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Over the weekends I went to Sunway Pyramid (every mall should have the same parking system) to check out Nissan’s X-Gear event since a little bird told me that there’s this “Augmented Reality” app that I should look at.


the Nissan X-Gear app on iOS & Android

For your benefit, here’s the definition of Augmented Reality:

a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Nissan Livina X-Gear event at Sunway Pyramid
Nissan Livina X-Gear event at Sunway Pyramid

The event showcases Livina X-Gear, a 5 seater crossover from Nissan (more about the car later). There was the X-Gear application with Augmented reality, a half pipe with skateboarders performing cool stunts, and you can even try your hands on wall climbing. Life style activities that identify with the X-Gear. Read this

I’ve always have a special place for Proton Saga in my heart. It is in fact, the car that I learn to drive with back even before I was old enough to have a license, I remember we were in some light industrial area on a Sunday when my late dad decided to let me have a go at it, and the “wtf are you serious” face it had on my mom.

A few mati engine incidents later, I was able to manipulate the clutch and gear and drove for some 10 minutes. It was pure joy, a moment I never forget.

Proton Saga FLX front view

There was another incident where I hit a car’s side view mirror whilst riding bicycle before, and it turned out to be my dad in our Proton, I blogged about it here.

That Proton Saga was with our family for quite a number of years, a 1.3 liter manual version that was dark brown in color. When the new saga came out, we helped mom bought one too, and it has been serving her pretty well for the past 2 years or so.

Proton Saga FLX with CVT
Proton Saga FLX with CVT

Fast forward to today, and there is another iteration of the venerable Proton Saga – the Proton Saga FLX.

Instead of just a mere facelift to the “new” Saga FL model, the Saga FLX has so much more to offer, with the biggest selling point being CVT, or Continuous Variable Transmission. A feature usually found in cars of much higher price point.

CVT explained

Unlike conventional Automatic Transmission, CVT allows the vehicle to always be in optimal power band. The gearbox shifts without any shift-shock or loss of power, this allows the engine to have less wear and tear and thus improve its durability.

The other trick under CVT’s sleeve is it’s ability to simulate a 6 speed automatic gearbox when you are up for a little bit of spirited driving.

Proton Saga FLX's SAT Switch

Simply press the SAT (Stepped Automatic Transmission) to engage the function. This brings the familiar feel of most automatic car to the driver, but with 6 speeds instead of the usual 4.

interior of Proton Saga FLX

The Saga FLX with CVT is rated to consume 6 liter of fuel per 100 km running at 90 km/h. Theoretically you can drive from KL to Penang with only some RM 40 in fuel (at RM 1.90 per liter), that’s pretty good isn’t it?

The design of the car’s interior is improved too, and many will undoubtedly be pleased that the power windows in Proton Saga FLX comes with life time warranty, glad to see that they have addressed this issue.

proton saga flx with ABS and EBD

There are still more features packed into this car. There’s now ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) in the Executive models.

These are safety features that allows much better maneuverability during emergency braking, features that can save lives.

Proton Saga FLX with rigid body and airbag

Other than that, the body shell is also built stronger and stiffer to maximize protection. Then there’s the dual airbags too (Executive models) for extra safety.

Immobiliser, central locking, keyless entry and reverse sensor are now standard features across all FLX models.

Then there’s the size and practicality that comes with having a full size sedan with a big boot space. The Saga sits 4-5 adults comfortably and still able to swallow 413 liter of baggage. That size is equivalent to the big refrigerator I use at home!

A  getaway,  weekend shopping with the whole family, and those occasional IKEA trips will be easier with the Saga, compared with a super compact.

Proton Saga FLX rear view

There are too many features that found their ways into the Saga FLX to be listed on this site (MP3 player, USB jack, etc). To find out more, check out EpicSaga.com.my now, there’s a video there too.

If you’re looking for a car, especially a first car, make sure you give the new Proton Saga FLX a look. You definitely won’t get a car with more features and space at this price point. Best value for money if you ask me.

Lucky me, I got to test drive the brand new Mitsubishi ASX over the weekends. Since it was also Michael’s wedding at Genting, I took the opportunity to test drive the crossover over the slightly more challenging roads up the hill instead of just having it around KL with limited chance to crank up the 2.0 liter MIVEC engine.

Mitsubishi ASX (Active Smart Crossover) with 2.0 Mivec
Mitsubishi ASX (Active Smart Crossover) with 2.0 Mivec

The front of the car took the cue from the aggressive yet classy design of the Lancer. In fact, from certain front angles the ASX looks almost like a taller version of Lancer, a pretty handsome design I think.

As mentioned earlier, under the hood is the same 2.0 liter MIVEC engine that churns out 150 PS and 197 Nm of torque, specifically tuned for this car. As such, the drive is actually quite zippy. This is partly due to the ASX’s curb weight at 1375 KG, actually 10 KG lighter than the Lancer.

ASX employs a 6 step CVT (continuous variable transmission) with paddle shift, handy especially for overtaking. Even while on auto, you can shift down by clicking the paddle shift without having to adjust the gear knob first.

exterior shots of Mitsubishi ASX
exterior shots of Mitsubishi ASX

Other features of the car includes (full specs here):

  • dual airbags with additional driver’s knee airbag
  • engine immobiliser
  • hill start assist (prevent sliding down aka Malaysian driving test)
  • auto cruise
  • 16″ alloy rims
  • ventilated front disk brakes
  • fully automated air conditioning with air filter
  • automated retractable rear view mirrors

interior shots of Mitsubishi ASX
interior shots, with reverse camera, auto cruise too

On the inside, the car is spacious and provide very good head and leg room. Exterior noise is pretty isolated even while driving at high speed.

Supplied with the ASX is a double DIN Kenwood touch screen audio system that also comes with a rear view camera and IPOD connectivity. However, I think additional module is needed if you want to enable in car navigation with the same screen.

As for fuel economy, my personal test in the city yield about 11 to 12 liter per 100 km, but on the way back from Genting to PJ gave me 8.4 liter/100KM, pretty good for a crossover this size.

Michael's wedding at Genting
at Michael & Li Ling’s wedding in Genting

The car came in plenty handy when over the weekends. Sat five comfortably while serving as part of the groom’s motorcade to get the bride. A big shout out to Michael and Li Ling, congrats you guys!

The car didn’t have any problem scaling the hill. Due to the amount of cars parked at the location, I had to made a U-turn at some gravel road and the ASX’s ground clearance and pretty tight turning radius came in handy.

We also managed to fit in a big make up box, an ice cooler, and 3 luggage bags at the trunk on the way back.

Above is a short video of  the ASX I took over the weekends, check it out.

The Mitsubishi ASX costs RM 139,980 on the road and is available now.

There’s also the Mitsubishi ASX-Perience contest currently running on facebook, and for once it is actually very simple to participate. Simply go to Mitsubishi ASX Malaysia facebook page, put a comment on why you deserve this week’s ASX-Perience and get as many people to “like” your comment.

This week’s (29 nov – 5th dec) scenario – an ASX for a day with RM 600 to spend. Check out the facebook page.

A couple weeks ago I swapped my bike for a new Satria Neo CPS from Proton Center of Excellence for a 3-day test drive.

The Satria Neo is arguably one of the best looking hatch backs out on the road, and the CPS version has a few improvements that makes this even more so. The unit I came in a shiny black coat with the bigger rear spoiler, body kit, and the new 16″ rims that looks quite a lot better on the car compared to the original Neo’s “blink blink” rims.

Proton Satria Neo CPS
Proton Satria Neo CPS

On the inside, the improvement in workmanship can be clearly seen compared to some previous models. The dashboard is clean and minimalistic while sporting blue and yellow illumination that makes reading the speedometer and tachometer very easy in low light condition.

I particularly like the two-tone semi-bucket leather seats for the driver and front passenger. They are not only visually rather stunning, but strikes a balance between comfort and seat position rigidness when you need to keep yourself from sliding off the seat around a fast corner.

Proton Satria Neo CPS interior
Interior of the Satria Neo

The in-car entertainment unit scrolls out a “PROTON SYMPHONY” text whenever it is turned on, and while the sound system isn’t particularly high end, it does carry itself pretty well. No upgrades shall be necessary if you’re not an audiophile.

The one possible downside of the interior, depending on your body height, is the relatively low headroom for driver and front passenger. At 5’6 I am still quite comfortable with it, but I reckon those who are over 6′ tall would have a harder time especially if you are those who likes to sit closer to the steering wheel.

Satria Neo CPS Sports Rims
the 16″ Sports Rims with 195 50 R16 tyres

Other than styling and slight interior changes, the Satria Neo CPS differs from the regular Satria Neo in another crucial item, the engine. While the regular 1.6 Satria gets 110hp (112ps), the 1.6 liter Campro CPS engine in this car gets 125ps at 6500 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm. That’s a good 10% increment achieved by a variable valve lift system in the new motor which Proton refers to as Cam Profile Switching, hence the acronym CPS. This is similar to DVVT, VTTI, VTEC and other technologies.

Proton Satria Neo CPS
Rear shot, Proton Satria Neo CPS

3 days and some 200 km later, I must say that the car did not disappoint. Handling, especially around the bends was very good, the car felt steady and there is minimal body roll. Sound insulation is another aspect that I really like about this car, while you can hear the engine roar above 4-5k rpm, outside traffic noise is rather muted (view video taken in the Smart Tunnel below).

Fuel consumption also seems to be pretty good for this car. I collected this car with the gauge pointing at half tank, and returned it with slightly less than 1/4 tank after closed to 200km of mixed highway and city driving.

more photos at flickr set

The Satria Neo CPS goes for RM 57,763 (Manual) and RM 60,763 (Automatic Transmission), that is a lot of car for the money. Price quoted from Proton Edar.