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Test Drive: Perodua Axia SE MT – Convenient, fast and nippy

POSTED BY CBT Team ON 30 October 2014

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The Perodua Axia has been the talk of the town even before its launch, and we have already reviewed the high spec automatic transmission variant.

This time, we tested the highest specced manual, the Axia SE manual, and we have to admit that the driving experience was more enjoyable for us than with the top spec automatic version.

On the outside, it looks the same as the top spec Axia, with the same honeycomb grille, projector headlights and signal lights on the side mirrors.

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Safety features are the same – two airbags, ABS with EBD and BA, as well as an anti-snatch hook located on the right hand side of the front passenger seat for drivers to secure their bags safely from prying eyes outside, but within easy reach.

Inside, the vehicle also features semi-bucket seats but unlike the Advance version, the SE is upholstered in fabric instead of leather.

Even though the seats are fabric, they are still quite comfortable, as the fabric used is the higher SE grade, as opposed to the low-spec Axia’s standard grade fabric which can feel a bit rough.

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The multimedia console is also a simple one; a radio player with CD, MP3/WMA, USB and Bluetooth capabilities without a touch screen or navigation system.

The manual version lacks audio controls on the steering wheel, which, although preferred, isn’t too badly missed.

When it comes to the driving experience, we felt more satisfied driving this rather than the auto, and not just because we’re biased towards manual transmissions.

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Although the gear lever was a little stiff and would sometimes be difficult to engage when shifting gears, we felt that it accelerated much better than the automatic, and as a result the vehicle can get to the desired speed faster, and it would then go smoothly when you’re in a high gear.

The engine sounds a bit rough when revving, but honestly we felt like that roaring sound added to the driving experience instead of taking away from it.

The Axia SE manual is powered by the same 998cc 1KK-DE2 dual overhead cam (DOHC), 12-valve engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission and can generate a maximum of 66hp at 6,000rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3,600rpm.

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Even though it’s the same engine, according to Perodua, the fuel consumption is even more efficient than the Advance and the SE automatic, with 4.6L/100km.

Handling of the vehicle was excellent, taking corners and making tight U-turns effortlessly, and although there was some body roll, we weren’t bothered by it.

The steering wheel is light enough for maneouvring, but heavy enough to maintain control.

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Being a small-sized car, it’s just nice to drive in the city as we could weave through traffic easily and safely with the better pick up, not to mention the ease of parking.

However, since it’s a manual, those who aren’t used to one may find it difficult when stuck in traffic or in situations such as stopping at a red light going uphill with a car too close behind.

That being said, if we were to have to choose, we would choose this one over the top spec automatic simply because the driving experience gives more pleasure, and consequently we had more fun driving it.

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Specifications of the Perodua Axia SE MT
Engine: 998cc 1KK-DE2 DOHC, 12-valve engine
Max power: 66hp @ 6,000rpm
Max torque: 90Nm @ 3,600rpm
Transmission: five-speed manual transmission
Fuel consumption (combined): 4.6L/100km
Safety features: dual airbags, ABS with EBD and BA, anti-snatch hook, security window film
Price: RM36,800 OTR