AZFAR’S PICKS FOR 2016

Wheels Asia - - Azfar’s column - TEXT AND PHO­TOS AZFAR HASHIM

With 2016 com­ing to an end, our con­trib­u­tor lists down eight cars that got his at­ten­tion

Now sit down and take a break. Have you re­al­ized that 2016 is com­ing to an end al­ready? Well fret not as even I am equally sur­prised at just how fast the year has gone by.

But on the brighter side of things, I found some cars that are re­ally worth high­light­ing – eight of them, to be pre­cise. So with­out div­ing too much into the monotony of life’s un­hap­pi­ness, here are my top picks for 2016:

LEXUS GS 200 The Quinn MINI

Lexus’s GS has al­ways been the quiet one, sit­ting at the cor­ner on his own. He’s the shy, quiet lad that does his own thing, but does it rather well. But he’s still not re­ally quite ‘up there’ with the more pop­u­lar BMW 5 Se­ries and Mercedes-benz E-class; aca­dem­i­cally a smart guy, but still lack­ing slightly in the sports de­part­ment.

But with the new tur­bocharged vari­ant, he’s given a new lease of life that not only keeps up with the pop­u­lar Ger­man; you see an im­proved per­son­al­ity that puts him in the same group.

VOLVO V60 T5 Polestar

For 2016, the V60 was given some mi­nor facelift to keep it rel­e­vant. But qui­etly, the lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor also in­tro­duced a new vari­ant: The Polestar Power Op­ti­mi­sa­tion vari­ant, which sees an im­prove­ment power wise. Thanks to a soft­ware up­grade cour­tesy of Volvo’s tun­ing arm Polestar, this par­tic­u­lar V60 gets a power up­grade of 8bhp, 50Nm and an im­proved 0 – 100km/h tim­ing – this should be good news for power-hun­gry dad­dies out there who wants to ex­tract more dur­ing his daily drive. Most im­por­tantly, it’s via the of­fi­cial chan­nel hence there’s noth­ing to worry about when it comes to af­ter-sales. This car feels com­plete.

VOLK­SWA­GEN PASSAT R-line

A large sedan with the Golf GTI’S en­gine and trans­mis­sion – need I say more?

You just have to love how this car, look­ing all sub­tle and unas­sum­ing, has the fire­power and han­dling prow­ess to throw other cars off guard. Hav­ing driven this car up and down Malaysia sev­eral times, it also de­serves re­spect when it comes to de­liv­er­ing com­fort – yes, it could play the part of sports sedan and lux­ury barge when you want it to, suc­cess­fully.

SEAT LEON 1.2 TSI

The brand was rein­tro­duced into our mar­ket just a few months ago, and at the same time, they’ve brought in an ex­ten­sive list of new mod­els in hopes of get­ting all their grounds cov­ered.

One model that im­pressed me is the Golf-based Leon 1.2 TSI, with a 6-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. It be­haves like a hot-hatch, thanks to a punchy tur­bocharged en­gine that, de­spite the small ca­pac­ity, doesn’t over or un­der­whelm at all – in fact, it’s just right and does re­mind me of the old Suzuki Swift GTI, some­what. The man­ual ‘box is equally a joy, slot­ting into gears in a very pre­cise man­ner along with a clutch that is nicely weighted.

So, if you’re look­ing for a fun

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