Three publications hit the road on an epic four-day adventure touring the entire peninsula, meeting our fans and experiencing the best sights and sounds of Malaysia. This is the Cars of Malaysia 2018 Nationwide Road‍‍‍show convoy brought to you by Autobuzz, Evoltn, and Roda Pusing.

It was 7am. One by one, the stickered cars rolled into the Batu Caves parking lot. It was call time. Our much-hyped Cars of Malaysia 2018 Nationwide Roadshow convoy organized in collaboration with Autobuzz and Roda Pusing is getting ready to flag off.

And it wasn’t just us. We were also joined by ardent fans crazy enough to follow us on this round-the-nation trek journeying through some roads that even this‍‍‍ motoring scribe with a decade’s worth of experience had never gone before.

There was Chin in his unassuming silver Myvi and Shaun, who had hit the road at 2:00am from Johor to make our call time and depart together with us. Talk about spirit! Upon reaching Penang at the end of Day 1, we were joined by local Penang lang John and Azlan, who raced up the North-South Highway to catch up with us after having to miss our early morning flag-off for a meeting.

No good road trip ever escapes a few setbacks and our first little blunder came before even departing, when the Autobuzz crew realized they left a few items in the office and had to send one car back to pick things up. Ultimately, they just managed to beat early morning rush hour traffic to join us for an on-time flag off. The show went on.

Words‍‍‍ b‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍y Kon



Day 2 – Penang to Kuala Terengganu

Last night’s delicious supper digested, Day 2 could not have gotten off to a worse start as our Volvo V40 caught a screw in its front left tyre and was rapidly bleeding air. Inevitably, in the spirit of teamwork and friendship, we left the car behind with Adrian and Eu Jin of Autobuzz whilst the rest of the convoy headed off.

It took a bit of hunting to find a tyre shop that opened for business early on a Saturday morning, but found one they did, and the V40 was quickly patched up and found its way back to the pack as the rest of us stopped near Belum Rainforest partly for a break, but mostly for the video crew to set up their equipment to capture some stunning visuals of our cars crossing the bridge over Tasik Banding.

The V40’s little misfortune did little to halt our progress, but it did add a lot more minutes to our clock than initially budgeted for. We reached our planned lunch stop of Kota Bharu late in the evening, and it wasn’t until 8:00pm that we arrived in to our final stop of the night, the gleaming Crystal Mosque of Kuala Terengganu.

Day‍‍‍ 3 –  Kuala Terengganu to Johor Bahru

After dashing across the mainland from west to east, the convoy hits the road to trace the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia southbound from Terengganu to Johor. Then, on the East Coast Highway, our walkies beeped, and Bobby’s voice was frantic on the radio.

“Guys, my wallet is still in the hotel room!”

What followed was a 60km detour as the Aurizn team split off from the convoy at Ajil to double back to Kuala Terengganu, retrieve Bobby’s wallet, which thankfully was kept in safe possession by the hotel staff, then wringing all 367 horses from the Mercedes-AMG C 43’s 3.0-litre V6 to regroup with the convoy at Teluk Cempedak.

Well fed with Thai food at Kuantan, the convoy pushed on southbound and continued along the coastal road to Johor Bahru. Along the way, we were treated to some pretty spectacular views of the South China Sea as we looked out of our windows to the left.

Once past Mersing, the jetty town from which tourists set sail to Tioman, the road began deviating away fro‍‍‍m the coastline into perhaps the most sparsely populated parts of the country. We reached JB in the evening without delay or incident, but that was after negotiating stretches of roads that at once tested our patience with slow-moving cars but also rewarded our eyes with beautiful scenery.

It was the night France played Croatia when we reached JB, and it was oddly appropriate that the most exciting World Cup Final in recent history highlighted the penultimate night of our epic journey.

Day 4 – Johor Bahru to HOME

Four epic days of travelling come to its inevitable conclusion in what is meant to be a relatively straight forward route on the highway from Johor Bahru back to Putrajaya, stopping by Malacca along the way.

But, in keeping with our spirit of ensuring something messes up every day, our forward crew scouting for a photoshoot location managed to get the Citroen C4 Picasso stuck in sand. Yes, feel free to pause your reading and have a good laugh.

It was a thoroughly embarrassing situation, but nothing something a little team work couldn’t fix. As GC Mah stood by the side steadfastly barking orders, the whole group of us, fans included got our hands dirty to help push the poor Citroen out.

A bit of lunch at Dataran Pahlawan, a stroll past Kota A’Famosa, and a walkaround of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Chevy later, we were on the road again, for the final leg of our journey to Putrajaya.

Mercedes-AMG C 43

Locally-assembled, but brooding with AMG power, the C 43 is a delight to drive with perhaps the best chassis setup of the entire Mercedes-Benz C-Class range and all that lovely drama from its 3.0-litre V6.

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45

Popping and crackling everytime you step on it, the GLA 45 is a car that is not short on entertainment. It is a more ‘hard core’ car than the C 43 and is perhaps the fastest car in the real world. It goes faster than most and cars that are actually faster than it have to slow down in situations that the GLA can just blast its way through.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Handles superbly and yet also impressively tough. The Outlander acclimatized extremely well on the twisty trunk roads, emboldening the driver to charge into corners at high speeds. Great amounts of travel from the suspension too, it practically flew over surfaces that most of the other cars had to slow down a great deal for.

Mitsubishi Triton

Probably the best-handling pick-up in the market. The Triton carries high speeds with amazing pliancy and confidence, and the new 2.4-litre MIVEC diesel engine pulls like a train across its rev range. Had no problems keeping the AMGs in visual range at all times.

Proton Iriz

The least powerful car of the convoy, the Iriz nevertheless kept up easily on trunk roads thanks to its superb handling. It may not build up speed as quickly as the rest, but such is the capability of its chassis, it does not need to slow down as much around corners either.

Volvo XC60 T8

It was running fully on petrol power most of the time, but it still had enough to outrun the C 43 on a straight line. Enough said.

Volvo V40 T5

The V40 has been around since 2012, but it still looks gorgeous today, and its handling is not half bad either, tackling the bends of our trunk roads with pleasing relish. Safety kit is still best in class despite the model’s age.

Cars of Malaysia is a car award that serves as a buying guide to the public, and the convoy is an initiative to reach out to our audiences and fans that have been so supportive of all three publications.

We are particularly touched to receive overwhelming shows of support throughout our entire journey. Many cheered us virtually in the comments sections of our social media, and some even took time off their busy schedules to catch us.

To Shaun, Chin, John, and Azlan, in particular, thank you for actually travelling with us to the farthest reaches of our country. Special mention too to Faisal for waiting four hours at the Crystal Mosque with your wife and kid.

Some tried to catch us but couldn’t, and to those who waited fruit‍‍‍lessly for us, we humbly apologize and hope to have the chance to‍‍‍ meet you the next time.

The Fans

The Cars

After clearing a bit of congestion around the Batu Caves area, the convoy made its way to our first stop at the Leaning Clock Tower of Teluk Intan without much fuss, our ear drums soothed by the calming voice of GC Mah relaying navigational directions over the walkie-talkie.From Teluk Intan, we made a beeline toward Kellie’s Castle for some pictures followed by a very late lunch ‍‍‍at Ipoh, and on to our first night stop in Penang.

The sun was at eye level by the time we crossed the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah bridge into Penang island. As the convoy organized itself neatly into a single file formation for the benefit of the video and photography crew, yours truly faced a nerve-wracking few kilometres facing a blinking fuel warning light in the Proton Iriz which, I knew, had only a 40-litre fuel tank and was being driven hard for much of the day.

We did find a petrol station before the Iriz ran out of fuel and, despite the heavy Friday evening traffic of Penang island, just about made it to Kek Lok Si temple before we ran out of sunlight for the cameras.

Citroen C4 Picasso

Practicality and style don't often mix, but that's the proposition of the C4 Picasso. You get the spaciousness of a mini-MPV with Citroen's trademark eccentricity. Who says MPVs need to look boring?


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