Forte K3 – The Journey To The West

The West to me is not just about Pulau NTU (Nanyang Technological University). Leng Kee Rd is considered West enough for me, and most recently, the Big Box, JEM and WestGate area too, but I shall leave the former till another day.

Since I can’t remember when, Leng Kee Rd has been one of my favourite roads. Lining its streets are showrooms after showrooms containing the flashiest made-from-sheet-metal wonders-on-wheels. These six-wheelers (counting the steering and spare) have never been out of my sight since young. Sitting somewhere in my home is a collection of Hot Wheels miniature cars, and not far from that are a number of remote-controlled cars parked in neat rows.

Trips to the West realised when I crossed my twenties. I would go there with friends and sometimes family, about two to three times or so a year, to enjoy the aircon (Singapore’s quite hot), savour the latest car designs, take short discussion breaks over free coffee/milo (yum), test drive and most importantly, evaluate the service standards offered by the various dealers.

My belief: It would do dealers good to treat young or young-looking visitors as potential customers, who may be the ones doing the first cut for their parents or friends. I have gotten the cold shoulder from a number, and no matter how good the car models seem, I would not want to step or bring anyone into their territory. It is said that frontline staff carry the image of the brand and have the power to shape perception. One less-than-ideal service experience is all it takes.

Cycle & Carriage

Thankfully, Mimi from Cycle & Carriage (C&C) warmly welcomed us when we stepped into the showroom about the month ago. KIA cars, including the last Cerato Forte variant, unlike the twin brothers birthed from its parent company, didn’t quite impress us. Body panels were soft, engine was weak and noisy, insulation was lacking and though C&C agents weren’t rude and dismissive, we didn’t feel welcome the past few times we visited, till Mimi entered the picture.

In this job for about five years, Mimi is knowledgeable, patient and eloquently explained the features of the Forte K3 and got us hooked. She is one of very few sales executives who demonstrate good customer service throughout the entire sales process. Meticulous, she was, and as a testament to her commitment, she stayed with us throughout the handover, which took close to three hours! My parents, to my pleasant surprise, were impressed.

C&C was our unexpected stop during this shopping journey, and now the rest is history. Trans Eurokars, you came in a close, an extremely close, second.

Before The Purchase

Do your research. Search the forums. For starters, try MyCarForum (you get a small gift for signing up and verifying your account) and for KIA, ceratofortekoup. Read reviews, dig up common service and product issues online. Importantly, find out how you can convince the sales person to give you freebies.

This post shall have only one photo, for I’m saving them for my next few posts.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The Forte K3 Emblem

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The Forte K3 Emblem

Till next time, goodnight! [delete; not valid Liao: Quote BIG_MOUSE to Mimi when you pass by C&C, if you want to of course.]

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What’s next in this series?

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Second Serving of Kimchi – The KIA Forte K3

The old has passed. The new has come. ‘旧的不去,新的不来’ is another commonly used phrase in this part of the world.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | A Sneak Peak

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | A Sneak Peak

And nope, paid to pen my thoughts I am not. I am not a professional car reviewer or transport correspondent. Instead, I am writing as a lay person, sharing my real-life experience with the vehicle, which came in after years of daddy’s blood, sweat and tears (okay, I’m exaggerating but you get the drift).

This is our second car, coming right after the Hyundai Avante, which served us pretty well for all 193,182KM till the last day it left us for the second hand market.

While waiting for me to get some inspiration on how to help you savour this new Korean dish made available in Singapore since July 2013, read my past articles on the Avante here.

To Korean car haters, I have said this, and will say this again. You gotta give kimchi cars a chance to impress you. The change started with the Avante in 2006. The momentum has not stopped, yet. And they are generally cheaper than the Thai-made ones. 🙂

### What’s next in this series?

The iPhone 5s in gold

20130920-182639.jpg

What a privilege to have the chance to touch the new iPhone in gold earlier this morning.

It felt as good as the iPhone 5, just because the construction’s exactly the same! Glass front with a aluminum back and side band.

Now about the colour: it looks bronze to me actually. I took the photo outdoors under the morning sun. Copper would be a better colour, though it won’t be not as “high-class”.

On that note, the Hyundai Elantra in copper looks absolutely great. Note that Komoco the dealer doesn’t bring in that shade anymore.

Hyundai Elantra 2011: On the road

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | On-the-road: 2011 Hyundai Elantra

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | On-the-road: 2011 Hyundai Elantra

Then ‘green mist’ (from Chronicles of Narnia, the voyager thingy) has invaded my life. When I saw this on the road, I was super tempted lah. It looks so so good. He was behind me, and I immediately stopped the car (safely of course) to take this picture. Sadly, he drove away too quickly (or my camera took too long to start) for me to take a nicer photo.

But yea, the feeling when you lay your hands on a new car is quite awesome (recalls 5 years ago). Soon soon, when the prices of COE decide to come down. 😉

Update (29Jun): Another one spotted at Tampines

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Hyundai Elantra in Singapore (Tampines)

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Hyundai Elantra in Singapore (Tampines)

It is now called Hyundai Elantra 2011: Once bitten, twice shy, three times go test drive

For more details about this new object (that I really wanna lay my hands on), please see my other posts.

Other articles
  1. First look (more photos here)
  2. Second look (more tech specs)
  3. One bitten, twice shy, three times go test drive (current article)

This post shall be dedicated to the test drive experience (and I hope I don’t digress, too much).

Test drive

Finally, with our 3rd time at the showroom, we managed to arrange for a test drive because Korea only delivered one Elantra for “viewing purposes only”. We will not be able to commit without testing the car first, since cars are like almost SGD100,000 now. So please, do not wholly accept what the Sales Exec blast you with. Test drive it yourself to actually know what you are paying for. For me, ride quality is as important as the external looks/trimmings.

So here goes.

  • Suspension
    • The main issue I have with the current Avante is the over-ly suspension, which causes terrible body roll during hard cornering (but helps for the straights).
    • This new torsion beam setup at the rear of the Elantra helps keep the body roll under control. For its price, you can’t complain.
    • At least less people will feel car sick if you decide to attack some corners quickly.
  • Engine
    • The new engine makes more ‘noise’ when idling (may be due to the missing insulation material underneath the bonnet.
    • Still sounds unrefined at higher RPMs (to me its nice though).
    • Revvs more freely compared to the old Avante cause it is more powerful? 🙂
  • 6 Speed transmission
    • Silky smooth man
    • Shifts quickly
    • 6th gear doesn’t kick in till about 100km/h
  • Ride quality
    • Driving down straights is as comfortable as the Avante.
    • Bumps are absorbed relatively well, sound insulation is superb.
  • Visibility
    • All around visibility still alright with reasonably-sized windows.
    • The huge A-beam panels in front may obscure your line-of-sight to pedestrians though.
  • Others
    • Didn’t have enough time to test the audio system, nor take note of the number of speakers in the car, but the audio system is no more done by pioneer – all stock from Korea – but it sounds alright. Hear it for yourself though.
And based on these factors, I am pleased with the quality churned out with this Korean company. However, this price is not right. Based on the assumed OMV of 13k and including taxes and stuff, this car is way overpriced (currently at 91k for the elite version without sunroof). And Komoco, I heard, have always added a premium to their car prices for the first few batches of new shipments. Let’s see how the prices fluctuates in the near future.

Official Launch of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra

Before I go off, here’s an SMS sent by a Sales Exec at Komoco, and I quote (Mistakes inherent from source),

You’re cordially invited to our official launch of the new Elantra on fri, 3/6 from 6pm to 10pm and sat and sun, 4/6 and 5/6 from 11am to 10pm. Come down and join us to celebrate this special occasion fill with foods and door gifts.

I heard that the shipment is in Singapore already (01 June), and customers will receive their cars in mid-June.

It is now called Hyundai Elantra 2011: Second Look

Been to the showroom quite a few times already. I have some more details about the all-new Hyundai Elantra 2011. The first shipment will be here in Singapore by June/July 2011. We should see the first batch of cars on our roads by then too. Can’t wait to see it plying our roads.

Image | Komoco | Hyundai Elantra 2011: Best selling? How they know it will be the best selling model.

Image | Komoco | Hyundai Elantra 2011: Best selling? How they know it will be the best selling model.

More details

  • OMV (Open market value) of Hyundai Elantra 2011 has not been published by LTA yet. But I overheard from a Sales Executive that KMC (Komoco) is expecting the OMV to be around S$15,000. (Current selling price = S$90,000)
    • KMC will earn 14k for every car their kah-kias sell. {90 – [(15×2) + 46] = 14}
    • For your comparison: The average OMV of the new 2011 Kia Cerato Forte (6-speed) is S$13798.
  • Colours available
Screen shot | BIG_MOUSE | Brochure: Colours

Screen shot | BIG_MOUSE | Elantra: Colours

  • Dimensions
  • Screen shot | BIG_MOUSE | Elantra: Dimensions

    Screen shot | BIG_MOUSE | Elantra: Dimensions

Technical specifications

KMC’s brochure/leaflet for potential Hyundai Elantra 2011 customers isn’t really detailed. Yea, loads of pictures inside for you to enjoy though. So here I am with, hopefully, more information.

  • Engine – 1.6 D-CVVT, DOHC, 132 BHP/6300 rpm, 155 Nm/4850 rpm
  • Alternator – 13.5V, 90A
  • Engine mount – Hydraulic & conventional rubber
  • Transmission – 6 speed automatic with lock-up torque convertor, 2WD (front)
  • Suspension – McPherson strut for front + stabiliser bar; Torsion beam for back, hydraulic twin-tube shock absorber with gas
  • Steering – Electric motor, 5.3m turning radius

Performance/Safety

  • 11.6 sec to get to 100kph from standstill
  • kerb weight = 1,181 kg
  • Rated fuel consumption (combined) = 14.9253731
  • 6 airbags
  • ABS/EBD + ESP
  • Auto headlight/rain sensors
  • Keyless entry, Push-button start
  • Cruise control
Promotions
  • Tyres – May be Michelin (no confirmation yet) instead of Kumho
  • Brakes – should be disc brakes all around
  • Reverse camera, reverse sensor, rear-view mirror that has a monitor embedded for the camera
Other articles
  1. First look (more photos here)
  2. Second look (current article)
  3. One bitten, twice shy, three times go test drive

It is now called Hyundai Elantra 2011: First Look

The all-new Hyundai Elantra is now available in Singapore, many months after it was launched in Korea. *at last* Looking at the crowd at Komoco’s HQ at Alexandra this afternoon, this car has already generated quite a bit of hype without any tv spots or radio ads.

I’m pleasantly surprised. Another game changer? Let the pictures say those thousand words. Too tired to type!

Key features of Hyundai Elantra (6sp A/T) (Elite)

  • 1.6 Dual-CVVT
  • Lighter kerb weight = 1,181 kg
  • Rated fuel consumption (combined) = 14.9253731
  • Electric steering
  • Min turning radius = 5.3 m
  • Auto headlight/rain sensors
  • Dual-climate control aircon
  • Cruise control (For KPE’s 70km/h)
  • Keyless entry, Push-button start
  • 6 airbags
  • ABS/EBD
  • ESP
  • Ventilated discs for front; Discs for back
  • McPherson strut for front; Torsion beam for back
  • 16″ tyres (promo now)
  • More details? Post your comments/questions here, and I will try to answer them.
Other articles
  1. First look (current article)
  2. Second look  (more tech specs)
  3. One bitten, twice shy, three times go test drive