Surprisingly Confident – 2016 Perodua Axia Advance Review

Engine: 1.0 L 1KR-DE2 DOHC I3

Year: 2016

Drive train: Front Wheel Drive

Transmission: 4 Speed Automatic

Price Brand New (2016): RM4X,XXX

Second hand value (2017): ~RM3X,XXX

Succeeding the Viva and Kancil

The Axia succeeds the Kancil and Viva in terms of being the smallest and most affordable brand-new Malaysian car that you could by. The cheapest version of the Axia would be the Axia E manual which starts at RM24,000. Before the Axia, the cheapest new car that you could buy was the Viva that didn’t even have power steering and central locking. And before the Viva you had the Kancil which also had no power steering, central locking, and power windows (even for the driver). The Axia comes equipped with electronic power steering even for the most basic trim level available.

Cars and Financial Bliss

At Cars of Malaysia, none of us are economists. We’ve only recently managed to educate ourselves on the income brackets that exist in our beloved country, Malaysia. Apparently, we are divided into three groups when it comes to how much we earn. 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 RM14,305 and above per month.

*B40 = Bottom 40; M40 = Middle 40; T20 = Top 20

The majority of people looking for a first car to buy are usually in the upper B40 and lower M40 which gives an approximate average yearly earning of RM30,000 – RM40,000. A standard advice you get when purchasing a car would be to get one that costs the same as your one year’s earnings or less. That way you can own a car and still achieve a certain degree of financial bliss or freedom.

In America, there is the 1/10ths rule which means purchasing a car that is a tenth of your yearly earnings. But of course, that’s the states. This is Malaysia. Considering 20% of your salary goes to financing the car (with interest), you could comfortably afford to pay for a car within 5 years if it costs you within your one year’s worth of salary (including interest).

So what car can you buy that costs the same as your yearly income or less?

Obviously, we could look for a second-hand car for under RM20,000 but the majority of as are not MacGyvers or skilled mechanics. If you’re really good with cars, used car catalogues can be a gold mine when it comes to looking for a great ride. Beware, you could still end up with a lemon* but we’ll talk about that in a different article. For the majority of us, the safe bet would be to look for a new car.

And what’s the cheapest new car you can buy right now?

Perodua Axia (the E manual trim, although we’ll be talking about the Advanced version today)

There is the obvious option for you to choose to buy a motorcycle or not opt for car ownership at all (use public transport and ride hailing apps) but we’re focusing on car ownership in this article.

*lemon= an unsatisfactory or feeble person or thing

A lot of features in a tiny package

The Axia Advanced is the highest trim level for the Axia. It comes with leather seats and ABS – 2 main reasons why the owner of the car even considered it in the first place. At approximately RM41,000, this trim level is almost double the price of the Axia E Manual. You get the fun features like steering audio control, fog lights, and an infotainment system. You wouldn’t get these features in a more expensive but basic trim level car. (eg. A basic trim level Honda City which is approximately RM67k new)

The Engine

While driving around in this car with the owner, we talked about how the car felt and drove. He has driven a 1.0 viva and feels that the Viva is quicker. This got me curious since both cars are powered by a 1.0 L engine. So I had to look up the internet world to see if they are really any different.

Apparently the Axia is powered by the 1.0L 1KR-DE2 whereas the 1.0 Viva is powered by the EJ-VE DVVT DOHC I3.

Let’s compare these in a table to get a clearer view. The obvious difference would be the lack of VVT in the Axia’s 1KR-DE2

Engine1.0L 1KR-DE2 DOHC I3
Engine MaterialAluminium Parts
Cast Iron Parts
Engine Weight69kg
Variable Valve TimingNone
Equipped with DVVT
Kerb Weight820kg
Max Power Output66ps
Bore x Stroke71×84
Swept Volume998cc

I say the reason the Viva might feel quicker is because of the slightly lighter weight, a slightly bigger bore, and the presence of DVVT for higher rev range. Always remember that maximum power outputs are only applicable at certain rev values and are usually untapped in normal driving conditions.

The engine is claimed to be able to give you a fuel range of 20.1km/l but of course that would be driving at a constant speed in ideal conditions. With urban driving conditions, we managed 12km/l at best. We were not very happy.

The engine is a 3 cylinder in line so it wobbles rather furiously when idling. I’ve seen a similar issue in the 3-cylinder engine of the Perodua Kelisa and I believe this is a special phenomenon for 3-cylinder engines.


Because having 3 cylinders means that when 2 pistons are in TDC, 1 piston is in BDC, causing an unbalanced dynamic. Imagine strapping a piece of weight at the end of one blade of a fan. It will cause an imbalance when the fan rotates. That is the simple way to put it.

If you look into the engine bay of a normal 4-cylinder inline engine, it is very unlikely to see this wobble since the number of pistons in TDC and BDC are equal (2 and 2).

*TDC = top dead centre, BDC = bottom dead centre

It would be interesting to see if anybody uses the Axia as a base for a project car in the future. The Axia is basically a Daihatsu Ayla or Toyota Agya. To get an idea on the possibility for modification of the Axia, we could look at this Daihatsu Ayla GT2 from IIMS 2016. I think it looks good.

Image source

What is it like to drive?

I sat in the driver’s seat expecting a wobbly little car. I’ve driven the Kelisa and the Kancil before and they were tiny and wobbly, especially at high speeds. A thing to note is that the Axia (all trim levels) comes with the same engine which doesn’t have VVT. The owner wasn’t satisfied with the fuel consumption (12km/l average) and I suspect the lack of VVT doesn’t allow for an economic driving option. There is only one valve timing profile so high rev or low rev, there’s no difference in valve lift duration or timing. The initial throttle response is decent for an electronic throttle control. Acceleration is just an OK. Cornering is decent.

Although equipped with electronic power steering (EPS) the steering does feel rather stiff. Even stiffer than the hydraulic power steering in my own Persona. The good thing about this is that it gives you some confidence when driving at high speeds. Going at 120km/h on the ELITE highway felt comfortable despite the small size of the car. Interior is satisfying, similar to the Myvi in terms of look and feel. Seats are just an OK. The best seat I’ve been in was the one from the Naza 206 Bestari (semi bucket seats). Your rear passengers get adjustable headrests so that’s a plus point.

Quick Look Around

Side sensors

Fog Lights

Full sized spare

Electronic throttle control

A hook for your stuff

Side skirts




Surprisingly confident for highway driving. Almost as practical as the Myvi minus the stereotype.


Until then.

There's always the first one. Leave a comment!

Ooops.. You need to login to do so, login with one of the social media below.


    No comments