The Pentagon is reviewing Elon Musk’s federal security clearance following the billionaire’s marijuana toke on a California comedian’s podcast in September, according to a U.S. official. Musk has refiled his SF-86 security form, which requires a federal employee or contractor seeking a clearance to acknowledge any illegal drug use over the previous seven years, according to the official, who asked not to be identified. The entrepreneur has a secret-level clearance because of his role as founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which is certified to launch military spy satellites. A SpaceX official, who asked not to be identified, said the review hasn’t had an impact on the company. SpaceX’s day-to-day operations are run by President and COO Gwynne Shotwell. The company has won contracts for national security space launches since Musk’s podcast incident, including one for three launches on Feb. 19 for $297 million. But the refiling … [Read more...] about Musk’s security clearance under Pentagon review after toke
The Swift was probably the most awaited hatchback of 2018 and this month, we have inducted one into our long-term loaner fleet. It is a diesel automatic and happens to be the same car we shot last month for our story featuring the Swift hatchbacks from all three generations. My personal garage already has a Swift diesel from the previous generation and this new one stands right next to it. I'm sure my neighbors believe that I have some sort of an eternal love for this model line. Truth be told, I do like the Swift for its ability to combine urban practicality with a playful, hot-hatch character. This is, however, the first time that I will live with this package with the added convenience of an automatic. The automated transmission (AGS) has impressed me during the road test, and it should be interesting to see how it fares on my daily commutes. So far, its been more of a highway mile-muncher. The automatic variants don't get the machined-finish wheels, but these look good too. If this … [Read more...] about 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift longterm review: Introduction
The paths of Jaguar and Land Rover, both throughout their past and towards their future, are inexorably tied together. Since they were joined under the notorious British Leyland corporation in 1968, the companies were inseparable, and even after Jaguar was spun off in 1984 and then bought over by Ford in 1989, it was reunited with Land Rover when Ford purchased the SUV maker from BMW in 2000. Now under the Tata umbrella, the two form a common entity, sharing components, engines and production sites. It seems like the ideal union – although both cater to a similar upper middle class demographic, they serve two completely different markets, with one building fast, discreet sports cars and luxury sedans, and the other churning out tough, dependable off-roaders. They complement each other perfectly. Or so we thought. Just a few years after the merger, we heard rumours that the Leaping Cat was going to build (gasp!) an SUV. Rubbish, we thought – the very idea that Jaguar would … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 S/C V6 S and 2.0 D review
The Malaysian car market is fairly predictable, but every once in a blue moon, someone will spring a surprise. And as surprises go, the introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid late last year (yes, we’re in 2017!) was a huge one. It’s not just the availability of the Korean green car here either – the timing, the fact that it’s locally assembled, the pricing; everything was scarcely believable to pundits and competitor brands alike. It has been awhile since a regular, non-plug-in hybrid car was launched in Malaysia. Ever since the tax-free window of opportunity for CBU hybrids (and electric vehicles) ended in 2013, the two Japanese companies that profited the most from the battery rush have stopped promoting the genre. Understandably so, as without government incentives, prices ballooned to the usual high levels that we pay for imported cars. Hybrid cars made a recent comeback, but the proponents this time are premium brands pushing plug-in hybrids. The small … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid review
There’s no automotive segment in Malaysia that is quite as competitive as the B-segment sedan market. The crossover may be the darling of the car-buying public right now, but the affordable three-box, four-door with a small engine and a big boot remains firmly in the mainstream, and pretty much every mass-market carmaker that has a proper foothold in the Malaysian market has an entry in this cutthroat sector. For years, the Toyota Vios and its arch-rival, the Honda City, have sat at the top of the food chain, being the progenitors of the genre. At the time when the latter was an ungainly Jazz sedan, the world’s largest carmaker showed with the original Vios that you could have a handsome, reliable sedan for minimal outlay, and it established an early dominance. Fast forward to today, and the City has turned into a formidable competitor, with thrusting, square-edged styling hiding a new drivetrain and plenty of new toys. Hamstrung not least by an engine and gearbox … [Read more...] about DRIVEN: 2016 Toyota Vios review – new heart, but any better?