Car Crashes into X-Cite Electronics

Posted by Mark

crash2

A couple of nights back a car accidentally crashed into the X-Cite store in Hawally. The incident took place right after futoor when the showroom was empty and so no one got hurt. Their new store is located on a busy roundabout so this probably isn’t going to be the last time this happens.

crash1

It actually reminds me of this shop in Salmiya called Beirut that was located at a traffic intersection. So many people drove into the shop the owner ended up installing a steel barrier outside to stop the cars from crashing in.

Thanks Khaled


google plus share facebook share twitter share

The Volkswagen Golf GTI

Posted by Mark

Last week after posting my review on the Lexus IS 350 I got a phone call from VW regarding the Golf since I had left a comment about how they don’t want me to drive their cars. Awhile back I had sent them a couple of emails requesting to test drive the car but no one had ever gotten back to me. Actually one person did the first time I sent an email and they told me they didn’t have the car available for a test drive, but they’d call me back once they did. The second email just never got through due it turns out to a technical glitch from their side. The marketing manager was fairly apologetic about that and told me they had a Golf GTI ready and that I could pass by and pick it up anytime I wanted to. So an hour later I was leaving the VW dealership in a hot red hatch for the weekend.

I have a personal connection with the Golf. My granddad in Lebanon had the original Golf MKI which my family used to use during our summer holidays. It was a great car, compact and really reliable. The car I believe was a 1977 model but stayed in the family up until the late 90s. When I moved to Lebanon for university my first car was also a Golf, the MKIII. It was the car I learned to drive on and in the two years I had it, I managed to get 14 flat tires (stupid potholes) and 7 accidents. Sounds bad but it’s because of the Golf I’m a much better driver today. The car then moved on to my sister who continued the tradition of carelessly driving into giant potholes as well as hitting other cars. Sadly though, she still sucks at driving today. The Golf took a lot of abuse before we finally sold it. I still miss the car and wish I still had it but it’s probably in a better place now. Since then the Golf has gone through four facelifts and the current model is the Golf MKVII.

So yeah I love Golfs and I was in love with the current model even before driving it. And now after spending the weekend with the car I’m seriously contemplating getting one. I tend to do this with every car I test drive which isn’t healthy obviously, I even did it with the Ferrari 458 Spider and the McLaren. You can just imagine the conversation I had in my head trying to convince myself how it’s possible the 458 could replace my FJ Cruiser as my daily driver. Most of the time though the itch wears off a few days later and I start looking for another car to test drive. This time, I’m not sure if the feeling is going to go away.

The new Golf GTI is just a blast to drive. The seating position is fantastic, the handling is ridiculous and it just takes a few minutes to feel super confident driving it. I was also driving like a douche, cutting people off and trying to squeeze between cars. Its how I used to drive my own Golf and I guess I was just reliving the old days. Because of the extremely accurate handling, Golfs are known to be great for “inbetweens” which is the art of trying to squeeze yourself between two cars by creating a new lane between them. Luckily, no sideview mirrors were lost in the making of this review. Seriously though the car is so much fun to drive and the more powerful Golf R is supposed to be even more fun which is insane.

One thing that surprised the hell out of me was the car’s AC. I wouldn’t usually mention the AC in a review but this past weekend the weather was really hot and the car spent a lot of time parked in the sun yet the AC was so powerful it would give Toyota a run for their money. On the other hand I found the sound system disappointing with really boomy bass, a small claustrophobic screen and no navigation. For those of you who’re interested in the back seats, there’s pretty good legroom and like all Golf’s the rear seats fold down turning the already large trunk into an IKEA friendly one.

There are two Golf’s available to purchase in Kuwait, the Golf GTI and the Golf R (they don’t get standard non GTI or R Golfs). The Golf GTI in Kuwait comes fully loaded with features such as the performance package, auto parking, rearview camera and sunroof and costs KD10,600. If I was getting the GTI I would custom order it (which is possible) and not have the auto parking option (because I can park myself) and instead get the upgraded sound system with navigation. The Golf R is the most powerful version of the Golf with more horsepower than the GTI, an all wheel drive system, upgraded sound system with navigation and leather seats. But the Golf R also costs KD14,800.

I’m having a real hard time trying to decide if I’d be willing to swap my FJ for the Golf. I’ve already been researching Golf bike mounts and roof bars that can hold wakeboards. But, I’ve also kinda gotten used to being able to drive over anything and on anything so thats going to be something hard to let go of. If you’re interested in test driving the Golf or if you’re looking for more information, then check out the dealers website [Here]


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Car crashes into Starbucks

Posted by Mark

Someone sent me the video above of a car that crashed into a Starbucks. According to the person shooting the video this happened at Starbucks Jabriya. Since I didn’t have anything better to do at 1:30AM I decided to pass by and check it out. I passed by three Starbucks in Jabriya and all three seemed to be in one piece. So unless there is a fourth Starbucks in Jabriya which I don’t know about I have no idea where this incident took place. [YouTube]

starbucks


google plus share facebook share twitter share

The Lexus IS 350 F Sport

Posted by Mark

lexus-exterior1

One of my favorite blog perks is that whenever I see an interesting car, I can just contact the dealer and request to take it out for a test drive. I’ve been lucky enough to drive nearly all my favorite cars and all the dealers have been extremely good to me. Well most at least, Audi and VW don’t seem to want me to take out their cars for some odd reason (VW put me in a Golf already!). This past weekend I took out a car that recently sparked my interest, the Lexus IS 350 F Sport. When I had my surgery on my ankle a couple of weeks back I was being driven around in my dads Lexus LS. It was my first time in his car and I was sitting in the backseat playing with the massage option thinking I could live like this. It was comfortable, quiet, had a ton of leg room, it was everything my FJ Cruiser wasn’t. But I also knew that if I end up getting an LS that would basically mean I was admitting I was getting older. That was going to happen. A few moments later we pulled up to a traffic light right next to a new Lexus IS. The new Lexus IS has been out for awhile now but it only really caught my attention for the first time that very moment. I suddenly started loving the way it looked and a few days later I contacted the dealer and asked them if I could borrow the car for the weekend.

lexus-exterior2

Before picking up the car there were two things I was hoping for, one the car wouldn’t be maroon since I believe thats the ugliest color on the car, and the second is that the interior wouldn’t be beige. Luckily my prayers were answered and they even handed me the keys to an F Sport version of the car which looks and is a lot cooler than the standard version. I’ve never thought of Lexus as exciting, but their new IS and NX cars are just so hot. Once I got in the car I fell in love with the interior as well, it’s very minimal with clean lines and all tastefully put together. The digital dashboard board is inspired from the Lexus LFA sports car and physically moves. I’ve never seen that in a car before, you can choose to have the speedometer in the middle with information running on both sides or with a press of the button have the speedometer slide to the right to reveal a larger screen with information displayed. Very cool.


[YouTube]

Most of the cars I take out to review I start to fall in love with as I spend more time with the car. With the Lexus IS, I fell in love with the car as soon as I got in it, and was still in love with it when I had to give it back. The car is just really comfortable to drive and I think it’s one of the hottest looking 4-doors in this price bracket. But the best part about it is the fact that its a Lexus so you know it’s going to be reliable. I’ve got a friend who drives at 12 year old Lexus that still looks new and she’s only now considering getting it replaced. Their cars are bulletproof.

lexus-interior

The only thing that probably let the car down is the lack of features. The fully loaded Lexus IS I drove didn’t have any of the new features you would find on the new luxury cars like lane keeping assist, collision detection, blind spot information etc… It wasn’t a major let down for me but it could be for people who care about these gizmos more than the way the car looks. The sound system on the other hand was one of the best I’ve heard in a car and surprisingly was brand-less. It was just their standard 8 speaker sound system but yet I found the sound impressive.

lexus-interior2

In Kuwait the dealer has three different IS models, the IS 250, the IS 350 and the IS 350 F Sport. The main difference between the IS 250 and 350 is the engine size while the main differences between the IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport are mainly visual upgrades like spoilers, sportier seats, larger wheels, the digital dashboard I mentioned earlier and a few other things. The price of the IS 250 starts at around KD12,000 while the top of the line F Sport is around KD16,900. Would I buy this car? Yes in a heartbeat. If I was in the market looking for a 4-door sporty looking sedan then this would be right there on the top of the list. For more information on the Lexus IS you can check out the dealers website [Here]


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Hawalli Traffic Department

Posted by Mark

muroor

Every year I have to go through the dreaded process of renewing my car registration and I hate it. The traffic department in Maidan Hawalli is just a chaotic, over crowded unorganized mess. It involves a lot of pushing and shoving and lots of waiting. But this year, something changed.

I had already finished my car check in the morning without any incidents so I headed to the traffic department to get my car registration printed. Right as I walked in I noticed they had setup a desk at the main entrance and an officer was standing in the doorway leading to the main hall. The officer was not letting anyone through unless they had stood in line and gotten their paperwork checked and stamped at the desks. I naturally stood in line which wasn’t long at all, just two people ahead of me and when it was my turn the guy behind the desk checked my papers and then told me I needed to get a stamp from the machine. I went got a stamp while he patiently waited, I then passed him the stamp, he stuck it on my papers, signed it and gave it back to me and told me to go inside. I walked into what usually is a large, noisy and overcrowded hall and walked up to a window and handed the guy my papers. A minute later he called my name and I went and he gave me my new car registration. I walked out dumbfounded.

I am a pro at renewing car registrations since I do it a few times a year for my cars and my parents cars and I’ve been doing it for a fairly long time now. Not once have I ever managed to get anything done there in under 30 minutes. It usually takes longer but lets use 30 minutes as a number for now. This year the process took less than 10. Not only that but I didn’t get shoved, I didn’t have people try and push in front of me and I didn’t have to sit in an over crowded room watching people getting yelled at by an overzealous police officer.

Whomever they’ve put in charge at the traffic department in Hawalli needs a medal. It was literally the quickest and simplest governmental service I think I’ve ever experienced anywhere yet alone in Kuwait. Why can’t all of Kuwait’s government processes be so organized like this?


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Speedcam Fail

Posted by Mark

camerarevenge
It seems someone got upset at a speedcam and decided to cover the camera flash with his shemagh. Don’t know why he didn’t just cover up the camera instead.

Thanks Nicolas


google plus share facebook share twitter share

The New Land Rover Discovery Sport

Posted by Mark

disco0

I’m a big Discovery fan and have been one ever since the late 80s when I watched a Camel Trophy event on TV. Watching those Discoverys tackle ridiculously insane terrain led me to really respect the car. So when I heard that Land Rover had launched a completely brand new Discovery, I contacted the dealer and asked them if I could test drive one.

I passed by the dealer Thursday afternoon and picked up the car for the weekend. My first impression wasn’t that great. The Discovery was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, it looked more like a crossover than a proper full fledged SUV. I couldn’t figure out why Land Rover would shrink the car so much, I was confused. And then I realized something, this wasn’t a replacement for the large LR4, this was a replacement for the smaller Freelander and then everything made sense.

disco1

Land Rover have the large Range Rover and then they have the smaller Range Rover Sport. They’ve now gone and applied the same naming scheme to the Discovery which is what confused me in the beginning. So now you have the large Discovery (LR4) and also the smaller Discovery Sport. I was never a fan of the Freelander, I thought it was just one of the most hideous looking SUVs you could buy and mostly because I just hated how the rear of the car looked like. The new Discovery Sport has design elements taken from the Range Rover family and so it ends up looking like a baby Range Rover. It’s a much much better looking car than the Freelander and this time around the rear of the car is probably my favorite thing about the car. Suddenly, the Discovery Sport didn’t seem bad at all.

interiortrunk

Since it’s a Land Rover I decided to take the car to the abandoned military barracks in Bnaider. I wanted to test the cars offroad capabilities a bit as well as take some good photos while I was at it. The test drive vehicle I was given had only two rows of seats but you can also get a third row as an extra option. Since I was taking my wakeboard with me, I dropped the second row seat down so it could fit inside. Although the car is small it’s got a pretty large trunk and once you drop the second row seats down it becomes very IKEA friendly. I finished loading up my gear and headed off to Bnaider.

interior

The interior of the Discovery Sport is simple but tasteful. It’s borrows a lot of elements from the Evoque like some of the switches and the circular gear selector that sleekly pops up when you start the car. The Discovery Sport also shares the same 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed transmission with the Evoque as well. The model I drove had a large panoramic roof which really helped make the interior look a lot larger and spacious than it actually is. My car also had the optional Meridian Audio sound system fitted which sounded fantastic. The user interface of the cars 8inch touch screen is also very tasteful and nicely designed. The screen looked a bit low-res and pixelated but it was generally pleasant to use and helped give the interior a more premium feel. The interface was definitely much sleeker than the last few cars I test drove.

disco2

Although the car has a 4-cylinder engine I didn’t find it slow at all on our flat roads. It was very easy to pick up speed and I was actually turning on the speed limiter on most of the roads since I found it very easy to overspeed. Once I got to Bnaider I shifted the driving style program from “general” to “sand” and headed offroad towards the abandoned barracks. The ride on hard packed sand was pretty loud and bumpy because of the large 20″ wheels that were fitted on the car. The low ride height also made me more cautious while approaching obstacles but once I got to the barracks things got a lot easier. The abandoned barracks have basically been turned into a small offroad circuit which I decided to explore in the Discovery. Even with stock tires I didn’t have any issues at all traversing the deep soft sands and I also didn’t face any issues tackling the extreme uphill and downhill descents. I highly doubt anyone would use this car for anything this intense but if they did they’d know the car can handle it. Actually the only thing that was an issue was when I climbed a curb in the parking lot behind Pick Yo in the city. While climbing back down from the curb I actually hit the bottom of the car because of the poor ground clearance.

disco3

Whenever I take out cars for test drives I always ask myself if I’d want one for myself. Most of the time its yes but other times like on this occasion the answer is no. In this case it has nothing to do with the Discovery Sport itself, I think the car is very capable and the most accessible Land Rover since it starts at around KD15,750. But, it’s just not for me. If I was looking for a compact SUV I’d choose the much more sexier looking Range Rover Evoque for example. The Discovery Sport is more of a family oriented car since it’s slightly larger than the Evoque and can fit a third row of seats in the back. It’s a practical everyday car that’s easy to drive especially considering it has helpful features like parking assist where the car parks itself for you. So yeah I think its definitely aimed towards soccer moms and the like. If you’re interested in the car then you should definitely pass by the dealer and request a test drive.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Speed Cameras Rotated

Posted by Mark

speedcamera

On my way to Khiran yesterday I noticed a few of the speed cameras on the 30th had been rotated to face the front of the cars instead of the rear. I didn’t take a photo but a reader sent me the one above and told me he had spotted rotated cameras on the 5th, 6th and 7th Ring Roads as well.

At first I thought they might have something to do with the emergency lanes being available for the public to use but I don’t think thats the case anymore. I found rotated cameras on parts of the highway that didn’t have any emergency lanes so that theory didn’t work. My best guess now is they’ve just rotated some cameras so that people can start slowing down much sooner than before.

Thanks Dragos


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Emergency Lanes Now Open from 6AM to 10PM

Posted by Mark

emergencylane

According to an instagram post by the Ministry of Interior, the emergency lanes on some of the major highways are now open to the general public to use from 6AM to 10PM as long as you don’t exceed 45km/h. The roads are the ones highlighted in blue in the map above. Their post is in Arabic so I couldn’t understand most of it but looking at the map my best guess is the emergency lanes they’re talking about are on the 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th roads, as well as the 5th and 6th Ring Roads.

Now for a bit of venting…

Why isn’t this information on their website? What about all the expats like me who can’t read Arabic? Why is the road open only from 6AM to 10PM? I mean if it’s open during the whole day why not just keep it open 24/7 instead of making it illegal after 10PM. It just complicates things. And why are they limiting the speed to 45km/h? Why don’t they just pave the road and turn it into a proper lane and again simplify things. It’s as if they still haven’t made up their minds on if they should completely cancel the emergency lanes or keep them.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Our Taxis Suck

Posted by Mark

ourtaxissuck

I got a press release from the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai a couple of days back that pissed me off. It’s about a new device that’s being installed in their taxi cabs to help reduce accidents:

Once the taxi reaches a speed of 60km/hour, sensors fitted to the front and rear of the car are activated. If the taxi enters within the safety zone of the vehicle in front, a safety message will be sent to the taxi’s speaker inside the car. Similarly, if a vehicle approaching a taxi breaches the safety zone, they will receive a message through their own radio. This safety message will tell the driver to back away from the vehicle in front and to remember to keep a safe distance as it could be carrying a friend or loved one,” [Link]

The press release pissed me off because it’s frustrating to keep seeing how much more advanced Dubai is getting while we can’t even get our cab drivers to use a simple device like a taximeter. I would personally use cabs more often and I’m sure other people would do if it didn’t mean we would have to haggle for every ride.


google plus share facebook share twitter share

Page 1 of 9012345678910Last



Contribute

If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]