21 Things The Axia (E) Manual Doesn’t Have (Part 2) – 2018 Perodua Axia (E) Manual Review

Life is an interesting experience and one should cherish it. Sometimes it requires you to do things you don’t want to do and sometimes you get to do what your heart wants. It’s the latter that we usually appreciate more.

I finally have time again to write the second part of the Axia review. I believe we have 11 more things to cover regarding what the car doesn’t have. Having driven the car more and more, I’ve come to realise that there are more than just 21 things lacking in the Axia (E). So, I’ll be focusing on things that matter more to make a short list of 21.

How has the ownership experience been?

Pleasant (so far) since I’ve been the only person driving the car with at maximum, one passenger only at a time.

Is it fun driving a stick shift?

Through B-roads, yes. Through highways, yes. Through KL Traffic, no. I really am trying to be as gentle as I can on the clutch so it doesn’t wear out so soon. That means I don’t try to balance the clutch and throttle at a hill, I don’t stay in first gear with the clutch fully depressed at traffic lights, and I keep a safe distance in traffic to avoid unnecessary downshifts and upshifts.

See the first 10 items from Part 1 here

Let’s get back to the list with number 11..

11. The Axia (E) Has No Reverse Sensor…

…and so does the Mazda Mx-5 (At least the one belonging to Beng from EvoMalaysia). So that makes the Axia a little similar to a little Japanese roadster. The Axia deserves a little street cred for this. It’s a small car with very little rear overhang so it doesn’t really matter most of the time.

But sometimes it does.


When you’re reverse parking in an area with parking safety poles.

They can be hard to see when reverse parking and in some parking spots, they can be a little shorter than average. The ones at the Kg. Sg. Penchala Petronas station are not painted yellow and aren’t very tall. Yes, they do prevent you from reversing straight into the Mesra store but they could use a bit more visibility.

One more case where a reverse sensor would be useful is when you’re trying to parallel park at a busy street in town. Kids and dogs come out of nowhere and so do adults glued to their smartphones. Kids and dogs especially, are harder to see in the mirrors.


Want or Need?

‘Need’. I don’t give a damn if some little Japanese roadster doesn’t have it either. They both need reverse sensors for obvious safety reasons.

12. The Axia (E) Has No Foot Rest

In an automatic, it’s fine to not have a foot rest because your left foot can be anywhere. You could even put it on the seat if you were that reckless. Having a foot rest allows you to rest your left ankle, especially in busy traffic. It’s still fine, I take getting to rest your ankle as being a luxury. You’re also not going fast in an Axia, so you won’t be needing that extra edge for fast shifts. Now, most entry level cars don’t have footrests, especially if they’re a B or A segment car. My guess is that there is just not much space to fit one in there.

The Mazda 2 I drove the other day had a footrest, but it fits nicely in there because there is no clutch. So that’s fine. But I’m sure most you manual drivers prefer having a footrest in your car.

Want or Need?

‘Want’. It’s just a matter of having your foot 0.2 seconds faster to the clutch anyway.

13. The Axia (E) Has No Radio/Audio unit & Speakers

You’ve probably heard of the Axia with no radio and this is the car. It’s the most common way to describe the car yet I left this out in the first part, because most of you would have known anyway.

Does it matter that there is no radio?

No. At least not to me in the beginning. Since there was no tachometer and I had to get used to listening to the sound of the engine, it didn’t bother me. But now that I’m used to it, it does get a bit boring when I’m stuck in traffic or when I’m on a long drive.

You could always get a radio unit installed at an accessories shop and it won’t cost you much. Definitely not RM10,000, which is what you’ll be paying more for the Axia (G) Manual with sport rims, a radio, and a few more features.

Want or Need?

‘Want’. A radio is a luxury item and an aftermarket radio won’t cost you much. For now, I just play something on my phone and put it in the cupholder.



14. The Axia Has No Seat Height Adjuster


When was the last time you adjusted the seat height in your car?


Want or Need?

‘Want’. Seat Height Adjusters are barely used.


15. The Axia (E) Has No DVVT or VVTi

Remember when Perodua was really riding on the DVVT Feature in the early 2000s? Well not any more. Variable valve timing is usually there to provide better fuel efficiency and give you better performance at higher rev ranges. It was something spectacular a few years ago but now it has become pretty standard. Even the 3-cylinder engine in the Viva had variable valve timing.

The Axia (E) just doesn’t have it. Heck, all the Axia models don’t have it.

Remember this ad?

Has the lack of DVVT affected my experience with Axia?

Let’s talk fuel efficiency

Well, the Axia claims 22.5km/l in the brochure. We must understand that these claimed figures are usually obtained by conducting tests in very controlled environments.

I filled up RM50 of Ron 95 when it was at RM2.33 per litre. That makes it 21.46 litres and I managed 409km with that.

So I get a fuel range of 19km/l. That’s 3.5km/l shy of the claimed figure. But to be fair I was driving a rather aggressively and I was at a lot of traffic lights.

Fair enough?

Well I was hoping to get over 20km/l at least. I’m not very satisfied, but fair enough. Better than my 2007 Persona at least. (10.4 km/l in standard KL conditions)

Will we get better fuel economy with VVT? I’m pretty sure we will.

How does the lack of variable valve timing affect the performance of the Axia?

It feels a little strained at high speeds.

Will VVT make it faster or more powerful? Maybe, but then we’ll have to upgrade the tyres and suspension to be able to handle the speed.

Want or Need?

I’d say ‘Want’ if it’s performance that you’re seeking. I’d say ‘Need’ if the VVT is capable of improving fuel economy. It depends. You could have a well-engineered 3-cylinder engine with no VVT. But it will either be optimised for performance or be optimised for fuel efficiency. You have to choose.

A reader has kindly pointed out that the 2018 Axia has VVT. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

16. The Axia Doesn’t Have Front Corner Sensors

It’s a small car so it doesn’t matter.

Want or Need?

‘Want’. This feature is for fancy people.

17. The Axia (E) Has No Assist Grip or a Coat Hanger..

..and neither does the Tesla Model S.

Does it matter?

It does to me. As mentioned in Part 1, for most of us, a car is a mobile office or storage space. You go about a working day with the help of your humble little car. Most of us only use the assist grips as passengers in a car cornering at high speeds. It rarely happens, but it does.

Most of the time, we use the assist grips to hang a fresh set of clothes. Whether they come with coat hangers or not, this seems to be the main function of this particular feature for cars in Malaysia.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. It’s 2018. Tesla sent a car to space. Coat hangers/Assist Grips should be standard for cars.






18. The Axia (E) Doesn’t Have a Clock

This one’s a bummer. The only three information you can get from the digital display are:

1.        Odometer

2.        Trip Distance

3.        Distance to Next Service

Maybe information on fuel range and fuel consumption rates are luxury items, but a clock shouldn’t be one. I can’t look at my phone while I’m driving so unless I’m driving around a clock tower, I can’t tell the time.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. Not everybody wears a wristwatch.

19. The Axia (E) Has No ABS with EBD

Image Source (Screenshot from Youtube Video)

ABS = Anti-lock Braking System; EBD = Electronic Brake Distribution

My first experience with locking wheels (No ABS) was this one time when I was going stupid fast in the rain on the Federal Highway near the Subang Airport Exit with my Proton Persona (2007). It was fast moving traffic heading into slow moving traffic. I braked hard and my car started to dive to the right heading towards the divider. I was lucky enough that the overtaking lane was closed off with traffic cones so I didn’t hit anything or anybody.

My second experience with locking wheels (also in my Persona) would be in Port Klang. There was this traffic light with the countdown timer with 5 seconds left for green. I was under the impression that the car in front of me was going to make a run for it, but he changed his mind at the last minute and slammed his brakes. I had no choice but to do the same. My car didn’t swerve but there was a definite loss of control near the end of the stop. I was lucky enough not to ram into the back of that 1999 black Honda Accord.

The point is, if you don’t have ABS, don’t drive like an idiot. I did, but I was super lucky. Twice. This doesn’t mean you can drive recklessly if you have ABS. It’s just that in an emergency, your chances of collision would be higher in a car without ABS. I no longer drive like an idiot (I think) and have never encountered a similar experience again so far.

Does ABS cost a lot to integrate with a car? I don’t know. It certainly adds cost but I wouldn’t know how much it would be. We’d have to ask someone with relevant experience

Is it bad that the Axia (E) has no ABS?

Well, it is the cheapest brand-new car you could buy in Malaysia now. I’m not bothered with the lack of it. The majority of cars on the road today (Malaysia, 2018) don’t have ABS. Just don’t drive it hard. Take it easy and it will serve its purpose as a car that takes you from point A to point B.

Want or Need?

‘Want’ for the time being. It depends on the percentage of cars on the road with ABS. We’re talking about the cheapest baseline car here.

What features the Axia (E) has should be the definition of a baseline car in Malaysia.

This is just my opinion, but maybe if 75% of cars on the road have ABS, then all new cars (regardless of price) should be made mandatory to have ABS. It should be a product baseline for safety.

20. The Axia (E) Has No Centre Console

The A-segment and B-segment cars that I’ve been in so far have no armrests. I believe it’s a size thing – smaller car means less space for armrest. You can always buy these at Brothers anyway. I don’t, but you could.

The Axia (E) takes this further by not even having a center console. Usually smaller cars would have a place for you to put some stuff here or they’ll have cupholders in this area. You can see the handbrake coming out of the floor carpet and it’s pretty crude.

Do I care?


Maybe you do.

If this was a Porsche 911 RS or some track prepped Aston Martin, fancy people would call it ‘Spartan’. But since it’s a Perodua Axia so most of us will just go “Ughh” instead.

It’s a matter of personal opinion.


Want or Need?

‘Want’. You barely look here when you’re driving.

21. The Axia (E) Doesn’t Have a Cover for the Vanity Mirror

This wasn’t in the list initially but after more than a month of ownership, I’ve decided to add it. Some cars have a vanity mirror on the passenger side and some have it on the driver’s side. Some cars even have vanity mirrors for both driver and passenger.  I’m fine with none because I can always use the side mirrors or rear view mirrors to see if anything is stuck between my teeth.

My problem with this vanity mirror is the fact that it doesn’t have a cover.

When does one pull down the visor?

When it’s glaring.

Having something reflective on the visor doesn’t help make it easier on the eyes.

I can also see my eyeballs in the mirror and it’s very distracting.

Glare and distraction are no good for safe driving.

Want or Need?

‘Need’. Either remove the mirror or cover it. Having a shiny surface on an item that is supposed to block glare is counter-productive.




It has been more than a month of ownership and the Axia (E) will soon be passing the 2,000 km mark on the odometer. The Axia has been driven through backroads, highways, busy city streets, and thunderstorms.

I certainly can live with it and that’s coming from a late 20s married man living in Petaling Jaya. This is also my second car for the family. For family trips, I use an old 2007 Proton Persona (automatic).

Is it comfortable?

Decent enough, it’s just a bit noisy .

Is it fuel efficient?

By my standards, yes. It uses half the amount of fuel my Persona does when driven carefully

Is it sporty?


Is it good value for money?

Yes, if you can drive a manual.

Is it beautiful?

Yes. To me at least. To each their own. I fancy it as a little junior rally car.

Will it help you save money in the long run?

We’ll have to see.

Should Perodua make the Axia (E) automatic?

A brand new automatic car for under RM25,000? Hell yeah. There are tons of middle class dads out there who would get this as a second car for the family. The wife could use it for the grocery run or the school run.  

And you see those families crammed up on motorbikes? They could use an affordable new automatic car too.

Who else?

Young people starting out in their careers. An automatic Axia (E) would be great. Don’t buy a car that costs 3 times your yearly income. Find something you can more than just afford. Remember, there’s going to be monthly payments, engine oil changes, battery changes, tyre changes, transmission fluid changes, gas money, road tax, insurance, wheel alignments, shock absorber replacements, brake replacements, unexpected breakdowns, cooling system failure, and accidents. Just be financially and mentally prepared for these things.

Some of you are good with cars and are competent enough to own a used car. I salute you, my friend. But when purchasing a used car, always remember that a car consists of many systems. Definitely not as many as the human body but just enough to cut a hole in your pocket if you don’t know what you’re doing. Each system has a potential for failure that could lead to a bigger failure. Be sure to have a thorough look at the car.

Will I write more on my Axia (E) ownership? Maybe. I believe there will more things to talk about in the future. But for now, let’s stop at Part 2.


Until then. 

What do you think about this one?

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  • Kenneth Thong

    10 August 2018

    Hey dude, new Axia already has VVT-i equipped la...~~

    0 replies

  • Wan Syazwan

    21 December 2018

    Im curious if this car e model got obd2 port ? If got. Then can install aftermarket rpm with many other cool stuff.

    1 reply

    Arif Chan

    21 December 2018

    The Axia E does have an OBD2 port

  • Dylan Ch'ng

    09 January 2019

    Is the blank button next the A/C button press-able?

    1 reply

    Arif Chan

    09 January 2019

    No, it isn't. It is meant for the rear defogger but the Axia (E) is not equipped with it

  • Alex Foo

    17 March 2019

    if all u care is just doing groceries, going to work and each trip is less than 15 mins, then a used iswara will do. Easily cost < RM10k, or get RM5k model and top up some RM2-3k to make it a decent driving for some 2-3 years. 5 years if you can endure. But yes, when it comes to new car, this axia is the best we have (the only choice anyway)

    0 replies

  • Dylan Ch'ng

    21 May 2019

    Does this car have intermittent wipers?

    0 replies