The ASEAN Car of the Year Awards (ACOTY) 2016 is on full swing with motoring journalists from Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia putting their efforts together to deliver a consumer-relevant award that strives to be impartial, comprehensive, and in-depth in its execution.
Ensuring local relevancy, each of the three participating countries will have their unique country-level categories that are familiar to consumers native to that market. A model that wins in its category at country level automatically qualifies to be in the running for the ASEAN-level awards if it is sold across all three countries.
The Malaysian panel, which comprises of 26 judges, have nominated 73 finalists across 24 categories. In the coming weeks, Carlist.my will be publishing a feature series focusing on each category one at a time, delving through the respective strengths and weaknesses of each finalist.
Our first article of the series starts with the Budget Car category where we have three homegrown heroes – Perodua Bezza, Perodua Axia, and Proton Iriz.
In this category, the challenge by manufacturers is to produce cars that are affordable without sacrificing increasingly demanding safety standards as well as consumer tastes. These are cars catered for budget-conscious buyers who at the same time will not settle for a car that feels cheap.
Nominated by: 23 out of 26 judges
Pricing: RM37,300.00 – RM50,800.00
Overview: A four-door sedan incorporating all the qualities Malaysians like about Perodua – affordable and dependable with faultless aftersales – the Bezza is the hot favourite for this category. It is Perodua’s first attempt at the three-box concept, yet it is one for which they seemed to have really done their homework for.
- 508-litre boot
- Many first-time features in a Perodua: ESC, Keyless Entry, Engine Auto Start/Stop
- Fuel efficient engines
- ASEAN NCAP 5 Stars
- Bland styling
- Unrewarding dynamics
- ESC available only for most expensive model
- First Impressions: Perodua Bezza – Watch Out! New Best-Seller Coming Your Way!
- Perodua Bezza Officially Launched – 1.0L and 1.3L from RM37k onwards
Nominated by: 18 out of 26 judges
Pricing: RM24,437.16 – RM41,967.15
Overview: It’s the most affordable new car in the market, yet the Axia’s low price tag has not been used as an excuse by Perodua to deliver an undercooked car. The basics are well-sorted, and Perodua took the effort to elevate its packaging expertise to create a car that is smaller than the Myvi yet more spacious.
- Affordable to buy and maintain
- Spacious cabin for the size
- Bigger boot volume than even the Myvi
- Engine sounds thrashy when worked hard
Nominated by: 16 out of 26 judges
Pricing: RM41,520.00 – RM62,480.00
Overview: Don’t discount Proton yet. The Iriz may not be the newest kid in the block, but it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. It’s a more polarizing choice than either Peroduas listed here, excelling in some areas (ride & handling), but also clearly lacking in others (interior quality and refinement). It could use some of the enhancements we saw recently in the Persona, but there is no doubt that between the three cars here, the Iriz is the most fun to drive, yet it is also the most flawed. In this list, it is also the only car to give electronic stability control across its range.
- Excellent ride and handling
- ASEAN NCAP 5 Stars – ESC standard for all variants
- Improved fuel economy of VVT engines
- Unrefined CVT
- Interior build quality still suspect
- 2014 Proton Iriz Quick Review To Penang: Turning Over More Than A Few Leaves
- 2015 Perodua Myvi 1.5 Advance vs 2014 Proton Iriz 1.6 CVT Premium: The RM60,000 battle
- Review: Proton Iriz 1.6 Manual – Self-Shifting Choice
- Comparison: Proton Iriz vs Perodua Myvi vs Kia Picanto – Entry-Level City Dwellers
What do you think of our choices? You, the reader, can influence the outcome of ACOTY 2016 as well by participating in our online automotive consumer survey, the largest of its kind, aimed at evaluating the overall ownership experience of all vehicle brands.