I've always been a follower of Paul Tan's Automotive blog for a couple of years now. His blog has the latest news from the auto industry be it local or abroad. A couple of months ago he wrote about a TV program idea he was toying about. a few weeks from today he finally announced that his project was in fact now complete and the first show was to air on 8TV on the 11th of April 2010. I was intreagued as I helped my brother audition for the Nescafe kick start program to create a simmilar program. He's gonna kill me for posting this video but what the heck right?

He was ultimately unsuccessful but we both managed to highlight the shortcomings of Malaysian car shows. Of course I have added a few points of my own but we share the same general feeling. To tell you the truth, whenever I say I'm gonna list down things I don't really have any Idea what to say and I make up the points as I go along, hehehe. Here goes:

1) They're all too boring. Car shows should not be too technical, nor should they be too layman until the hosts come across as they don't know anything about cars and are reading from scripts.

2) Cars in Malaysia are too expensive so most cars reviewed are out of the range of most Malaysians. When something is properly out of your reach you are less likely to be excited by it.

3) Reviews aren't really conclusive and usually end up in the car being "good". No mention of really good plus points what's it got going for it? What are it's short comings? How does it compare with it's rivals in the MALAYSIAN market? this brings me to point 4:

4) Hosts. The hosts usually do not come across as they know much about cars. They aren't able to pick up the small details or unique design or characteristic traits of the cars they review. This is probably due to the lack of exposure Malaysian drivers get to cars. This is due to the exorbitant price of cars in Malaysia. Most people can only afford a Proton or Perodua or a Korean car of an entry level Japanese car. Most foreign cars in Malaysia are lower spec'ed than their counterparts in developed countries. Therefore the probability of a Malaysian understanding the "emotional experience" of owning an Alfa Romeo eventhough it breaks down every 2 days is very rare. Or how the 50-50 chassis weight balance of a BMW differs from your run of the mill car. Or the superb seats and ergonomics of Volvos. The devil is in the details.

Ok, I could brainstorm and churn out a few more points but I'll leave it there for now. You see, i think the main culprit is car prices in Malaysia. We will never make a good car because the buying public mostly will not know any better and will buy what ever Proton or Perodoa sells us, mostly because of the price difference. As a car nut I absolutely despise car prices in Malaysia. It kills competition, makes the public dumb, makes motorsport accessible to only the super rich and allows for low spec'ed cars to be sold here.

Anyways, back to Driven. I think it's a very decent attempt at a serious local motoring show. At first glance, the cinematography is pretty good as is the editing. The fun factor is there though I wasn't too keen on the "Senario" like slap stick jokes but hey, I guess that kinda humour sells in Malaysia. The content can be more in depth. You know, when the reviewed the Ford Mondeo they said that there certainly a "Premium feel" to the car. Please define Premium... Is it just because it has leather seats and a more than 2 litre engine it qualified for "premium". I wish they'd elaborate. They had a "tech" segment but clearly they didn't do a thorough research when they say that electric car tech and fuel cell tech are incompatible. I guess they never heard of a fuel cell car with a battery or with plug in capabilities... The DIY segment was good. I would like to see more on real world motoring problems and tips though. Like what are the running costs of the major cars available in the market. Are continental cars really that more expensive to run? What about the 2nd hand car market? They should also cover that as most Malaysians can only afford used premium cars.

The hosts were pretty good here's what their website says about them and my comments on the hosts:

Sharizan Borhan
Sharizan Borhan is an established singer who is fondly referred to as Malaysia’s “King of Swing” and has extreme enthusiasm about anything on wheels be it four or two. As Driven also takes a look at the fun side of motoring, Sharizan (always the entertainer!) shares his views from the perspective of the layman car-lover.
His wheels: BMW 5-Series (e39), Kawasaki Z1000
I think he's the best host of the lot. His english is the best out of the three and he can sort of act abit... oklah... the only thing was during the BMW review he kept on saying "Let me tell you..." kinda annoying but that's just me...

Nurul Alis
Nurul Alis may look like the sweet gentle girl you’d want to bring home to your mum but make no mistake, this woman packs a punch! She has a passion for driving cars at breakneck speed and once in a while making her turbocharged Nissan Silvia S15 go sideways on the drift track. When not racing, Alis spends her time indulging in various outdoor activities, including flying a Cessna 176. Crazy…but cool!
Her wheels: Nissan Silvia S15, Proton Saga
 Obviously she's the eye candy for the show but she has real car nut and racing credentials. I kid you not. Cuma her english is so so and her acting is not very convincing.

Harvinder Singh
Harvinder Singh is a motoring journalist with ’speed’ and ‘petrol’ as his middle names. He is also a classic car nut with some hands-on knowledge. He contributes to columns on and on the Star Motoring monthly pullout. A man who appreciates all cars in their own special way Harvinder gives valuable insight on the local car market, what’s a good drive and what’s good value-for-money.
His wheels: BMW 3-Series (e30), 1974 Ford Cortina Mk3 2000GT, 1979 Mercedes W123
 Harvinder's role is rather puzzling. Why did they need a third presenter eludes me. But this is not saying that he is not good. I think out of the lot he has the most car geek credentials, so he knows what he's talking about. Only in this show his showmanship skills is outshone by his other celebrity co-hosts. 

I think they should do reviews of car mods as well as in Malaysia, most cars are the same and people tend to "personalise" their cars to differentiate their cars from the rest. The car modding scene should be covered as well as the local motorsport, car club activities and used car market. Other improvements that they could put in are tips for the motorists. from maintenance tips to deals in the market to insurance tips or just general driving tips.

Ok, It's almost time for taekwondo so I'll leave it here for now. All in all i think Driven is the best local car show yet but it doesn't mean it's perfect. Above are just a few improvements that I could think of through the 1 hour or so it took me to write this. Keep up the good work guys and I hope there'll be a second season. I look forward to the rest of the season!

For those who missed the show last night, you can check out the episode from their website here.

Pen off... oops I mean, fingers off!