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SGCM_editorial

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  1. SGCM_editorial

    7 tips for the perfect 7-day Scottish road trip

    I recently headed to Scotland for a seven-day road trip with my sister, and it would be an understatement to say that we didn't do much planning ahead of time. Hell, I only packed my luggage about six hours before my outbound flight from Singapore. We figured that we could make it up along the way (and we pretty much did). If you're thinking of making plans for a road trip holiday to Scotland, here are seven tips that I have gleaned from my time there. 1. Pick the right car Choosing the 'right' car can really make or break a roadtrip. In many ways, it's a balancing act - you could go for something affordable, compact and fuel efficient, but compromise on boot space, engine power and driving fun. Alternatively, you could opt for something more premium and high-performance, but that obviously comes at a greater financial cost, petrol and otherwise. I'd really recommend something that's comfortable and easy to drive (you'll be doing many hours of driving) and has good amounts of space. Having heated seats is also a big bonus during the winter time. The Skoda Superb that I elected on manages to strike a great balance. It's easy to drive, comfortable over long distances and has an enormous boot. At the same time, the 2.0-litre engine provides plenty of punch for the occasional frisky driving, while still being reasonably fuel efficient. 2. Pack warm, very warm It gets cold in Scotland in November. In places like Fort William and Inverness, temperatures can easily drop to sub-zero. So, you want to make sure that you wrap up and keep warm. Bring gloves, a beanie, and a comfortable and thick down jacket. The weather can be quite erratic too. A bright sunny day can be punctuated by the occasional 20-minute torrential rain, or you might get a persistent bout of light drizzle. Be sure to pack an umbrella and a waterproof outer layer, too. 3. Make sure you have data Especially if you're heading out into the countryside (where Scotland is most beautiful), you want to be sure that you have mobile data. Beyond just navigation, it also lets you search for nearby attractions, places to eat, and perhaps the nearest petrol station as well. This is especially important if you don't have a clearly planned out itinerary (like us). You don't want to be reliant on finding a wi-fi hotspot - there'll be long stretches of road/driving where wi-fi is simply not an option. Having data also ensures that you have ready access to Spotify, important during some of the longer stretches of driving as you move from one location to another. 4. Indulge in local delights Yes, most people probably know about haggis, a Scottish dish of sheep puck that's famously divisive (I personally really enjoy it). But, there's plenty of other local fare to be enjoyed, most notably the seafood. Additionally, be sure to also chat with the locals. The Scottish people are an extremely friendly, charming and humorous bunch. It might take a moment or two to acquaint to the heavy Scottish accent, but once you do you'll realise that the locals are a deeply sardonic and yet warm and welcoming bunch of people. 5. Start each day early In the wintertime, the sun sets around 4:30pm every day. And, when it gets dark, it gets really dark. To maximise your daylight hours, you should start each day early (the sky is bright by about 7:30am each morning). Take full advantage of the available daylight hours by going on morning hikes up to some picturesque locations, visit as many whisky distilleries as you can cram into one afternoon, or just soak in the crisp air and blissful serenity. 6. Drive safe The roads are largely quiet this time of the year, and Scottish drivers are generally very courteous, but you still want to be careful. You'll encounter many narrow single track roads, and potholes are fairly abundant. It would also be wise to stock up on snacks and water whenever you can. Snacks are useful for keeping yourself alert and awake, especially on long journey or when driving at night. Also, if you do decide to drive at night (or basically anytime after 5:00pm in November), you want to be extra careful. Between towns, the roads are long, narrow, windy and 100% unlit. 7. Pray for good weather There's not much you can do in terms of 'plannin'’ the weather, but pray nonetheless (do a rain dance if you have to). Having good weather (ie. no rain) can make all the difference between a cheerful and a dreary, depressing day. It also means that the hundreds of photos you take will turn out much more vibrant and beautiful.
  2. SGCM_editorial

    MCF Markdown with Skoda

    Over 30 MyCarForum (MCF) members gathered at The Karting Arena located at The Grandstand at Turf Club Road on Saturday morning for the MCF Markdown with Skoda, with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the full Skoda lineup of cars, as well as to try their hands at a little go-kart action. Unfortunately, the weather proved to be a bit of a downer, as the non-stop rain meant that the MCF members were not able to head out onto the go-kart track. Nonetheless, there were still plenty to see and do during the MCF Markdown. Claire Jedrek and Yuey Tan, two of Singapore's premier motor racing drivers, were on hand to share their experience driving their new family SUV - the Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TSI Laurin & Klement. Together, they highlighted how the Kodiaq delivers when it comes to practical family needs, important as they now have two children. The car's ample safety features ensure that all passengers are well taken care of, while the seven-seater configuration also means that it can easily accommodate the whole family, parents and in-laws included. Convenience features like the hands-free tailgate allows easy loading of groceries, important for Claire as during grocery runs, she always tends to carry so much in one go that her hands are always full. However, the couple also highlighted how the Kodiaq still delivers when it comes to driving dynamics and sporty performance. This is important as the Kodiaq also allows them to partake in adventures up North, including a recent off-road experience. There, the Kodiaq was spacious enough to easily fit both of their mountain bikes, while the car's all-wheel drive system allowed them to easily tackle the dirt tracks along the way. Also, one aspect of the Kodiaq that Yuey especially enjoys is the driving modes - out on the open road, the Sport mode firms up the cars suspension, increases steering weight and sharpens throttle response, allowing him to engage in spirited driving befitting of his racing credentials. The discussion panel was moderated by sgCarMart Senior Automotive Journalist Desmond Chan, who also took the opportunity to share with the MCF members in attendance about his recent week-long holiday in Scotland where he had driven a Skoda Superb. While the rain meant that guests were unable to head out onto the track, thankfully the eight racing simulators ensured that everyone was still thoroughly occupied. The many youngsters in attendance were especially competitive when it came to sim racing, and even had the chance to race against Claire. Members also has plenty of opportunity to test drive all of the Skoda models, including the Kodiaq, the Karoq, the Superb, the Octavia, as well as the Octavia RS 245. Of course, attractive prizes were given out during the MCF Hangout, with the lucky draw winner winning four The Karting Arena Grand Prix vouchers worth $110 each. MCF members had ample opportunity to test out the full range of Skoda models. The Octavia RS 245 proved highly popular among all those in attendance. Claire and Yuey shared about their experience driving the Skoda Kodiaq. Everyone got behind the wheels of the racing simulators to try to set the overall best lap time. One lucky individual walked away with the grand prize of four The Karting Area Grand Prix vouchers!
  3. SGCM_editorial

    Malaysia halts enforcement of VEP

    Malaysia has halted the enforcement of its Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) at the two Johor checkpoints, the Ministry of Transport said on 1 October, following several teething problems last week. The ministry did not say if, or when, the VEP enforcement would be started. Malaysia's VEP enforcement was scheduled to begin on 1 October, with the scheme conducted only during non-peak hours. Read our full coverage here, or learn more about how to obtain your VEP here.
  4. SGCM_editorial

    BMW M135i xDrive: Sheer driving pleasure?

    With the new 1 Series now being built atop a front-wheel drive platform, does it still deliver that sheer driving pleasure internet purists are so keen on? Hot on the tail of the Mercedes-AMG A35, the M135i now has a transversely mounted 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder lump up front, putting down 297bhp and 450Nm of torque through BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. That's also 43bhp and 50Nm less than the last outgoing M140i, but it doesn't feel any less quick or responsive than before. In fact, in most areas, it feels quicker with more usable power. Despite being a front- based all-wheel drive system, the M135i dives into corners with a high level of precision. No amount of silly heavy-footedness can trick it either. The M135i just offers more grip instead, thanks to the car's torsen front axle lock system that pulls you into the corner. It also communicates well in any damping mode, without crashing and diving at the slightest hint of throttle or steering corrections. We found the Aisin-derived eight-speed automatic tends to be dramatic with heavier, more aggressive shifting in Sport - perhaps engineered for more drama. Unlike true blue M cars, you can't change how burly you want the shifts to be, and perhaps a little less of that would be good. Check out our full review here! Here is more eye-candy of the 1 Series in various specifications courtesy of BMW. Your car's actual specifications may vary. Share with us what you think in the comments below!
  5. SGCM_editorial

    MCF Hangout with Motul x Subaru

    Over 30 MCF members with their loved ones arrived at the Subaru showroom in Leng Kee last Saturday, in the latest edition of MCF Hangout in partnership with Motul and Subaru. The hangout with French lubricant brand Motul and Subaru isn’t a random occurrence. Motul and Motor Image, exclusive distributor of Subaru cars in Singapore, has held a partnership for many years. In 2008, Motul, along with Motor Image Rally Team (MIRT) developed the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) Team Racing Oil. 100% fully synthetic, the APRC Team Racing Oil is specially made for MIRT’s cars racing in hot Asian climates. Just earlier this year, Motul and Motor Image announced that it will supply an exclusive line of lubricant products to its customers. Developed in Japan, the new Subaru engine oils by Motul are specially tailored for the brand’s boxer engines. MCF members also got a chance to learn more about Subaru’s range of cars on offer, as well as Subaru’s EyeSight safety assistance systems at the event, too. Member of the Editorial team at sgCarMart, Idris Talib, shared his experience using Motul’s 5W-30 engine oil for his Subaru Forester XT after a service at Motor Image. Idris mentioned that he was previously running 5W-40 oil, based on recommendations from friends and workshop owners. “Many have told me to use 5W-40, as turbocharged engines run hotter and require thicker oil. But upon using Motul and Subaru’s 5W-30 offering, I was getting better performance, improved fuel consumption and never had issues with engine oil temperatures” At the event, Senior Manager - Regional Product Planning at Motor Image Enterprises Pte Ltd, David Ting, shared more on the benefits and abilities of EyeSight Technology. He also answered questions on the technology from MCF members. EyeSight’s Driver Assist Technology includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management, as well as Lane Departure Warning. According to David, these systems can function to alert and mitigate collisions from speeds as slow as 1km/h, up to a top speed of 200km/h. After the sharing session, MCF members also had a chance to experience the safety assistance systems at work with a live demonstration, using a Subaru Forester equipped with EyeSight. Later in the day, MCF members were also treated to a lucky draw session, where three members walked away with limited edition Subaru WRX STI collectible models worth $50.
  6. Malaysia's transport ministry has issued a press release stating that it will defer enforcement of its Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) 'during peak-hour traffic operation' until further notice. The decision was made after several issues related to the VEP implementation were made known to the ministry, including difficulties in getting an appointment for the VEP-RFID Tag installation. The ministry added that this affects all outbound traffic at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar and Kompleks Sultan Abu Bakar, or at the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints respectively, until further notice. Read more about the VEP enforcement deferment here, or refer to our handy guide on how to obtain your VEP here!
  7. Cars and cycling seldom go well together. But in the case of Skoda, cycling and bicycles are rooted deep in its heritage. In fact, Skoda first produced bicycles before cars. It is still deeply passionate about it - Skoda even has a website all about cycling, called We Love Cycling. Plus, Skoda has supported other cycling races around the world, such as the Tour de France, and the Titan Challenge - a six-day mountain bike stage set in the desert. Deserts are certainly tough for vehicles, not just cyclists. But Skoda has in fact completed the Dakar Rally with a Kodiaq support car, too. Skoda pushes on with two wheels closer to home. This time, it is for the Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade, a cycling event with a charitable cause. Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade started out in 2005 from a group of passionate cyclists. The 12th edition this year will benefit The Salvation Army’s Peacehaven Nursing Home. This is Skoda’s second partnership with the Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade as Official Safety Car. The six support cars for the ride included the Karoq, the Kodiaq, the Superb, two Octavias and of course, the hot-blooded Octavia RS245. Setting off on Friday morning, we headed to Ipoh for a night's rest, as we will be heading up to Cameron Highlands in the wee hours of Saturday. Some 50 cyclists will be taking part in this leg up, Cameron, with a distance of about 61km. Now, 61km might not seem like a challenge (we're not cyclists), but with over 1,000m of upward elevation to the top, and Malaysia's tropical climate, it is a pretty daunting task. The six support cars will be tasked with different duties. The Kodiaq would be at the back of the cycling pack, working as the sweeper. The Octavia RS, on the other hand, was the lead car, which included running up and down the hill in search of cyclists who needed help, or water and bananas. The lead car would raise signals to the nearest available support Skodas and appropriate team to leap forward and assist. Therefore, the performance of the RS really came in handy. The Karoq, Octavia and the Superb would then carry out duties ranging from medical and technical assistance to distributing food and drinks along the route. Our chariot of choice was the Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI Ambition. From what we saw, Skodas were perfect for the tasks on hand. The Kodiaq, with its higher ride height, allowed the volunteers to have a better view of the road and cyclists ahead of them. Volunteers driving the Kodiaq also told us that the height also gave him the added advantage of being at eye level with the cyclists, whenever he needed to pull up to their side and convey a message to them. Plus, with more than an adequate performance from the turbocharged engines, all Skodas were able to make the climb up and down Cameron quickly to attend to the cyclists' needs. The Superb was perfect for us, too, as its performance and comfort-oriented suspension meant that we could quickly get to where the action was. The practicality of Skodas across the range played a big part. While roof and bicycle racks can be fitted to all cars, Skodas excel in interior space, too. So all the cars could fit big ice coolers for drinks, including spare bicycle wheels, cycling gear, tools and first aid supplies if there was a need for it. By 11:00 am, some riders had in fact reached the endpoint, and most of the cyclists made it to the lunch stop by noon. With the help of Skoda’s support vehicles and volunteers, all of the cyclists made it up. From our short experience covering a cycling event up close and in action, the Skodas proved to be versatile, reliable and always ready to go. It thus also makes sense that Skoda has been the official vehicle for one of the biggest cycling events in the world, the Tour de France, for the 16th year running.
  8. SGCM_editorial

    Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon: Shrunken Sedan

    With the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz's A-Class Saloon here in Singapore, fans of the classic sedan bodyshape now have one more option to consider when buying into the premium segment. With selling mass market front-wheel drive cars looking more like an attractive business case for the German manufacturers in these astute times, we were naturally curious to see if the new Baby Mercedes still possessed that polish associated with its badge, and so eagerly took one out for a review! If you are a fan of connected technology, there is much here that will impress. The cabin of the saloon is comfortable, premium and high-tech. You get the new generation infotainment system, complete with the twin 10.25-inch displays and the MBUX voice assistant. There's 64-colour ambient lighting, built-in navigation and smartphone integration as well, so all your day-to-day needs will be covered. While on the road, the car is comfortable and light on its feet. we did find however, that while power comes easily from the 1.4-litre engine, the drivetrain still lacks refinement and makes a fairly unsavoury sound when worked hard. Should that one flaw deter you from making a purchase? We don't think so. With the saloon priced just $2,000 more than the equivalent A-Class Hatchback, there's no denying that the car sports an increased practical appeal. Plus, its a saloon, which is classy, and fitting for a Mercedes. Share with us what you think in the comments below, or read our full review here! The A-Class Saloon also packs a 420-litre boot, 50 litres more than the hatchback. As usual, here are some photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Your actual specifications may vary.
  9. SGCM_editorial

    Skoda Superb: Affordable yet Capable

    Hi Carbon, Good spot! We have adjusted the article accordingly
  10. Construction works for five stations on the new Jurong Region Line (JRL) are expected to start next year and slated for completion in 2026. The five stations are Choa Chu Kang, Choa Chu Kang West, Tengah, Hong Kah and Corporation, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday. The authority has awarded two contracts worth $739.5 million to construct the five MRT stations. The stations will form part of JRL, Singapore's seventh MRT line, which is set to open in three stages from 2026. Comprising 24 stations, the line was announced last year to improve connectivity in the Jurong area, with the aim of boosting the area's transformation into a second Central Business District.
  11. SGCM_editorial

    Skoda Superb: Affordable yet Capable

    Skoda adds yet more incentive to opt for its excellent Superb with its 1.8 TSI variant, so naturally we take one up North into the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia to test it out. Despite being a more affordable alternative, the Superb Ambition didn't disappoint at all. From the inside at least, the 8.0-inch infotainment system was still intuitive to use, with two physical knobs to control the volume and scroll through menus, while the car remained very compliant and comfortable on the road throughout the 1,400km drive. For sure, features such as ventilated seats, ambient lighting, and a sunroof have been omitted in this variant, but at a good $29,000 discount off the 2.0-litre Laurin & Klement variant (as of 10 September 2019), we think these are features you can live without. The 1.8-litre turbocharged lump is good for 177bhp and 250Nm of torque, meaning there is no stark difference in performance against the 2.0-litre powerplant as well. And that, in our eyes, is good enough reason to consider shopping for the more affordable option. Read our full review here! The following pictures show the car in other specifications. Or perhaps you might be more keen on the facelifted 2020 model?
  12. SGCM_editorial

    BMW Alpina B5: Comfortable Cruiser

    Who says performance cars need to come with a sporty ride? Last week we tested the BMW Alpina B5 to see if Alpina's take on the performance saloon is a viable alternative to the BMW M5. So what sets this Alpina apart? Firstly, the interior has received a host of luxurious touches to set it apart from the regular 5 Series: The digital dashboard in the B5 has its own Alpina-specific design and colour scheme, for example, while the handcrafted Alpina steering wheel is made of Lavalina leather (the same leather used in Rolls-Royce cars), and features blue/green stitching. But what truly sets this car apart from the rest of the performance saloon pack is what is underneath you: With a suspension designed to deliver comfort and refinement in spades, the Alpina is not just comfortable, but sublimely comfortable. Adding to the comfortable cruise is the fact that the B5 is joyously easy-going to drive, with the lightest of pressure on the accelerator sending the car wafting rapidly down the road. With the abundance of humps and rumble strips on our local roads, would Alpina's take on the performance saloon, with its effortless and classy character, be a better suit for your everyday commute? Read our full review here!
  13. Transport giant ComfortDelGro has rolled out an on-demand bus service. The listed bus and rail operator said that its trial ComfortConnect service has been available to residents in Tanjong Rhu and Meyer Road since 15 August. The service operates from Mondays to Fridays between 10:00am and 4:00pm, and serves 16 stops, including most of the condominiums in the Tanjong Rhu / Meyer Road area, Parkway Parade, the Singapore Swimming Club and Dunman High School. No fares are being collected during the three-month trial.
  14. SGCM_editorial

    Volvo V60: Stylish Stationwagon

    Stationwagons are not exactly the de facto car of choice for Asian buyers, but the cutting-edge styling of this V60 had our team curious, so we tested one to see if it is still the perfect family hauler. Initial impressions are good, with the car delivering sleek, Swedish design inside and out. Standout features include the 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system flanked by rectangular air vents as well as the larger-than-life panoramic sunroof. Children and in-laws will have scant to complain of in the rear, with ample space all around for all rear occupants, thanks to Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, the current generation not only sports a 100mm longer wheelbase than before, which translates into greater rear legroom, but boot capacity has also been increased to a now class-leading 529 litres. Fold the rear benches down and a generous 1,441 litres of hauling space will be available to you. Meanwhile, the family man will also be pleased to know that the T5 R-Design we tested is capable of finishing the century sprint in just 6.5 seconds, and comes with a driving mode selector, allowing you to toggle between four different driving modes to extract different driving characteristics from the car - Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Individual, perfect for those rare occasions where you get the car all to yourself. Read our full review of the V60 here!
  15. SGCM_editorial

    MCF Hangout with INFINITI

    Over 40 MyCarForum (MCF) members gathered at the INFINITI showroom on Leng Kee Road last Saturday, to get up close and personal with the new INFINITI All-New QX50. Particularly unique about the All-New QX50 is that it offers INFINITI’s VC-Turbo engine, the world’s first variable compression engine in a mass production car. To get MCF members to know more, Isaac Tan, Product Specialist of INFINITI, was on hand to chat a little bit more on how it all works, including sharing about its other advanced features such as its Active Torque Rod vibration cancelling engine mounts, and the All-New QX50’s safety assistance features. Idris Talib, from sgCarMart’s Editorial Team, also shared his experience driving the INFINITI QX50, and how it fares against other mid-sized SUVs in the market. Aside from checking out the QX50 and the rest of the range INFINITI has to offer, MCF members at the event also stood a chance to win attractive lucky draw prizes. MCF members also checked out the QX80, a large SUV with a lot of road presence. Isaac shared how the All-New QX50's Active Torque Rod works to cancel out vibrations from transmitting into the cabin, with a strategically placed active engine mount. Idris also shared his experience driving the All-New QX50, and how the car offers a spirited drive despite having a CVT transmission. That wasn't all the activities at the showroom. Participants also played a round of Bingo! One lucky MCF member walked away with the grand lucky draw prize, a weekend driveaway with the INFINITI All-New QX50, worth $1,000.
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