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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finally, The Magic Number 10000: Saga FLX

Long time no update. Life has been lazy. I mean I have been lazy. XD

A few days ago, the car reached 10000km milestone. Went to Proton at Plentong for service, and I did a bit of complain over the front left door sensor, which doesn't detect well.
Something weird occur when I asked to switch to fully synthetic engine oil. The service center's FS is the high viscosity 15W-50 (strange for a FS) type of engine oil and they don't recommend it. No choice but to continue with semi synthetic 10W-40. Overall service cost about RM120. Good news is the service interval, even with semi-synthetic, is 10000km with this Saga FLX. The next service at 20000km is going to be quite costly (T__T )

For those who is going to go service their Proton, remember to reject ALL ADDITIONAL OFFER, like the X-1R engine treatment (RM45) and aircond cleaner (RM25) (or something in that range) unless you got extra pocket money. Not worth it and unnecessary in my opinion. Just stick to whatever inside the service booklet. 

After the service, the car does really feel lighter! Slightly but surely (or maybe it is just me, placebo effect), the car feels more responsive and much quieter compared to before. Fuel consumption is still about the same, or maybe I have become heavy-footed due to the increase in responsiveness?


If you want to monitor your instant fuel consumption ala Honda City etc style, you can always get a Bluetooth OBDII adapter and connect to your bluetooth handphone (Android only, iOS version will require WiFi version of the adapter, which is much more expensive than the Bluetooth version. I will probably write a review on that later when I have time. With the adapter and proper software, you can actually know instantly that whether your driving style is good or bad! Stay tune (?) until I am done with that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Gadget On Hand: Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE (GT-I9505) 32GB

Just got myself a gift: The long overdue Samsung Galaxy S4 (32GB edition with LTE, and no, not the LTE-A with S800 core)
Of course I get it in a subsidised price: Signed a 2 year contract with Maxis and get away with a new phone with RM1649. The bill shall be the problem of next month, until then, I shall stay happy and play around with it this month.
My first thought: It is not as ugly as you would expect from the review around the Internet. And that screen! OMG its so beautiful that the colour seems to pop out of the screen! And its is actually lighter than it looks, probably due to the polycarbonate plastic construction. Probably will do a review after playing with it for another week or so...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

After 5 Months: Con't Review of Saga FLX

After almost 5 months of driving my new toy, Proton Saga FLX 1.3 (Executive), clocking around 7000km now, I have learnt a few new things about the car.

1. Fuel Consumption
I have (still) not yet driven a full highway drive, so can't comment on that. But on city drive, it is actually not bad at all. I have averaged 13.9km/L (7.19L/100km if you like), and recently have been consistently achieving 14+km/L, and they are mostly driven on city road. And I do occasionally push the car around and having some fun, though mostly keeping the rpm at less than 3000. Of course, you will still need to drive smartly, read the flow of traffic, and don't do stupid and unnecessary braking.
Also, I have found that I have slightly better fuel economy using Shell 95 (if compared with BHP 95)! And I thought most review on Shell 95 are not so favourable! Not scientifically accurate, but this Fuelly data is still a compiled regular usage data. Other brand of fuel will be tried soon.
I do wish the fuel tank is slightly larger though. 45 litre of capacity would be good, as I would prefer to only have to refuel after about 400km, unlike the current Saga where I would start hunting for petrol station after about 340km.
Verdict: Not bad at all. Not the best. But for a car this price, you can't really complaint. Also depends on your right foot, traffic, and your brain.

2. Alarm System
The buttons on the key is just too small! And often, I actually accidentally trigger the panic button when the remote is in the pocket! Not very user friendly indeed.
Another annoying thing about the alarm is that it automatically arm the system if you did not do anything after you disarm the alarm. And not an option to disable it. Not really a problem, but if your door sensor is problematic like mine, where the left front door sensor is on and off not functioning, you can actually accidentally lock yourself out of the car! 
Verdict: Basic alarm, with a badly designed remote.

3. Auto Central Lock
An important feature missing in the Saga: No auto central lock when the car starts moving/brake pedal is depressed. Translation: You need to manually lock the car EVERYTIME! Its an important feature, considering the rampant crime rate in the street in Malaysia. 
Verdict: Missing feature!

4. Ride and Handling
As previously stated, ride is on the smooth and comfortable side, but is also very stable at high speed (at least until 140km/h). The padded seat is very good in providing lateral support when doing hard cornering.
Overtaking car has never been that fun with CVT. You will breeze pass through the car easily with the rev-happy CAMPRO. But you will need to calculate exactly (about 1 second ahead) when you want to do some serious overtaking. Suddenly increasing the throttle will only built up the engine speed initially. After the engine speed reached the necessary speed, only will you feel the rush as the clutch closes and the gear move appropriately. Planning ahead is the keyword..
Engine braking is still very high, which is not good for FC. It may actually contributed to the braking performance of Saga (and maybe Preve as well, which claimed to have very good stock brake). 
Also, be careful when driving and stopping at slope, as it is totally different from normal torque converter automatic gearbox. The car will slide back even if engaged in D. If you stopped on the slope, use handbrake, and slightly press the throttle before you release the handbrake to built the engine speed (and torque) and let the clutch closes so that you will actually move forward!
But the good thing is the engine and CVT noise is getting lower (or it may be my ear drum is getting less sensitive?) as the run-in continue. The rear brake noise, a very common problem with this generation of Saga, has been fixed as it is under warranty. I do however feels that the brake is not as powerful as before.
Verdict: Nice setting for a small family car. Need to get used to the dry-clutch-CVT to actually enjoy it. AND beware of slope!

5. Maintenance Cost
Only 2 services so far, with the next one being 10,000km service. Around RM110 for semi-synthetic Petronas-brand 10W-40 engine oil and around RM15 for oil filter. Next one is going to be more expensive, and I probably will want to switch to fully synthetic!
Verdict: Will know as soon as it is out of warranty.

Saga is still the cheapest B-segment sedan (of course, with the inclusion of hellish excise duty) with minimal feature but good comfort, cheap to run, and moderately safe (3-star ANCAP rating) car. As car is just a depreciating asset, putting money in one expensive car is not for everybody, especially with the price of house here being crazily high. It might be more worth it to put your money into getting a home first, before you consider getting a high end car. Well, if you have the moolah, no problem in getting a better car. Just my 2 kupang. Unless the government's policy change, Saga is still the better choice of the day.

Related News:
1. Saga SV? Not really worth it. Although it did come with 2 front airbag, it is lacking in ABS. ABS is a seriously important gadget nowadays, especially in Malaysia as torrential rain is very common in this tropical country of Malaysia. In the dry, ABS may not be that important (and may actually increase the braking distance), but in the wet and low grip surface, ABS provide significantly important control back to the driver. Safety should not be compromised even at the lower end range of a car. Proton should repent!
2. And when the promise of cheaper car was made, we expect lower price of the same model with same specification, not cheaper price of a same model with lower specification. And safety should never be compromised in that sense as well.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Woot! Another new and more powerful twin of Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A??!!

With my current device contract bundle nearing its end, was planning to get a new handset to replace my dying/often hanging/restarting S2. Was setting my eyes on Samsung Galaxy S4. Was also disappointed when was told that I am not eligible for the new device plan when it was launched in Malaysia as I got another 2 months left in my contract with Maxis.

Now disappointed no more. A few weeks later, a newer version with Snapdragon 600 processor with LTE support came out, and my target switched there. And then suddenly out of no where, and kind of unexpected, another new flagship S4, another "evil" "triplet" leaked, under the still-unofficial-name Galaxy S4 LTE-Advance. Under the hood "maybe" Snapdragon 800 processor, which smoked S600-series in the dust, and with a support for a newer LTE version (smoking through at more than twice the speed of current LTE). I was like "woot!!!" for a few minutes. 
Picture linked from GSM Arena
Suddenly, I am glad that I got stucked with my 24 months device plan. Will be glad to wait for the review newer evil triplet of S4! And seriously, Sammy, please don't release a new flagship once every month... My wallet will feel onion. Opening it will make me wanna cry.  (T__T)

Source: SoyaCincao and later GSM Arena

Monday, June 24, 2013

Joke of the Day: Haze Edition

With PSI/API reaching 700+ in Muar, Johor yesterday, a close friend of mine shared this joke with me. If The funny value increased if you can understand Hokkien. (Pi Sai / 鼻屎 literally means booger/dried mucus in the nostril.

Source: Unknown. Shared by CWH over whatsapp.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


There are two types of drivers.
The one that are faster than you: Crazy driver
The one that are slower than you: Idiot driver
Quoted from unknown source in the Internet

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Was exposed to this song a few months ago, on Lite FM. A very nice song indeed. Was initially attracted by the soft and smoothing melody.

As I started to analyse the lyric, I realised that it is actually a very touching song. Describing a father and his daughter relationship, from the very young girl who is a daddy's little girl, scared of the unknown, growing up, and got married. Especially love the last part, where "daddy is gonna give away his little girl". It is just so bitter-sweet (from the dad point of view), touching and lovely.

The way the song described the whole thing is just too, in one word, AMAZING. I am a guy, not really related to me (yet), but I can feel the song, reminded me of my dad, and reminding me to go back more often as time permit. After all the "did not", I should really spend more time at home.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Was planning to get an Galaxy S4 (the Octa Core i9500) on the first day it is officially available in Malaysia. Was rejected almost immediately after I asked about it. Reason: My contract of Galaxy S2 with Maxis is THREE freaking months away from completion. "Damn!" is the word I almost blurted out when I was told that I cannot choose to extend the contract by 3 months on the subsidised phone, unlike the iPhone's contract plan.

A month later, comparison between the quad-Krait (i9505) and Octa-Exynos5 (i9500) version of the Galaxy S4 started to appear on the web. Performance wise, i9500 is slightly better, while battery life wise, i9505 is a little (but significantly ahead) [source]. And LTE support in Malaysia is only available on the i9505. So I thought to myself: "Wow, luckily I didn't get one of those". But the sure thing is this: I will only get an superphone (better than smartphone) with OLED. Man! Those AMOLED screen is just too damn beautiful and colourful! At that time, i9505 is still not yet available in Malaysia. 

And just a few days ago, Maxis started to announce "LTE-capable Galaxy S4" with a "coming soon" sticker, with my contract about 1 month left. Hmm, perhaps there is a divine intervention, wanting me to go for i9505 rather than i9500. Well, if everything goes well, I should be getting a new superphone next month. 

Eagerly waiting, and now drooling while waiting...Slurp!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Useful Tip: Cobra Alarm Remote Not Functioning After Changing the Battery

Just came back from South Korea via a night flight and a connecting bus to JB at 3am. Was trying to test my old Kia Spectra when I found that the car no longer responsive to my remote. My spectra comes with Cobra alarm system. Actually I was informed about this by my sister's boyfriend about a week ago when I was in Korea.

After searching for a while, I found this tip (Link). And it had potentially saved me precious car towing fee! Thanks AhBeng online! Turns out that it is for resynchonising the remote with the car alarm system after changing the remote battery (which btw, I did not change, just some trial and error way to try to fix it DIY), and thus the title, with the hope that it may help people out there with similar problem.
1. Go within your remote control striking range.
2. The remote comes with a big button and small button. Now press them together for about 3 seconds.
(I guess this is to saying "hello" to the alarm onboard)
3. The remote will start blinking, and when the blinking stop, release the buttons. Then press the big button twice.
(Again with the guessing, this is a communication code, telling the alarm system that "hi I was just reincarnated as I was previously so hungry that I died of hunger (of battery juice), so nice to meet you!)
4. Now the alarm should beep 5 times. Test your alarm. It should work fine now.

Good luck. And may the force (or luck) be with you.

Via AhBeng Online

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Ride Review: Proton Saga 1.3 FLX CVT Executive

Got my new ride on Valentine's day (14th February 2013). Black Proton Saga 1.3 FLX CVT Executive variant.
Why did I choose this as my 3rd wife (sorry 老婆大人!!)? Easy. Budget: RM4x k, fuel efficient, stable at high speed, and nice to drive. Initial test drive do convince me well. I really like the brake (compared with the old Iswara of my house) and the fact that it is using CVT. Have been using it for a few months now. This is what I feel. This will be my first 5 year plan: This car will be replaced at the end of 5 year, and I shall upgrade it to a better unit at that time.

At first glance, it looks...Tall! Significantly taller than the old FL and BLM. This suggest that the suspension is tuned this way, more travelling distance for the suspension and more comfortable ride, at the cost of higher center of gravity. This do make the Saga looks a lot less sporty.
The headlamp, meanwhile, definitely looks more "focused" and aggressive compared with Saga FL and Saga BLM. Bumper and skirt, being the non-premium 1.6 version, is, well, normal. But oh well, I am not looking for something sporty, for now. My target was to get a "not-too-ugly" ride which is cheap, stable and low maintenance. The executive variant also comes with a 185/60R14 alloy rim, side mirror turn signals and a cheap looking subtle spoiler. Overall: It looks ok. Better looking than Viva definitely, slightly better than the new MyVi, and the ugly Mitsubishi Mirage, if we compared with car around RM40 - 60k. Persona do look better though.

The dashboard is normal plastic. Looks standard, and cheap, but it is this is a low cost car, so nothing to be complain about.
The seat is fabric, a change from my old Spectra which comes with leather seat. The front seat is just nice, for me anyway. Meaning that a person with BMI >30 may find the seat to be a bit too small for comfort. Another thing I like about the seat is the unique side support. Definitely feels more comfortable and steadier when travelling long distance and cornering hard (!!). The back seat, though, is nothing special.
The legroom is seriously generously big! For the backseat anyway. Good for family travelling in a small car. When the front seat is fully pushed back, there is still sufficiently comfortable legroom for the backseat passenger.
The air conditioning unit is quite powerful. At lowest speed, the fan speed is as fast as the 2.5 on my Spectra. The flow of cool air can effectively reach everywhere inside the car, a problem with the Spectra.

My philosophy for getting a car is: "Car without sizable boot space is not a car". Luckily Saga did good in this area. 413L of boot space. Not really the biggest, not even near, but it is not little either. Comes with a washable rubber mat to prevent accidental liquid spillage.

The Cockpit (Feel and Taste)
IMHO, the cockpit deserve a special subtopic as it is the area where the driver interact with the car. So, feel, comfort and practicality of each and every switch/button/stick etc is important!
The meter is illuminated in white backlight, that is if you turn on the headlight. No headlight, no backlight. But seriously, when it is illuminated, the 2 analogue meter dial (tacho and speedo) looks pretty. The fuel gauge and temperature gauge, though, is digital, divided into 6 small boxes. IMHO, I prefer these 2 in analogue form rather than digital form. And there is the standard sets of diagnostic/warning lamp and odometer/tripmeter on the meter as well. The tripmeter could use some improvement though: only 1 memory! I use the tripmeter for 2 things: 1 for the calculation of fuel efficiency and another for the trip that I use for claiming purposes. No multipurpose display for this budget car.
The steering wheel is height adjustable, though not telescopically adjustable. The seating and pedal position is designed so that you will have a hard time trying to use both foot to operate the pedal (compared with my Spectra). Automatic gearbox don't like concurrent pedals application anyway, so it may actually help preventing the CVT into going into high stress mode. Meanwhile, seating position can be adjusted to go forward/backward and up/down, but the seat height is fixed. Not really a problem for me though. Shorter or taller person may find it hard to read the meter though.
Next is the turn signal/headlamp/wiper stick. 1 word. Weird. For me anyway, since I came from the background of driving cars with wiper stick on the left and turn signal/headlamp stick on the right. Will definitely need some time to get use to though. The wiper functionality is just the basic off-int-1-2 and pull-to-wash-windscreen, no adjustable interval for the int. And NO REAR WIPER, which is normal for a sedan (but hey, my Spectra have it, so why a tiny Saga can't have it?). Boy I do miss the rear wiper function especially on a cold morning. Headlamp and turn signal is standard. The quality of the stick does leave some room for improvement, as I do feel like making the sticks stretch a bit too much every time I used them, even with low force applied on them.
The side mirrors, meanwhile, is power adjustable, but the switch is a bit hard to be accessed, especially during driving session. They are, however, need to be manually folded, a bit annoying when you park in a small and narrow parking lot. The size of the mirrors, though, is huge! A big plus for a small car!
The gear knob is the normal P-R-N-D-L type automatic gearbox. The knob movement feels good and can be reach comfortably. The CVT version comes with an additional SAT button. A useless button if you asked me. More to that later.
And lastly, the most important, and worst aspect of the cockpit: The toy-like steering wheel! This is the worst looking steering wheel out of the so many car that I have seen and tried. Even the cheap game wheel for PC that I bought a few years ago feel better. The feel of the steering is just not there. The grip is slightly too big, and definitely does not feel as well as Spectra. The steering wheel also comes equipped with basic audio control, nothing to shout about though.

Proton, with their association with Lotus engineering, did well with the ride and handling of the car. The car goes over the bumps quite well, and for a 1065kg kerb weight car, it performs quite well for comfort. Handling is a bit on the soft side, and like most FF (front engine front wheel drive), is more on the understeer side. Turn in is not as sharp as I would like (as in Spectra). And the turn radius is actually not that great. Parking with this car is a bit of hassle due to the rather limited steering angle (or the turn radius, I don't know). I can park my Spectra (a relatively wide and long car in comparison) much easier than the Saga. This is where Proton can look at to improve.
Now comes the engine/drivetrain combo. This is the most interesting part about the car. It is a love / hate situation. The engine is not the most powerful on the block, but it is more than enough for normal city drive. For the transmission, you will need to learn "How to tame a CVT gearbox". The Saga FLX's CVT is actually attached to a wet clutch, rather than the commonly used torque converter. It does really feels like driving a manual transmission in a way. From standstill, you will need to rev the engine a bit (about 1.5k RPM) and the system automatically close the clutch ala manual  transmission. Also, you will feel the engine dragging the car down (not much gliding down the road) when you release the throttle, very significantly when the RPM reach around 1.3k, (for example taking a slow corner). It can be quite evident as the engine rarely drop to less than 2k RPM when gliding down the street, compared to the Spectra which can glide down the road at 70km/h at engine speed of 1.2k RPM. It depends on individual driving style, but for me, I prefer to glide down the road at low RPM whenever necessary to save fuel. Overtaking does take sometime to get used to, coming from a normal torque converter automatic transmission, as stepping down the gas pedal suddenly will make the engine scream to 3k - 4k RPM quickly without any significant change in speed, and then suddenly, you will feel a forward rushing feeling as the CVT changes the gear ratio and engine speed drop appropriately. It can be scary, but once you get used to it, it is quite fun. This, however, is a big pain in the ass especially changing lane in heavy traffic as the initial acceleration is slow and unpredictable. edit Further reading on autoworld forum reveal many new tips and tricks!


So far so good. Only at 1000km service only so far. The only problem I had encountered is the door sensor.
Newest problem: "Tak tak tak" sound when braking at low speed. Checked and found that it is a common problem with the rear drum brake that does not cause problem with braking performance. Shall get into Proton Service Center when the 5000km service interval reached.

Fuel Consumption
With 50:50 mixed city driving, I have achieved about 13.6km/L (or 7.4 L/100km, 32 MPG, 14 sen/km), not yet hitting the 5000km mark yet. And at highway, the figure reached 15.9km/L (or 6.3 L/100km, 37.4 MPG, 12 sen/km). Quite good actually.

The good:
Good looking speedo and tachometer, seat with good lateral support, relatively fuel efficient, CVT (good pick up after standing start, good for mildly aggressive driving), good NVH, comfortable soft suspension without getting too bad on cornering, ABS, EBD, good feel on the brake (especially if compared to old saga), very large side mirror
The bad:
Too tall (thus less aggressive looking), toy-like steering wheel, CVT (standing start is unusual for an automatic gearbox, aggressive overtaking is not a good idea, steep hill slide back), whining CVT, no automatic central lock when stepping on brake, bad rear drum brake design, cannot really glide down the road (like auto gear box with torque converter /manual clutch), undersized rim (15 inch would definitely look better), very limited turn radius, digital fuel/temp indicator, only single tripmeter memory.
The so so:
The dashboard is so so looking, onboard audio quality is so so, boot space also so so, dual front airbag, price is so so, audio control on steering wheel (functional but so so design)

Proton did well, but could do still do much better, especially the interior design. A total disgrace. The path of choosing CVT is good move by Proton, as many car manufacturer are moving that way compared to other transmission (dual clutch, 6/7/8/9 speed torque converter, etc), and I do feel that CVT is going to be the future of all automatic transmission due to its gear ratio flexibility, long maintenance interval and lighter compared with multi-speed automatic gearbox. The engine and CVT can still be improved, as I feel that there is room for improvement (as in fuel efficiency).

More pictures will come soon, if I have the time! I should have, since the place I work in is sooooooooooooo free.