We generally concur with Hisham Jahudi, who in case you didn’t know, is an advanced driving instructor and used to race at the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race, as well as ex-technician Albakry Salehuddin’s.
Before deciding on any of these models, consumers must be realistic about their budget and understand that this segment is all about compromises. Buyers must understand that each model has their pros and cons, and there is no such thing as an ideal family MPV for everybody.
To find the model that best suits you and your family, buyers must first make a list of their requirements.
You can’t expect to have an MPV that is large enough to fit seven adults comfortably and yet still offers the same fuel economy as a compact hatchback. Such a car doesn’t exist. So between space and fuel economy, you have to choose one over the other.
What we believe you should ask yourselves is how often would your MPV need to carry seven occupants. If the third-row seats are just going to be used three times a year, then it Is unwise to buy a larger MPV that is going to be under-utilised most of the time. For such usage needs, considerations like ease of access to the third-row as well as legroom in that area shouldn’t sit very high on your priority.
On the Proton Exora:
We love the Proton Exora’s spacious cabin and its user friendly second-row seat’s one-touch seat fold and tumble mechanism. Among the trio, the Exora is the easiest to get into the third-row seats. So if you are full seven-seater functionality sits very highly on your list of priorities, the Exora is the one to get.
We also like its decent list of safety features. Where possible, we highly recommend the Premium model (RM74,618) as it comes the all-important ESC feature. Read this to understand more about ESC.
The Exora is also the only MPV in this segment to come with ESC, so if safety and space is at the top of your list, look no further than the Exora. Just remember to avoid ordering one in ‘Elegant Brown,’ lest you want to be mistaken for a TEKS1M taxi.
Don’t expect it to be economical to run though. Real world fuel consumption should range between 8 to 9km/litre, depending on driving habits and the sort of traffic conditions you encounter. Proton’s servicing cost aren’t exactly cheap either.
On the Perodua Alza:
The Perodua Alza is a decent alternative for the economically-minded, and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of space (which is still fairly decent). The third-row seats are good enough for short distance trips, and its more compact size makes it the easiest to park and drive in urban areas.
Peroduas are generally very cheap to service and if you are smooth enough, fuel cost is not going to be that far off from a similar engine capacity 1.5-litre Perodua Myvi.
What about the Nissan Grand Livina?
We used to be fond of the Nissan Grand Livina, but this is 2015 and the Grand Livina is showing its age. Compared to either the spacious and safety conscious Proton Exora or the economical and the easy to drive Perodua Alza, the Nissan doesn’t have anything unique to offer.
Maintenance cost for the Nissan isn’t cheap either. In fact, Nissan’s servicing cost is the highest among the Japanese Big Three (Toyota, Honda, Nissan).
Over a 100,000 km interval, the Nissan would cost RM3,625 to service, versus the Perodua’s RM2,994. We don’t have the same information for the Proton but would expect it to be higher than either of them.
The Nissan also had the worst third-row access. To climb into the third-row, you must first fold and tumble the second-row seat by pulling a strap on the seatback, which can be rather difficult to work, especially if your hands are full.
If you do manage to haggle a good deal that would make up for the differences in servicing cost between the Nissan and the Perodua, and then a bit more, the Nissan is still a compelling purchase, especially for those who don’t need a larger MPV but at the same time don’t want a Perodua.
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