Posts tagged ‘wagon’

Text and photos by James Wong 

Somehow, the CM1 in the #LenspeedOwned fleet hasn’t gotten much attention nor love.

A photo during one of the first few weeks of ownership!

I guess it’s because it was in my hands for a short while, before I decided that it was too slow for my hot-blooded veins. It then went to my sister, and now it runs as a family banger.

Tints made it look like a mafia wagon

So it never really received much care or concern. Yet, it ran pretty much flawlessly aside from the usual wear and tear items.

Interior has an exotic brown/black combination which is a nice touch

I purchased it in 2016, when it had about 133k on the odometer and PQP was a not inconsiderable $50kish. Having only 1 past owner and being in rather honest condition (read: crappy paint, but clean and unmodified exterior/interior), I renewed COE on it. It felt expensive back then (when you could get a MkV GTI on cheaper depre, which I did afterwards), but it seems reasonable now especially when JDM prices have climbed. It now has 213k on its clocks and still runs strong and true.

It performed several roles in the last 6 years, and its early life was a tough one, transporting heavy packs of F&B wares almost as a company van. It managed to graduate from that to do more palatable daily chores like the school run and the odd drive to Malaysia. It now has somewhat of a ‘retiree’ life being driven only when the other cars need to be serviced or break down. It’s been rather good at that.

In that span of time, wear was remarkably slow even though the car was put through harsh conditions. Many times, I felt pity for it, but also was not compelled to do anything as it isn’t mine, technically.

In early 2021 it got some love by having a much-needed paint job, and it looks so much better afterwards. It still deserves a nice set rims and twin exhausts, but I shall indulge on it a little if I have any additional funds. With the stock market looking this way, it’s looking to be a long way still.

More recently, it gave up the ghost after its years of hard labour due to overheating. I thought at first that an animal climbed into the engine bay and got stuck somehow, but I later found out that the noises were caused by a failed radiator. It’s now a chance to refresh the car and get other items done at the same. I’m looking forward to how the car will drive after!

Any rim ideas? Feel free to comment or DM us on social for suggestions!

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Text and photos by The Lenspeed Team


My back really hurt when I got back to Singapore.

Not because of the Passat Variant I had over the weekend drive into Malaysia, not at all. It was because I jumped into my old Honda, and suddenly its suspension felt creaky, stiff as a plank and inexplicably harsh. What could have caused this?

I initially suspected heavy loads could have taken their toll on it, but as time wore on it slowly dawned on me that because I was so pampered by the VW, my own car just didn’t match up any more. It felt broken next to the utterly excellent, supremely comfortable Passat.


I actually never planned to take the car up north. But at the spur of the moment, and in the spirit of testing the car properly in varied environments rather than the humdrum of urban Singapore, I decided to do it. It’s been a while since the family has been back in Malacca, and it’s durian season (sorry for the aftermath, VW).


What can I say? Predictably, the Passat shines on the North South highway. It rides beautifully, even on its large rims, the engine is flexible and more than capable at a high-speed cruise, and second row legroom is just awesome. There was nary a complaint at all from all passengers. What’s appreciably special about the Passat is how good it is in town as well, when we entered Malacca. With the dependable 6-speed gearbox, it shifts efficiently and manages to retain most of its fuel sipping nature in the urban landscape too. The engine pairs well with the smooth gearbox, and this is the combination we’d always pick over the 1.8 engine with the 7-speed gearbox.


It’s worth mentioning about the chassis. Yes, we have already spoken praises about MQB. Honestly, the one in the Passat is so good and continues to astound. It trumps almost anything in its segment with its rigidity and integrity. It feels like a one-piece item hewn from solid metal, yet it is so light and makes the Passat feel very agile. On rough roads to the durian plantation the chassis is totally unfazed at all with the bumps and dips, neither flexing nor complaining with creaks.


The interior is also wonderful, high quality and an exercise in German restraint. It wouldn’t look out of place with an Audi badge. Being a wagon, the Variant also helped us to load all the massive amount of shopping that the women did. It must be said though, that while the electronic instrument cluster is novel, it seems a bit overly complicated at the end of it. I found it useful for navigation purposes, but I am in the camp that prefers a head-up display to this.


If there was anything to improve on (and we are struggling here), it’s that the car lacks a bit of soul. It’s perfectly executed, but a little playfulness would be nice. Then again, the looks of the car are already a huge step up from before, and it is genuinely handsome and classy now. Who are we to complain?


It was the perfect road trip companion, and we now feel a little worse for wear in our own car. That is full praise for the VW and how it completed the trip so effortlessly that everyone in it got used to its high standards. This could be the most complete wagon in its segment today… Volkswagen does a winner again.

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By Team Lenspeed

Stretch your imagination and you might derive plenty of fun in a couple of Lenspeed’s favourite wagons

Estates – a variant usually shunned by locals for being aesthetically unappealing usually tend to fall right smack under Lenspeed’s radar. No, we’re not challenging the “norm” for the sake of it. Rather, there are a couple of wagons that are of worthy mention – most of them never made their way to Singapore. We’re usually tempted to focus our attention to Q-cars in sedan guise, but going one step “further” to elevate its exclusivity and understated charm by opting for a wagon can reap decent rewards, too.

Audi RS 6 (C5)
The Audi RS 6 (C5) was a stab right in the heart of supercar owners. Introduced in 2002, the twin turbo V8 motor gathers 450bhp and sprints to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. That’s splitting fast even by modern day standards. Whats more impressive to us is the level of dedication placed to differentiate the Avant from non “RS” models. Honeycomb grilles and flared wheel arches serve to remind us that this Bahnstormer means serious business. Even then, the fact that it fits five in supreme comfort suggests that most will still write it off as a regular people carrier. Until…
Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Estate
Most will shrug off naturally aspirated applications in a wagon due to its “lack” of low-end torque, but when it comes to the 6.2-litre M156 AMG V8, the issue on torque gaps can be forgiven. With respect to this motor, the fun lies in going full-on with the throttle and then revel in the delight of a smooth, power delivery accompanied by an addictive bent-V growl. And we reckon it can produce a meatier exhaust note due to its heavier kerb weight. In a transition period where other models in AMG’s stable were switching to the 5.5-litre M157 twin turbo V8, AMG stuck deep with the M156 in the C wagon – and this is precisely why Lenspeed found it desirable. High revving NA wagons sounds like a thing of the past, but there are still a couple of them roaming in Singapore if you’re lucky enough to spot them.
We might prefer cars with a chassis that is more playful than capable, but we also understand that there is fun to be had when hooning a properly fast wagon through the straights. It won’t be the most precise driving tool, but this blend of lethal supercar performance wedged in a functional wagon shell is more than sufficient to place these two estates into Lenspeed’s list of cars to drive.
What are your thoughts on performance wagons? Leave your comments below!



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By The Lenspeed Team

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There are a few brands out there known for building desirable wagons. One is Audi for their Avants, which are often more desirable than their sedan counterparts. Another is Volvo, thanks to its family-friendly image and focus on safety. Although not immediately apparent as a Lenspeed candidate, Volvo claims that its V60 will blend the versatility of an estate with the dynamic handling of a sports sedan. And that has piqued our interest. Let’s see if that claim holds any water.

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There is much to admire about the looks of the V60. Every angle you turn, the car is effortlessly stylish, compact and svelte. On this test car, the rims don’t quite bring out the best in the car and neither does its black paintwork, but I cannot deny that this is truly one handsome car. My favourite design line runs across the belt line, curving every so slightly above the wheel arches and tapering off beautifully at the rear. It’s organic, and in a way almost modeled after a living thing. The twin tailpipes and daytime running lights also elevate its appeal among the style conscious. For those who like attention to detail, Volvo has also relocated its previously visible washer nozzles on its bonnet to underneath it to add to its aesthetic appeal.

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Step inside and the first striking thing are the leather seats. Lovingly sewn together with fine stitches, the stupendously soft nappa-like leather wraps you in warmth as you place yourself inside the oasis of calm. I would go so far to say that the seats are the main highlight of this particular V60! They have to be tried. Here are more photos of the sumptuous leather seats:

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The two-tone colour is also very appealing!

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Some parts of the seat make it feel like a carefully made baseball glove.

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The other details are typically Volvo, from the big buttons on the steering wheel (seemingly built as such to be pressed with thick winter gloves) and the delicate buttons on the centre console. Although everything is quite highly quality it does seem to lack the last edge of finesse in finish that you’d find in the latest German rivals.

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One thing that we did like very much is the brushed metal accents around the interior, which just feels very expensive.

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If you’re curious, the boot space is also practical (430L, 1241L with seats folded) although the wonderful exterior profile does mean you have quite a low ceiling that can sometimes catch out large items and also taller people sitting in the car.

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So how does it drive? It’s worth pointing out that the car came with a host of safety features, including the ingenious City Safety. This works up to speeds of 50km/h and will brake for you if it senses that the driver fails to react in time to a vehicle/object in front. It’s usually passive, but it activated on my drive when I was entering a car park, at the gantry barrier. Because I usually approach the barrier quite quickly and closely, the car sensed its presence and braked hard to ensure that I did not proceed further. Although I was confident I wouldn’t hit the barrier, it made doubly sure I wouldn’t anyway. A nifty feature, especially for people like my dad who may not pay that much attention to the road.

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The T4 engine in the test car is the only petrol variant you can choose from and the only other available option is the highly frugal D2. In numbers, it compares as how you’d expect with the diesel – less torque, higher bhp, higher FC and CO2 emissions. The T4 won’t get the $15,000 CEVS rebate that the D2 would enjoy too.

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But the upside is that you do get a smoother, quieter engine. I’ve tried the D2 engine, albeit in the V40, and it proved to be quite gruff and unrefined. The T4 on the other hand feels very well sorted, delivering a good pace in the low-end and aiding in spirited driving. It’s worth revving the engine out to its top end as it does have a good spread of power, though you may just not bother because the car doesn’t have any paddle shifters to make it easy for you to play when you want. Thankfully, the engine is happy if you just allow it to sit in the background and do its business. Unfortunately, it doesn’t return really good fuel consumption although it just about hits the mark for its capacity and output.

Interestingly, if you walk into the showroom now and order a new V60, you can only get the D2 as the T4 has been phased out for the Singapore market…

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In the handling stakes, the V60 will be a bit of a surprise for a Volvo. Riding stiffer than any other Volvo I can remember driving, the damping feels more sporty than school run. It’ll allow you to drive the car quite hard and not feel like you’re making a fool of yourself hauling an estate around corners. It’s a understeer-biased handler, but this is no bad thing as it is highly predictable in its responses. The thing that lets down this potential sportiness is its steering, which feels slow-witted and a bit too lazily geared to make the best use of the car’s chassis.

So, does this estate live up to its maker’s claims of being both versatile and sporty at the same time? We think it does above average in both respects, but it’s not a class leader by any means. What it is, however, is a highly competent and accomplished wagon if assessed independently of any other car. We’d go for a diesel though, but with a quieter engine than the D2!


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