Cars, Local Car Launches, Local News, Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen Passat facelift launched in Malaysia – 2.0 TSI Elegance, new 7-speed wet DSG, RM189k


Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has finally launched the facelifted Passat here in Malaysia. The updated D-segment sedan comes with a new look, a mildly refreshed interior and some added kit, with the range paired down to just a single 2.0 TSI Elegance model.

It retails at RM189,012 on-the-road without insurance, meaning that it slots between the old 1.8 TSI Comfortline and 2.0 TSI Highline variants in terms of price. Included in the price is a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, a three-year free service package and five years’ roadside assistance.

As the variant name suggests, the car is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine, but it’s been detuned slightly compared to the previous 2.0 TSI mill. It now makes 190 PS and 320 Nm of torque, decreases of 30 PS and 30 Nm, although VPCM would probably like to point out that it’s still significantly more muscular than the old 1.8 litre unit – 10 PS and 70 Nm more, to be exact.

Paired to this engine is a new seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, making it the first front-wheel drive Volkswagen model to come with the gearbox in Malaysia, coming after the all-wheel drive Golf R. So equipped, the Passat is capable of delivering a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.5 litres per 100 km on the new Worldwide Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle.

Visual changes are numerous but fairly subtle in nature, led by the redesigned twin-slat grille and revised graphics for the LED headlights, complete with eyebrow-esque daytime running lights that also function as sequential indicators. The air intakes have also been re-profiled, with a body-coloured strip that forms a “wing” under the front fog lights.

At the back, the tail lights are also new and come with triple L-shaped graphics and sequential indicators, while the rear bumper has also been redesigned with sharper creases and a wider diffuser-like insert; the Passat badge is also now positioned in the middle of the (powered) bootlid, in a spaced-out fashion. Completing the look are 18-inch Liverpool multi-spoke alloy wheels in a painted grey finish.

On the inside, the facelift adds a new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and removes the centre analogue clock, replaced by the Passat script. The door cards have also been redesigned, and the rear panels now hide manual rear sun blinds, while the rear windscreen gets powered blinds.

Technology has also taken a step up with the new Discover Pro infotainment system, equipped with a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen, voice and gesture control and a customisable three-view split screen function. It also comes with the new Wireless AppConnect system that also includes wireless Apple CarPlay – the second such application of the feature in Malaysia after BMW. The ports are now all USB-C front and rear.

The rest of the kit list includes keyless entry, push-button start, triple-zone climate control, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s side memory and a massage function, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, auto lights and wipers, eight speakers and a reverse camera.

The facelift also introduces some driver assistance systems for the local market, though as before, the Passat still isn’t offered with autonomous emergency braking. However, it does now get Side Assist blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, along with a tyre pressure monitoring system. Six airbags and stability control continues to be on the standard safety kit list.

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2020 Perodua Bezza, Cars, Local Car Launches, Local News, Perodua

2020 Perodua Bezza facelift launched in Malaysia – ASA 2.0, LED headlamps, 4 variants, from RM34,580


After a short teaser period, the 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift is now officially launched. This comes just five days after order books were open, and three and a half years since the sedan first hit the Malaysian market. In that time, the Bezza has become a firm favourite in the entry level with 184,000 units sold, and if you’re living in urban areas, a popular workhorse for ride hailing drivers.

Let’s start with the obvious changes. The Bezza wears a significantly bolder look, thanks to a combination of an aggressive new bumper with sharp faux vent cutouts holding the fog lamps (no fog lamps for 1.0L), slimmer headlamps that are now LEDs (standard across the range), and a grille that’s now horizontal (chrome trim for 1.3L, silver for 1.0L). No LED daytime running lights, but the optional GearUp bodykit adds LED position lights at the lower edge of the bumper.

At the rear, the most obvious cue are the sharp cutouts on the bumpers that mirror those on the front. The Bezza’s rear underside was rather exposed in its original form, and that issue was somewhat addressed by a redesigned rear bumper (with a deeper skirt) less than a year in. Now, the tonggek look has been put to rest, for good. The rear bumper has also been extended slightly for better aerodynamics.

The pre-facelift’s chrome strip bridging the tail lamps is now in two-tone – chrome over gloss black. The side skirts, which are standard across the board, are also in two-tone, black and body colour. The AV gets electric retractable side mirrors, while the rest get power-adjustable mirrors with turn signals. This means that for the 1.0L, there are no more signal lamps on the fenders, but the B pillars are body coloured instead of blacked out.

As for wheels, it’s 14-inch items for the 1.0L and 15-inch two-tone alloys for the 1.3L variants. There are also two new paint options called Garnet Red (1.3L only, as seen here) and Granite Grey to join four other colours – Sugar Brown, Ocean Blue, Glittering Silver and Ivory White (solid).

Inside, the dashboard architecture hasn’t changed, but P2 revised the full width trim’s design for an obvious new look without having to redesign the whole thing. Previously just a plain black bar in the AV, there’s now a silver upturned cradle for the head unit, which is a 2-DIN touchscreen unit for the AV (with reverse camera). The new trim also sees some surfacing around the side air con vents.

The Bezza’s meter panel has been redesigned. Gone are the two red “ears” cupping the dials, which themselves have new faces. The illumination is white.

Kit wise, two items stand out. One is the above-mentioned LED headlamps, which are standard across the board. This sets the Bezza FL apart from the Axia, and also its chief entry sedan rival.

The other big ticket item is Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite of driver assist systems, which includes Pedestrian Detection (up to 50 km/h), Pre-Collision Warning (up to 100 km/h), Pre-Collision Braking (up to 80 km/h), Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control. First seen on the current Myvi and then the Aruz (in 2.0 form), ASA was most recently included in the Axia facelift that debut in September 2019. The Axia is the most affordable car in Malaysia with AEB and the Bezza is the most affordable sedan to be such equipped.

ASA 2.0 is for the top AV only, but all 1.3L variants get Vehicle Stability Control (VSC, previously AV only) and ABS/EBD is standard across the board. All variants get dual front airbags. With its driver assist pack, the Bezza AV is ASEAN NCAP five-star rated.

Other equipment highlights include keyless entry with push start (1.3L only), front corner sensors (1.3L only, reverse sensors standard for all) and a reverse camera (AV only). The range topping variant also gets leather seats with suede inserts.

Lastly, there’s no change in the powertrain department, which has a 67 hp/91 Nm 1.0L three-cylinder VVT-i engine and a 94 hp/121 Nm 1.3L four-pot. The latter NR engine comes with Dual VVT-i and Eco Idle auto start-stop, which helps fuel efficiency go as high as a claimed 22 km/l – a strong point for the Bezza. The 1.0L can be had with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto, while the 1.3L is auto-only.

Minor but potentially significant changes not listed in brochure include improvements to the suspension for better handling and stability, as well the rear seat angle, which goes from 23 to 27 degrees.

The 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift is priced from RM34,580 for the 1.0L G Manual and RM36,580 for the 1.0L G Auto. The 1.3L models are auto-only – the 1.3L X is yours for RM43,980 while the AV sells for RM49,980. All prices are OTR without insurance. It’s a slight increase over the pre-facelift prices, but kit count has increased as well. The warranty is for five years or 150,000 km. There’s a full range of GearUp accessories as well, and we detail them here.

By the way, the pre-facelift range consists of the 1.0L GXtra MT at RM34,490, the 1.0L GXtra AT at RM36,290, the 1.3L Premium X MT at RM40,090, the 1.3L Premium X AT at RM41,890 and the AV at RM47,790. That means that the new line-up has one less variant – four vs five – and the 1.3L MT has been dropped.

“We are confident the bolder and smarter 2020 Perodua Bezza will continue to carry the torch – our aim is to sell 4,000 units monthly on average,” said Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, president and CEO of Perodua. So, what do you think of the refreshed Bezza next to the Proton Saga, which was revamped last year? Full specs and comparisons at CarBase.my.

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L AV

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L X

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0L G

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza GearUp accessories

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Cars, Local Car Launches, Local News, MINI

MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman launched in Malaysia – 306 PS; RM359k and RM379k


The introduction of the MINI F54 Clubman facelift today also saw the debut of the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and F60 Countryman.

The two JCW models, which were unveiled in May this year, are both equipped with a revised BMW B48 engine, the 2.0 litre turbocharged four-pot now offering 306 PS (or 302 hp) at 5,000 to 6,250 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. This is an increase of 75 PS (74 hp) and 100 Nm over the previous JCW power unit.

Paired with an eight-speed Steptronic sports automatic transmission driving all four wheels through the automaker’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system, it’s all good enough to get the JCW Clubman to 100 km/h from standstill in just 4.9 seconds (previously, 6.3 seconds), while the JCW Countryman does the same in 5.1 seconds (previously, 6.6 seconds). Both cars have an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.

The improved performance comes as a result of extensive enhancements to the powertrain, including the incorporation of a bigger turbocharger, a reinforced crankshaft and a redeveloped air intake duct, among other things.

To keep up with the increase in power, the cooling system has also been upgraded to ensure proper temperature management – on go two external radiators, a larger-volume expansion tank, an independent cooling module mounting, an electric ventilator with increased output, and a third cooling level via a condenser.

The cars also get a newly-developed, model-specific sport exhaust system and a redesigned sport brake system that now contains four-piston, fixed-calliper disc brakes on the rear wheels.

Externally, the JCW Clubman features a restyled front bumper, and there’s also a larger splitter for the front spoiler as well as a new lower grille insert. Additionally, there are now enlarged air intakes at both sides of the bumper to improve cooling efficiency.

Like the regulation Clubman, the JCW also gets a new honeycomb design grille as well as the new LED headlights from the standard car. At the back, there’s a revised bumper and Union Jack design LED tail lights, and the tailpipes have grown larger in diameter, now 95 mm units.

The JCW Countryman also gets a new bumper trim panel with open air intakes on both sides for more efficient cooling of the updated engine, and also gets bigger 85 mm diameter tail pipes.

Both the JCW models are fitted with the same wheel design, in this case a 19-inch JCW Circuit Spoke two-tone unit. Elsewhere, a JCW sport suspension lowers the ride by 10 mm, but the JCW Countryman adds on to this by going the Adaptive Suspension route.

Inside, the two JCW variants come dressed in Carbon Black Dinamica Leather upholstery, and a MINI Yours interior cockpit surface in Piano Black provides illumination in 12 different colours. Aside from JCW specific cues such as the side sills, the cars also come fitted with a panoramic sunroof.

Standard fit equipment on both variants include a head-up display and an 8.8-inch touchscreen Navigation System with a split-screen function, allowing two map views to be displayed at the same time. There’s also a 360-watt Harman Kardon sound system, an electric tailgate, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning and Comfort Access.

Connectivity levels are also up, with the inclusion of a new, in-vehicle 4G SIM card and updated MINI Connected App, which features items such as remote services, Apple Carplay, concierge services and MINI Online.

Safety and driver assistance kit includes front and side driver and front passenger airbags and head airbags for all four outer seats, front/rear Park Distance Control and a rear-view camera. Like the standard Clubman, there’s still no autonomous emergency braking to be found, which does take some of the gloss off.

As for exterior colours, choices available for the JCW Clubman are Rebel Green, White Silver, Midnight Black and Chili Red, while that for the JCW Countryman are Rebel Green, Light White, Midnight Black and Chili Red.

The MINI John Cooper Works Clubman is priced at RM358,888, while the John Cooper Works Countryman goes for RM378,888, both on-the-road without insurance. They come with MINI 4 Years unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service.

GALLERY: MINI John Cooper Works Clubman

GALLERY: MINI John Cooper Works Countryman

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