Compact cars under RM50k and family sedans under RM70kPOSTED BY Vishal Bhaskaran ON 16 April 2015
Compact cars under RM50k
For those who have been living under a rock, allow us to reiterate that the reigning king of Malaysia’s B-segment — for 9 years now since first launch — is the Perodua Myvi. This spacious and capable B-segment hatch based on the Toyota Passo/Daihatsu Sirion twins is so popular that some buyers shy away from it for the sole reason of not wanting to join the now 830 000 strong Myvi herd on Malaysian roads. If this sounds like you and you yearn for something different just because, then this list of B-segmenters might have just the car you need.
The Toyota Vios didn’t earn itself the title of best-selling non-Malaysian car — until it was unceremoniously dethroned by the Honda City in 2014 — for no reason, outstanding reliability in a practical 3 box sedan package have local car buyers flocking to Toyota showrooms for every new model release and facelift. With a Vios you can rest assured it will cover kilometre after kilometre for years with almost no complaint.
The Hyundai i30 is a fairly rare car to spot on our roads, and we wonder why. This decent hatchback came packing the Elantra’s 1.6-litre heart and was a zippy and practical car for everyday use. There is much to be said for the practicality of a lifting tailgate, and the proportions of the i30 give it a bit more space than your standard compact hatchback.
We’ll start with the headline for this fairly left-field choice: a claimed 21km/l from a 1.2-litre engine and manual gearbox combination. While the interior may seem a bit bare bones and plasticky, note that the double-din head unit is USB and iPhone-connectivity ready and the car is decently equipped safety-wise as well; 2 airbags and ABS with EBD packed as standard.
Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI
With the Polo facelift out and about, the old 1.2 TSI has been done away with in favour of a naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre heart stolen from the MkV Volkswagen Golf. The Polo 1.2 is a torquey little car that delivered decent fuel consumption and an entertaining drive thanks to its compact dimensions and low weight. Interior build quality was sturdy and faultless, however mechatronic issues have been known to surface in the odd unit so best to check if this have been rectified.
Now this is a bonus, a Japanese C-segment sized car for the price of a second-hand B-segment packing a frugal 1.3-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. The Insight also comes with stop/start, so if you’re looking for a city runabout that wont see too many highway miles this is definitely worth a look, but now that the car is a few years old thats a few years of life less in the battery pack which will not be cheap to replace if you plan on keeping it for 10 years or more.
Family sedans under RM70k
For the buyer who has progressed from the Myvi level but is looking for something more special than a top-spec Proton Preve, a quick look at the previous generation of C-segment cars will reveal a brilliant array of rides that neither look nor feel sub-RM70k. These cars are definitely worth a look; size, kit, and safety are head and shoulders above what can be had in a B-segment car, not to mention the visual presence and added prestige of that higher rung in automotive hierarchy.
The Kia Forte sedan was the best buy in C-segment cars in its day, coming packed with a full infotainment system and a reverse camera integrated into the rear-view mirror alongside a paddle-shift equipped 6-speed transmission. All this, in 2-litre guise, came at a mere RM100k, whereas a brand new fully decked out Honda Civic would set you back a whopping RM130k.
Out of all the non-Evo Lancers, this is the one you want. Where previous generations looked significantly different from the high-powered rally monster, the most recent — and unfortunately for the time being, last — Mitsubishi Lancer looked exactly like the Evolution X. As far as C-segment cars go, this has us on looks alone while being a decent drive in its own right.
Mazda 3 Hatchback
The previous generation Mazda 3 was a well equipped car that had its work cut out for it to compete with the likes of the sporty Honda Civic or comfortable and and refined Corolla Altis, but unlike its Japanese competitors it was a CBU model. Our choice is without a doubt the hatchback, bestowing an already impressive car with a body shape not usually found in this segment.
The Civic’s selling point in this list is its ability to retain value. Demand for second-hand Hondas is consistently high, attributable to designs that age well and durable build quality. All you have to do is tack on a Type-R bodykit to freshen it up and you’re good to go while enjoying that unique split-level dashboard and cockpit-like dashboard layout.
The only continental option on our list, the Volvo S40 makes the RM70k ceiling price on the virtue of having poor second hand value, not so much a fault of the car itself. The S40 is part of the second wave of Volvo designs when the brand left behind the boxy shapes of the 90s. Word to the wise, maintenance costs are on the high side in comparison to the rest of the cars featured here but if you absolutely must do it with Scandinavian style, the S40 is the way to go.