Car Reviews, Cars, Perodua

DRIVEN: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0G and 1.3AV Malaysian review


It may not be the most exciting thing to look at, but there’s no denying that Perodua’s first ever sedan model, the Bezza, has been a commercial success. Since its debut in 2016, over 185,000 units of the Bezza has been sold in Malaysia.

Hoping to continue that run, the automaker has given the Bezza a significant facelift for 2020, with an upgrade in specs, safety, comfort and even handling, so let’s see if this is still the entry-level sedan that you should all buy.

We’ll take a look at what’s good, what’s bad, what’s new, what’s old and, most importantly, how it compares against its primary rival, the Proton Saga. Also, which of the two engine variants you should go for if you’re shopping for one.

The Bezza facelift range starts from RM34.5k for the 1.0G manual and RM36.5k for the 1.0G Auto. These base models get a silver grille instead of chrome, no front foglamps and smaller 14-inch wheels from the Myvi 1.3. The good thing is they now get wing-mirror mounted signal indicators as standard, so out go the ugly bulbs on the front fenders. What’s not so good are these body-coloured B-pillars, which is a clear downgrade from the old cars and makes it look cheap.

The lack of extra safety features, beyond the standard two airbags and ABS, unfortunately hasn’t been addressed. There’s still no electronic stability control, which we’ve been stressing for years now as being a must-have in all modern cars.

In the Axia range, there’s the 1.0L Gxtra variant that adds on ESP for about RM1,500, so the question must be why ESP wasn’t added on – even at RM38,000, that would still make it cheaper than the only Proton Saga with ESP, the Premium at RM40,000.

Thankfully, ESP is now fitted to both 1.3 litre models as standard instead of just the AV like before, so that’s definitely good. Not so good news is the deletion of a 1.3 litre manual variant, which Perodua says had such a low demand it didn’t make sense to continue making it.

So what we have presently is the 1.3X for RM44k and the range-topping 1.3AV for RM50k. On top of the bigger engine, you also get back the chrome grille, foglamps, front corner sensors, brand new 15-inch wheels (which makes the 1.3 litre model sit 15 mm taller than before), keyless entry and blacked out B-pillars. Even more important is the inclusion of solar and security window tinting, which is not el cheapo film, but quality stuff.

The extra RM6k for the 1.3AV adds on a leather-wrapped steering wheel and seats, a touchscreen head unit with a reverse camera and the most significant update of all, in this case Perodua’s latest active safety suite, Advanced Safety Assist or ASA 2.0.

The system, which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, can now warn you of objects ahead at up to 100 km/h, autonomously brake for you at up to 80 km/h, and even detect pedestrians at up to 50 km/h. It’s fantastic that it’s available on an entry level car like the Bezza.

It’s by far the cheapest sedan to have this feature, and in fact, plenty of much more expensive cars in Malaysia don’t have it. We’re talking about BMWs, MINIs, Audis, Jaguars, Land Rovers, even Porsches that cost more than 10 times this price, so, well done, Perodua. Credit where it’s due.

On the other hand, RM50k is still a lot of money for an entry-level car, no matter how you look at it. Its closest rival, the Proton Saga, only tops out at RM40k, and yes, I know, this has better fuel consumption. But you know how much fuel you can buy with RM10k? At today’s prices, over 4,800 litres. Assuming you refuel every week, that around three whole years worth of fuel.

Also, at RM50k, you can buy the bigger Proton Persona with a more powerful 1.6 litre engine. So yeah, for all intents and purposes, the Bezza is an affordable car, but let’s not call it cheap, shall we? Because it’s not.

What else is new on the 2020 facelift? Well, at the front, the old Bezza’s big and ugly reflector headlamps have been banished, replaced by slim LED units. These look a lot closer to the original Bezza Concept from 10 years ago, and to me it completely transforms the look of the Bezza. While the old one looked a bit too smiley and boring, this new one looks angry and sporty.

Remember, the latest Saga still runs reflector halogen lights, so this is technically 2/3 steps ahead in terms of technology. But having said that, this still doesn’t have LED DRLs, which the Saga now has, so yeah, tit for tat, I guess. It also gets new bumpers all around, which I think do look good, but perhaps a little bit too aggressive and too sporty for what is supposed to be a family car or a Grab vehicle, no?

Whatever the view, the front end makeover is much more successful than the rear half. The facelift slaps on a huge rear bumper in an attempt to hide the original Bezza’s infamous tonggek looks, and, I’m not quite sure if it has worked. To me it makes the rear look too bulky, too tall and too narrow. I still think the old car has a cleaner looking rear end.

The rear bumper adds on 20 mm to the overall length, but this does little to alter the Bezza’s awkward proportions. It’s just a weird looking sedan – in comparison, the Saga has a much more traditional sedan shape. There are two factors for this; one, this is Perodua’s first sedan design, and I guess it kind of shows. Number two, this car is based on the Axia hatchback, which is short and narrow, not an ideal starting point for a sedan.

Now, before you say that Perodua designers are just not very good, remember again we’ve seen plenty of weirdly shaped sedans that were based on hatchbacks, from all sorts of car brands. The Proton Persona first comes to mind, but let’s not forget the Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Nissan Almera, Peugeot 207, and so on.

It’s not all bad, of course, and I do like the new two-tone look for the rear garnish and side skirts, and the new Garnet Red colour for the 1.3L models does look pretty sweet.

Inside, the revisions are a lot less apparent. The biggest change is a new centre panel with silver trim, replacing the full gloss black piece from before. In a way, it looks a little bit less classy, but it does add some layering to the overall design, and the side vents now look less tacky without the big contrast rings. Plus, it’s a lot less reflective now and it won’t collect as much dust, fingerprint or scratches as before.

The good news is that Perodua has made this standard across the range, so even if you buy the base model, your dashboard won’t look so cheap. In the old Bezza, the basic all-grey dash was nasty.

Another thing that has been updated is the instrument cluster, which now have more intricate, white crystal rings. It’s a pity that the fancy orange rings around the meters have been omitted – I thought they were cool, though some people found them to be distracting. The car also gets a new gear-lever design taken from the latest Myvi, which has a soft plastic padding at the top and less sharp edges than the old one.

The range, with the exception of the AV, comes with a standard head unit, and this looks and works just fine. Like before, Bluetooth is fitted on all models, unlike on the Axia, which is great. The touchscreen head unit for the AV variant is new, and now has less buttons around the sides, the same as the latest Axia.

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the unit, because the interface doesn’t look very good, the touchscreen itself is not that responsive, there are no physical volume buttons, the reverse camera feed is blurry, and the language is a bit off. But the screen is not as distracting and reflective like on the Saga, so there’s that.

The rest of the cabin is pretty much the same as before, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s still a spacious interior that’s put together rather decently. Fit and finish is all ok, considering this is an entry-level car. There are no misaligned panels, no sharp edges, the knobs work cleanly enough, and I’m sure we’ve all been in enough Bezza Grab cars to notice that it all holds up pretty well over the years.

One major complaint people have voiced out about the Bezza has been the lack of steering adjustment, but that didn’t surface as a problem for me – the steering position is comfortable enough, and I can see the meters perfectly fine. Comparatively, the Saga may have an adjustable steering, but even at its highest position it’s still too low for my liking, and it blocks my view of the meters a little bit. Personally, I rather have the fixed steering here rather than an adjustable one with a worse driving position, like in the Saga.

The front seats are a little on the small side, but the semi-bucket units on the 1.3 litre models are far more supportive and comfortable than the flat seats in the 1.0G models. Neatly, the automaker has addressed a big complaint about the rear seats being too upright and being uncomfortable for long journeys, and has adjusted the angle of the backrest from 23 to 27 degrees. This doesn’t sound like much, but the effect is actually quite remarkable, making for a big improvement.

This has been done by moving the seat base forward a tiny bit, allowing the back rest to be angled more. The good news is that the change has minimal effect on rear legroom – Perodua says the facelift has just 20 mm less rear legroom compared to before.

So the Bezza still has a super spacious rear cabin for the class, miles better than the Saga in terms of outright space. Headroom is alright, legroom is fantastic for a car this small on the outside. Having said that, I still think the Saga has more comfortable rear seats. The cushion just feels nicer than this Bezza, and is better shaped as well.

Elsewhere, you’ll find two sets of Isofix mounts as well as the standard teh tarik hooks and anti-snatch handbag hook. One thing I wish this car would have though is the Myvi’s SmartTag toll reader. Now that, I think, would have been a great addition.

Next, the Bezza’s party piece, which is its humongous boot. At 508 litres, it’s over 20% bigger than what the Saga offers, and it’s more than big enough for your family balik kampung trips. There’s even a hidden underfloor storage to keep smaller items, plus a full-sized spare tyre.

That’s all on the standard car. If you want, you can dress it up with optional GearUp accessories. The catalogue of optional parts is comprehensive, and includes stuff like a complete bodykit package that looks super aggressive to items such as leather seat covers, a centre armrest, LED scuff plates and floor lighting, among other things. If you were to get everything on it, you’d add on more than RM5,000 to your sticker price, so there’s every reason to choose wisely.

What you absolutely should not do, however, is buy the base model and add on thousands and thousands worth of options. Remember, you can always add on a bodykit and accessories later on, but you can’t retrofit safety features. You can’t drive up to an accessories shop and order ESP, or ASA. So always buy the best version you can afford, before you even look at accessories.

The review starts off with the 1.0L version of the sedan. The three-cylinder, 1.0 litre engine with VVT-i, the same one used in the Axia, makes 67 hp and 91 Nm or torque, all sent to the front wheels pulling just under 900 kg of weight.

Despite its low output, the performance is decent. It doesn’t feel as slow or underpowered as you may think, and on the highways the Bezza can quite comfortably accelerate to beyond the national speed limit without breaking a sweat. I mean it’s not fast by any means, but as a city car it’s more than adequate. Even going uphill, it pulls strongly enough. It’s just not underpowered, full stop.

Strictly speaking, purely on performance, the 1.0L is enough, and you don’t necessarily need the 1.3L. But, you’d definitely want the bigger engine, not so much for more power, but to avoid the loud, rough and rattly three-cylinder engine. With the 1.0 litre, as soon as you put this car into gear, you start to feel the vibrations of the engine coming through the car, from the pedals, the steering and the seats.

There’s nothing wrong with mill – this is something to be expected from a three-pot engine, because by having just three cylinders, the engine is inherently unbalanced, and so it’s going to vibrate. It’s simple physics, and in the case of the engine, it is what it is.

The only reason you’d want this engine is for its fuel economy. Perodua says it can do over 20 km per litre, but in the real world you’re likely to see around 15 to 17 km per litre, depending on your driving style. The Bezza 1.3 will give you a little bit less, around 14-15 km per litre, while the Proton Saga is a little thirstier still, at around 12-13 km per litre.

I think if you’re really limited to this price range, around RM35k, you’re better off getting the Saga. Even if you’re okay with the vibration, then I’d recommend you to get the Axia Gxtra, for the same price you get ESP as standard. Or, how about saving up a bit more until you can afford the Bezza 1.3, because that is a much, much better car.

The Bezza 1.3 gets a proper four-cylinder engine with Dual VVT-i, making 94 hp and 121 Nm of torque. The 30 extra hp and Nm isn’t all that apparent, to be honest, because it’s just a little bit faster, but you’ll appreciate the extra refinement. The engine now revs smoother, sounds quieter, and there’s barely any vibrations to be felt. It’s a night and day difference, trust me.

The transmission here is a simple 4-speed automatic, which Perodua has been using for what seems like forever now. The gearshifts aren’t the smoothest around, and you definitely feel the shift shock even when you’re just accelerating gently.

I think the Saga’s new 4AT feels smoother and more refined than this, but having said that, this gearbox isn’t that bad. It’s smart enough and reacts quickly enough to your inputs, like dropping a gear or two for an overtake, and it’s definitely more responsive than Proton’s older CVTs.

I’d say it’s competent enough for most people. I say most, because there will always be a few people complaining that there isn’t a Sport mode for a more engaging drive, and well, if that’s what you’re after, I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree, buddy. This is not the car you’re looking for.

This is because as much as Perodua has tried to improve the dynamics of the Bezza by tweaking the suspension, it’s still well short of the Proton Saga. The steering still feels too light, too twitchy at times, especially on highways. There’s a constant need to correct the steering angle, even on a straight road, because of the floaty feel of the drive.

Worse still is when there’s a faster car or, God forbid, a big truck passing you, because the steering pulls the car towards them due to the wind and pressure. In time, you’ll learn to hold the steering a little bit tighter to avoid drifting off line. Over a long drive, that can get tiring really quickly though.

Stability has been improved slightly compared to the old car, so you’ll feel more confident behind the wheel, more assured that this car will stick to the road. Drive this and the old car back to back and you’ll find that there’s quite a significant difference in terms of highway stability. It’s not quite there yet, but at least Perodua is heading in the right direction.

As for handling, the Bezza is very dependable. The steering is actually better through corners than it is on the straights, because it does load nicely when you turn in. There’s enough heft and feel through the corners to give you back some of that confidence you’ve lost on the straights. It also helps that ESP is standard on both the 1.3 models.

The change to bigger wheels and lower profile tyres have also played a role in the improvements – the car definitely feels more planted now than before. The 15-inch wheels do have an impact on the car’s turning circle – it’s now a little bit wider compared to the Bezza 1.0 and its 14-inch wheels. The difference isn’t that big though, because the 1.3 is still very easily manoeuvrable through tight spots.

Where the Bezza has a clear edge over the Saga is in its braking feel. The brake pedal is more linear, so it’s easy to modulate, whereas in the Saga you have to go through a long way of dead travel before the brakes actually engage.

Lastly, ride comfort and refinement. Here, the Bezza is just about average. The ride is decent enough, avoiding the nasty brittle and underdamped ride characteristics usually associated with cheap cars. The damping is pretty good at absorbing small bumps, although the car’s relatively short wheelbase and narrow tracks mean that it doesn’t handle bigger bumps all that well.

As for refinement, the Bezza isn’t all that quiet, with engine noise, tyre roar and wind noise being quite evident, and it gets worse in the rain, as you can hear the water splashes from the tyres. In both ride and refinement, it’s the Saga again that has the upper hand.

Actually, even within Perodua’s own range, the Myvi feels significantly more modern and sophisticated compared to the Bezza. I think the Myvi has made such a big leap forward in terms of ride and handling that it has opened quite a big gap between it and the Bezza.

Everything considered, it’s clear that for this facelift, Perodua has put more focus on things that existing customers have complained about, like the car’s looks and the rear seat. I guess not many of them had issues with the handling, which again, isn’t really that surprising.

After all, I think it’s safe to assume that Bezza customers are mostly regular commuters and, more recently, Grab drivers, and not driving enthusiasts. Look at it that way, and I think Perodua made the right choices here.

Overall, the 2020 Perodua Bezza is a mixed bag. Its showroom appeal is fantastic, I’ll give it that, and the upgrades for this facelift bring about tangible improvements in looks, safety and even handling. But ultimately, the car remains very much a compromised experience from a driving perspective, with a few flaws left unfixed.

It’s far from perfect, but then again, no car is. Actually, to make a perfect car in this segment, you’d want a combination of the Bezza’s sporty looks, practical interior, fuel economy and safety, allied to the Saga’s price, more balanced proportions, ride and handling and refinement. There’s no such car, obviously.

So choosing between the Perodua Bezza and the Proton Saga depends very much on your priorities and preferences. If you just want a car to get you from point A to point B, of if you want to use it for Grab, I’d fully recommend the Bezza – the 1.3 that is, not the 1.0.

However, if your budget is a little bit tighter and you’re a little bit more particular about how your car should feel dynamically, then perhaps you should give the Saga a look first. Or, if you don’t really need a boot, perhaps a Myvi?

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0G facelift

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3AV facelift

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Cars, Local News, Perodua

Perodua aiming to become R&D hub for ASEAN, develop Daihatsu models for Indonesia and Thailand


At Perodua’s presentation of its full year review earlier today, the automaker also touched on its research and development (R&D) plans in the near and extended future.

The company isn’t just looking to build more cars, it wants to develop them too, looking to be involved on a level beyond what it is at now. Now that the company has achieved full upper body development capability with support from Daihatsu, the intent is to work towards becoming an ASEAN R&D hub, working on developing products with – and for – the Japanese automaker.

Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad says the aim is to have Perodua designing vehicles not just for Malaysia but for Indonesia and Thailand as well, and the company is working very hard to become the R&D hub in the region, and a self-reliant one at that.

He said that while Daihatsu has a very big operation in Indonesia, “in terms of R&D, at this moment Perodua R&D, in terms of testing equipment, investment and facilities, is bigger than Indonesia,” he said.

Currently, the automaker’s R&D capabilities include full top hat upper body design, engineering design, local parts development as well as the ability to undertake major facelift projects, but the big step will come with the advent of the next model, which will ride on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) platform that is based on the Toyota equivalent.

This is expected to be the D55L SUV, expected later this year. Aside from the SUV, four future unidentified DNGA-based models were outlined in the strategic direction presentation graphic, but Zainal was quick to point out that not all would be Perodua models.

“These four new models may not necessarily be Perodua models. When we achieve the level of R&D to become an ASEAN hub, we will design a model even for Daihatsu,” he said, adding that no matter the model, be it a Perodua or a Daihatsu, the company would be able to develop it.

Interestingly, while three of the highlighted quartet were hatchbacks, one was a sedan bodystyle. While nothing was intimated, it could well be that Perodua is leading the development of new DNGA-based sedan model for Daihatsu, meant for the ASEAN market.

The Daihatsu DN F-Sedan concept from two years ago could provide an idea of the intended direction. Daihatsu has never come up with a sedan, so it’d be new ground for the automaker, but with the Bezza, Perodua now has some experience with the bodystyle, which will surely prove invaluable.

As to designing products to cater for different markets within the region, Zainal said that the hub would be able to cater for different needs and requirements, and be distinct about it in terms of product differentiation.

“For example, they could ask us to develop a Daihatsu brand model for the Indonesian market. Our R&D is capable of doing that, but it doesn’t mean that that we (Perodua) takes that model and make it for the Malaysian market,” he said.

He said that Daihatsu actually engages Perodua to design for different markets, and that since last year, Perodua has been receiving consignment jobs to develop vehicles for other countries.

Curiously, the camouflaged Avanza mule spotted here last October could provide an idea of how this is shaping up. The mule could well be a R&D testbed for the next-gen Daihatsu Xenia/Avanza for Indonesia, given the presence of Indonesian Low MPVs being benchmarked against it.

The company also revealed that its total R&D investment to date stands at RM1.4 billion, which it says is about 18% of total investment made. This has gone into building facilities such as an engine lab, test track, thermal chamber, a VPT lab, emissions test centre and a design studio/research centre.

The company added it is in the midst of upgrading its test track, which is unique to Malaysia in terms of evaluation capabilities. Zainal said that the upgrading work on the course is expected to be completed before the end of 2020.

GALLERY: Daihatsu DN F-Sedan concept, GIIAS 2017

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Cars, Local News, Perodua

2020 Perodua Bezza facelift – 2,000 units delivered since launch; 15,000 bookings recorded in total


The 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift was launched earlier this month, and is proving to be a hit among car buyers with over 2,000 units already delivered to customers and 15,000 bookings recorded. Of the 15,000 bookings, 7,000 were made in 2020, while the remaining 8,000 were for the pre-facelift model made at the end of 2019, which were automatically converted to the new model.

At the launch of the refreshed A-segment sedan, the company stated it was aiming to deliver 5,600 units by the end of this month, and a steady 4,000 units a month after that. It also revealed then that around 184,000 units of the Bezza have found homes over the past three and a half years, and that the car has consistently secured between 4,000 and 4,500 units of monthly sales.

The latest Bezza features a revised design and an updated kit list, with four variants – 1.0L G Manual (RM34,580 OTR without insurance), 1.0L G Auto (RM36,580), 1.3L X Auto (RM43,980) and 1.3L AV Auto (RM49,980). All variants now benefit from Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), with the range-topping AV receiving Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite of driver assist systems.

The national carmaker also said it is working hard to address unfulfilled bookings from last year, with Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad saying, “we estimate that we have about 13,000 unfulfilled bookings (inclusive of other models) in total from last year. To our valued customers, we are fully aware of the matter and are addressing it as much as we can. We appreciate your patience and apologise for the wait.”

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Cars, Local News, Malaysian Makes, Perodua

2020 Perodua Bezza – a spec-by-spec comparison


Clockwise from top right: 1.0 G Auto, 1.3 X, 1.3 AV

The 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift was launched this morning, with the order books opened last week before its official launch today. The Bezza has proven to be a favourite among Malaysians looking for an entry level sedan, with 184,000 units sold since the original arrived on the Malaysian market in July 2016.

Four variants of the facelifted Perodua Bezza are on offer – the RM34,580 1.0L G Manual, the RM36,580 1.0L G Auto, the RM43,980 1.3L X and the RM49,980 1.3L AV. The trimming of the Bezza line-up from five variants to the present four sees the 1.3L Manual of the pre-facelift model dropped from the range.

This means that the 1.3 litre-engined variants of the Bezza are now auto-only, and the base 1.0G Manual is the sole DIY gearbox variant. the 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine produces 67 hp and 91 Nm of torque, while the 1.3 litre four-cylinder is rated at 94 hp and 121 Nm of torque. The larger of the two engines is equipped with Dual VVT-i and Eco Idle automatic stop-start, which aids fuel efficiency for a claimed figure of 22 km/l.

Here’s a breakdown of each specification:

Perodua Bezza 1.0 G Manual

Gets as standard:

Mechanicals

  • 998 cc three-cylinder naturally aspirated engine
  • 67 hp at 6,000 rpm
  • 91 Nm at 4,400 rpm
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • Ventilated brake discs (front), drum brakes (rear)
  • Automatic stop-start

Exterior

  • 14-inch alloy wheels
  • LED reflector headlamps
  • LED combination tail lamps
  • Wing mirror turn indicators

Interior

  • Manual front seat adjustment
  • Standard black fabric
  • Power windows, driver’s side auto down
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Two cupholders, front

Safety

  • ABS with EBD
  • Dual front airbags
  • Rear ISOFIX outer passenger seats
  • Four-star ASEAN NCAP rating

2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0 G Auto

Adds on:

Mechanicals

  • four-speed automatic transmission

2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3 X

Adds on:

Mechanicals

  • 1,329 cc four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine
  • 94 hp at 6,000 rpm
  • 121 Nm at 4,000 rpm
  • Four-speed automatic transmission

Exterior

  • Garnet Red exterior colour
  • Front corner sensors
  • Front foglamps
  • 15-inch two-tone alloy wheels

Safety

  • Stability control
  • Hill start assist

2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3 AV

Adds on:

Interior

  • Black faux leather with red stitching
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio control
  • Touchscreen with navigation and Mirrorlink
  • Reverse camera

Safety

  • Advance Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 – Front departure alert, pedal misoperation control, pedestrian protection
  • Five-star ASEAN NCAP rating

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L AV

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L X

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0L G

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza GearUp accessories

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2020 Perodua Bezza, Cars, Local Car Launches, Local News, Perodua

2020 Perodua Bezza facelift launched in Malaysia – ASA 2.0, LED headlamps, 4 variants, from RM34,580


After a short teaser period, the 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift is now officially launched. This comes just five days after order books were open, and three and a half years since the sedan first hit the Malaysian market. In that time, the Bezza has become a firm favourite in the entry level with 184,000 units sold, and if you’re living in urban areas, a popular workhorse for ride hailing drivers.

Let’s start with the obvious changes. The Bezza wears a significantly bolder look, thanks to a combination of an aggressive new bumper with sharp faux vent cutouts holding the fog lamps (no fog lamps for 1.0L), slimmer headlamps that are now LEDs (standard across the range), and a grille that’s now horizontal (chrome trim for 1.3L, silver for 1.0L). No LED daytime running lights, but the optional GearUp bodykit adds LED position lights at the lower edge of the bumper.

At the rear, the most obvious cue are the sharp cutouts on the bumpers that mirror those on the front. The Bezza’s rear underside was rather exposed in its original form, and that issue was somewhat addressed by a redesigned rear bumper (with a deeper skirt) less than a year in. Now, the tonggek look has been put to rest, for good. The rear bumper has also been extended slightly for better aerodynamics.

The pre-facelift’s chrome strip bridging the tail lamps is now in two-tone – chrome over gloss black. The side skirts, which are standard across the board, are also in two-tone, black and body colour. The AV gets electric retractable side mirrors, while the rest get power-adjustable mirrors with turn signals. This means that for the 1.0L, there are no more signal lamps on the fenders, but the B pillars are body coloured instead of blacked out.

As for wheels, it’s 14-inch items for the 1.0L and 15-inch two-tone alloys for the 1.3L variants. There are also two new paint options called Garnet Red (1.3L only, as seen here) and Granite Grey to join four other colours – Sugar Brown, Ocean Blue, Glittering Silver and Ivory White (solid).

Inside, the dashboard architecture hasn’t changed, but P2 revised the full width trim’s design for an obvious new look without having to redesign the whole thing. Previously just a plain black bar in the AV, there’s now a silver upturned cradle for the head unit, which is a 2-DIN touchscreen unit for the AV (with reverse camera). The new trim also sees some surfacing around the side air con vents.

The Bezza’s meter panel has been redesigned. Gone are the two red “ears” cupping the dials, which themselves have new faces. The illumination is white.

Kit wise, two items stand out. One is the above-mentioned LED headlamps, which are standard across the board. This sets the Bezza FL apart from the Axia, and also its chief entry sedan rival.

The other big ticket item is Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite of driver assist systems, which includes Pedestrian Detection (up to 50 km/h), Pre-Collision Warning (up to 100 km/h), Pre-Collision Braking (up to 80 km/h), Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control. First seen on the current Myvi and then the Aruz (in 2.0 form), ASA was most recently included in the Axia facelift that debut in September 2019. The Axia is the most affordable car in Malaysia with AEB and the Bezza is the most affordable sedan to be such equipped.

ASA 2.0 is for the top AV only, but all 1.3L variants get Vehicle Stability Control (VSC, previously AV only) and ABS/EBD is standard across the board. All variants get dual front airbags. With its driver assist pack, the Bezza AV is ASEAN NCAP five-star rated.

Other equipment highlights include keyless entry with push start (1.3L only), front corner sensors (1.3L only, reverse sensors standard for all) and a reverse camera (AV only). The range topping variant also gets leather seats with suede inserts.

Lastly, there’s no change in the powertrain department, which has a 67 hp/91 Nm 1.0L three-cylinder VVT-i engine and a 94 hp/121 Nm 1.3L four-pot. The latter NR engine comes with Dual VVT-i and Eco Idle auto start-stop, which helps fuel efficiency go as high as a claimed 22 km/l – a strong point for the Bezza. The 1.0L can be had with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto, while the 1.3L is auto-only.

Minor but potentially significant changes not listed in brochure include improvements to the suspension for better handling and stability, as well the rear seat angle, which goes from 23 to 27 degrees.

The 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift is priced from RM34,580 for the 1.0L G Manual and RM36,580 for the 1.0L G Auto. The 1.3L models are auto-only – the 1.3L X is yours for RM43,980 while the AV sells for RM49,980. All prices are OTR without insurance. It’s a slight increase over the pre-facelift prices, but kit count has increased as well. The warranty is for five years or 150,000 km. There’s a full range of GearUp accessories as well, and we detail them here.

By the way, the pre-facelift range consists of the 1.0L GXtra MT at RM34,490, the 1.0L GXtra AT at RM36,290, the 1.3L Premium X MT at RM40,090, the 1.3L Premium X AT at RM41,890 and the AV at RM47,790. That means that the new line-up has one less variant – four vs five – and the 1.3L MT has been dropped.

“We are confident the bolder and smarter 2020 Perodua Bezza will continue to carry the torch – our aim is to sell 4,000 units monthly on average,” said Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, president and CEO of Perodua. So, what do you think of the refreshed Bezza next to the Proton Saga, which was revamped last year? Full specs and comparisons at CarBase.my.

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L AV

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3L X

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.0L G

GALLERY: 2020 Perodua Bezza GearUp accessories

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Cars, Local News, Perodua

2020 Perodua Bezza facelift brochure, price list leaked – ASA 2.0, standard LED headlamps, from RM34,580


Click to enlarge

Details and first images of the 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift are out and circulating online, courtesy of what appears to be an official brochure distributed by P2 sales staff. The “Bolder. Smarter” refreshed A-segment sedan – which was launched back in July 2016 and mildly updated in April 2017 – comes with significantly more aggressive looks as well as some new equipment.

Let’s start with the new kit. The Bezza facelift is the latest model to come with Perodua’s Advance Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite of driver assist systems.

First seen on the current Myvi and then the Aruz (in 2.0 form), ASA was most recently included in the Axia facelift that debut in September 2019. So, it’s no surprise that it makes an appearance in the Bezza, in the range topping AV spec.

Click to enlarge

ASA 2.0 includes Pre-Collision Warning (PCW), Pre-Collision Braking (PCB), Front Departure Alert (FDA) and Pedal Misoperation Control (PMC), all working with the assistance of a stereo camera located at the top of the windscreen. There’s no airbag info in the brochure (Axia continues to have two), but ABS/EBD is standard across the board, and VSC is standard on 1.3L models, which are the X and AV (1.0L G in MT or AT is the other option).

Also new to the model, which is very popular among ride hailing drivers, are LED headlamps, something that sets it apart from the Axia. Surprisingly, the Myvi-style headlamps are standard across the board – even the base 1.0L gets it. Other highlights in the flyer include a white illuminated meter panel (the design is also new) and keyless entry with push start (1.3L only).

Elsewhere in the kit department, the 1.3L gets gloss black and chrome trim on the front grille (gloss black and silver on 1.0L) and 15-inch alloys (14-inch on the 1.0L). Rear parking sensors are standard for all, but front corner sensors are for the 1.3L only. Apart from ASA 2.0, AV-exclusive items include retractable electric side mirrors with turn signals (non electric retract for the rest) and a reverse camera.

The latter should mean that the AV will be the only spec with a 2-DIN touchscreen head unit. The other variants should get a factory unit with integrated design. As for colours, the 2020 Bezza facelift will have a new option called Garnet Red to join five other colours. There appears to be another new colour in the brochure, but it’s not clear what it’s called.

Looks wise, as seen from spyshots of the car leaving P2’s Sg Choh base, the latest Bezza comes with very aggressive front and rear bumpers that has prominent faux vent cutouts. With reshaped headlamps (LEDs too of course) and front grille, facelifted cars will be easy to spot from the pre-facelift. Two-tone side skirts are standard for all variants.

There should be no change in the powertrain department. The 1KR-VE 1.0 litre three-cylinder VVT-i engine makes 67 hp/91 Nm, while the 1NR-VE 1.3 litre does 94 hp/121 Nm. Fuel economy is as good as a claimed 22 km/l with Eco Idle auto start-stop.

As for prices, the Bezza is now priced from RM34,580 for the 1.0L G Manual and RM36,580 for the 1.0L G Auto. The 1.3L models are auto-only – the 1.3L X is yours for RM43,980 while the AV sells for RM49,980. All prices are OTR without insurance. It’s a slight increase over the pre-facelift prices, but kit has increased as well.

By the way, the pre-facelift range consists of the 1.0L GXtra MT at RM34,490, the 1.0L GXtra AT at RM36,290, the 1.3L Premium X MT at RM40,090, the 1.3L Premium X AT at RM41,890 and the AV at RM47,790. That means that the new line-up has one less variant – four vs five – and the 1.3L MT has been dropped.

The launch should be just around the corner now, so stay tuned!

GALLERY: Perodua Bezza 1.3L AV, pre-facelift

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Cars, International News, Perodua

2019 Perodua Axia Style launched in Sri Lanka: RM89k


Perodua has launched the facelifted Axia at the ongoing Colombo Motor Show in Sri Lanka, just two months after the entry-level hatchback made its debut over here. This time around, the car is being sold in the island nation in the SUV-style, um, Style variant, priced at 3.895 million rupees (RM88,800). Distributor Unimo Enterprises is expected to begin deliveries early next year.

“As Sri Lanka is the Perodua brand’s biggest overseas market and one that has always been accepting of the Axia, with some 3,000 units sold since 2015, it is fitting as the new Perodua Axia Style’s first export destination,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

The Style adds a few aesthetic flourishes compared to the rest of the Axia range, such as unique front and rear bumpers – the former receiving a large hexagonal grille with a fake carbon fibre finish. It also gets black plastic body cladding all around, silver front and rear skid plates, roof rails, clear tail light lenses and unique fabric upholstery. It also has a taller ride height as it sits on larger 15-inch alloy wheels.

Other new features for the Sri Lankan market include a Sunrise Orange colour option, keyless entry, push-button start and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).

“SUVs and crossovers are enjoying a big rise globally and we foresee the same trend taking hold in Sri Lanka,” said Unimo Enterprises CEO and executive director Mahesh Gunathilake. “The new Perodua Axia Style offers the active and trendy looks of a crossover in a compact, fuel-efficient, dependable and value-for-money package that we believe will strike a chord with Sri Lankans.”

Perodua has exported over 80,000 vehicles so far, with Unimo Enterprises selling nearly 16,000 Perodua models since 1997. The national carmaker says that it aims to export 3,270 cars this year, which would constitute a 50% jump compared to last year’s 2,184 units.

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Cars, Local News, Perodua

2019 Perodua Axia facelift – over 20,000 bookings since Sept, 10,400 delivered; 2,000 units of Style sold


In addition to announcing the launch of the facelifted Axia in Sri Lanka, Perodua has also released sales figures of its latest model. The refreshed entry-level hatchback has accumulated over 20,000 orders in the two months since it was introduced here in September, with over 10,400 units having been delivered so far.

Of those, over 2,000 units of the Style variant have found homes in Malaysia. This is one of the new variants introduced for the 2019 facelift, giving the Axia an SUV-like look. The aesthetic addenda include unique front and rear bumpers, black body cladding, silver skid plates, clear tail light lenses, roof rails and larger 15-inch alloy wheels that give it a taller ride height. It also gets unique fabric upholstery on the inside.

Across the wider range, the revisions consist of new front and rear bumpers that give the car a closer resemblance to the latest Myvi, along with a redesigned centre console and new fabric upholstery options on higher-end models. Safety-wise, the Axia is now available with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and the Aruz‘s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 active safety suite, which includes autonomous emergency braking.

The Axia continues to be powered by a 1KR-VE 1.0 litre VVT-i naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine, producing 68 PS and 91 Nm of torque. It is paired to a four-speed automatic transmission, with only the base E variant being fitted with a five-speed manual. Prices range from RM24,090 for the E to RM43,190 for the range-topping AV, all on-the-road without insurance.

GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia Style

GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia AV

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Cars, Local News, Perodua, Proton

Perodua D55L SUV vs Proton X50 – we compare specs of Daihatsu Rocky/Toyota Raize and Geely Binyue


Speculation surrounding Perodua’s upcoming compact SUV – codenamed the D55L – has been rife in recent months, and it reached fever pitch when Daihatsu revealed its own version, set to be called the Rocky, at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now, Toyota has jumped into the fray by putting its Raize on sale in Japan, and with that comes a flurry of official information and specifications.

Now, obviously a lot of people will be drawing comparisons with the Geely Binyue, which will form the basis of Proton’s next SUV, widely tipped to be called the X50. So we decided to answer your imminent questions once and for all by directly comparing the specifications of these two vehicles, the starting points for two of the most hotly-anticipated cars from our national carmakers.

Firstly, some housekeeping is in order. While both of these cars will be entry-level SUVs, just like the larger Aruz and X70, they will occupy different and distinctly separate segments of the market – so this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. Judging by the numbers and data alone, the Perodua will be significantly smaller and almost certainly cheaper than the more sophisticated Proton.

Click to enlarge

It should also be noted that the specifications and equipment listed here are specific to the home markets of Daihatsu/Toyota and Geely, and hence are subject to change – particularly in terms of powertrains and safety kit. Lastly, to give some perspective, we’re also including the B-segment benchmark, the Honda HR-V, into this table, as well as the Aruz and X70.

Now, let’s get down to business. The Rocky/Raize is sized closer to A-segment norm, measuring a hair under four metres long and 1.7 metres wide. The Binyue, on the other hand, is in proper B-segment territory, being a whopping 335 mm longer and over 100 mm wider. The Geely is also longer in terms of wheelbase (2,600 mm versus 2,525 mm), while its lower height (1,609 mm versus 1,620 mm) adds to its overtly sporty look.

The Binyue’s increased dimensions should translate to greater room inside, as well as a larger boot (Geely doesn’t quote boot space). The Japanese cars counter that by having a false floor that can be removed to reveal a deep well – which can be used to hold houseplants and other tall items – although Perodua’s version will probably have a full-sized spare wheel residing within that well instead.

The Binyue is also better equipped, available with a variety of options not available on the Rocky/Raize, such as a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an air purifier and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. And while the other cars get a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay functionality, the Binyue adds a 10.25-inch display outfitted with the Geely Key User Interface (GKUI) and the much-vaunted voice control system.

Safety-wise, both cars are available with the prerequisite six airbags and stability control, plus an assortment of driver assistance systems. Both get autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, but only the Binyue has lane keeping assist for Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability, as well as blind spot monitoring and a full park assist system (the Rocky/Raize twins only provide steering assistance). But it’s not all bad for the other two, as they get the pedal misapplication control feature that’s missing on the Geely.

The powertrain is another area where the Binyue scores highly against the Rocky/Raize. Even the base 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder is significantly more muscular compared to the equivalent engine in the others – with 134 hp and 205 Nm of torque, the Geely makes 37 hp and 65 Nm more. In China, this engine is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, whereas the Daihatsu/Toyota are offered only with a CVT.

Interiors of the Toyota Raize (left) and Geely Binyue (right)

Step up to the 174 hp/255 Nm 1.5 litre unit – developed in conjunction with Volvo, no less – and the gulf grows to 77 hp and 115 Nm, and you also gain the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This is the most likely engine and gearbox option to be offered over in Malaysia, although China also has a plug-in hybrid model that we’ve not listed here.

As for Perodua, the 1.0 litre turbo mill is very much a possibility, but this being a conservative company, we’re expecting it to replace it with either the 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-pot from the Myvi and Aruz (paired to a four-speed automatic gearbox) or the hybrid system that was teased at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) last year. It also likely won’t sell the optional all-wheel drive system offered in Japan.

This being such an early stage for both the Perodua and Proton models, there’s no pricing information as yet, but these cars are expected to be significantly cheaper than both the Aruz and the X70, which retail from RM72,900 to RM77,900 and from RM99,800 to RM123,800 respectively. So what do you think of these two cars, and which would you get with your own money? Sound off in the comments section after the jump.

GALLERY: Toyota Raize

GALLERY: Geely Binyue

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Cars, Local News, Perodua

Perodua invests RM7m to outsource old model parts production – Kancil, Kelisa, Viva, first-gen Myvi


We always think of car plants as production centres for new cars and their parts, but rarely spare a thought for parts for discontinued models. Somebody’s got to make them, and they take up space and capacity. Perodua has now done something about it, by outsourcing the function.

Malaysia’s market leader says that it is centralising parts production for past models with the launch of a new press stamping machine at its supplier IQM in Tanjung Malim today. Perodua says that the move is one of its initiatives to help expand their vendors’ business and capabilities, bringing them one step closer to becoming global automotive suppliers.

Perodua made a RM7 million investment on the machine, including its transportation and installation. The 1,600 metric tonne hydraulic press stamping machine will produce body parts such as bonnets, side outer panels, rear quarter panels, fenders, doors and roofs for past old models such as the first-gen Myvi, Viva, Kelisa and even the Kancil. The dies required to make the parts have also been moved to IQM.

It’s win-win. For Perodua, this frees up much-needed factory space, simplifies the entire operation, reduces lead time and cost, and makes it easier to monitor production under one roof. Perodua also assists IQM in terms of skill transfer and training where past model parts production is concerned.

“Perodua’s decision to centralise past model parts production at IQM is four-pronged. One, we want to continue supporting owners of our past models with quality, quick and affordable parts through our body and paint business, because as long as you own a Perodua vehicle – old or new – we will always be there for you,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

“Two, we are committed to empowering all 135 of our Malaysian suppliers, not just by buying from them but helping to develop them via skill and technology transfers. Three, it represents our commitment to the nation and its economy by helping to boost the competitiveness of the Malaysian automotive eco-system. Finally, it represents our commitment to ourselves. To keep improving our quality and efficiency so that Perodua can be a better and leaner company moving forward,” he added.

Since rolling out the first Kancil in 1994, Perodua has sold over 3.7 million cars in Malaysia and currently, a third of the demand for Perodua parts is for past models.

On the topic of vendors, business from Perodua is vital. With all its current models having over 90% local parts content, the Rawang-based carmaker is the biggest buyer of automotive components in the country, having spent RM4.5 billion on parts so far this year out of an earmarked RM5.4 billion for the whole of 2019.

IQM has been a Perodua supplier since 2002. It currently does metal stamping, body assembly parts and brake tube components to P2. The company started making Viva parts when production of the model ceased in 2014, and early last year it began producing parts for the second-generation Myvi on a dedicated new line. For owners of discontinued models, this is reassuring news.

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