The Cheapest Brand-New Car You Could Buy in Malaysia – 21 Things the Perodua Axia (E) Manual Doesn’t Have (Part 1)

So I bought a new car in January. 

Why? 

Because my wife needs to use my Proton Persona (2007). 

What did I buy? I bought the cheapest brand new car you could buy in Malaysia right now 

– The Perodua Axia (E) Manual. 


Why Did I Buy This Little Car?

At RM24,000 the Axia could be a whole year’s worth of salary for some of us, or a month’s worth of salary for those of us who are doing exceptionally well financially. 

For the majority of us, this car is most probably worth a little less than our yearly income. I say this in reference to the income brackets and the income distribution statistics of our beloved Malaysia. 

We have the B40, which earns RM3,855 and below per month. Following that is the M40 which earns RM3,860 – RM8,319 per month. And at the far right of the normal distribution curve is the T20 which earn RM14,305 and above per month.

*B40 = Bottom 40%, M40 = Middle 40%, T20 = Top 20%

Some American financial blogs recommend you buy car that is 1/10th of your yearly income. That’s only valid for Americans. For Malaysians, I’ve heard the rule of not buying a car that costs more than your yearly income (before loan interests). So, the Axia definitely fits in the budget when you apply this rule. 

Apparently, cars are depreciating assets and one should not spend too much money on his machine with four wheels. At Cars of Malaysia, we LOVE cars. But we also don’t have a lot of money. And this is the case for most of us. Maybe you’ve got a family to support, maybe you’re trying to start a business, maybe you’ve got a brother you’re trying to put through college, maybe you don’t care about what car you drive, or maybe you’re like me and have a hard time parting with your money.

What does the market have to offer for us looking for the cheapest brand new car out there? There is only one contender and it’s Perodua Axia (E) Manual. In India, you’ve got the Datsun Go, Hyundai EON, and Maruti Wagon R (basically a Suzuki Wagon R) with basic specs like the Axia (E). At least you have some choices. In Malaysia, there’s only one choice if you were to be real thrifty when buying a car and it is the Axia (E) manual.

We have strictly filtered out used cars for this purpose because it is rather tough avoiding lemons in the second-hand car business. Buying a new car gives you a warranty, customer service from the manufacturer themselves, zero worries about being scammed, zero worries of surprise break downs, and up to date technology (usually). We wouldn’t want to be recommending buying a second-hand car to you only to leave you unhappy with the choice you made. Unless you’re really, really, really good with cars, don’t buy a second-hand car, especially if it’s older than 5 years.

We know motorbikes are a lot cheaper to both buy and run, but that would defeat the purpose of Cars of Malaysia. We talk about cars, it’s in our name.

Why did I buy this car again? To see what the market has to offer for thrifty car owners. And to see how it stands up to being the stepping stone kind of car for your future and your career.


Things the Axia (E Manual) Doesn’t Have

 

Let’s go through these one by one and see if each lacking feature is a ‘Want’ or a ‘Need’. Of course, if we were to mention what this car doesn’t have, the list would be endless when compared to the likes of a Range Rover Vogue, Toyota Vellfire, or a Porsche Panamera. 

I made this list by mainly comparing the Axia (E) to the Axia (G) which is one step up on the trim level. The Axia (G) is also a manual but with more features and costs RM10,000 more than the E. The first noticeable difference would be the lack of a radio player, but that’s not worth RM10,000. Let’s dig a little deeper to see what cost cutting has been done to give the Axia (E) the lowest price tag in the new car segment.

Fortunately, the Axia (E) comes with dual front airbags, electronic power steering, and all-round power windows. At least we get those. 

Let’s dig in.



1. The Axia (E) Has No Electric Side Mirrors (They’re not even retractable)

 

One of the first things you would notice on the outside of the Axia (E) is the lack of a body coloured side mirror. Look even closer and you will realise that it is even more Spartan than a normal manual set of side mirrors. They don’t even have a stalk so you could adjust them from the inside. You have to adjust them manually from the outside.

The mirrors are not retractable. Hence when you’re parked in a tight spot, folding them and unfolding them again would be a bit of a hassle since you have to adjust them all over again. You’re better off not folding them at all, especially the one on the passenger side. Switching drivers (of different height) could also be a hassle.



Want or Need?

‘Want’, if you’re the only person driving the car. ‘Need’ if it is a car being shared by family members.


 

2. The Axia (E) Has No Rear Wiper

 

Of all the things that you could cut cost on, a rear wiper is where I would last expect it to be. Hatchbacks or vehicles with flat ends (MPVs, SUVs, vans, & estates) create massive turbulence in the back because of the sudden end in the tail (as opposed to teardrop-ish shapes of inclined ends). This is why you get a lot of water droplets on your rear window even when you’re just driving through a wet road when the rain has stopped. I don’t know about you, but it certainly obstructs my vision.

 

Notice the turbulence behind the car?

Image source

I could tolerate the lack of a defogger, because a rear wiper serves the same function of clearing your rear view. The lack of a rear wind screen wiper however, seems like compromising safety over cost, which is something I have to give two thumbs down to.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. Cheers to the Axia for having double front airbags and a 4-star ASEAN NCAP rating, but having a clear vision would help prevent a crash in the first place.



3. The Axia (E) Has No Rear Defogger

A rear defogger becomes essential when there is no rear wiper. We rarely get fog on the inside of the car in Malaysia since we don’t get horrible UK weather. So, a rear wiper does a good enough job for this. A defogger is necessary when you get out super-duper early in the morning to earn for your family. Or you could just drive a little slower and be a little extra crafeul.

Want or Need?

‘Need’ if you don’t have a rear wiper. ‘Want’ if you already have a rear wiper and you don’t get horrible UK weather.




4. The Axia (E) Has No Rear Spoiler

You’ve probably heard the age-old argument saying front-wheel-drive cars don’t need spoilers. But then again, they do, don’t they? Some say it aids braking and some say the car needs it so that the tail doesn’t get too light. Sound arguments I presume, but we’re not talking about a Focus RS or a Civic Type R here. We’re talking about the Axia (E) Manual. It won’t be going so fast.

Want or Need?

‘Want’. It isn’t a Civic Type R.




5. The Axia (E) Has No Sport Rims

 

This is the possibly the most important thing for most car guys in Malaysia. I’m not sure about you but I don’t really care about wheels. These 14” steelies or “rim kompang” are fine with me. Beautiful wheels make me worried about wheel thieves and don’t actually make the driving experience any better. My motto in the automotive world is “If the car needs to be treated like a queen, it’s not a good car”

Pictured in Video – My Idea of a perfect car with steel wheels

Want or Need?

‘Want’. It’s not a race car.



6. The Axia (E) Has No Front Fog Lamps

 

This is Malaysia. The only time I ever drove in a fog was on my way to work up North on the North-South Highway at 5.45 am. We very rarely need fog lights. Unless you live on the highlands or drive super early in the morning, you never really see fog.

Want or Need?

‘Want’ for city folks with normal commute schedule. ‘Need’ for the people on the highlands and people who drive really early in the morning.





7. The Axia (E) Has No Tachometer (Or Rev Counter)

 

I never expected this to be one of the cost cutting measures from Perodua. I mean, how much do you really save by not including a tachometer in the car? I’m curious at what RPM the engine red lines and I’d like to know what revs are best to keep my fuel efficiency great. I’d love to know when is it best to upshift or downshift. I’d also love to see my idling engine speed so I could see if there are any irregularities when something is not quite right with my car.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. For people who care about their car




8. Some Digital Displays Are Unavailable in the Axia (E)

You don’t get fuel consumption rates on the digital display. That makes gauging your fuel consumption a high school math test. You also don’t get fuel range on the digital display so you’ll just have to guess how far the fuel in the tank can take you and play a game of fuel roulette. 

Want or Need?

‘Need’. It’s 2018, all cars deserve to have this feature by now.




9. The Axia (E) Has No Boot Cover

 

For most of us, a car is a mobile office. You carry your stuff around in you car. And sometimes your stuff can be very valuable. Like a computer or a camera that you use to hustle through your 20s, 30s, and 40s, and try to be somewhat successful by 50. You should be able to store stuff in your car temporarily with minimal worry of your precious equipment being stolen. Saloons make this very convenient because the trunk is a separate compartment from the cabin and is usually well covered. In hatchbacks, you get a board (usually made of compacted carboard) to at least cover your stuff from being visible. Well, you don’t get that cardboard board in the Axia (E) and it’s a huge disappointment because it makes the trunk less safe and less functional.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. For security reasons.



10. The Axia (E) Has No Wireless Door Lock & Alarm. And No Central Locking

 

I was at the Perodua Centre in PJ for the first service and the service advisor thought I hadn’t given her the full set of keys when I handed this to her. Even she, a Perodua staff, wasn’t aware that the Axia (E) doesn’t have a wireless door lock. This is all you get when you buy Malaysia’s cheapest brand new car. Just two identical keys. And No Central Locking. This one’s a bummer if you’re always carrying passengers. You have to unlock each door individually. And don’t forget to lock the trunk. Because I have several times. I think a better option would have been to make the trunk only accessible with the key. That way you’d never forget to lock it.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. Because Grand Theft Auto is real. And stuff in the trunk is valuable. 



This is Getting Too Long

 

OK I’m gonna stop at 10 for now because it’s a Sunday and I really should be spending time with the family. I’m also past 2000 words by now so it’s going to be too long to read anyway. I’ll be writing part 2 soon. There are obviously more things to mention like the lack of a radio player and the lack of a reverse sensor, but we’ll go into depth on that in Part 2.

This might be a long series since I’ll be driving this car for hopefully a very long time. I just had the first service over the weekend at Perodua and things seem to be OK so far. 

Cars of Malaysia is also very happy to welcome any of you who wish to share the story of their car with our audience. Don’t worry, we’ll do the writing and photography, you just have to show up with your car and we’ll do the rest. We’ll be simplifying our sections into Car Reviews, Car Events, and Car Features. Other categories won’t be given so much focus from now on so let’s see how things go.

See you in Part 2.

Until then.





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