Automotive

2019 Kona 2.0 GLS: Mr. Extrovert

Feeling flashy

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Is it a crossover? Is it a hatchback? Is it an APV? I, too, was confused when I first laid eyes on the 2019 Hyundai Kona. It was one of a kind, unique from any segment I was familiar with.

In line with the Mazda CX3 and Honda HRV, the Kona is a subcompact crossover SUV.

This vehicle is a true head-turner. I highly appreciate car companies whose designs are bold and thought of outside the box. In short, designs that make a statement.

The sleek and futuristic look of the Kona is best complemented in the flagship color Acid Yellow that gave my child-like imagination the impression of a glowing radioactive spaceship.

From the front, its fascia is exciting and modern in style with the growing trend of separated headlight design (like the Nissan Juke), streamlined daytime running lights, and low set fog lamps all go together with Hyundai’s trademark grille design.

Side profiles are matched with dynamic character lines as well as accents of matte black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and rocker panels.

Walking around to the back, you will find a design that is very consistent with the front. It’s almost identical and probably has one of the best looking rear-ends in its segment.

If we were to personify this Kona, it would undoubtedly be an extrovert. He’d be that kind of guy who’s not afraid of being a little flashy and would confidently come up to you to get your attention.

What I’m not a big fan of is the unnecessary amount of plastic cladding. Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle with this type of material will agree when I say it demands high maintenance since it tends to fade quickly.

Overall, the exterior feels exciting and fun, but stepping inside is a different story.

The interior is, well, basic. Scratchy-hard and soft plastic, fabrics, and polyurethane are the main materials used for the interior. It doesn’t give you the same exhilaration as the exterior and sadly feels like it stepped out of character.

Mounted on the dashboard, you will find a somewhat unappealing infotainment system — A non-touchscreen mono LCD unit that’s initially confusing to use while underneath is its manual climate control. Oh, and its instrument panel didn’t help spice the interior up, either, as it seemed a little too straightforward for this car’s asking price.

On the up-side, cabin space and comfort are not lacking whatsoever. With head and legroom to spare and plenty of cargo space for everyone. Cup holders, USB ports, and 12V sockets also come as standard.

When it comes to safety, Hyundai didn’t skimp on this crossover as it earned a high safety rating in the United States. With a score of 9.8, it has been given the Top Safety Pick+ award. It has Anti-Lock Braking System, traction control, dual airbags, and side curtain airbags as standard.

The ride is decently high with a ground clearance of 170mm, nearly as much as its bigger brother, the Tucson. Firing up the engine via keyless push-start button, you hear a smooth running 2.0 DOHC engine.

This is then mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces 147hp and 179nm of torque. It’s not the most powerful but is definitely one of the most economical, giving you up to 20km per liter (at best) on highways.

The Kona has three different driving modes you can shift through with a push of a button. You have Normal, Eco and Sport modes which just basically times gear changes differently to give you better responsiveness.

Driving this vehicle is very simple with no unneeded drama. The ride felt smooth and quiet while steering felt properly firm. You do get a bit of body roll around the corners, though.

Lacking from this vehicle is a reverse camera and proximity sensors and, from its price point, you would expect these features as standard. A feature I didn’t find necessary was the hill descent control which would be useful on its AWD variant but not on the FWD version that we have.

For now, the 2.0 GLS is the only variant available here in the Philippines. A straightforward, rather basic but economical ride that would make a perfect daily driver. Although if I were to choose between the two Kona models, I would probably go for the higher AWD 1.6 turbo Ultimate trim model which is a better option than the GLS trim.

To sum it up, it’s a bit of a bummer that it lacks a reverse camera, proximity sensors, and still runs a sub-par infotainment system in this age of touchscreens and Android Auto.  What I do like, though, is how it looks. This car unquestionably wins in the looks department. And factoring in its safety achievements and fuel economy, we can easily overlook its shortcomings.

Automotive

BMW reveals the new F 750 GS, F 850 GS, and F 850 GS Adventure

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New colorways are here!

BMW Motorrad released the first GS in 1980. The year 2020 marks the GS line’s 40th anniversary and to make the occasion a little more festive than it already is, three of their mid-size models are getting the upgrades they so deserve. New paint jobs are also on the table, including a black and gold combination with yellow accents.

General changes to the three GS models include new tape designs and the respective style designation on the fairing side panels of the style variations. All models now have new LED flashing turn indicators as standard and a USB charging device at the front right of the cockpit. ABS Pro and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) are now also standard, for even more braking and accelerating safety.

So what’s new in the 40th-anniversary editions? Let’s do a quick run-through.

BMW F 750 GS

The BMW F750 GS now comes in a classic white with the tank cover painted in the same hue. You also get matte black rims and handlebars. The seat comes in black and red to provide an exciting contrast. There’s also the San Marino Blue metallic colorway which gives you a tinted windscreen with sporty accents, rims in metallic granite grey, silver handlebars, a black and grey seat, and a galvanized radiator grille.

The special edition for the 40th anniversary meanwhile gets a “40 Years GS” lettering on the side panels, yellow hand guards, and a black and yellow seat with GS lettering. It unmistakably pays homage to the icon from 40 years of GS history: the BMW R 100 GS. The rims are painted in matte black, while the handlebars are silver with a galvanized radiator grille.

BMW F 850 GS

This model comes in a new Racing Red colorway that provides great contrast to the black rims, fork tubes, and seat. The Rallye option comes in Racing Blue Metallic with gold rims, black fork tubes, and a galvanized grille.

Its anniversary edition is in Black Storm metallic and features the anniversary logo. You also get yellow hand guards, gold rims, and a seat that comes in a black and yellow color combo. A GS logo is also printed on the fork tubes while the galvanized grille comes in silver.

The F 850 GS will also get additional upgrades in the form of the new windscreen adjustment mechanism as well as a TFT display including convenient connectivity functions.

BMW F 850 GS Adventure

This model comes in Ice Grey but what caught our attention is definitely the Rallye style. Together with gold-colored rims and fork stand tubes, the new BMW F 850 GS Adventure looks both dynamic and elegant. The Sport windscreen and a rally seat upholstered in black or grey with a seat height of 890 mm reinforce the sporting appearance of this particular model.

The new BMW F 850 GS Adventure also has a dedicated version to the anniversary of the BMW GS models as the “Edition 40 Years GS”. Prominent features of the anniversary GS painted in Blackstorm metallic are the “40 Years GS” lettering and yellow hand protectors. Black-coated fork standpipes, gold rims, and a black and yellow double seat bench with 860 mm seat height. Like the 850 GS, it also gets a TFT display with convenient connectivity functions as part of the standard equipment on board.

More options for your next adventure

The new GS models feature new components of the Pro riding modes optional equipment. This means that as in the GS models with boxer engines, a reworked throttle response in dynamic riding mode now ensures even more dynamics and driving enjoyment.

Furthermore, dynamic engine brake control and Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) now feature in Pro riding modes. Other new Pro riding mode features include the preselection of up to four riding modes for the button assignment on the right handlebar controls. Although this is only in conjunction with the Connectivity optional equipment in the BMW F 750 GS.

You can also opt for an extra low seat bench as well as modified lowered suspension. These will be available as optional equipment for all three models in the future, ensuring even better ground accessibility when stationary.

Since completely switching off the ABS will no longer be permissible under legal homologation regulations in future, the Enduro and Enduro Pro riding modes will provide adapted controls for this purpose. The ABS function can still be switched off on the rear wheel in Enduro Pro riding mode on the BMW F 850 GS and BMW F 850 GS Adventure.

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Accessories

Xiaomi adds Electric Scooter Pro 2, Smart Band 5, TV stick to IoT lineup

More Xiaomi devices and accessories to choose from!

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By now, people are familiar with the fact that Xiaomi has an expansive portfolio of products. That portfolio is getting some new, exciting additions — namely the Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2, the Mi Smart Band 5, and Mi TV Stick.

Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2

This product is targeting a very particular need. Too long to walk but not far enough for a drive? That’s where this mobility tool comes in.

The Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 can travel up to 45km, at speeds up to 25 km per hour. It can effortlessly climb 20 percent incline slopes and accommodate a week’s worth of trips on a single charge.

It has a built-in LCD where riders can view and control different things. You can check real-time speed, choose a riding mode, connect to Bluetooth, and monitor headline status.

It has a 300W motor, a double braking system, shock-absorbing pneumatic tires, and an easy folding design so you can pretty much take it wherever you go.

If you’re a first-time user, you will receive safety reminders and tips through your mobile device. Speaking of safety, it sports front, rear, and side reflectors as well as a 2W headlight that can illuminate up to 10 meters ahead. All for the sake of better visibility.

Launched alongside it  is the Mi Electric Scooter 1S. It’s a more streamlined model for casual commuters. It can travel up to 30 km at speeds up to 25 km per hour and offers an upgraded display, headlight, and other safety features.

Mi Smart Band 5

We’ve discussed this in more detail when it was first announced, and this is essentially the global version.

But here are the basics you need to know: it has a 1.1” color AMOLED display with 20% more screen than its predecessor and has over 65 dynamic displays and six band colors.

On the functionalities side, it has most of what you can expect from a fitness band. It has a variety of workouts and trackers all so you can monitor your health and wellness better. The international suggested retail price is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TV Stick 

Turn your dumb UHD TV into a smart one! If you’ve been yearning for a Smart TV but don’t have the budget for one. Your next best option is to get the Mi TV Stick. Provided your TV has an HDMI port.

Powered by Android TV with DTS surround sound, Google Assistant, and Chromecast — it’s your ticket to a relaxing Netflix and Chill session.

Inside it has a quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM + 8GB storage. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control with dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, Netflx, and Prime video. It’s SRP is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TWS Earphones 2 Basic

Here’s something for your basic TWS fix. It promises up to 5 hours of uninterrupted use from a full charge. Total battery life hits the 20-hour mark thanks to the included charging case.

As for functionality, again, anything you expect from TWS, you’ll likely find here. Sound is adequate, pairing should be easy, and there’s some level of environmental noise cancellation for your convenience.

Suggested retail price is also EUR 39.99.

Pricing and availability in other markets will be revealed once they become available.

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Automotive

Nissan Ariya ushers a new chapter for the company

It’s an All-electric Crossover SUV

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Nissan has been heavily marketing their EV efforts. The company is taking things to the next phase with the introduction of the Nissan Ariya. It’s their first all-electric Crossover SUV complete with smart functionalities.

The Nissan Ariya represents the company’s design transformation which also includes the unveiling of a new logo. It also takes the powerful performance and capabilities of zero-emission vehicles to a new level.

Its all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. There are different configurations to choose from. These include two-wheel-drive and e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes.

The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances performance with all-weather capability. The system’s twin electric motors provide a balanced, predictable ride, while delivering sports car-level power.

Tech-ladden smart car

The Nissan Ariya is equipped with tech to help you If you’re pretty challenged behind the wheel . It has the ProPILOT 2.0 which is an advanced driver assistance system. It comes with ProPILOT Remote Park and e-Pedal features.

The Ariya also has Nissan’s Safety Shield system which includes Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.

The Ariya is accompanied by Amazon’s Alexa. Couple that with its all-new human-machine interface, it lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Worried about updates? The car’s firmware can all be updated over-the-air (OTA) so keeping it up-to-date should be a breeze.

Subtle, futuristic interior

The exterior design isn’t the only thing that was given a fresh look. The Nissan Ariya has an interior who’s design language follows that of “Timeless Japanese Futurism.”

Nissan’s designers took advantage of the car’s new EV platform. It allows for a flat floor and its compact climate control components give the Ariya the most spacious cabin in its class.

The lounge-like interior features Zero Gravity seat and provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike.

New car, new logo

Debuting on the Nissan Ariya is Nissan’s new logo. The company says it symbolizes the company’s dedication to keep innovating for new generations of customers.

The company name remains at the center of the logo. This should communicate an instantly recognizable brand that evokes past milestones and memories while also conveying evolution.

Moving forward, it will appear in coming Nissan models as they’re introduced or refreshed.

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