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Second-generation Toyota Vellfire

When the second-generation Toyota Vellfire was launched alongside the third-generation Toyota Alphard recently back in January, Toyota's Japanese press materials described the more striking Vellfire's sheet metal to be focused on “boldness”, whereas the Alphard's styling was claimed to emphasise “luxury”. Despite the marketing gibberish, there is no doubt that the pair look extremely arresting, oozing presence in abundance.

The second-generation Toyota Vellfire, in our opinion at least, appears to be more elegant all-round than the Alphard. It misses out on Alphard's massive and bling-y chrome grille, instead adopting a simpler and more conventional grille with horizontal slats.

While the Vellfire sports a completely different front fa...

Posted 3 hours ago
Posted in PI Car Features

Toyota Alphard 7 Seater

Introduction, Exterior

The Toyota Alphard was first launched in 2002, and almost immediately became a huge sales success in Hong Kong. The Alphard is a favourite among the chauffeur-driven rich in Hong Kong, having given up their German sedans for these ultra-comfortable sofas on wheels. On local shores however, sales of the Alphard only picked up from about 2008 onwards, slightly after the launch of its second generation.

The Alphard is actually named after brightest star in the Hydra constellation, and there is no doubt that the bulk and presence of the third generation Alphard will draw attention just like how a bright star would.

Featuring a fresh new design for the third generation, the Alphard’s styling is definitely not what on...

Posted Yesterday
Posted in PI Car Features

Honda Vezel 1.5 S i-VTEC

A few weeks ago, we took the new Honda Vezel out for a test drive, and we were left impressed. The very handsome crossover wowed us with its good looks, spacious and extremely practical interior, and by being a rather fun car to drive.

If you've noticed any differences in the pictures, today we'll be looking at a Vezel with higher specifications.

The S model comes with a host of differences separating it from the lesser X and G models.


On the outside, there are minor differences between the

Contrasting gunmetal grey lower body cladding
While lesser models are equipped with unpainted plastic lower body cladding in black, the highest spec model comes with painted cladding in a smart-looking gunmetal grey.

The top dog model Ve...
Posted 20 May 2015
Posted in PI Car Features

Daihatsu Copen

Introduction, Exterior

Believe it or not, the bubbly-looking previous generation Daihatsu Copen has been around since 2002, with production running a full 12 years before ending silently in 2012. Called the “Noddy Car” by many familiar with the cartoon character of the same name, the car’s proportions was extremely tiny and made it look cartoon-like.

However, the car had charm in spades and was as cheerful to drive as it was to look at. It was cheap to buy and run too, its 0.66-litre turbocharged engine was extremely frugal, while its road tax was as tiny as its dimensions too.

In late 2014, the second generation Daihatsu Copen was released. Based on the company’s latest “D-Frame” monologue chassis, the new car is still as microscopic...

Posted 12 May 2015
Posted in PI Car Features

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit has always been one of the best-packaged cars in the market, providing acres of space in a small, practical hatchback body. For its latest iteration, the third generation Honda Jazz/Fit employs a brand new platform with usage of innovative structural design.

Ultra-high-strength steel is used to increase the body’s structural rigidity, whereas the the trailing arms for the torsion beam rear suspension were shortened, allowing the rear axles to be moved backwards, and hence allowing more legroom in the back seats.

The fuel tank still sits in the same location as in its predecessors – under the floor pan – albeit flatter than before. All very technical, but innovative too.


The new signature Honda grille seen in r...

Posted 8 May 2015
Posted in PI Car Features

2015 Toyota Harrier 2.0 Elegance Panoramic (A)

Introduction, Exterior

Ever since the launch of the first generation model in 1998, the Toyota Harrier has been a firm favourite among the crossover-buying crowd, wooing buyers with its good looks, great build quality, and decent practicality. Its biggest draw was perhaps that it was a Lexus RX save for the engine, badges, and price tag. It’s also no secret that these siblings were so identical that many owners swapped out the Toyota and Harrier badging for Lexus ones.

Following the launch of the third generation Lexus RX in 2009, the Harrier soldiered on as the old model based on the second generation RX launched in 2004. However, this year the Harrier makes a comeback as a stand-alone model.

With this new generation, the Harrier is ...

Posted 7 May 2015
Posted in PI Car Features

The mid-size sedan market here is a competitive one and in order to stand out, one needs to not only be priced well, but offer a decent amount of kit. It doesn’t hurt if you have bomb proof reliability to add to your list of positive kicks.

While most people would baulk at the thought of seeing their car used as a taxi, it’s actually proof of the car’s reliability. Imagine this, a taxi would easily cover 500 kilometres in a day and any sort of down time would cause problems for the drivers’ income. Naturally the taxi companies would place reliability at the top of their list of prerequisites when choosing a new fleet.

Besides reliability, the latest Sonata is a huge upscale bump compared to its taxi cousins. On top of a much improved i...

Posted 5 May 2015
Posted in Features

Owning an SUV in Singapore often seems like a needless extravagance considering how urbanized our landscape is. But that hasn’t deterred many weekend adventurers who’ve chosen to live a life less ordinary by choosing their beefy off-roaders over the run of the mill Toyota Altis.

And for the past decade, The New Paper has been celebrating this spirit of adventure and gathering like-minded adventurers in their annual SUVival challenge where participants partake in a weekend of adventure, games and good old camaraderie with friends who share the same passion for off-roading.

For the past few years, this event has been sponsored by one of the oldest brands in off-roading. Jeep has been around since 1941 and built the first true off-roade...

Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline posted 30 Apr 2015
Posted in Features
Five reasons to take a closer look

Road Trips

A road trip through Australia's North Queensland...
We take the latest Volkswagen Golf R on an epic road trip across Malaysia…
Cars mostly make our lives easier as we go about the hustle and bustle of modern living. However, they tend to remind