We’ve covered the top picks for used sedans and SUVs under RM 80k as a follow-up to the survey that revealed the majority of used car buyers shop below RM 80k. Now we’re moving on to used MPVs within the same budget.
As per usual, we’ve disqualified MPVs that are too old – aged above 10 years, since most used car bank loans must be settled before the car turns 13. Premium brands are disqualified again as well, but then again there aren’t many MPVs with a “premium” badge.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, for example, hasn’t depreciate enough to fall within budget; the Mercedes-Benz R-Class and V-Class are either too old or too expensive.
This leaves out the Toyota Alphard as well because the ones that qualify for this list are over 10 years old. Newer units are above budget unfortunately. Fret not, we’ll start our list with the next best thing.
Also read: RM 70k for a 12-year-old 2nd-gen Toyota Alphard (AH20), budget to repair?
Toyota Innova (AN140) - RM 80k
Yes, it’s the Toyota Innova, specifically the second-generation Innova. The emphasis on the current generation model is due to the significantly more upmarket design, inside and out, than its predecessor.
Being underpinned by a ladder frame has its pros and cons; the plus side is its robustness to tackle high loads and tough terrains, the flipside would be its weight and the characteristic judder over road imperfections.
A 2.0-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine (mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission) with 139 PS/183 Nm is tasked to handle the weight (all 1,720 kg of it). Net result is an engine that needs to work hard to build up a decent pace.
But honestly, the best approach is to take things easy and just cruise along. The cabin is well insulated and the suspension is wonderfully supple. Also, adults can be comfortable in the third-row seats, as space is more than adequate.
Nissan Serena (C26) - RM 70k
The Nissan Serena has a slightly different proposition to the Toyota Innova. It maximises interior space with its boxy shape and it has sliding rear doors, making the Serena an even more practical option.
A car with sliding doors means easier ingress and egress from the vehicle. Besides, with most of these sliding doors being power-operated, it’s also easier for those with limited abilities to use too.
Which is why in Japan, models like the Nissan Serena and Toyota Voxy often sell better than the Honda Stream or the Toyota Wish. Even Honda switched their Odyssey from hinged doors to sliding ones in order to boost sales.
Back to the Serena, you can get a facelifted fourth-generation S-Hybrid model for the money. If the word ‘hybrid’ gives you anxiety, worry not because there’s no high voltage battery involved here. It’s more of a mild-hybrid than anything. The 2.0-litre engine makes 147 PS/210 Nm and is mated to a CVT.
Downsides? Only two airbags, unlike the Innova which has seven.
Mazda Biante - RM 60k to 70k
An alternative to the Nissan Serena. The Mazda Biante was launched in Malaysia in 2008 and was updated in 2013 with Mazda’s SkyActiv technology. There were also cosmetic changes but there’s no Kodo design philosophy here.
Like the Serena, it’s incredibly airy inside, made even more so with its light-coloured interior. It’s also just as practical with the sliding doors and flexibility of the seats. The difference here is that the Biante has an extra seat, being able to fit up to 8 individuals.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine, making 149 PS/190 Nm, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Also like the Serena, it has only two airbags.
Honda Freed (GB3) - RM 40k to 50k
It may look strange to many but that’s missing the point of the Honda Freed – manoeuvrability and practicality. Think of the Honda Freed as a mini-Nissan Serena.
If you live in an area where space is tight and practicality is at the top of your priority, few can match the Honda Freed. With sliding doors, the wide aperture and low ride height mean stepping in/out of the car is as easy as it gets, ideal for elderly members of the family.
The third-row seats can be hung onto the sides for a tall cargo area, enough to fit a mini fridge vertically.
The Honda Freed is based on the same platform as the City/Jazz of that generation albeit with an elongated wheelbase. Powertrain is shared with the two as well, with a 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine that makes 118 PS/146 Nm, paired to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
Considering that the Freed didn’t perform well when it was on the market, there aren’t a lot choices out there in the used car market. An alternative to this would be the Toyota Sienta but since it’s newer, it’s more expensive by about RM 20k on average.
Also read: Tales of opposites - Alza's twin, the Passo Sette has to die for Toyota Sienta to thrive
Hyundai Grand Starex (TQ) - RM 50k to 70k
This is for those who needs to ferry a football team regularly. The Hyundai Grand Starex has had quite a few facelifts over the many years since its local debut. For the money, you should be able to snag a 2017 model, the Royale facelift.
The 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine has soldiered on since its dawn, which can only point to its reliability track record. It makes 170 PS/392 Nm and is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
There’s nothing to shout about with its interior nor the driving experience. It’s fairly comfortable and not too difficult to manoeuvre considering its size. Perhaps the diesel clatter may feel agricultural but as a people carrier (11 of them, no less), the Starex will do the job day in and out.
Perodua Alza - RM 20k to 40k
For those on a tight budget but your requirements – be it for work or family – steer you towards an MPV, the Perodua Alza has to be the prime choice. Yes, it’s an aging model, but the upside is you have a wide variety of choices in the used car market at various prices.
Also read: Pros and Cons: Perodua Alza: Worth paying RM 60k for a 12 year old model?
Its biggest criticism would be the lack of safety equipment - no stability control, side, and curtain airbags in any variants. Its updates over the years were mostly cosmetic, save the ISOFIX child seat anchor points in 2014.
Power comes from a 1.5-litre DVVT engine that makes 104 PS and 136 Nm of torque, mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
If you need to haul large items and/or ferry a number of individuals on a regular basis, it’s difficult to match the Alza at its price point. Only one other comes to mind – the Proton Exora. Though the trade-off is that the Exora is rather thirsty compared the Alza, even more so in the turbocharged variants. It’s a great alternative, but expect higher running costs than the Alza.
Also read: Pros and Cons: Proton Exora Premium – Wait, why are you still on sale?
These are our top picks for used MPVs under RM 80k. We placed a higher priority in sliding doors for its added convenience and practicality. After all, these are MPVs, so space and practicality should be maximised.
Also read: Poor door choices are what killed off the Toyota Wish and Honda Stream
If you are looking for sedans or SUVs within a similar budget, feel free to check out our shortlist of those in the links below.
Shopping for a used sedan under RM 80k? Here are our best picks
For under RM 80k, you can buy these excellent used SUVs in Malaysia