coupling when required. A "lock" model fixes front to rear torque distribution in a 57:43 ratio at speeds below 30km/h.

Mechanical - Brakes

X-TRAIL uses power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes - 280mm diameter x 28mm thickness up front and 292mm x 16mm at the rear. Providing further stopping assistance is the standard fitment of an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

Mechanical - Steering

X-TRAIL uses a power-assisted rack and pinion steering system. Three turns of the steering wheel are required from lock to lock. The turning circle is 10.6 metres.


DUAL front airbags are fitted standard across the X-Trail range, along with ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake-assist. The front seatbelts have pretensioners and force limiters and the sash portion adjusts for height, while all outboard occupants are provided with a three-point seatbelt and head restraint; the centre-rear passenger misses out on both important safety considerations. Luggage tie-down points are provided in the cargo area.

End of GOAUTO Review.


Model: QR25DE (QR20DE)
* 2.488-litre front-mounted transverse DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder
* Power: 132kW @ 6000rpm (110kw)
* Torque: 245Nm @ 4000rpm (200Nm@4000rpm)
* Compression ratio: 9.5:1 (9.9:1)
* Bore x stroke: 89mm x 100mm (89mm x 80.3mm)


• Four-speed automatic (Four-speed automatic)


* Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
* Rear: independent by multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar


* Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
* Turning circle: 10.6 metres
* Turns lock to lock: 3.0

Power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes - 280mm diameter x 28mm thickness up front and 292mm x 16mm at the rear. Providing further stopping assistance is the standard fitment of an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.


Top speed: 200km/h (185km/h)
0-100km/h: 9.8 seconds (11.5 secs)


* Length: 4510mm
* Width: 1765mm
* Height: 1675mm
* Wheelbase: 2625mm
* Front track: 1530mm
* Rear track: 1530mm
* Kerb weight: 1440kg

Fuel tank: 60L


White, Met. Orange (Limited NISMO Edition), Met. Grey, Silver, Met. Light Gold, Red, Metallic Black.


* Climate control air-conditioning
* Cruise control (?)
* Remote central locking
* Electric windows
* Electric mirrors
* Six-speaker in-dash six-CD audio (?)
* Drink cooler box
* Durable washout luggage area
* Driver's seat cushion angle adjustment
* Tilt-adjustable steering column
* 60/40 split-fold rear seat
* 16-inch alloy wheels
* Roof rails
* Dual front airbags
* Front seatbelt pretensioners
* ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution
* Variable intermittent wipers
* Fog lights
* Leather steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake

END OF REVIEW. Thanks for reading.

1) Goauto Australia. (for Main article by Terry Martin dated 11/4/2002).
2) (for X-trail 2.0 specifications)

Friday, September 19, 2008

FULL REVIEW: Peugeot 206CC

In this blog entry, I'm covering Peugeot 206CC (Coupe-cabriolet) 1.6(A). It's on sale in Malaysia from 2003 to 2007. The depreciation for this car are high. This is bad news for the 1st owner but good news to you. The car was priced at RM143,000 when new. Today, a 2003 model can be yours for RM66,000 and a 2004 model for RM72,000, 2005: RM79,000. Note that the 206cc Depreciates 1/2 of its value in 4 years.

What to watch out for?
See "Owner's review". Some serious issues are Catalytic converter failure, Roof leak (caused by rubber seal), Power steering pump etc...

As usual, I do not have a car to test. All is not lost, I dished out a "Super test" from GOAUTO Australia AND a series of Owner's review from UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, Korea and Egypt. There are 3 positive and 3 negative owner's review. ENJOY:

Start of GOAUTO Australia's Review:

Supertest: Peugeot 206CC Convertible:


FINDING splendour from a cabriolet - one derived from the sumptuous 206 hatch, no less - would not have been difficult for Peugeot. But in manual transmission form, the 206CC (coupe-cabriolet) features a rare union of both sex appeal and spunk from its association with the 206 GTi. Meaty engine performance, solid dynamics and an awful driving position all carry over from the hot little hatch. Yet for better, and also for worse, the CC has its own unique tale to tell.

The Car

REMAINING faithful to the original concept car unveiled at the 1998 Geneva motor show, the 206CC steel-roofed cabriolet is without doubt a member of the sublime 206 stable but also strikes an imposing stance in own right with its sleek 2+2 sportscar styling from the midriff right through to the tail. Highlights include the high, squared-off back-end, ribbed rear bulkhead, aluminium fuel filler cap, chrome tailpipe and, exclusive to the 2.0-litre model shown here, 16-inch alloy wheels and a sports bumper with enlarged air intake.

The Car - Seat Plan

AS the 2+2 tag suggests, the 206CC has two seats up front and two in the rear. The front seats are dedicated buckets with height adjustable headrests and seatbelts featuring pretensioners, load limiter and webbing clamps. The upright rear seats are sculpted out of the bulkhead and have fixed-position head restraints and three-point belts. Four airbags are provided for the front occupants, positioned in the dash, steering wheel and each front seat. The seat-mounted airbags are designed to protect the chest and head in the event of a side impact. Storage solutions include a cavernous glovebox, two small bins in each front door and a couple of small open boxes in the centre console.

The Car - Seats

BOTH 206CC models feature heavily bolstered bucket seats for the front occupants, wrapped in cloth and featuring height-adjustable head restraints, full-seat height adjustment for the driver's pew and a useful tilt/slide mechanism with memory on both sides of the car. The front seats are filled with a unique type of foam that lowers the seating position by 25mm compared to the 206 hatch. Cloth also appears on the glovebox panel and door trims. Leather trim - as seen on our test car - is available as an option. The rear has two concave seats and non-adjustable head restraints fitted against the rigid bulkhead.

The Car - Dash

THE sporting theme continues across the 206CC dashboard, which uses charcoal grey as the primary colour, offset by metallic highlights on the instrument faces. Set in a single-hooded binnacle, these instruments carry a contemporary design and include an engine oil temperature and level indicator, as well as the usual gauges. A low-fuel warning light sits alongside the fuel gauge while a small LCD strip displays a service indicator, odometer and (single) trip meter. In the centre of the dash, a larger display shows date, time and outside temperature. Audio and climate settings are left to their respective centre console controls.

Did you know?
Unlike most small cars, the 2.0-litre 206CC's speedometer does not grossly overestimate the top speed. Actual top speed in this model is 204km/h, just 16 clicks short of the final 220km/h mark on the arc

The Car - Controls

AH, YES. We must begin with an explanation on how to fold the tin lid. It's simple. A single console-mounted switch controls the opening and the closing, which takes about 20 seconds once the two front catches are manually unlocked. What else? The steering column and driver's seat are height adjustable and a driver's footrest is provided. Two switches suffice for the side glass (two main and two rear quarter panel windows), the wing mirrors are heated and power operated, and the headlight beam height can be adjusted via a switch on the dash. Indicators and lights are on the left-hand stalk of the steering column, with auto-sensing front wipers on the right. Entry to the boot and fuel tank is via hand and key.

Did you know?

No, 20 seconds is not a long time to wait for the lid to close. But there is a further wait to endure - another eight seconds for the movement of the four side windows

The Car - Wheels/tyres

BOTH 206CC models have alloy wheels fitted standard, with the 2.0-litre version shown here using 6.5J x 16 rims with 205/45 ZR16 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. The 1.6-litre model runs on a 15-inch wheel and tyre combination. There is no spare wheel in either model. Instead, two anti-puncture aerosol cans are provided in a small polystyrene box that sits on the cargo floor, secured by Velcro straps. A small toolkit is also provided, next to the aerosols.

The Car - Luggage

WITH the steel roof in place, the 206CC offers 410 litres of luggage space. When the roof is retracted and folded into the boot, size is reduced to 175 litres - enough, according to Peugeot, for an average sized suitcase. Depth of the cargo floor is 715mm from tailgate to bulkhead, with usable width 1030mm. Maximum height depends on whether the roof is in place or not - without it, 555mm can be found; with the roof down, a retractable blind must be in place (and not intruded upon) and allows 215mm of height. Four luggage tie-down hooks are provided. There are no storage boxes.

Did you know?
Two mechanically assembled steel flaps form the bootlid. When locked, they form a traditional bootlid that opens vertically from back to front to give access to the boot space

The Car - Stand out features

WHERE its small convertible rivals continue with the traditional cloth top, the 206CC introduces a folding steel roof, which in an instant makes it an appealing proposition. The GTi association with the manual transmission version - it shares elements such as wheelbase and track, drivetrain and forward floorpan - also puts it in good stead. Indeed, where others rely solely on chic value, the CC throws strong performance (with the 2.0-litre version, at least) and solid road manners into the mix.

Did you know?
The folding steel roof can be operated at speeds of up to 10km/h, negating the need to come to a complete stop to open or close the roof

The Car - Climate control

SINGLE-ZONE automatic climate control air-conditioning and a pollen filter are fitted to both 206CC models. Adjustment of the temperature system is an all-button affair, with the air-con on/off and recirculation buttons close at hand for the driver. All controls are clustered together, including the oft-separated rear demist button. Two large vents are provided on top of the centre console, plus one at each end of the dashboard. For obvious reasons, there is no rear windscreen wiper - though the fact that it is glass does enable rear demister wiring to be included.

The Car - Sound system

A FACTORY-FITTED six-speaker Clarion stereo with AM/FM radio and single-slot CD is standard to all 206CC models. The small cabin means access to the controls are unproblematic, but further assistance is provided with a wand attached to the steering column. The speakers are in the doors, rear quarter trim and front pillars. The aerial is mounted above the windscreen to avoid complications when the steel roof is folded.

Did you know?

The 206CC's subframe was reinforced in several areas to provide a level of rigidity claimed to be equivalent to that of the hatch

The Car - Security

ONE obvious advantage the 206CC has over its ragtop rivals is the greater deterrent its steel roof provides against theft. Other measures include the provision of remote central locking, deadlocks, rolling code engine immobiliser, visible VIN number, an independent boot lock and locks on the glovebox and fuel filler cap. Audible warnings are provided at the start and finish of the roof retraction process and when a door or the bootlid is left ajar.

We like (+ve): Head-turning appearance, strong and smooth engine, value for money

We don't(-ve): Cabin creaks and groans, crook driving position, poor rear seat accommodation

Our Opinion (GOAuto's opinion)

By TERRY MARTIN 31/01/2002

PEUGEOT need not have endowed its auto-erotic 206CC lop-top with performance and handling properties akin to its surefooted GTi compact to ensure it gets noticed.

In most cases, manufacturers of "affordable" convertibles are content to let appearance do the talking.

But combining sex appeal with spunk from the warmed-up hatch's 2.0-litre engine, basic suspension hardware and aggressive front-end treatment is a union certain to appeal to both the beautiful and the bold.

For the former, the heritage and big heart will not be as relevant as the hip looks brought with the sumptuous 206 face blended with a 2+2 cabriolet shape and a foldable tin lid.

What's more, garish leather can be splattered across the cockpit (for an additional fee) and the list of standard features runs to climate control air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD stereo, four airbags, remote locking, heated wing mirrors and a wonderful set of stoppers backed with anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution.

Toasted seats and perhaps cruise control are about all that's missing for those intent on keeping a high profile.

For people who like to drive, more pressing matters relate to just how well the 206 has coped with the conversion from three-door hatch to steel-roofed cabriolet.

Most obvious is the fact that the transformation has added 120kg to the overall weight and, despite considerable amounts of reinforcement (and spin from the Peugeot marketing machine), lopping the roof off has weakened the structure.

Claimed acceleration figures indicate the CC needs close to another second more than the GTi hatch to reach 100km/h (9.3 seconds) from standstill, but out on the road the smooth, strong and clean-revving characteristics of the 100kW, 2.0-litre engine remain at the fore.

Great strength in the nether regions and through the mid-range ensures the engine overcomes the weight burden, and the cabriolet simply refuses to drag its heels when gears are either intermediate or high.

But it never feels quick and exploring the upper reaches of the rev range does not bring rewards - a response - like we might have expected. The engine's taste for PULP increases at times like this as well.

It soon becomes clear that certain disagreeable aspects of the hatch have not improved with the cabriolet.

The five-speed manual gearshift is notchy and has a long throw between cogs, while the ever-present danger of clipping the brake pedal when heading for the clutch is a distraction most drivers could do without.

Indeed, pedal placement is an issue continuing to dog all those bearing the 206 name. Bunched up in a shallow footwell, the small clutch, brake and throttle pedals are awful to use.

More than that, a comfortable position behind the wheel continues to elude most drivers. Despite a simple-to-use height adjustment lever and a new seat construction that lowers the CC driver 25mm compared with the 206 hatch, the driving position is still upright - and downright awkward - for people of various shapes and sizes. Reach adjustment for the steering column would make a world of difference.

In the hatchback, the impact these drawbacks have on the driver can be dulled to an extent when the endearing chassis dynamics are taken in account.

But with the cabriolet, things are not so clear-cut.

There is still a lot to offer keen drivers, with loads of roadholding, grip and confidence to be gleaned from the low-profile 16-inch rubber and the proficient GTi-based (though more compliant) suspension. The steering also impresses as an accurate and well-weighted instrument unconcerned by mid-corner road irregularities.

Yet for all the reinforcements made to the cabriolet's structure, our test car came with a collection of creaks and groans. A rattle in the passenger's door was a constant feature with the roof on or off and creaks in the seals where the glass (front and on both sides) meets the roof were always apparent across roughcast roads.

The sun visors also gave a horrible chatter over bumps - and the Goodyears made a din on all but glass-smooth bitumen.

From the coupe position, less than a minute is required for the roof to be opened, a task requiring a retractable blind in the boot to be put in place, two latches in the cabin unfastened and a single switch pressed into action. Yep, it can even be performed on the run - just so long as the speed does not exceed 10km/h.

Luggage space with the roof on is generous but the restrictions imposed when the lid goes down leaves just enough space for a small suitcase or a couple of small bags. The dimensions are as follows: 715mm floor depth x 215mm height x 1030mm width, the latter taking up some additional room with the tool bag and puncture repair kit resting on the luggage floor. (There's no spare wheel.)

We should add that there is a fair bit of room behind the front seats for stuffing bags, coats and other items. But bodies? Afraid not. Despite the inclusion of two rear seats sculpted out of the bulkhead and a couple of lap-sash seatbelts, there is not enough room for adults and children alike. We even attempted to install a child restraint, after noting the anchorage point behind each (fixed) head restraint.

It was a mistake.

A mistake to trump up the benefits of seating four when rear seat passengers will be forced to sit bolt upright with head stooped (when the roof is on) and legs splayed. And that's when the occupier of the seat in front is suffering as well.

Still, positive aspects can be found amid the tight squeeze. Centre console controls, all of which are simple to operate, are never far from hand; the steering wheel is thick-rimmed, wrapped in leather and a delight to hold; the stereo has satellite controls on the steering column; the front seats offer excellent support; the metallic-backed instruments are attractive and simple to view at a glance; stereo sound comes in loud and clear; and there is a lock on the glovebox to secure small items when the car is left topless and unattended.

Take a step back, look at the car from a respectful distance and the positive vibes come gushing back. Like the hatch from which it sprang, the 206CC deserves the attention it gets - from onlookers, and from us.

It's no GTi, but it still represents good value.

Mechanical - Plan views

IN true French car fashion, the 206CC employs a transverse engine driving the front wheels only. In the case of the automatic version, it's a 1.6-litre four-cylinder. The 2.0-litre 206CC is manual-only.

Mechanical - Engine

TWO engines are offered with the 206CC - a 2.0-litre engine mated to the five-speed manual transmission and, for those preferring a self-shifter, a 1.6-litre engine. Both are DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engines, with the 1.6 producing 80kW at 5800rpm and 147Nm at 4000rpm and the 2.0 increasing maximum power to 100kW at 6000rpm and torque to 194Nm at the same point in the rev range. The 1.6 is a revised version of the TU5JP eight-valve engine originally used in the 206 XT, while the EW10J4 2.0-litre is the same as the one used in the 406 range. Claimed acceleration from rest to 100km/h is 9.3 seconds in the 2.0 manual, or 3.2 seconds slower in the 1.6 auto. Fuel consumption is in favour of the smaller engine, although the official city cycle figures indicate it could return 7.8L/100km compared to the larger engine's 8.0L/100km. Both take PULP.

Mechanical - Suspension

THE 206CC shares the hatch's basic elements, including suspension. The design therefore is a familiar one, with triangulated pseudo MacPherson struts with lower wishbones up front and transverse torsion bars with trailing arms at the rear. The rear torsion bars have been specially designed, with flexibility at the wheel of 56mm/100kg (in the GTi it is 50mm/100kg). A 20mm diameter independently linked anti-rollbar is used at the front end and a 19mm bar at the rear. The front shock absorbers are valved to suit either the 1.6 or 2.0-litre engine option.

Did you know?

The 206CC has the same diameter stabiliser bar up front as the 206 GTi, however the 19mm rear bar is 2mm smaller in diameter than the hot hatch

Mechanical - Electronic system

LIKE other 206s, the CC convertible uses multiplexing technology that provides for all electronic functions in the car to be managed by a central computer. This reduces the amount of wiring needed, without reducing functionality. It also enables additional electronic features to be added at a later date, without the need for complicated rewiring. The theory is that fewer individual connections lead to increased reliability, while the removal of wiring brings a reduction in the car's overall weight.
Did you know?
The 206CC is based on the Two-0-Heart concept first shown at the 1998 Geneva motor show

Mechanical - Transmission

WITH automatic transmissions not as popular in Europe as Australia, it comes as little surprise that the 2.0-litre engine is mated exclusively with a five-speed manual and that a four-speed automatic is only available with a smaller-capacity (1.6-litre) engine. The manual gearbox is identical to the one used in the 206 GTi model and has a final drive ratio of 3.79:1. The automatic is an electronically controlled adaptive shift unit with a final drive of 3.47:1.

Mechanical - Brakes

BRAKE specification is identical on both 206CC models, comprising 266mm diameter ventilated discs up front and 247mm diameter solid discs at the rear. A TEVES Mk20 four-channel, four-sensor, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force
distribution is fitted standard.

Mechanical - Steering

THE 206CC uses rack and pinion steering with power assistance variable according to engine speed. The steering has built-in hydraulic assistance with a reduction ratio of 1/18. The steering-assistance pump, with aluminium SAGINAW vane, provides a constant output. A pressure-sensor implanted in the steering-assistance circuit allows regulated slowing-down of the engine during a manoeuvre such as parking. The movement of the rack is slightly reduced compared with that in other 206 models, and this gives a turning circle of 10.85m between walls and 10.5m between pavements. The thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel requires 3.3 turns lock to lock.


THE 206CC driver and front passenger are well catered for with standard provision of frontal and seat-mounted head/chest airbags. Further side-impact protection is made through the use of absorbent door padding. The absence of a centre pillar means the top portion of the seatbelt cannot be adjusted for height, but the front seatbelts do include weblocks, pretensioners and force limiters. The two rear seats also use three-point seatbelts, however the head restraints cannot be adjusted for height. Four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are included in the package.


ENGINE: 2.0L (M) AND (1.6L (A) in bracket)

* 1.997-litre front-mounted transverse DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder (manual)
(* 1587cc Front wheel drive, DOHC 16-valve, inline four cylinder (auto))

* Power: 100kW @ 6000rpm (80kw@5800rpm)
* Torque: 194Nm @ 4000rpm (147Nm@4000rpm)
* Compression ratio: 10.8:1 (11:1)
* Bore x stroke: 85mm x 88mm (78.5x82mm)


* 5 speed Manual (* Four-speed automatic)


* Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-rollbar
* Rear: transverse torsion bar, coil spring, anti-rollbar


* Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
* Turning circle: 10.5 metres
* Turns lock to lock: 3.3


BRAKE specification is identical on both 206CC models, comprising 266mm diameter ventilated discs up front and 247mm diameter solid discs at the rear. A TEVES Mk20 four-channel, four-sensor, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force
distribution is fitted standard.


* Length: 3835mm
* Width: 1673mm
* Height: 1373mm
* Wheelbase: 2442mm
* Front track: 1437mm
* Rear track: 1425mm
* Kerb weight: 1152kg
* Fuel tank capacity: 50L


Maximum speed: 197km/h (180km/h.)
0-100km/h 9.3secs (-NA-) (Anyone can contribute?)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: -NA- (Anyone can contribute?)


* Dual front and side airbags
* ABS with electronic brake force distribution
* Rolling code transponder immobiliser
* Power steering
* Remote locking
* Electric mirrors, windows
* Six-speaker CD stereo
* Climate control air-conditioning
* Leather-bound steering wheel
* Driver's seat height adjustment
* Electrically retractable steel roof
* Alloy wheels
* Front and rear foglights

Owner’s review (Source:
DELETED: DUE TO COPYRIGHT ISSUES by the above website.
END OF Owner's review.

That's all folks, thanks for having the patience to read this.

3) Auto International (Malaysian) car magazine (2003 buyer's guide) for some specifications.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

RM20k Budget. What car can you buy?

In this blog entry, I'm looking into the perspective of a Fresh graduate or College students (by popular demand). What car can you buy these days with RM20,000. Obviously, there won't be any new car to consider at this budget. All is not lost, I compiled a list of used car (25+ cars) which belongs to this category. You'll be surprised, what RM20,000 can get you. Yes, the options are very wide...

Here goes: (Sorted according to Year - Newest to Oldest)

It's divided into 4 levels. Highest to lowest: "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED", "RECOMMENDED", Neutral = "blank", "NOT RECOMMENDED".

2006: Perodua Kancil 660

1) Perodua Kancil 850 (Manual)
(Why? E-mail me, I will tell you why! 1 of the criticism is that car have Almost ZERO Safety features (eg. bumper will drop in a minor collide, No side impact bars - NOT EVEN "SIDE BUMPERS" (old iswara has it)), AND many more).

1) Hyundai Atos 1.0 (Auto/Manual)
2) Perodua Kancil 850 (Auto) (RECOMMENDED)

1) Proton Satria 1.3i
2) Proton Wira 1.5 Sedan (Recommended)

4) Proton Wira 1.3

1) Perodua Kembara
2) Wira 1.5 Aeroback (Recommended)

1) Citroen Xsara 1.6i RM19k (RECOMMENDED)
2) Kia Sephia 1.5 (RM15k)
3) Fiat Marea Sedan (A)
4) Fiat Punto 1.3ELX Speedgear RM19,800 (RECOMMENDED)

1) Peugeot 306 1.8i (RECOMMENDED)
2) Kia Sportage
3) Proton Wira A/b 1.6 Millenium Edition and 1.6 Sedan (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
4) Citroen Xantia (RM17,000)

1)Alfa 146 1.6/2.0
2) Nissan AD-Resort 1.6

Ford Telstar 2.0i4 (v6 body) (RECOMMENDED)
Renault Scenic 1.6 (RM19k)

1) Mazda Lantis 1.6/1.8i 1995 (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
2) Ford Lynx 1.8/1.6 (RECOMMENDED)
3) Volvo 850SE RM18k / GLE 20v RM20k
4) Honda City 1.5

1) Proton Perdana 2.0SEI (RECOMMENDED)
2) Proton Wira 1.8 DOHC Sedan (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
4) Mazda 626 V6 (RECOMMENDED)
5) Nissan Sentra 1.6 RM20k (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
6) Nissan Altima 2.0i
7) Volvo 940 Turbo

1995 or older
1) Toyota Corolla SEG 1.6 (1992) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
2) Ford Telstar V6 (95) (RECOMMENDED)
3) Honda Civic EG (93) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
4) Mercedes Benz W124 230E/260E/300E. 1988/89/89 (RM20k)
5) Honda Accord SM4 (1993) (RECOMMENDED)
6) TOyota Camry 2.2i ABS (1995) RM20k (RECOMMENDED)
7) BMW E34 525i / 520i 24v 1991-92 RM20k (RECOMMENDED)
8) BMW E30 318i 1990 RM19,000. (RECOMMENDED)
9) Honda Legend 3.2L 1994 EM20k
10)Mitsubishi Pajero 1993 V32 RM20k
11)Suzuki Vitara 1.6JLX 3 door(1996), 5 door(1995) (RECOMMENDED)
11)Mercedes 190E (1991/92) (RECOMMENDED)

That's ALL Folks. Happy hunting for the IDEAL Car. Do advise me if I left out any other car RM20,000 budget.