Friday, July 31, 2009

Amalfi: Megami no Hoshu Original Sound Track

Amalfi, once a beautiful Italian city, now a living place of terror when reports told that there was a Japanese girl abducted by the kidnappers and only one man can bring her back. Amalfi: Megami no Hoshu (日本名: アマルフィ 女神の報酬) centers on one man, played by one of Japan's respectful actors, Yuji Oda, who struggles his way to Italy to save the abducted girl from the kidnappers. With this movie accompanied by well known actors including Koichi Sato (The Magic Hour) Eriko Toda (Death Note: the Last name), Yuki Amama, Masaharu Fukuyama, Atsushi Ito, and Nene Otsuka, with special appearances of mistress of classical songs, Sarah Brightman, who sang "Time to Say Goodbye", the movie's main theme.

The original sound track of the movie, scored by Yugo Kanno, reminisce the dramatic struggles of one Japanese man who tries to rescue the abducted girl before the untimely terrorism strikes all over Italy, or worse, the world. With 22 tracks in total, including the instrumental version of Sarah Brightman's Time To Say Goodbye (sold separately under Sarah Brightman Love Songs CD), you can experience back the heroic struggles from Amalfi: Megami no Hoshu.

1. アマルフィ 女神の報酬
2. 世界で最も美しい場所
3. アニュス・デイ
4. 神は全ての者に扉を開く
5. 誘拐事件
6. 蜂のブローチ
7. 監視カメラ
8. 零ちる涙
9. 潜入
10. フラッシュバック
11. 犠牲者の中に…
12. 愛する妖精
13. 自分ひとりの力で
14. 陰に隠された真実
15. ターゲット
16. 連鎖テロ
17. 任務 試聴する
18. 悲しみを背負って
19. 正論が通るなら
20. あなたには死んで欲しくない
21. 紺碧の海
22. タイム・トゥ・セイ・グッバイ (インストゥルメンタル・ヴァージョン)

What's Good: All 22 tracks became the epitome of the movie's prime.

What's Not: Time To Say Goodbye might be the movie theme song, but to get this song with lyrics, buy the Sarah Brightman Love Songs CD first.

Renault-Samsung SM3 L38

Consider yourself watching the Korean TV CF of the new, second-generation, Renault Samsung SM3, and compare it to the Bentley Continental Flying Spur. What you will see is a different premium for this medium sized sedan with the price that is more affordable than the super-expensive Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

Whatever, the truth is, the Renault Samsung SM3 boasts an overall sportiness on the exterior while the interior is a different premium compared to other premium sedans. What captures the Korean driver is the interior because it has the quality of a premium sedan, thanks to automatic climate control, premium audio system from Arkamys or Bose, premium leather seats, and numerous features offer for this different premium.
The L38 SM3 is powered with the 1.6L l4 Renault-Nissan H4M engine that produces 112 PS of power output and attaining a fuel economy of 15.0km/L, meaning this different premium can go more than super-expensive sedans. It comes with either an XTRONIC CVT or a 5-speed manual transmission.

My thoughts about the SM3:

Makes me wonder how you would compare a budget-friendly Euro-Korean sedan with a million Peso European sedans. Well, if the word "premium" truly distinguishes it between sportiness and luxury, the SM3 L38 is a quick fire in the hole. Come on people, we do not say "fire in the hole" when this sedan comes closer than what we think, because it is more of a grenade that explodes with progression and precision. You will be glad to have it when it reaches the hands of a harried Korean driver, waiting to be picked by the new SM3.

Renault Scenic -Third Generation-

With this minivan's full model change, ever since the previous two generations, and the new set of features ready for family fun and excitement, the new Renault Scenic never brings the word "disgrace" to this car's vocabulary, and evolved for perfection.

There are two kinds of Scenics to choose from, depending from the driver’s tastes:

5-seater Scenic

or the 7-seater Grand Scenic

With the Scenic carries five adults, and the Grand Scenic fits seven people, there is no surprising that these two Scenics developed as the practical multipurpose passenger vehicle developed by the French automobile manufacturer, Renault. From the exterior, the Scenic still carries Renault's new design flow used from the latest Laguna, Twingo, Megane, and the Clio minor change, but on the other hand, the 5-seater Scenic and the 7-seater Grand Scenic have different identities that allow minivan customers to identify which are which.

With different exterior identities, the Scenic and the Grand Scenic shares the same interior faces, despite the seating is different for the both of them, from the optional navigation system, audio system seating arrangements, climate control, and many pockets to place, it is the motivation of the French minivan that provides the essence for the whole family.

With such motivation, the Scenic and the Grand Scenic motivates MPV connoisseurs with the finest technology. From the instrumental panel, Megane-based suspension, power steering, a choice of gasoline (1.6-litre turbo control efficiency engine, 1.6-litre LPG engine, or 1.6-litre 16-valve engine), or diesel engines with DPF as an option, and the host of safety features, including rear view monitor, the Scenic is truly a remarkable helper in all those situations.

Even as a 5-seater Scenic, or the 7-seater Grand Scenic, your road trips would never been more motivated by such features targeted for individuals who wanted to make road trips more fun, more safe, and more enjoyable for everyone. As targeted among European families, the Scenic is their perfect companion if long weekend vacations or even gimmicks all day occur. I assure that both the Scenic and the Grand Scenic would be perfect not as a carrier for people, but also the perfect MPV for the masses.

Hyundai Santa Fe: Second Generation-Phase II

Since late 2005, Hyundai Motor Company unveiled the second generation Santa Fe to please buyers with its dazzling new look and bold characteristics only a Korean SUV ever dreamed of...

Now this year, things are gonna act different because the second-generation Santa Fe gets a updated exterior and a whole new level of diesel engine that is different to Kia's Sorento R (the second-generation Sorento). Wanna find out the outer side of the face-lifted Santa Fe? Here's the rundown; a new aggressively designed grille, new front bumpers, newly redesigned rear lamps, new set of rims, and a new set of bright colors to choose from. Just how bright was that for a face-lift? For starters, you might classify this new version a mere fashionable crossover utility vehicle that suits your fashionista flavor.

Aside from the fashionable exterior, the face-lifted Santa Fe is rigged with the new E-VGT turbo diesel engine, which is available in 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre variants. For a quick rundown about these two R-diesel engines, here's what these two types describe. For power, pick the 2.2 e-VGT diesel variant because of it's power output of over 200hp. And for fuel efficiency, choose the 2.0 e-VGT diesel variant because of it's good fuel economy of 15.0km/L. That's quite comparative than the Kia Sorento because of such similarities.

From the updated exterior all the way to the new set of turbo diesel engines, the new Santa Fe is quite a bright look to the no.1 Korean auto manufacturer that brings buyers the quality they can trust. As for that, I would recommend this SUV to anyone who has the need of diesel-powered SUVs.

Ford Taurus VI

Since 2005, the replacement for the fourth-generation Taurus which is known as the Ford Fusion simply sparked the controversy that why the Taurus is gone for good. Then in 2007, Ford decided to rename the premium Five Hundred sedan as "Taurus" because of the customer satisfaction Ford needs. Now this year, things are looking different, not as different since Chrysler made a huge comeback with a new name and the fall of General Motors due to "Chapter 11" bankruptcy. The Taurus is finally received its full model change that made it a new-age premium sedan in the world.

The secrets of the Taurus sedan are simple; the exterior is mostly similar to the European Ford Mondeo with the aggressively shaped grille, muscular and athletic look, new rear lamps, halogen headlamps, new hood shape, and a set of various rims to choose. For the majestic performance that stands tall against other premium cars including the Buick LaCrosse, the new Taurus armed with the new 3.5 V6 Cyclone engine that boasts over 267ps with the fuel economy of over 9.8km/L. It also comes standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

For technology, cruise control, Active Motion seating, Microsoft's SYNC technology for pure music pleasure, optional voice-activated navigation system, Intelligent Access with push-button start, keyless entry, capless fuel filler system, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, reverse-sensing system, anti-theft system, and more of the majestic features only a American premium sedan has to offer.


Three little words made a huge comeback after its long absence, the SHO moniker, is now on the new Taurus. That is not all, for overall performance, the new Taurus SHO powered with the new 3.5 EcoBoost engine that delivers the power of 370ps at the fuel economy of 8.9km/L. On the exterior, it looks sportier than the AMGs from the Mercedes-Benz or the M Power from BMW. However, on the inside, look at the cosmetic treatment made for the return of the SHO and there is only one feature unique for the new SHO, rear-view camera for safety.


With the SHO model returned to the all-new Taurus, it might have some luck for the new-age majestic sedan that brings loyalty for the whole Ford Motor Company. With the Mercury Sable and the Ford Taurus X crossover out of the picture, you cannot guess it why did this crossover variant of the Taurus is dead and the Mercury sedan killed again for some reason. However, what that matters most is, the new-age Taurus will stand tall against the Lexus GS, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Fuga, or even the Toyota Crown series.


Nissan Skyline Crossover (Infiniti EX)

When the Nissan Skyline is known to other markets as the Infiniti G, it consists of just the sedan and the coupe (and also the convertible variant). Now that kind of Nissan Skyline you've expect here is a crossover variant that was here last year in the world market (as the Infiniti EX) and its coming to Japan as the substitute for the axed Nissan Stagea (the station wagon version of the Skyline). This crossover is known as the Skyline Crossover.

The fusion of the sports car and the sports utility vehicle is the result of creating the premium Japanese crossover that has the essence of luxury and comfort at the same time. As what you've expect, this crossover has the theme of hospitality and it has something that no other crossovers would share. It's the crossover utility vehicle that ends all crossover utility vehicles (and the future visits from other car dealers, except Nissan or Infiniti because they made this).

Just notice the exterior; it's like a whole new fashion statement of elegance and creativity like the famous painters in Japan. The front side is somewhat related to the Nissan Skyline (Infiniti G), then the side is quite a baby "Infiniti FX", and the rear side is quite the Murano-ism because the rear is somewhat mistaken for the Nissan Murano (probably).

While not so morally wrong, you've got to hand it to them; the Skyline Crossover offers the V6 3.7 litre VQ VVEL engine with the estimated power output of 330ps at the fuel economy of 9.1 to 9.7km/L and the available 7-speed automatic transmission as well. With the SUV features from different crossovers seem so bland, the Skyline Crossover tops them all with the essence of performance, quality, handling, style, and the finesse only a Japan-built crossover should offer. Let's not forget the Intelligent All-Wheel Drive that is quite a balancing act for the Skyline Crossover. The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive provides handling control when driver is about to spin the wheels while driving, giving it a 50% of the power distributed to the front wheels to increase grip and handling at such rough conditions. (So that's how they call it a crossover because of the fusion between the sports car and the SUV at the same time!)

Is there too much information about the outside of this crossover? How about take a closer look at the interior, it's quite similar to the Infiniti FX, but it's quite the same as the Nissan Skyline (Infiniti G) for the namesake. To add fun of it, the Around View Monitor (found on the third generation Serena and the Nissan Elgrand) adds parking safety for the Skyline Crossover. It allows you to see the aerial view of your car while parking in reverse. Great when you're conscious about parking safety everywhere. For sound quality, the BOSE 11-speaker premium audio system is a top notch quality for music lovers everywhere. (Here's a little tip: Have your MP3 player connected to the USB port, select the music of your choice, and let the premium sound system creates a realistic effect from your music.) From the seating, the kimono-inspired perfectly crafted front seats add this crossover with the touch of class, while the rear seats can be foldable at all situations.


Luxuriousness of the luxury car and the sportiness of the sports car, these elements will keep the Skyline Crossover sophisticated with the little charisma from the owners. Although the front seats were kimono styled, the designers for this car are taken too much Takumi-ism and the comfort is quite good as long as the businessman walks inside to this crossover and takes a large cup of coffee inside. For an added bonus, the Around View Monitor adds convenience for the Skyline Crossover as well. With these features, this is sure to be the grand crossover of all crossovers in the world.

Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Kia Forte Hybrid LPI

With the Hyundai Avante LPI Hybrid shown to the Korean market a few moments ago, now it's Kia Motors' turn to change the world the same way as its Hyundai rival did. From Forte to Forte Koup, meet the eco-friendly side of the Forte that is powered with the world's first LPI Hybrid engine.

Much ado from Kia's hybrid philosophy, Eco Dynamics, this Korean hybrid machine can be a potential car suitable for Kia fans everywhere and it's the perfect addition for the Kia Forte line-up which consists of the sedan and the sporty 2-door Koup variant.

To shake things up, the exterior is based on the Forte sedan variant, but what capture the true beauty of the Forte Hybrid LPI is the bright colours, the Eco Dynamics badge at the left side of the "Peter Schreyer grille" and the sporty rear lamps that look similar to some sports cars ever known.

From the stylish exterior, this hybrid machine is filled with the powerful Liquefied Petroleum Injection 1.6-litre Gamma hybrid engine with the economical power of just 114ps@5800rpm at the fuel economy of about 17.8km/L. Try to compare this fuel economy to the regular Forte and the rival Honda Civic, the results are worth the surprise. From the engine to the Continuously Variable Transmission, from the electric motor to the ion battery, there is only one unique feature to the Forte Hybrid LPI, the idling stop system (which is familiar to the new Mazda 3's i-stop system) that allows the car to save more gas on the state of idling.


With the rivalry between Kia & Hyundai reached to its greener point (forget boiling point, we are talking green), most consumers would think twice when choosing between the Avante LPI Hybrid from Hyundai and the Forte Hybrid LPI from Kia. It's like the Korean version of the battle between the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight, but this time, things are going to change differently when it reached the worldwide sales. What really gets me is the pricing for the both of them, it's like they reached the same 1,000,000 peso pricing as estimated, but promise them, they will be mostly fierce opponents and before you know it, you got to try them for the verdict.

Lexus HS 250h

When Honda returned the Insight hybrid to the world market and Toyota made a full model change to the Prius, the battle for hybrid supremacy brings on a new contender, but this time it is from the Toyota side via Lexus brand. From the Japanese luxury car brand behind the sporty IS, the elegant GS, the beautifully handcrafted LS, and the crossover RX, the first-of-a-kind hybrid sedan, known as the HS 250h, is here.

The Lexus HS is truly a first-of-a-kind of premium hybrid sedan that is the “luxury version of the Prius” and it is not going to be easy getting this new hybrid sedan made by Lexus because of such price. Despite the pricing, let us check what is on the outside and what is on the inside the Lexus HS. On the exterior, this car has the combination of the Toyota Prius and the Lexus IS, but with the incisive simplicity, intriguing elegance and seamless anticipation, just like what you learned from Lexus’ design philosophy called L-Finesse, the perfection of the styling is truly a masterpiece for this hybrid sedan.

On the interior, it is mostly a harmony between a man and machine; especially you can feel the wood panels from the inside. To add conveniences for the HS, a Harmonious Driving Navigator (similar to the eco-drive monitor on the new Prius) checks the fuel efficiency of the HS wherever you go. Aside from the Harmonious Driving Navigator, the Remote Touch (also found on the new RX & the new RX Hybrid) provides the driver a variety of options such as music, audio, navigation and more.

Now, the truth is come clean with Lexus Hybrid Drive crafted for the HS. To put this, a powerhouse of 2362cc hybrid engine that releases the economical power of over 150ps at the fuel economy of over 23.0km/L. That is not all; a high-performance 145ps motor is equipped on this hybrid engine for the well-behaved performance of the Lexus HS, giving the Lexus Hybrid Drive a totality you can depend on. There are three modes to choose from, the Eco Mode allows the driver to maintain the best fuel efficiency on the go, the EV mode allows the HS to use the electric power inside for more quiet driving, and the Power Mode unleashes the full capacity of the HS. The Power Mode is perfect when you are cruising through higher roads but the Eco Mode might be a recommendation for normal roads.

With the Insight, Prius, Mitsubishi i-MIEV, Hyundai Avante LPI Hybrid, and other hybrid machines battling out for hybrid supremacy, the HS from Lexus became a new contender for this type of challenge. Despite the price tag that reaches over the 5,000,000 yen mark (or the equivalent of over 3,000,000 pesos), the fuel economy might be a slight chance to look at but if you really want a hybrid sedan with the essence of a luxury car, just make some choices to choose the Lexus HS.

Hyundai Avante LPI Hybrid

2010 Hyundai Avante LPI Hybrid
Hyundai Motor Company, Korea's largest automobile manufacturer, has unveiled their eco-friendly side of the popular Avante (known as the Elantra in world markets) sedan. The Avante LPI Hybrid is known to be their first Hyundai hybrid vehicle sold to the Korean market and soon in other countries as well thanks to its Blue Drive philosophy. As a rule of a green thumb, great things happened for this next-generation of hybrid supremacy because the Avante LPI Hybrid is the first hybrid car ever to be powered with the Liquified Petroleum Injected engine since its debut at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show since April. The 1.6 LPI Gamma engine with the 20ps electric motor and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) perfects the eco-friendly power of the Avante LPI Hybrid. With these features, the power of this eco-friendly Korean sedan is ready to run towards Mother Nature and the ecologists will give this Korean hybrid car a two green-thumbs up for its world's first Liquefied Petroleum Injected engine that is an one-of-a-kind for the Korean automobile manufacturer.

When Japan's got their Priuses and Insights battling out for hybrid supremacy (especially other cars such as the Lexus' Hybrid range and the Mitsubishi i MIEV), Europe's got their Mercedes-Benz's hybrid philosophy, America's working hard for their hybrid ideas, now that the "land of their Korean dramas" caught their global attention and ready to produce their own "feature presentation" and the Avante LPI Hybrid from Hyundai is the "star of the show". With the world's first LPI engine, you are ready to ride your way towards your "Stairway to Heaven". Become a "boy over flowers" when you lay a finger on this Korean hybrid car. With the Avante LPI Hybrid, there is "only you" and the world has to offer.

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