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4x4 SUV Supplement

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MPV, SUV & 4X4 BUYERS GUIDEHIRTY years ago, Malaysians had to resort to converted commercial vans to move the brood, the in-laws and the visiting aunt. It was a most uncomfortable ride for these goods carriers were never designed to carry people in comfort. It was the same for those who needed to tread the unpaved roads. The 4x4 vehicles then functioned only as offroad machines,

AUGUST 29, 2010 E-mail: [email protected] Tel: 03-2056 9298 Sms: 012-300 6655


The ride gets betterwith archaic suspension that were also found on trucks of that time. Today it is a different story for automotive technology has so evolved that the motorist is spoilt for choice, with a variety of MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicles), SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) and the in-between Crossovers to be had. The MPV offers space for seven or more, while retaining the handling and comforts of a car; the Sport Utility Vehicles provides offroad prowess without compromising on its car-like comforts; and the Crossovers are neither here nor there but offer what the in-between wants. While you have a front-wheel drive SUV and there is also the five-seater MPV, the ultimate is the seven-seater SUV. This week we feature some of the latest offerings in the market, and also feature owners who share their experience in order to guide the new buyers.


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Better late than neverBy Chai Jiali


ULTI-PURPOSE Vehicles are built as solidly and as safely as modern premium manufacturers can do it and so it was not a relevation to learn that this was not the cause of deaths involving these vehicles in road accidents in 2008. It was not because the MPVs had overturned or that they couldnt take a corner at reasonable speed or for other mechanical malfunctions or defects, According to 2008 figures obtained from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), most of the 96 fatal casualties in MPV accidents were from head-on collisions that were the result of driver errors. And it was not necessarily the fault of the MPV driver in all these collisions. Granted the MPV or the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) are built bigger than an average car but the owner who has paid more than RM100,000 for his vehicle is likely to be a careful driver who will pay careful attention when he is on the road

An ISOFIX system gets the babyseat anchored firmly to the car. But that doesnt mean SUV and MPV drivers are the angels that they are portrayed to be or their passengers, who also make up the casualty figures in accidents, are blameless. There are many SUVs and MPVs that are tinted to the extent that it obscures the drivers visibility. Besides heavy tinting is illegal. All drivers, including the boys behind the driving wheels of the big SUVs and MPVs, must be rested and refreshed when they start on their journey, especially during the coming Balik Kampung drive for Hari Raya. Throw macho and ego out of the window as you start your Balik Kampung journey. If you are tired, pull up at any of the numerous rest stops along the highway or find a safe spot to park along the federal roads. It can never be tiring to repeat that its better late than never. Seatbelts must be fastened at all times for there is a bigger space of movement in MPVs and SUVs. Its not only the driver who has to be belted up at all times to reduce the impact in an accident. Each and everyone in all the seven seats, both children and adults, has to fasten the safety belt when the MPV or SUV moves. It is usually a full load when travelling during the festive season and this means braking

and stability wll be affected. A longer distance is needed to brake a heavier vehicle and in an event of an accident, the impact on a heavily loaded vehicle will be greater. While generally Malaysian highways and trunk roads are safe, there are several unsafe stretches and these are usually highlighted when fatalites occur, especially during the festive season when the roads are crowded and drivers are in a hurry. We are always upgrading the accident prone stretches, said Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan, the director general of Miros. Its not just accident-prone stretches. For instance, guardrails to prevent vehicles from plunging into ravines or off the road and into ditches are one level below international standards; guardrails on Malaysian roads are unable to effectively stop heavy and high riding vehicles. The road transport authorities should be proactive at making road safer. There are only a few Malaysian roads that are built to international standards.

Have Gophers will travelStory and Pictures by Grace Chen IT is one thing to feel the freedom of being able to get into a car and drive all the way to China if you wish. It is another to end up going in circles because you not know the way. As such, I now have a new motto: Answer the call of adventure only if you have a GPS or suffer from the stress of being lost in Nowhere Land and being left at the mercy of road vultures. Admittedly, I am smitten with the Gophers Visi-O, the Powermap-driven device with a super big 5.0 flush fitting touch screen and driven by the latest SirfAtlas IV GPS receiver. On a recent trip to the East Coast, the planning was made with great enthusiasm and to get there we got the help of Gophers Visi-O. Our first stop was Gua Senyum and the coordinates were given at 34150.2N 1022558.2E. According to the Pahang Trekker website, there are two popular folk tales as to how this 400million year old limestone outcrop got its name. One tells of a duel of two Malay warriors which ended in the vanquished dying with a smile on his face. The second allegedly took place in the late 19th century when the Sultan of Pahang was en route to Kuala Krau, Temerloh. When asked the name of the mountain the members of entourage could only look at each other and smile. Realising that no one knew the name, The Sultan proclaimed that it be named Gunung Senyum. The true course of our destination was Sungai Lembing, with the coordinates given at 355 0N, 10320 E. A former mining town, this quaint hamlet is famed for three things. One is the Sungai Lembing Museum, which was formerly the residence of the general managers that worked for Pahang Consolidated Limited Company. The company managed the once tin-rich villages underground mine from 1906 until 1986. The exhibits are a reminder of its tin mining heritage. Another is Bukit Panorama, which is a popular place to watch the sunrise and the Gunung Tapis Nature Park, about 16 kilometres from the village where you can camp, fish, and shoot the rapids. For a place to stay for the night, the Gophers Visi-O came up with the directions for Lembing Riverview Resort at 3 54 44.6 N 103 1 43.3 E. It is run by Hoh Yoon Sin, 53. Though, we had to pass a Chinese cemetery to get here, we would

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We will not get lost. My GPS system will take us there, promised the enigmatic Chong (inset). be rewarded by an awesome morning view (and a cool river dip) as this place is located just beside the banks of Sungai Lembing. Hoh also recommended a popular breakfast of tofu which is made with mountain water at the market place. This place is also known for ketchup noodles and coconut biscuits. Folks are friendly here and no one bothers to lock their front doors. In a place where the population numbers only 5,000, familiarity guarantees safety. Also remember to leave your shoes at the door, even if its to enter a hotel as this is the village custom. The next destination was Gua Charas, Panching, at coordinates at 35439.9N 103850.5E. Standing majestically at 150m this limestone rock is home to a sleeping Buddha housed within its longest cave which is about 30m in length. To return without a good seafood meal would be wasted and for this, Gophers has a restaurant in Beserah Seafood at 35240.3N 10321 57.6E. Ideally, this should be accompanied by a dip at the Batu Hitam Beach which is just at the back of the restaurant. Mind that the place is closed on Sunday so be prepared to look for alternatives. If it is the beach you love and not so much the food, then look out for this small stall called Black Stone which serves simple Malay mixed rice and kuih.


MPV, SUV & 4X4 BUYERS GUIDEHow they rateclaimed. Of course, not everything is hunky dory with the Peugeot. Kelvinders biggest grouse is the luggage space. The layered boot is practical, but I can barely squeeze in my golf bag. In fact, I have to take out my driver to make sure it fits in nicely, he said. Kelvinder also highlighted that the salesmen that he saw did not have enough product information on the 3008, but he trolled the Internet for more information. Minor inconveniences but overall, Kelvinder cant stop taking about his 3008. He is happy with the after sales service. He visited the service centre to make an appointment for the first inspection session and he was impressed. Actually, I have never trusted the Peugeot brand before but after Nasim took over, I saw a lot of good reviews and comments on the web and the newspapers, said Kelvinder. I also asked around and Nasims customers said they were generally happy with the service. That is one of the reasons I changed to a Peugeot. And the 3008 as just my ride. Hezeri Samsuri


French affectionOVE at first sight. That was how Kelvinder Singh Brar described

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