Monday, September 22, 2008

Jaguar XF

Timeless elegance

Jaguar XF is the sedan that has great looks and gives a sporty performance

by Y.S. Khong

Auto Sdn Bhd, the local importer of the Jaguar brand, have added the Jaguar XF to the range of cars available locally and after a two-day stint with it, I am convinced that this is a model that will become very much sought-after, on account of its great looks and sporty performance.

The XF is a beautiful piece of refined machinery. Sleek and sporty-looking, it is a four-door sedan, but looks like a coupe, and drives like a sports car.

From the front, it looks just awesome – masculine in character and looking elegant at the same time. A large mesh grille, bordered on both sides by handsome combination lights; an integral bumper with a large under-bumper intake also finished with mesh netting and double side pods on each side; together with power bulges in the front hood give a loud hint of performance.

The side profile with smooth curving lines that extend from the front bonnet, over the roofline and tapers downwards towards the rear make it look more like a sports coupe than the sedan it is.

The XF has an overall shape that is timeless, and my hunch is that long after it has gone out of production, enthusiasts and collectors will want to have one in the garage.

The interior, finished in fine, hand-sewn leather, is on par with the best hand-crafted machines in the world. The driver and front passenger get body-hugging bucket seats, while the rear passengers get moulded seats that will hold them firmly at all times.

Seating is really meant for four, although you could squeeze in a fifth, if push comes to shove. Tasteful wood inlays give the XF sophistication and class. And an 8-speaker high quality sound system is standard.

A keyless entry system allows convenience. Interestingly, there is no gear lever, at least not the kind that we are usually accustomed to.

As you start the car using the push button, a short cylindrical gizmo rises up from the spot between the front seats where the gear lever is usually located, and you turn it to engage drive, neutral or reverse gear.

After that you can drive it like an automatic, or shift up and down through the six-speed automatic gearbox using F1-type paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.

The posh interior of the Jaguar XF offers keyless entry system,
8-speaker high quality sound system and a 7-inch touch screen that
controls all the major functions.

In the centre dash, a 7-inch touch screen controls most major functions. The handbrake is also electronically controlled.

Driving the Jaguar XF is a real pleasure, especially if you are a car lover. The V6, three–litre engine delivers 238PS at 6,800 RPM, and develops a maximum torque of 293 Nm, good enough to get you from zero to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds – not the fastest car on the road, but respectable enough.

Top speed is claimed at 237 km/h. We didn’t have enough road to get it all the way to the maximum, but it was fun all the way. If you have the money, there is a V8, 4.2 litre petrol engine as an option.

Naturally, the XF just cried out to be taken up the hills to Genting Highlands, and we did exactly that, taking a quick ‘flight’ up, ending up in Starbucks for a coffee before returning to Kuala Lumpur.

All I can say is, it was a great drive. The handling was inch-perfect, due to the many built-in features like traction control, superb chassis and suspension engineering. In the safety department, the Jaguar XF is as good as any of the premium continentals.

I can’t afford the RM550k it takes to get one into my front porch, but I am sure that there are many out there who can.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Friday September 5, 2008

Sony recalls some Vaio portables

KUALA LUMPUR : If you are using a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ notebook computer, you will need to check if the model is among the 438,000 portables being recalled worldwide by the Japanese manufacturer.

The voluntary recall of the products is due to a potential hazard that could cause the notebooks to overheat and possibly catch fire.

Sony Malaysia said customers here should go to the company website — — to check the list of affected Vaios and to find out what they should do if their notebook model is listed.

Affected customers will benefit from free service inspection and repairs at the Sony Service Centre here, the company said.

Reuters has reported that this is one of the biggest computer recalls in the world since 2006 when Dell recalled 4.1 million notebook computer batteries because they could overheat and catch fire.

It also reported that Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including one of a consumer who suffered a minor burn.

The flaw is found in Sony’s VGN-TZ100, VGN-TZ200, VGN-TZ300 and VGN-TZ2000 series computers.

According to the Reuters report, the problem is related to “irregularly positioned wires near the computer’s hinge and/or dislodged screw inside the hinge” that can cause a short circuit and overheat.

Sony has initiated a voluntary programme to perform a free inspection and, if necessary, a repair to ensure these units meet its high-quality standards.

The Reuters report said Sony has been dogged in recent years by recalls of laptop computer batteries amid concerns they would overheat and catch fire.

In 2006, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba and some other PC makers recalled more than eight million Sony batteries, the report said.

Sony, said Reuters, declined to comment on the potential cost it will incur to repair the computers.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


Two-in-one vehicle

Mitsubishi Triton Lite’s good looks ARE converting many car owners into truck drivers

by Y S Khong

THE idea of owning a truck is catching on, and the advent of the Mitsubishi Triton series is helping to convert many car owners into truck owners due to its handsome looks.

The thought of driving around in a truck seemed unappealing, but the Triton’s many car-like features, coupled with its not-so-industrial shape, helped to tip the scales.

However, even though the light truck in itself is a bargain to purchase on account of it being free of import duty, the price of between RM80K to RM90+K per unit is still a daunting proposition.

Built on the same platform as the Triton, the Triton Lite is a lower-cost version that sits lower, and comes without the 4WD option but a five-speed manual transmission.

Sold at a little below RM60K, it offers a viable alternative for someone who would otherwise have to settle for a national car or a Korean sub-compact.

Now, for someone living in the countryside, and perhaps has to traverse the not-so-good roads or need to carry some produce to market every once in a while, the Triton Lite can serve as both a family vehicle and a workhorse.

The interior fittings, although a grade or so lower than that of the Triton 4x4, is still decent enough, while the dual cabin seats five adults quite comfortably.

Interior space is generous, and headroom is as good as in a Triton 4x4. At the rear end, a low loading height makes for easy loading and unloading.

Built much tougher than a sedan, and with high ground clearance, the kampung folk can enjoy its benefits for a much longer time, because the Triton Lite is able to withstand much tougher treatment than an ordinary car can.

In the urban areas, small- and medium-size business people can use the Triton Lite as a utility vehicle, as the rear deck is big and can carry up to a ton in payload.

There are also people who buy trucks and never ever venture off the tarmac for the entire duration of ownership.

For these people, the Triton Lite would be ideal. The Triton Lite is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre diesel engine; in fact, a little bird told me that this is the very well-proven and durable engine from the Mitsubishi Pajero, which many of us are familiar with.

Maximum power is 75PS at 4,200rpm, and maximum torque is 149Nm at 2,500rpm. This is not as high as the 136 horses that one can get from the Triton 2.5-litre turbo-charged engine but the saving grace is lower maintenance cost and excellent fuel economy.

The front suspension is made up of a double-wishbone arrangement and coil springs, while the rear is a leaf spring. Brakes are large ventilated discs in the front, while the rear is fitted with drums. Steering is rack and pinion, a set-up that provides excellent driving feel.

On the road, the Triton Lite drives quite decently. It is not as fast as a regular turbo-charged light truck, but it will get you there.

Acceleration is not as brisk, but once you get up to speed, it feels decent enough, and although it will not hit as high a speed as its turbo-charged sibling, it will travel at the highway regulation speed of 110kph and beyond if you wish it to.

Handling is decent and the suspension, although a little stiffer than the turbo-charged Triton, is decent enough for family usage, while being robust enough for heavy duty usage.

In the final analysis, the Triton Lite serves a purpose; it is available for those who require a truck but don’t really need the turbo-charged power.

It also offers a viable package for the buyer who is looking for a dual-purpose vehicle that is no nonsense and functional.