Friday, 31 July 2015

REVIEW: Holden Commodore Evoke

More than two months, that's how long ago from the moment I thought "Yeah, I'm gonna make this post". So, I'm gonna post it NOW! This is it, the Holden Commodore Evoke, the car my sister rented during my family's trip to Perth, Australia in May. The car cost around AU$400 for a six days trip.

The car is a basic entry level in the Holden Commodore range. It features a 3.0L SIDI direct injection V6 engine that produces 248bhp and 290Nm of torque, the engine is then paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. That is quite a recipe for an entry level car.

Performance & Handling
With the engine, you would expect quite a performance with sporty handling and stuff. That wasn't the case, the car is design for daily drive and comfort. However, it does have a really decent acceleration under its belt, not to mention that I was carrying four other passengers in the car. I did tried out the automated sequential mode to give it a sportier push, I was had quite a smile as the car was able to give quite a big push when you got more control of the the wheel.

Handling wise, the car is given a more comfort settings as well. Rightfully so, as you are not going to take car to hoon around Mount Panorama or Nurburgring. The car's suspension is designed to tackle bumpier roads of some of Australia's outskirts, I drove through the woods once and it was really rough, but the car was able to absorb most of impacts. Still felt it, but comfy. ESP that came along with the car are able to help with some of the more slippery roads.

Comfort and Practicality
Possibly one of the most comfortable car I've driven and been in. The journey covered around 800km over 6 days from Perth to Margaret River to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse back to Perth again, I've never felt any pain in the arse (pardon me) during the whole trip. Most of the time I was behind the wheel, I didn't feel any fatigue after long rides and being on the front passenger seat was a comfortable experience. My parents and my aunt sitting at the rear passenger seat have a lot of space and didn't need the adjustment of the front passenger seats.

Practicality wise, the car is large enough for a driver and four other passengers, During the trip, we are able rear boot is able to fit one large luggage, one small one and four other bags. It will also be able to fit an adult size person at the back if you wanted to do something fishy.

It fits! (No humans were harmed during the photoshoot)

The startup presentation of the Evoke
We were unable to get an accurate reading about the fuel economy during the trip as we were fiddling with the car computer system for the first two or three days. However, the computer said the car during the trip averaged around an estimated 8.6L/100km, which was not bad for a big lump executive car. The car was able to swallow anything from RON92 and above, and biofuel as well.

The car comes with the standard ABS and ESP for safety. Besides that, it features an infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB and AUX support and voice control, which was terrible. The system will have a hard time understanding the device plugged in and is unable to pick up my voice command, NOT EVEN ONCE!

Other than that, the car comes with reverse camera for park assist. It also features self park mode, which I was unable to give it a try, and by the way, parking isn't hard, at all. Automated headlamps and cruise control is available as well, which is actually really easy to use.

I did have complains with the seatbelt warning system. It sounds way too similar like the sound from the parking assist. Whenever my parents took off the seatbelts while I was parking, I thought I crashed which was annoying!

Toyota? Meh...
Holden Commodore Evoke is definitely a really good car, comfortable, enough power and practicality makes it a really good car for family trip. Although these praise could be me spending a week with the car alone, without driving other cars, as people usually fall in love with the car they spent a short time with.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My UberX KL Experiences

For those who take public transport in KL, I'm pretty sure you all have poor (terrible) experiences with taxis in KL. For those who didn't, taxis in KL are generally quite dirty, foul smelled, untidy and poorly maintained, and the taxi drivers can be really rude, harassing, jam their music very loud, don't wanna use meters, overcharging passengers. I know there are still some good taxi drivers out there but there are just too many bad ones. That's why KL is being notorious for the worst taxi services in the world.

Afraid not commuters, there's a new way to travel around the city, Uber. Uber is a ride sharing platform where normal users can be drivers, through proper verification and others users can request rides to travel. It's similar to one of the local's service, GrabTaxi, a variant of MyTeksi. For now, I will only cover Uber as I do not have enough rides with GrabTaxi to make a proper conclusion.

First and foremost, you must create an account (duh), which is here. Go through filling in the details and your card info as credit card is the primary method of making payment. After setting up and verifying your account, you are good to go!

To order a ride, simply open up Uber app from your phone like the one on my phone's screen above. The phone will show your approximate current location, the nearest drivers, the waiting time and allow you to drop the pin which the driver will pick you up. This is where you can set your destination and get the estimated fare for the ride. You can also key in promo code during promotional period or send out fare sharing to divide your fare automatically with your friends who are tagging along.

After confirming the ride, the app will send out request to drivers nearby to pick you up, usually it takes around 10 minutes for the ride to arrive. Drivers will usually call you to confirm your booking or if you have any changes with the pick up location. With UberX, the cars are usually Perodua Myvi, Toyota Vios, Honda City or Nissan Almera.

The experience I had with Uber are generally positive. The ride is ACTUALLY calculated with running rate, no more arguing about prices! The starting fare is also quite reasonable at RM2. However, the most important thing of all, the drivers. They are very friendly in general, if you start a conversation with them, they will chat with you without going overboard, I met quite some quiet ones, not because they are unfriendly, just that they are quiet.

At the end of the ride, your fare will be finalised and the receipt will be sent to your email account. You can rate your experience of the ride after you reached your destination. If you find your journey strayed too far from the route, you can request for a fare review to get a proper valuation.

Overall, my experience with UberX KL so far has been positive. It is easy to use, almost certain to get rides if there are drivers around, promotions from time to time has allowed me to save more from the rides. Lastly, the rides are generally much cleaner and friendlier. If you want to go places that rails aren't able to reach, UberX is worth the consideration.

If you are trying Uber for the first time, you can enter the promo code "uberCRA458" for RM40 off for your first ride. Give it a shot! Besides, throughout the whole July 2015, Uber rides will be 20% off.

Current UberX rate
Base Fare: RM2
Running rate: RM0.35/min + RM0.70/KM
Minimum Fare: RM2

I will cover GrabTaxi and other services from Uber soon. Stay tuned.

*Disclaimer: This is not endorsed by Uber in any form. It is just my personal experience that I offer to allow commuters to have more options to take rides around KL.