Buying a new car or just thinking about it?

bugatti veyron

I’m part of the latter. I’ve driven my faithful Vios for 7 years now and I’ve found myself browsing around to see the latest car news and what car to buy. A lot of people gravitate to heavy news sites but I think the success of a car site is that it’s accessible to people who don’t know a lot about cars (or newbies rather) but yet is still fulfilling enough for the hardcore crowd who wants all the juicy, technical stuff.

live live drive

It needs to capture both sides of the market and I’ve found LIVE LIFE DRIVE to be one of the sites that I browse just about daily nowadays.

It has just about everything you’ll think of, from the latest news to a widget on the side with the most researched cars with immediate star ratings and a link to the review in question,

research cars

I found that feature most useful when buying a dSLR and loved the sites that has it – it shows what cameras (or cars in this case) are popular now – they’re popular for a reason, and shows you a quick rating with a review hyperlink. It’s perfect for those who’re strapped for time or just wants to see what the popular options are.

The other awesome feature which I first found useful when shopping for a dSLR (which come to think of it is a lot like a car) is this:


You can browse News, New Cars, or Buy a Car by the manufacturer! This is very useful if you’re only interested in, say, Euro cars or have always bought from a Japanese brand like Honda.

The interesting thing about LIVE LIFE DRIVE is that it’s actually a print magazine. That’s where it’s origins are from but all the news and articles are also available online.

I found the Price List feature to be very useful too!


It lists all new cars and shows the full price as well as the average installment price per month so you can quickly browse through and see what you can (or cannot) afford. smirk

That’s the research part of buying a car, or just browsing for news if you’re interested in automotives. There’s also a site where you can actually purchase a new or used car!


It’s called and the best feature of it is that it hooks you up with used car sellers. You can browse by various search parameters or just by price.

You can also choose whether to buy direct from a seller, dealership or sales agent. It’s very useful for when you want to make that step to purchase a new car. :)


There’s more than 119,000 cars for sale on and for those kiasu ones amongst us (hell, who isn’t?) there’s a feature to compare prices of the car you intend to buy too!

lamborghini miura

It’s a great sister site to LIVE LIFE DRIVE and the place you go when you reach the point where you stop thinking about buying a car and actually do something about it! ;)

Restaurant Peranakan, Aunty Koh Cendol, and the Melaka road trip

peranakan restaurant melaka

Restaurant Peranakan is the aptly named place known for it’s Peranakan cuisine. It’s often been cited as the #1 place to go for Nyonya food in Melaka. Peranakan (or Straits Chinese) is a distinctive racial group in Melaka – it comes from Chinese settlers marrying locals and is an entire culture unto itself, the hotbed of which lies in Melaka.

peranakan restaurant

Nyonya food is conglomeration of Chinese and Malay food, but there are some really unique dishes they call their own. I had lunch here while on a road trip to Melaka.

restaurant peranakan

Peranakan Restaurant has a really nice décor which reflects the heydays of the Baba Nyonya clan.

Ayam Buah Keluak

ayam buah keluak

This is perhaps the most well known Nyonya dish. It’s chicken cooked with kepayang tree nuts. Buah keluak is actually poisonous before being prepared for cooking. It prompted a lot of Googling when I mentioned that coz someone ate the inside of the nut.


I like this dish – it’s a very rich and flavorful one due to the buah keluak. I ate some of the insides of the nuts too – it’s sourish and contributes to the flavor of the chicken. Peranakan Restaurant makes the best ayam buah keluak I’ve had.

Ayam Pongteh

ayam pongteh

I’ve had this at Donald & Lily’s Authentic Nyonya Food too but that pales in comparison with Peranakan Restaurant’s version.

Ikan Tenggiri Asam Pedas

ikan tenggiri asam pedas

This is a really good and spicy fish dish that I found worthy of mention – it’s cooked with brinjals, tomatos, and ladyfingers and has a sweet, spicy and sour (more towards the latter) gravy that goes very well with rice.

Udang Lemak Nanas

vivid prawns

This is a very rich dish of shrimp cooked with pineapples and lots of oil. I set the camera to Vivid and it almost hurts my eye to look at it.

udang lemak nanas

Here’s one that’s easier on the ocular devices. ;) It’s also one of the dishes I’ll recommend at Peranakan Restaurant.

Nyonya Chap Choy

nyonya chap choy

It’s mixed vegetables, nothing special here.

Kangkung Belacan

kangkung belacan

This dish has strayed into mainstream Chinese cooking that a lot of people forget it’s Nyonya origins. If you want the most authentic version, I guess here’s where you go.

Taufo Peranakan

taufo peranakan

I’m not a huge fan of tofu but it disappeared pretty quickly so I’ll hazard a guess and say it’s pretty good if you like the stuff. ;)

Fo Yong Tan

fo yong tan

I think this is the egg omelet unless I’ve completely messed up my bearings. Forgettable.

Sambal Bendih

sambal bendih

Okra with a splash of sambal on top. Simple, but good.

peranakan restaurant food

I spent the whole time piling my plate with all the different stuff so I could take a photo. Their flagship dishes are really good, while some are mediocre, but IMHO, Peranakan Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Nyonya food if you’re in Melaka.

nissan almera

I was there on a the Eat, Play, Drive road trip with a bunch of other bloggers. We drove down on several Nissan Alameras. I had the opportunity to drive the IMPUL tuned one (which is my main ride, with a very auspicious plate too – WXN 6330). Simon, Joshua and Kelly (another group) was kind enough to let me drive the stock Nissan Alamara for a stretch.

nissan almera eat play drive

I prefered the Nissan Alamera tuned by IMPUL that was issued to my group – there’s keyless ignition and the specs are pretty decent. I found the acceleration to be a bit lacking, but as they say, it’s not a sports car, but a sedan that’s surprisingly affordable for its class. I was quite impressed by the price of the car for it’s specs.

nissan almera impul

Thanks for the invite Hui Ping! :)

auntie koh cendol

This was also where I had the famous Klebang Original Coconut Shake and while we were driving there, we also stopped by Aunty Koh’s Cendol. This place churns out really good cendol – perfect for a hot day!

auntie koh

It’s primarily manned by a single woman – the aforementioned Aunty Koh. Cendol is a shaved ice dessert with squiggly green jelly and kidney beans (we use red beans in Sarawak).

aunty koh cendol

Gula Melaka (caramelized palm sugar) gives it that distinctive sugary sweet taste, which is tempered by santan (coconut milk).

melaka cendol

You’ll be amazed by how many people come here for the RM 3.50 (large) cendol.

aunty koh

I was tempted to have two (and I think I did have two) but I also heard that this place is famous for it’s taibak (RM 1.50) – which is a very simple shaved ice dessert made with red and white flour squiggles. I found the taste very similar to something we have in Sibu called “wu wei tang” (5 taste soup) which is another shaved ice dessert that has dried apples and other misc ingredients among it.


It’s simple but refreshing.

cendol melaka

However, I still prefered the cendol at Aunty Koh Cendol. They claim to be Melaka’s best cendol and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve had cendol in lots of places from Penang to Kuantan (click on the tag cendol) and this is among the top ones I’ve had the pleasure of eating. :D

A drive around town and food discoveries in Lorong Bandar

town graffiti

I’ve never actually walked around this part of KL. I’ve driven through it often enough but never stopped and checked out the food. Joyce was telling me that she saw a lot of stalls there a while back with Shin.

This area is where the really old pre-war shoplots are at. I’ve had a steak dinner around the area at Ril’s Steakhouse at Jalan H.S. Lee but this time we’re out to investigate the little lanes around the area – essentially playing tourist, which is kinda fun.

mixing yam cake

I came across this auntie exerting herself mixing a batch of gooey stuff at Lorong Bandar 4 and asked her if I could have some of that.

I was quite taken aback when she said NO!

yam cake dough

It turns out that this is a batch of yam cake (oh kueh) that’s still uncooked. She said it’s for tomorrow and promptly put it into the a home rigged steamer with a wok. I ordered a portion of the (cooked) yam cake for just RM 2.

yam cake

It’s quite good when eaten with the (optional) chilli and sweet sauce. It’s a good find (also found a better unnamed shop) and goes to show that driving around and just stopping somewhere unfamiliar for an afternoon can be quite a fun afternoon in itself.

yam cake address

…and speaking of driving around town, here’s a short mention about the new Rio and an awesome contest where you can actually win the car by solving word puzzles!

The all new Kia Rio is a 1.4 cc compact 5-door hatchback that comes in two variants. It’s an award winning design that has a sporty profile from the low roofline combined with a special ratio of metal and glass. It’s a great looking car with a distinctive wedge that you’ll recognize instantly.

all new rio

Do you fancy yourself a word smith? Good with puzzles and all that? Always the winner in Scrabble? You can win yourself a Kia Rio by solving word puzzles in the Runabout contest on Facebook!

It’s a lot of fun!

(plus you can win a car!)

Do you do this in your car?

smoking car

I do it all the time. It’s quite paradoxical since I imposed a strict no-smoking rule in my studio apartment – I step out to the balcony if I feel like I need a nicotine infusion instead. However, I do smoke in my car and I usually have to leave the window down while driving to make the smell dissipate.

This creates more problems in itself since the haze and pollution in KL, combined with the emission from other vehicle exhausts enters your car.

Well you know how bad it can be but first let me tell you about this interesting workshop I attended.

It had me smelling ammonia voluntarily.


Haha. Read on.

It was the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care event held at A Cut Above. The academy actually has a very interesting project by its students. Check it out:


It’s completely fictional of course, and it’s not Photoshopped – everything is done on set and photographed. I thought it was quite intriguing.

spraying ammonia

Back to the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range, they have six new products from the huge Plasmacluster Ion Generator to progressively more portable devices which you can fit on your desk, car and even your own body (Mobile Ion Generator) which you can hang on your neck via a lanyard.

plasmacutter range

Left to right:
Plasmacluster Ion Generator – perfect for coverage up to 10m2 and you can tilt it and put it anywhere you want.
Bedside Ion Generator – get quality sleep with 25,000 ions/cc. It also helps retain skin and hair moisture! It’s the tall device beside the black Plasmacluster Ion Generator.
Desktop Ion Generator with Humidifying Function – this one comes with a water tank so it’ll release additional moisture. It can use a USB or AC adapter – well suited to your office or home desk I reckon.
Ion Generator for Cars – this is what I’m using! It connects to the cigarette lighter socket in your car and deodorizes 30% faster when you boost it to Turbo mode. No more lingering tobacco smell!
Mobile Ion Generator – this baby is small but powerful. It uses AC, USB or even a lithium ion battery and works for 4 hours!
Hair Conditioning Dryer – moisturizes hair and removes static electricity. It also keeps moisture in and split ends out. Some discerning customers bring their own to hair salons!

plasma ion hairdryer

The basics behind all this is explained to us by Mr Chew, which I found rather interesting. The bit that really caught my attention is the fact that people are naturally attracted to high ion concentration places in nature like waterfalls coz they induce serotonin production!

You know how much I love talking about serotonin. Heh.

plasmacutter ion technology

Anyway, the principles behind Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators has been refined since 2000 to the device they have today which is capable of producing 25,000 ions/cc!

This is important as research has shown that cities like KL and other urban areas has only about 300 positively charged ions/cc and 100 negatively charged ions/cc while the nature which our healthier ancestors lived in has 4,000 positive and negative charged ions/cc. This is still evident in places like forests nowadays but we all know that’s a dwindling commodity.

Cheesie’s hair being violated. Demonstration of Cheesie’s hair after the hairdryer treatment.

The entire range of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators is meant to restore that balance…and improve on it! Plasmacluster Ion Technology releases the very same ions that occurs in nature, which is then bonded with water molecules and delivered all over the place. Thus it not only produces massive amounts of ions, but also hydrates the skin and hair!


The ions turns into hydroxide when it comes into contact with contaminants, which effectively destroys it. It also removed bacteria, viruses, allergens, mold, odors and other pollutants and contaminants. It’s been tested and proven by various institutions around the world – from the US to Japan.

This is a perfect example which I luckily managed to film. Mr Chew demonstrated the effectiveness of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology by soaking a tissue with pure ammonia and asking if anyone wants to smell it.


I naturally volunteered! :D

I smelled the tissue soaked with ammonia tentatively…

It smelled like a very popular public toilet frequented by renal failure patients that hasn’t been cleaned for a DECADE.

I was polite enough to say it smelled like hair bleach though. HAHAHA

ion treatment

The ammonia appears blue in color when exposed to the tissue. He then put it under the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for just a few seconds and the blue color turned into orange – thus removing the ammonia, and not only that, the odor disappeared as well!


Check it out! The process of the ammonia turning from blue to orange (clean). I know coz I smelled it after it was treated. Heh! :)


It’s magical! The smell of pure concentrated ammonia magically disappears after a few seconds under the ionizer.

That’s the wonderful odor busting properties it has, in addition to the moisturizing effects. It looks orange but that’s not coz of the ammonia – the ammonia stains it blue, and the blue has been removed by just a few seconds of the ion treatment. Awesome right?


I would even use it to wipe my face….IF I didn’t know it had been soaked in ammonia before the ionizer treatment. ;)

car ion generator

I figured that the best product for me is the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars. I smoke in my car so I figured that I’ll take it for a test drive (no pun intended).


It’s very easy to use, just connect the device to the cigarette lighter socket in your car, and it’s ready to go.

You can set power levels too – from low to a mode called Turbo, which I immediately went for.


It actually emits moisturized air and ions – I was smelling it straight and got a good dose of nice clean ionized air.

I have put it in my car for several days now – it’s particularly nice at night since the illuminated LEDs allows you to see what the settings are and you can change the mode and levels if you want, just via a simple press of a button.


Did it work? I was already convinced when I watched and filmed that demonstration in the Sharp workshop but I wanted to try it out for myself.

I also have a bad tendency of eating in my car, and that emits odors as well. I did just that and smoked while driving back home with the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars on Turbo mode.

There was no smell at all after 1 minute with the windows rolled up!


It’s not just for smokers too, the Sharp Plasmacluster technology purifies the air by:

  • Suppressing the effects of airborne viruses
  • Breaking down and removing airborne mold
  • Breaking down and removing allergens
  • Removing odors

…which creates fresh clean air and lock-in skin moisture! It’s something that every car needs so you won’t have to jump in fright when someone else sneezes just in case another outbreak of H1N1 occurs. It also makes your car environment a healthier place.


The design is awesome too – the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars is shaped like a pint glass so you can put it in the drinks holder of your car. It’s aesthetically pleasing as as mentioned the illuminated LEDs are very useful at night.

Check out the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range for something that suits you – there’s even a model for your bedside so you can sleep in peace:


ion car generator

My Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars really works in quickly reducing odors – forget about car fragrances, those only mask the smell of tobacco, it doesn’t actually remove it. I love it! It’s perfect for my lifestyle. :)

The Icon Is Back!


Greetings! How do you like my disguise? Heh. It’s a pair of oversized sunnies, a huge bright red bulb of a nose and a fake mustache.

the beetle

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2012 during the weekend – it’s a two day free event that’s open to the public and all the slots were snapped up really quickly. The Icon Is Back is the theme of this year’s show and it features the new Beetle prominently.

disassembled beetle

There’s even a fully disassembled classic Beetle in the foyer!

photo kiosk

I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I have to say, this year’s show surpasses the previous one by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of interactive displays and fun stuff to do that I spent nearly 4 hours there to play around and experience everything.

facebook connect

There are kiosks that use Facebook Connect which you can interact with…

qr registration

…and you get issued a QR code wristband when you register.

beetle booth

I was there early and went for the strategically placed photo booth outside to snap a photo.

photo booth

There are no lack of things to do while waiting for the show to start.

icon is back

The Icon Is Back kicked off with a cinematic experience that is simply mind blowing. There was a countdown and the huge darkened hall exploded with a symphony of images and sound.

It started out by featuring a couple of classic Beetle commercials from back in the day…


…and has personalities like Patrick Teoh, Melinda Ooi, JJ (from Hitz FM) and others reminiscing about owning and driving the original Beetle.

The screen is over 180 degrees and you have to crane your neck to see everything that’s going on. I really liked that – it provides a good kind of sensory overload. :)

light dance

The show continued on with a launch gimmick that has choreographed dancers with light and shadows before The Beetle was driven on stage.

It’s one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen events – everything is a wonder to behold and just when you thought that it was over, another feature starts that tops the previous one.

The auditorium was packed with people and the first area where The Icon Is Back cinematic experience is held was the best part for me. It was just amazing, the way they pulled off the entire thing.

new beetle

Next up is the area where you can see all the Volkswagen cars in addition to the much anticipated new Beetle. Now, this isn’t a standard static display but a highly interactive one.

like booth

There are stations located throughout that allow you to scan the QR code on your wristband to Like it and as an added bonus…


There’s a passport that’s handed to you when you enter – it’s a map of the entire showroom and not only does it provide you with clear signs on where is where, the “passport” also has places for stamps which you can only get once you’ve visited the area!

I think that is a brilliant idea! You get a gift if you get all the stamps from the hostess, I spent a lot of time inside until the batch I was with was nearly gone and the showroom empty. Heh.

think blue

The Think Blue initiative area is one of the highlights with interactive displays which shows how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

little bugsters

There’s also a place for kids to play with…

vw cafe

…and a cafe of sorts where you can have a drink of water and some candy after walking around – all complimentary, of course.

stage performance

The stage has constant shows merging people and cars in a unique performance.

…and of course the star of the Volkswagen Das Auto 2012 Show – The Beetle! :)

black beetle

There are two variants for The Beetle – the 1.2L TSI and the 2.0L TSI.

It’s the centerpiece of the show and everyone flocked to check out the interior and features. The 1.2L Beetle features a 105PS turbocharged 4-cylinder engine while the 2.0L version has a power output almost twice that, topping out at 200PS with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG) while the former is equipped with a 6-speed DSG.

das auto show

There are a lot of different colors too, I suspect the Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow would be popular but I personally like the Deep Black with Pearl Effect. There’s also a Pearl White version if you like that color.

ipad games

I would allocate a lot of time to this place – there are a lot of fun things to do, like the various iPad games which you can play. Note that it’s connected to the screen and what you do is reflected so even while you wait your turn, you’ll be entertained with people playing badly. Heh.

There are photo booths scattered throughout the space, the Beetle Photo Booth being the most popular one. I met Tung Ai while queuing up, he introduced himself as a reader of my blog and we chatted for a bit.

tung ai

This is the photo we were queuing up for – look at how interactive the screen was, that’s the two of them posing behind the screen. Thanks for saying hello! :)


This is what the photo looks like from POV – you can see where you are in relation to the background that you choose so I saw a lot of creative poses.

beetle photo booth

This is mine. Heh. I wanted to wave out but settled on putting my arm on the window and pointing ahead instead.

photo download

There’s also a QR code at the back of the instantly printed photo where you can download a high resolution digital copy of! You can also Share it on Facebook and Twitter! Nifty.


I managed to get all the stamps for my passport and got free gifts at the end, and also a tattoo. Temporary of course.

volkswagen passport

Here’s one of us posing with it, hello Penny!

penny hb

It was a lot of fun, I didn’t realize how much time I spent inside until I realized that people were slowly filtering out. I can’t wait for the next Volkswagen Das Auto Show! I really fb like the social media interactive integration of the show this year. By the way things are going, it looks like it’s only going to get better! :)

Volkswagen Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany

transparent factory germany

The glass building behind us is actually a factory for assembling Volkswagen Phaeton. It only does that and the cars you can see are all spoken for – they’re just awaiting for the owner to pick it up. We went on a tour of the transparent assembly plant in Dresden as part of our trip and it was surprisingly interesting!

german guide

This is our English speaking guide – you must have a guide with you when you tour the VW transparent factory and no photos are allowed inside.

You can hear her speak a little here.

pheaton factory

However, you can take photos outside of the assembly area. This entire factory assembles Volkswagen Phaetons only. It’s fully customizable in Dresden, Germany. This is where people come to buy a Phaeton – you’re guided to an area where you can choose everything from the color of the car to the interior features and get your own customized VW Phaeton.

volkswagen phaeton factory

I was rather astounded by the sheer cleanliness of the factory – it’s totally unlike any other factory I’ve ever been to before. The employees even have white overalls that are spotless! I don’t know how the Germans do it but we could learn a thing or two from them.

glass factory germany

The interesting thing about this factory is that it’s one-of-a-kind. The buyer experience it offers and the tall glass building combined with the robots makes this unique. There are automated carts that follows a magnetic path (which can be changed) along the factory floor so parts will be available to the staff when needed.


You’ll probably be wondering how they get the cars out of the tall transparent building – it’s automated! There’s a car lift that goes up to the floor you want and rotates to the segment you want to extract a particular car (always a Phaeton since that’s what this factory produces). Very nifty.

vw factory dresden

There’s also a huge sphere where you can watch commercials, old ads and so forth – watch out for the latest one, it’s quite funny and targeted towards the Asian market since it’s the largest market now. The Volkswagen Phaeton transparent factory is worth a visit if you’re ever in Dresden. It’s a remarkable example of German efficiency and one of the attractions in Dresden – it’s the only transparent factory of this scale here.

transparent factory

I don’t think the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan is coming to Malaysia in it’s current form e.g. infinitely customizable so purchasing the car is an experience in itself. However, it might be coming (don’t quote me on this) in several preset models – check out the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page and ask, they’re more qualified to speak about this than me. :)

Wolfsburg – the auto city within a city


I took a day trip down to Wolfsburg from Berlin today with the others. It’s about an hour by train.

wolfsburg rail tickets

We had first class tickets thanks to Volkswagen Malaysia – it’s 76 Euros each way. The train travels quite fast though, the display says 135 km/h so I reckon it’s about 135 km away from Berlin. ;)


This is an interesting city primarily coz it won’t exist without the auto industry. The Autostadt (literally “auto city” in German) is the reason the city has prospered back in the day.

Interesting trivia: The roof area of the Autostadt is larger than the entire Principality of Monaco!

It was the bit of trivia that stuck the most to me. Heh.

autostadt cars

I collect facts like this coz I’m a bit of a general knowledge freak. Aud is like that too, I guess we’re just one of those people who absorbs the most random facts like a sponge.

Unlike her, I usually get it wrong when I regurgitate the facts though. Haha.

Anyway, the Volkswagen group owns nine brands – Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Audi, Bentley and several others. I was quite surprised by this. I didn’t know Lamborghini was owned by them.

ice cream

There are a lot of pavilions representing each car brand in Autostadt. The factory itself has its own doctors, restaurants, and stuff like that. There are several pavilions worth mentioning.

bugatti veyron

Bugatti. This beautiful and large (from the outside) pavilion only has one car. Yes, it’s the Bugatti Veyron.

Lamborghini also has a single car in their pavilion but what made it truly awesome is the intense hardstyle music playing with smoke and strobing lights. You gotta check out this video to experience what it feels like.


The car also flips to the outside, I didn’t know until after we went out and I took a photo of the car and asked Nigel to help take a photo of me with the car and the car flipped back inside, leaving a blank wall. Nifty.

Volkswagen has a pavilion that features two very interesting cars:

new beetle

The new Beetle. No, not the Beetle from the Das Auto show in Malaysia last year, this is the latest one that hasn’t hit our shores yet.

[Edit: My mistake, it’s the same one that VW brought to Malaysia last year. It’s still not for sale in Malaysia though.]

vw up

A custom Up! electric car.

up car

I reckon it looks a lot better than the stock version. :D

up usb

Up! also isn’t available in Malaysia yet, so I got a 4GB USB drive for 13.30 Euros (about RM 52). I collect thumb drives and I also tend to buy souvenir t shirts when I travel. I usually don’t wear them, I have a Stonehenge t shirt that I haven’t even opened from my backpacking trip to London a couple of years back.


Anyway, the Volkswagen pavilion also has an interactive screen where you can put in your name, email address and make a music video out of it and send it to yourself. It’s part of their Think Blue initiative.


I intentionally didn’t use English even though that option was available. I used German to muddle my way though. Heh.

Posted: 8:32 am Wolfsburg time (GMT +2)

Road trips


I love going on them. It’s fun to drive and go somewhere for the weekend. It doesn’t really matter where, the point is to get away and go to a different place to chill.

cameron highlands

Cameron Highlands

Fraser’s Hill


I’ve even driven down to Singapore before. What makes road trips enjoyable is always the company but the car you drive makes a whole lot of difference too. I’ll say it can even make or break a road trip. I’m somewhat experienced in these things and comfort also plays a huge part.

You want to be in a car that can accommodate everyone with enough space to stretch their legs to reduce driving fatigue. Even minor things like heat from the sun can ruin a perfectly good road trip – I’ve even come back sunburned coz of I took off all the tinting on my car when I shipped it from Sarawak to comply with JPJ regulations. A more powerful engine can also make a lot of difference in driver comfort.


I’ve been looking around for a new car for a while now. I’m planning to get another one after I buy my condo. I love long road trips so I have to factor that in when I purchase my car. I want one with a small turning radius coz I *have* gotten stuck in rural unpaved dirt roads and not being able to turn back while exploring a new area. Cruise control is one of the essential features that I’ll need to have. I’m also looking for more horsepower so it’ll have to be a 2.0 liter engine.

I was talking about all that with Cindy when we passed by a Proton Edar Showroom. I have been thinking about test driving the Inspira 2.0 Premium since it fits all my requirements…now it’s time to see if it lives up to the expectations.

test drive

I’ll be honest – I was pretty impressed. The car performs well on the road. The 2.0 liter engine really makes a difference when I took it for a spin, the Inspira is responsive and energetic – it’ll make road trips so much easier if you’re driving a car with some good ol’ horsepower under the hood.

I also tested the other important feature I was considering – cruise control. I took it on an extended drive down relatively secluded parts of the highway and engaged it. The Inspira 2.0 Premium’s cruise control kicked in perfectly and worked like a charm.

shift paddles

Cruise control really helps with driving comfort during long road trips as you can pretty much maintain the speed you set in steady road conditions – like long distance driving.

I have also verified that the turning radius of the Inspira is indeed just 5 meters. Well, I didn’t go out and measure it, but if you’ve been driving for 14 years, you have a good idea of whether it’s on the mark.

driving inspira

I swear this would get me out of trouble one of these days. Like I mentioned, I have a propensity of going into narrow, unpaved rural roads in search of a shortcut or just to explore during my road trips. smirk

safety glass

The Inspira is tinted not only to provide UV protection but also get rid of excessive solar heat. It doesn’t affect visibility at all – it looks perfectly clear from the inside I noticed that it filters out the sun very well. It was a hot afternoon when I drove the Inspira and with the air-conditioning blowing and the good tinting, it seems positively chilly inside. Perfection. This is just the kind of car conditions you need if you love going for road trips in our tropical climate.

proton inspira

The Inspira 2.0 Premium also comes with fog lamps and rain sensors to trigger the wipers and adjust their speed according to rain conditions – again, useful stuff on road trips, since you don’t have to engage them yourself. I’m telling you, it’s all about automating things man, that way the driver feels more like a passenger. Heh.


Proton has definitely outdone themselves with this model. The generous amount of space inside the car allows you to stretch your legs and lean back while driving. Your fellow passengers are apt to thank you for the additional room and space to chuck all their overnight bags too. The Inspira 2.0CVT Premium retails from RM 91,549 (OTR with insurance) for solid colors, while for metallic is RM 91,999 (OTR with insurance). It’s great value for money when you consider all the features it has…and you can get it in the 80k range!


Proton is currently having a Incredible Deals on Wheels promotion where you can get savings up to RM 5,000 when you book selected models from 15th November to 31st December. Surf over to for more information. If you’re looking to purchase a new car, you might as well get it when a good deal is on.

Driving at the actual Sepang International Circuit!

sic race track experience

Yes! I can strike another one off the bucket list! I’ve actually driven on the Sepang International Circuit – one of the official F1 race tracks around the world! w00t!


I was at the Volkswagen Das Auto event held to herald in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 at SIC and got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Heh!


I was there pretty early – the event was very well organized – there’s even parking near the paddock and a shuttle to ferry you there so you don’t have to walk.

driving experience

After a quick registration, I signed up to test drive the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

polo gti

I got the 9:45 am slot so I grabbed a quick breakfast of hot noodle soup and coffee before testing out the car.


This is a real world 7.7 km circuit around SIC comprising of various conditions you’ll expect in your daily commute.

I was quite impressed with the car – it handled the straights very well as you can see in the video above. The traffic was pretty light at that hour so the kind folks at Volkswagen let me drive through it twice. This isn’t the actual track (more about that later) – there was a lot of stuff to do that day.

racing sims

…like this driving simulator located throughout. It’s customized so you can see the new Volkswagen Polo in the simulator.

I also went for the Volkswagen Driving Experience – which is basically a safety course. Obstacle avoidance, emergency braking, stuff like that. It was a lot of fun though and I was so glad I got there early coz the spots were all quickly taken up till 4:30 pm.

polo models

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The car is a beauty!


All the meals were provided that day. I guess they don’t call it a VIP experience for nothing. Heh.


Catering was done from Pan Pacific so the food was pretty good.

scirocco r

There’s also a Volkswagen Scirocco R car inside – this is the actual car used in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011.

scirocco r cup

Here’s another angle of the car. I don’t think this highly tuned and spec-ed up car is road legal but won’t it be a blast to drive it? :D


Anyway, the event that everyone has been hoping for with two fingers crossed came up after lunch – the lucky draw to drive an actual Volkswagen car ON the Sepang International Circuit! The names were announced and there was a mad rush to the monitors see if we were one of the lucky ones.

lucky draw


I think I’m going to have a stroke. *pounds chest


My name was on it! I am going to drive on an actual F1 circuit. There are people who would kill for this. I know, you all hate me. ;)

on track

I suited up in safety gear and went into the car. There were Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Scirocco up for grabs and as I headed to mine, I suddenly thought – how am I going to film the experience?

safety gear

I mean, this is an experience of a lifetime, I’ve gotta get it on film! Thus, I randomly scanned the crowd of people who weren’t as lucky and picked one at random.


Say hello to Celine! She’s from Penang and has agreed to be a passenger in return for filming the Sepang International Circuit drive.


I actually filmed the entire experience (or rather, Celine did) but I had the radio on at the beginning – it was Eminem feat. Dr Dre – I Need a Doctor and I forgot to turn it off so I couldn’t upload most of the drive around SIC.

I can tell you though, it was hair-raising. I pushed the Volkswagen to its limits, hitting 220km/h on the straights and doing corners at 180 km/h. I have to say, the latter is not to be attempted by anyone less than a professional.

sic track

I nearly skidded out of control three times and it’s a testament to Volkswagen’s ride and handling which corrected my amateur mistakes. I think I might have frightened Celine though, heck, I frightened myself at the power of the car and the experience of driving at high speeds on an actual racing track.

Thank you for the experience of a lifetime, Volkswagen. I’ll never forget it. :)

Good luck in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup 2011 season!

Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011

vw das auto

I just came back from the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 and I am suitably impressed. Volkswagen sure knows how to come up with amazing events. I got to experience driving on the actual Sepang International Circuit last week and this time they have an incredible launch gimmick that you have to see for yourself. It’s epic!

vw girl

Anyway, I went there quite early and strolled around the reception area at Stadium Bukit Jalil before the dome experience started.

driving sim

They have driving simulators scattered around so you’ll have no shortage of entertainment.


You would not want for food or drink either as there are people going around with trays of intriguing hors d’oeuvres.


I had more than a couple since I haven’t had breakfast. Heh.


There are also Volkswagen Ambassadors walking around with iPads to take your photo – this will be uploaded to so you can download, tag or share the pictures.


The dome experience is hands down the HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended) of the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011. You are ushered into a complete spherical dome to see the new offerings of VW and what the future has to offer.


It’s a 30 minute experience that blew me away.

electric scooter

Petra Schreiber, the Marketing Director of Volkswagen Group Malaysia came on stage riding a futuristic electric scooter. This. Is. The. Future.


The show then started with the latest yet-to-be-released Volkswagen cars been driven right INTO the dome and around it. It rates way up there as one of the coolest launch gimmicks I’ve ever seen. Check out the video – it’s mind-blowing! :)

The dome is a complete 360 projection screen so it’s pretty amazing to be bombarded (in a good way) by interactive images everywhere you look. It’s like 3D, wait, 4D, or maybe 5D coz you can smell the exhaust of the cars. It’s the future, yo. ;)


The dome is structurally made with a loop around it so a convoy of cars can drive around it. There are ramps leading up and down too so the cars can get on the stage for a closer look before being driven away again…


…and just when you thought things have ended, a bunch of kids came on stage singing Reach by Gloria Estefan.

…and when you thought that was it, someone stood up on the third row and joined in – it’s Ella! She’s a Malaysian artist, I didn’t see her at the show until she joined in the song. I managed to capture that on video. Sweet.

elaine daly

I also got a photo with Elaine Daly – she was the MC during the event.

vw beetle

This is perhaps the most photographed car during the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011The 21st Century Beetle.

beetle interior

It’s a classic and it comes in red. It’ll come to Malaysian shores soon, and I bet the demand would be huge for this.


We literally had to be chased out of the dome coz we were taking so many photos with the VW Beetle. :)


The dome experience does not end there – the entire portfolio of existing Volkswagen cars is on display outside.

golf gti

Golf GTI


I love the Eos convertible. Imagine driving this baby around town.


However, one of the more interesting things revealed in the Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is that there will be 3 models that will be manufactured in Malaysia! This includes the Passat – and I think localization is a great idea, it’ll drive costs down and make the cars more affordable to the general public.


I went in the morning so the domes are not lit – I heard that the lighting makes the dome much more surreal at night so drop by this weekend if you can. The Volkswagen Das Auto Show 2011 is at Stadium Bukit Jalil and will be going on from 10-11th September. Head on over for a peek at Volkswagen’s new offerings!

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