BRIEF TEST DRIVE REVIEW: AXIA – Perodua’s tenth wonder
65,000 units sold and still counting. Such numbers illustrate how successful the Perodua Axia has been since it was launched in August 2014. In this brief test drive review, yours truly tested an example of a Silver Standard G trim with automatic transmission. It belongs to my mum, bought by my father for her motoring needs (read: fetching the grandchildren, grocery shopping trips). So what makes the Perodua Axia a compelling A-segment compact car to buy in Malaysia?
But first, here’s some background….
Unlike its predecessors where they were named after some animals, the Axia is derived from the name “Asia”. The letter “X” replaced the “S” is indicating the manufacturer’s tenth model in its lineup.
The Axia is based on the Daihatsu Ayla/Toyota Agya models that are marketed primarily for Indonesia and the Philippines. In the land of the rising sun, the Axia is lives in the form of a Daihatsu Mira e:S. The Axia is the country’s first energy efficient vehicle (EEV) ; with pricing starts at RM24,600 for the basic Standard E spec, it is the cheapest new car in the Malaysian market as well. The one tested here costs RM33,200.00.
Basic and Functional
The word “basic” pretty much describes the Axia’s interior, with hard plastics are noticeable almost everywhere inside. The standard CD-player and seats look elementary as well, although both items are functional to the people inside. Fortunately, the steering didn’t look cheap in the Standard G variant.
Personally, I’m not in favour with the driver’s display panel. While the speedometer with “amber illumination” is easy to read, the tachometer and fuel gauges looked narrow and tight.
The Axia however scores brownie points with the inclusion of the handbag hook (or the Anti-Snatch Hook as Perodua calls it) at the front passenger seat that should keep snatch thieves at bay. A search on the Internet reveals that Perodua is currently the only car manufacturer in the world that has this feature. Even if you don’t have a handbag (read: non “metrosexual” men), you can hook your “teh tarik” beverage on it and there’s two extra seat hooks on the back of the front seats to cater to typical Malaysian takeaway needs.
What Axia did better than the Myvi is the Axia has 52-litres of boot space more than the current Myvi. At 260-litres, four medium-sized luggage begs can be loaded inside the Axia as pictured in Perodua’s website where the Myvi could swallow three bags or so compared to its A-segment sibling. Rear passenger seats can be folded for extra space as well.
Just like the newly launched facelifted Myvi, the Axia scored an impressive 4-star rating by ASEAN NCAP in 2014, with the car missing one-star for omitting the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Fortunately, two front airbags are offered as standard across all variants, with ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) offered in the SE and Advance variants. ISOFIX point is found in all Axia’s variants, a move that will encourage Malaysians to get baby seats for their toddlers while travelling in this car.
It may not have the plethora of goodies and gadgets but yet again, this is a mass marketed car that is aimed for the everyday Malaysian driver.
Now, on the driving…
For the sake of economies of scale, Perodua standardized its engines for the Axia by ditching everything below 1.0-litre and replaced by an all-new 1.0-litre 1KR-DE2 engine. The all-new all-aluminium 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engine is built with fuel economy on mind despite not having the Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT).
The lack of Variable Valve Timing (VVT) is probably the reason why I’m less keen on paddling the car beyond 4,000rpm. Unlike the rev-happy Perodua Kelisa, the Axia’s 1.0-litre powerplant feels languid and loud when pushed beyond 4,000rpm. Perodua’s decision to omit VVT is mind boggling; as such tech is not uncommon in most modern cars in the market. More so, the predecessors like Viva and Kelisa were offered with DVVT engines.
Meanwhile, gearshifts from the 4-speed E-AT automatic are smooth and predictable. The ride itself is mostly comfortable with Perodua emphasized on comfort and good turning radius rather than sharp cornering abilities for the Axia.
As expected, bodyroll is imminent when corners are approached with an enthusiastic approach. For that, get the Proton Iriz or Hyundai i10 if fun is what you prioritize on small cars. Despite that, the Axia rewards you with fine sedate driving provided you’re driving below the speed limit. As this car hasn’t gone through its first service, it’s unfair to judge the car’s fuel consumption at this point. But with the car’s 33-litre fuel tank and with the current petrol prices of RM1.91 for a litre of RON95 (as this article is written), the Axia is gentle to your wallet as one full tank will cost less than RM55.
In the end, I can fathom why over 65,000 (and counting) signed the papers for the Axia without clamouring the car’s design or features. In fact, I highly doubt my folks browsed the web to read how motoring hacks react to the Axia’s acceleration. What I know that even after a brief test drive in my mum’s car, I’m pretty sure my folks are among thousands of Malaysians that feel they made the right choice with the Axia to serve their daily needs. The Axia may look bare basic compared to its rivals, but as an affordable and unpretentious car for the masses that serves the majority’s motoring needs, Perodua hit the nail in the head on that one.
Call it as “Myvi lite”, mini-me Myvi or EX-5 with two extra wheels, the Axia is Perodua’s tenth wonder that follows the magnitude of some of the other nine Perodua models offered.