Perodua Bezza Advance – A Different ApproachPOSTED BY Jason Tan ON 30 March 2017
Whether you have realised it or not, Malaysia’s most popular car for 10 consecutive years has been the Perodua Myvi. It is a practical choice as it has a big boot, is easy to drive, fuel-efficient, quiet and highly reliable.
If someone were to ask me for advice on a car that is affordable, practical, reliable and easy to care for, I would easily suggest the Myvi.
That is why many people were naturally interested when Perodua first announced it was launching its first ever sedan, the Bezza.
The Bezza is offered in three variants – the Standard G, Premium X and Advance – with prices starting from an affordable RM37,300 to RM50,800. The car is also granted EEV (energy efficient vehicle) status.
The Bezzais largely based on the company’s A-segment hatchback, the Axia. This thus raises the common question surrounding sedans that derive from hatchbacks – will it have an awkward appearance from the rear doors onwards? It is not an easy task to shape a sleek sedan when the car is initially designed to be a hatchback.
However, it is safe to say that Perodua has managed to find the right balance in making the car look good. The overall styling looks neat and sharp due to the lines at the bottom of the windows that run towards the top of its boot as well as another lower line that connects the door handles and the edge of the tail lights.
Equipment wise, double-reflector halogen headlights are standard across the range and integrated seamlessly with the grille. This particular Bezza Advance is equipped with front fog lights, retractable electric side mirrors with turn indicators and side skirts. Compared to the 8-spoke wheels on the lower variants, the Advance gets a 5-spiral-spoke design fitted with 175/65 tyres.
The Sugar Brown metallic paint on this Bezza Advance is one of the two new colours made available and it is worth noting that Perodua uses an eco-friendly water-based paint that is claimed to provide a better finish.
Inside, the Bezza feels quite upmarket. The range-topping Advance comes with fancy features such as keyless entry, push start button, leather seats, semi bucket front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The overall interior ambiance is far from being dull due to the gloss black dashboard trim and silver finishing on the steering wheel.
Small details such as the stitching, buttons and toggles are made of quality materials, giving the impression that this everyday car can withstand the test of time. The Bezzaalso has plenty of storage compartments in the cabin; a front centre console near the push start button, a rear centre console as well as on the door panels. There is also a handy hook that will be useful during quick grocery hunts.
Luggage space is the Bezza’s strong suit. With up to 508 litres of luggage space, there is no other contender in the segment that offers such capacity. Perodua has done a very good job in transforming the Axiainto a sharp-looking small sedan.
Under the hood of the Advance and middle range Premium X variants is a 1.3-litre four-cylinder Dual VVT-i engine that produces 94hp and 121Nm of torque. The base Standard G variant, however, is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. A 4-speed automatic is the sole transmission in the Advance model while the two lower variants come with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
Behind the wheel
The Bezza drives no different than its other siblings, the Axia and Myvi. It has an upright driving position, allows for great visibility and has many practical driving features. The 1NR-VE engine is quiet at high speed and the ECO indicator constantly encourages you to control your right foot.
Speaking of the ECO indicator, simply take it easy with your right foot and the indicator will stay on up to the national speed limit.
One thing I would like to highlight is that the Bezza handles unexpectedly well. With a suspension setup featuring MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear, the car is compliant and reassuring. This, in my opinion,might be due to the increased weight distribution towards the rear, thus delivering a more balanced ride.
The top-of-the range Advance variant is also fitted with active safety features including ABS with EBD, vehicle stability control (VSC) and traction control (TRC).
Another thing to highlight is that at highway speeds, especially when overtaking large vehicles, the featherweight character of the Bezza starts to show. It is not uncommon for light and compact vehicles to feel a little feedback from the steering wheel in such situations as the car is mainly designed for city driving.
The manufacturer suggests that the tyres are pumped at 36Psi all round, possibly to attain the claimed 22km/L fuel consumption figure. I managed to roughly get only around 17km/L to 18 km/L, an acceptable figure considering my drive comprised nearly 70% city driving with stop-and-go traffic.
Other than the aforementioned safety features mentioned above, the Bezza Advance is also equipped with dual SRS airbags, brake assist (BA), ISOFIX with top tethers and hill-start assist (HSA). This helps the Bezza Advance to be awarded with a 5-star Asean NCAP safety rating.The Premium X and Standard G do not have HAS and TRC.
I would say the Bezza excels in what it is designed to do. It is spacious, generous in its luggage space, fuel-efficient, handles satisfyingly well and is decently equipped with safety features. It is hard to find the car’s drawbacks. With a slightly different development approach and being a first-timer in the sedan segment, Perodua has proven with the Bezza that it is able fully capable of increasing its involvement in vehicle development to produce more well-built vehicles in the future.