Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mazda 2 Sedan

Not long after introducing an all new lightweight Mazda 2, here's the next revoluntionary change for Mazda - a hatchback derived sedan. While cars like the Honda City look horrid in their sedan incarnations, this Mazda looks really harmonious at all angles. It's quite a feat for Mazda! I'm impressed.

Mazda has yet to release any technical info on this car, although I bet technicals should stay very similar to its hatchback sibling. The zippy 1.5 engine should be sufficient for it's ride to stay fun.

The Mazda 2 Sedan is manufactured by the Ford Mazda Automobile plant in Guangzhou and Nanjing. Although, it is meant only for the Chinese market, I'm sure in no time to come, this great looking car will be sold globally together with its hatchback sibling.

The main problem is - when it is coming to Singapore?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jaguar XF Uncovered

A potential E-class/5 Series/A6 competitor, this Jag XF serves as an upgrade from the horrendous S type that didn't form a good impression back then. This Jag looks so good that it makes the older S type look like a century old vehicle.

In order to create a new fusion of Jag style and modernistic atheletic designs, this Jag does not share any of it's older siblings family identity (Even the S-type was inspired by the E-type). This could spell a new future for Jaguar designs that we could jolly well be expecting. The present X-type which had minimal design changes faced poor sales, so this new Jag could possibly do a reversal for Jaguar. However, while it is doing so in its new fusion of design, the Jag looks oddly familiar at the C pillar from rear view. Looks really Licoln-nish or the Lexus IS from the rear. But well, this is no coincidence I would say. Don't you find Lexus and Mercs starting to look alike?

Nevertheless, this is the future shape of Jag. Looks promising, although I'm not sure what future Tata will create for it supposing the deal goes through.


Cheerios! This is the brand new 2008 Kangoo. Looks wise, it's typically Kangoo-ish(which isn't such bad thing after all). Finally there's more competition for the Fiat Doblo minivan for Eurovan die-hards in Singapore.

In my honest opinion, the new Kangoo is a little letdown for Kangoo fans who would have expected a little more from the french car maker who has always produced fresh quirky ideas. However, this "play-safe" styling might work eventually when it comes to sales(quirky lookign renault cars don't sell). Equipment levels for the Singapore panel van version is not known yet, but at least the front cabin should remain identical to the picture below.

The dashboard has an upmarket feel probably inspired by the new Laguna. The handbrake feels more expensive too in this fashion. Childish looking plastics and fabric in its predecessor are removed and door handles are now chrome-coated to give a more expensive feel like the VW Caddy. The 5 seat passenger version sold in Europe will have rear fold out trays for passengers behind, although this is unlikely to make its way to the panel van version in Singapore.

Nevertheless, the new Kangoo looks refreshing to the eye and it's definitely worth a switch for passenger car drivers considering a switch to the Eurovan gang. So what are you waiting for? Go get your sofa ready!

The (Boring) Reliable Family Car: Toyota Corolla

This is the 2009 Toyota Corolla Altis meant for countries outside Japan. Well on first impression, the car looks slightly refreshing over the present Corolla, but to me, it's just the same old boring piece of metal that has served many Singaporean families for years.

This model replaces the current Altis and is expected to make its way to our shores early next year. Based on the track record of Toyota's sales in Singapore, this car is bound to be another hit. To me, the previous Altis was a terrible looking car, and to think it appeared at almost every corner of the street.

My first impression of the Corolla Altis was in Malaysia when the JDM Corolla was still roaming the streets of Singapore. That was a bad start for my impression towards the car and from then on, I've always viewed the car as a cheaper "Malaysian" version of the Corolla. And now the end of the car's lifespan is finally here.

The new Altis isn't a bad looker. But there's really just nothing to shout about it. It's safe, unadventurous styling in attempt to create a slightly sporty image (which failed) is authentically Corolla-ish. In comparison, the existing Civic, Sylphy and the brand new Lancer EX makes the latest Altis look like a plain Jane.

The USDM & S'pore Version
The interior is a complete letdown too. Unadventurous styling and 90's design of the dashboard is totally unbecoming of modern cars. What happened to the insipiration from the Camry's dashboard? Toyota can definitely do a better job.
I'll take the Civic anytime.

Jeep Cherokee: The Japanese Story Part 2

My love affair with Japanese Jeeps hasn't ended. Here's another zany idea. Future mods will be more interesting, I promise. Enough of Jeeps.

(Mini) Jeep Cherokee: The Japanese Story

We bring you the Japanese domestic version of the Jeep Cherokee. At Japanese prices. Here's a budget way to own a Jeep lookalike.