Cars, Local News, Subaru

Subaru XV to receive new Panasonic head unit, around view monitor soon – facelift with EyeSight by end-2020

During a group interview with Glenn Tan, managing director of Tan Chong International (TCIL), it was revealed that the Subaru XV for the Malaysian market will be given a few revisions in 2020.

The first is a running update due in the next one or two months, which will see the crossover be fitted with a new eight-inch head unit developed by Panasonic. While the new unit isn’t any larger in screen real estate than the existing one, it does come with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

This comes at the expense of onboard GPS navigation, but the company considers the tradeoff worthwhile given the number of users of such apps. Additionally, the system works together with a new 360-degree around view monitor, another new function not found on the current XV. The Forester is also said to benefit from the new head unit and camera systems, with existing owners being able to retrofit the items as a cost option.

A more significant change will arrive towards the tail end of 2020, as the XV will be given a facelift that will see the availability of the EyeSight suite of safety and driver assistance systems. This is in line with what Tan stated previously, and will make the XV the third model in the local Subaru line-up to be offered with EyeSight after the Outback and Forester. There will be a price hike to go along with the facelift, with Tan saying it will not be an increase “exceeding five digits.”



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Cars, Feature Stories, Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volkswagen

2019 year in review and what’s to come in 2020 – Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Volkswagen in Malaysia

After reporting on how the premium brands fared in 2019, we continue with the fourth edition of our year-end recap, where we now shift our focus to other carmakers that are also part of the local automotive landscape, which include Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Volkswagen.

While some brands focused on strengthening its core offerings, others have been more active by improving their operations to retain loyalists while enticing newcomers. So, let’s take a closer look at each of the five aforementioned brands to see what they have done, and what we can expect from them in the year to come.

Ford’s Power Rangers

The Blue Oval had a relatively quiet 2019, with the latest Ranger being much of its focal point after it was first introduced in the year prior. In March, the performance-focused Raptor variant in the pick-up truck line-up received two new colour options, with Absolute Black and Arctic White joining the existing palette for a total of four colours.

Later in October, Ford dabbled in the e-commerce space by partnering with Lazada to launch the Ranger Splash in conjunction with the site’s 11.11 Shopping Festival. The model featured a number of extra goodies over the existing 2.0L XLT Plus variant, and was limited to just 19 units, with every single one snapped up promptly after sales began.

Another limited-edition version of the Ranger would arrive in December, with the launch of the 2.2L XLT Special Edition in December. With a number of additional equipment and features over the regular 2.2 XLT Automatic variant, the model is currently being offered in limited units, although the exact amount wasn’t revealed by Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC).

In 2020, we are expecting the facelifted Mustang to finally make its debut here after being previewed at the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show. At the time, the updated pony car was originally scheduled to go on sale here in 2019, but nothing has materialised up until now.

Additionally, the Ranger received a small update in Thailand in November that also includes the availability of a new FX4 2.2 Hi-Rider variant, which is a possibility for us, along with other equipment revisions. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the latest generations of the Fiesta and Focus to make their way here.

Isuzu D-Max gets a new heart

It was a long wait for Isuzu fans, but in 2019, the company finally introduced the latest-generation 1.9 litre Ddi BluePower turbodiesel engine in Malaysia, with the D-Max pick-up truck being the first model to get it here.

The introduction of the oil burner comes as part of the pick-up truck’s second facelift in the country, with the RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre common-rail four-cylinder unit replacing the old 4JK1-TCX 2.5 litre unit – the 4JJ1-TCX 3.0 litre turbodiesel is retained.

Aside from a lower road tax that comes with the smaller displacement, the downsized mill is superior to the 4JK1-TCX by offering better performance – 150 PS and 350 Nm versus 136 PS and 320 Nm – as well as a 19% improvement in fuel efficiency, with a combined consumption figure of eight litres per 100 km.

However, just a month after the facelifted, second-generation model went on sale in Malaysia, the third-generation of the pick-up truck celebrated its global debut in Thailand. Completely overhauled with new technologies and a revised design, it isn’t known when and if the latest version of D-Max will make its way to our part of the world.

Pick-up truck aside, the MU-X could get a second update to match the Thailand-spec model, which is now powered by the 1.9 litre Ddi BluePower turbodiesel engine, matching the engine line-up of the D-Max it is based on. The seven-seat, ladder frame-based SUV first arrived in Malaysia in 2015, and was given its first facelift in 2017.

Mitsubishi Triton gets a new face, continuous updates

Like Ford and Isuzu, Mitsubishi prioritised its own pick-up truck, kicking off 2019 with the launch of the facelifted Triton in January. Highlighted by the company’s imposing “Dynamic Shield” face, the entire Triton range also shares a 2.4 litre MIVEC turbodiesel and four-wheel drive, with a choice of six-speed automatic or manual transmission depending on the selected variant.

The Triton would continue to be revised over the year, with new features being introduced, like the Flying Sports Bar, digital video recorder, all-round monitor (ARM) as well as support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The passenger-centric version of the Triton would later be joined by the workhorse version with the Quest making its debut in November, with the low rider truck being powered by a 2.5 litre commonrail turbodiesel as opposed to the 2.4 litre MIVEC unit.

A limited-edition version of the Triton would arrive in early December with the launch of the Knight, which is based on the range-topping Adventure X variant, with just 120 units being made available. While it matches the Adventure X in terms of price, the Knight benefits from additional accessories and unique touches to make it stand out.

Going into 2020, Mitsubishi could be poised to finally introduce the Xpander as an alternative to other seven-seat crossover MPVs in Malaysia like the Perodua Aruz, Honda BR-V and Toyota Rush. The model first made its global debut in Indonesia in 2017 before arriving in Thailand a year later, but has yet to be launched here.

Subaru EyeSight comes to the popular Forester

In terms of launches, the most significant for Subaru this year was the fifth-generation Forester, which we had the chance to try out on a journey from Penang to Bangkok. Not only does it ride on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) like the XV, the Forester also became the second model in the local line-up to come with the EyeSight suite of safety driver assistance systems after the Outback.

Another model that made its debut in 2019 was the XV GT Edition, which gets several aesthetic enhancements to give it more visual presence compared to a standard XV. These 17-inch two-tone alloys, front and rear bumper lip extensions, side skirts, a roof spoiler and two-tone leather seats. The XV GT Edition also comes with a side view monitor system, with cameras located on the lower half of the side mirrors to give a better view of what’s beside the vehicle.

Other initiatives made by Subaru over the course of the year were focused on improving the customer experience, including updating its flagship showroom in Petaling Jaya. The company also began offering a more comprehensive five-year/100,000 km warranty for vehicles registered from April 25, 2019 onwards, and switched to Motul lubricants since January.

In the year to come, we’re expecting the sixth-generation Outback – first revealed in April 2019 – to make its way to Malaysia. The latest iteration of the jacked-up wagon rides on the SGP, which is also used for the upcoming, second-generation Levorg, although the latter has yet to make its debut in production form.

There’s also the Forester GT Edition, which was previewed during this year’s Subaru Palm Challenge in Singapore, and follows the same path as the XV GT Edition with a number of visual improvements. A more distant possibility is the availability of the EyeSight suite for the XV in Malaysia, although we’ve previously been told this won’t happen until the crossover receives its first major facelift.

Of course, Subaru has yet to reveal a global facelift for the XV, but it should be noted the Impreza – on which the XV is based – did get an update in October. so a facelift for the crossover might not be far off.

Saying goodbye to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle while waiting for new sedans

It was a busy 2019 for Volkswagen, as it kicked off the year by improving the ownership experience with the launch of the Volkswagen Cares app and the accompanying Volkswagen Care Plus membership programme for owners with a vehicle that is five years and older.

This was followed by an update for the Tiguan, with the SUV gaining the advanced Active Info Display as well as revised LED tail lights. The Sound & Style Editions of the Golf, Passat and Tiguan arrived later on, with existing owners also offered the chance to outfit their vehicles with some of the enhancements found on these models later on.

July marked a bittersweet moment for the brand, as it bade goodbye to the iconic Beetle with a limited-run model called the Collector’s Edition as well as a massive party that saw 405 Beetles – both new and classic – gathered.

Volkswagen would continue to improve the ownership experience again in the same month by providing the Passat and Tiguan with an additional two years free maintenance. The company would also open the order books for the Arteon in July, a few months after the fastback model made its first Malaysian premiere at the inaugural Premium Auto Car Expo (PACE) in 2018.

Volkswagen’s global used car programme, Das WeltAuto, would be launched in August, providing customers interested in purchasing a pre-owned Volkswagen with peace-of-mind ownership thanks to a comprehensive 133-point check, a one-year extended warranty and one-year roadside assistance. In addition, Volkswagen cars older than five years get to enjoy Volkswagen Care Plus benefits.

The love affair with the Beetle continued in November, with the launch of the Retro Edition at this year’s PACE. Limited to just three units, the rare Beetle featured an accessories kit that includes aluminium side scuff plates, retro-style 17-inch ‘Circle White’ alloy wheels tyres, a rear spoiler and VW Tint.

For 2020, we’re expecting the Arteon to finally make its launch debut along with the facelifted B8 Passat. Originally, both sedans were supposed to arrive in the second half of the year, but it looks like those plans have been pushed back.

This post is one of several in our multi-part “2019 year in review and what’s to come in 2020” series, which covers a variety of major brands, albeit in different groupings. You can check out our earlier posts focusing on other brands as listed below:



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Cars, International News, Subaru

2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid on sale in the UK

The new Subaru Forester e-Boxer hybrid SUV has officially gone on sale in the UK, featuring better equipment and safety levels than before. Prices start from £33,995 (RM183k), and UK customers have up to eight exterior colours to choose from.

Now, the Forester e-Boxer draws propulsion power from familiar FB20 2.0 litre horizontally-opposed petrol engine. The direct-injected mill alone makes 145 PS at 6,000 rpm and 188 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and gets augmented with an electric motor that produces 13.6 PS and 65 Nm of torque.

The e-motor is installed within the Lineartronic CVT, while a separate 4.8 Ah lithium-ion battery pack (installed under the rear boot floor; reduces volume from 520 litres to 509 litres) supplies electrical juice. The battery is recharged via regenerative braking or deceleration (engine drag is harnessed to charge the battery).

It’s able to drive on pure electric power alone, but the distance is limited to around 1.6 km and at speeds of up to 40 km/h. Subaru says the e-Boxer system offers up to 10% improvement in fuel economy, especially when compared to its combustion engine-only 2.0L counterparts. Subaru’s famous symmetrical all-wheel drive system with X-Mode is standard.

On the outside, the Forester e-Boxer is identifiable through the e-Boxer badge on the tailgate, and it sits on new dual-tone 18-inch alloy wheels. Features such as LED headlights with C-shaped LED daytime running lights, high beam assist, and LED front fog lights are standard across the board, but items such as privacy rear glass and keyless entry with push-start button can be specified.

Inside, things don’t differ much from the regular fifth-generation SUV, so the centre stack comes with the same eight-inch infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The front seats get eight-way power adjustable function, whereas items such as heated steering wheel and heated seats are brand new additions to the model range.

For safety, the Forester e-Boxer is impressively specced. To start, it gets the automaker’s EyeSight driver assist technology, which offers Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Driver Monitoring System as standard across the line-up. Two optical stereo cameras monitor road hazards for up to 110 metres ahead, and this helps with Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Lane Sway and Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.

There’s also a brand new system called Driver Monitoring System (DMS) , which uses a camera and facial recognition system to detect if the driver has lost his or her focus when on the move. It can also detect if and when the driver starts dozing off, and responds by audibly alerting occupants when this occurs. The system also automatically mutes music playback when the alerts come on.

As a secondary function, DMS can even be used to recognise up to five drivers. The built-in memory function allows five presets to be saved, which automatically adjusts seat position, door mirror angle, display screen content and air conditioning settings according to each driver’s preference. Neat, right?



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Audi, Audi A4, BMW, BMW 330, BMW 330 2019, BMW 330 2020, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford, Ford Fusion, Honda, Honda Accord, hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Kia, Kia Optima, Lexus, Lexus ES 350, Mazda, Mazda Mazda6, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Subaru, subaru outback, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Toyota, Toyota Camry

IIHS Testing Finds Pedestrian Detection Systems Vary Widely in Crash Protection | News from

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IIHS pedestrian crash system testing

IIHS images

Pedestrian crash-prevention systems with automatic braking on 16 mid-size cars vary widely in their ability to detect and avoid hitting people in the street, according to the latest round of testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Related: Which SUVs Have the Best Pedestrian Detection Systems?

But results overall were fairly positive. Four luxury and two mainstream mid-size cars and wagons got the top rating, called superior (out of superior, advanced, basic or none), for pedestrian crash prevention. Another six cars rated a notch lower, at advanced. Four non-luxury cars, however, earned only a basic rating or got no credit at all. Here are the 16 (some have two scores because they offer both standard and optional systems):

Vehicles Rated Superior

  • 2019 Audi A4 (standard system)
  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (standard)
  • 2020 Subaru Outback (standard)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (optional upgraded system)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Maxima (optional for 2019, standard for 2020)
  • 2019 Volvo S60 (standard)

Vehicles Rated Advanced

  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (optional upgraded system — yes, worse than the base system)
  • 2019-20 Honda Accord (standard)
  • 2019-20 Lexus ES 350 (standard)
  • 2019 Mazda 6 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Altima (optional)
  • 2019-20 Tesla Model 3 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Toyota Camry (standard)

Vehicles Rated Basic

  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera-only system)
  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera and radar system)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (standard system)

No Credit

  • 2019-20 Ford Fusion (standard system)
  • 2019 Hyundai Sonata (optional)
  • 2019 Kia Optima (optional)

More Cars Have Pedestrian Systems Standard

IIHS is ramping up testing of pedestrian protection, having earlier tested a batch of SUVs. The vast majority of automakers have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard by 2022, and they’re increasingly upgrading such systems to detect and automatically brake for pedestrians, not just other vehicles. According to IIHS, about two-thirds of front crash systems offered on 2019 model-year vehicles have pedestrian detection. In many cases, these systems now are standard.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, so it’s encouraging that pedestrian crash prevention systems are standard equipment in 12 out of the 16 mid-size cars we tested, including five out of six superior-rated systems,” said IIHS President David Harkey in a statement. The agency will factor pedestrian detection into its overall testing for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards beginning with the 2020 model year, spokesman Russ Rader has told It began testing pedestrian detection in February.

Halloween Is Scariest Day for Pedestrians

IIHS notes that its latest results come just ahead of Halloween, which is consistently the deadliest day for U.S. pedestrians. That’s thanks in part to trick-or-treaters and, we suspect, increasingly partying adults in awkward costumes. IIHS claims that from 2013 to 2017, the two deadliest days for pedestrians on average were Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 (after midnight on Halloween). Citing its own study of federal crash data, IIHS notes that annual pedestrian fatalities had increased markedly since a 2009 low. More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018, up 53 percent since 2009, according to the agency.

How Cars Were Tested

Most frontal crash systems use one or two cameras, in some cases augmented by radar sensors, to look for objects ahead. Vehicle software now can detect pedestrians as well as vehicles, and in some cases identify bicycles or animals. If a collision is imminent, the system alerts the driver and can hit the brakes to prevent or mitigate a crash.

IIHS tests three scenarios with dummies: an adult stepping into the street ahead of a vehicle with an unobstructed view, a child darting into the street from behind two parked cars, and an adult pedestrian near the side of the road facing away from traffic. The first two tests are done at 12 and 25 mph; the pedestrian near the side of the road is tested at 25 and 37 mph. In each test, the system has 1 or 2 seconds to stop the car to avoid the pedestrian. The tests are done in daylight on dry pavement. IIHS notes that such systems might not perform as well at night, but it says a vehicle with lights rated well in the agency’s headlight evaluations should be able to spot pedestrians.

The six superior-rated vehicles slowed dramatically in IIHS tests, in most cases avoiding the dummy or greatly reducing the risk of severe injury. Notably, the mainstream Nissan Maxima’s system avoided the pedestrian in all tests. Advanced-rated systems also achieved major speed reductions, though less consistently. The basic-rated systems failed to do so in one or more tests, while those that earn no credit failed in multiple scenarios. For example, the Ford Fusion, which got no credit, didn’t slow down at all for the simulated child darting into the street and slowed only slightly for the adult stepping into the street.

“The child dashing out from behind parked cars is a very challenging test,” said Harkey. “But it’s fitting that it was one of the main things that separated the top systems from the rest of the pack, since that is certainly a frightening scenario on Halloween or any day.”

More From’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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