Review: 2020 Perodua Axia 1.0 AV – RM43k for a 1.0-litre engine?

Arif · Oct 18, 2020 05:58 PM

The Perodua Axia is the embodiment of a car in its most essential form. It’s got five full-sized wheels, an engine to make just enough power, and 5 seats. Being the most affordable car in the market, one would not expect too much from this adorable A-segment hatchback.

Perodua has spiced things up on this entry-level car with the Perodua Axia 1.0 AV. Dressed up with some body kits and equipped with Perodua’s A.S.A 2.0, we decided to test this car out.

Famous for its three-cylinder engine, the Axia doesn’t pack that much power. Maximum power output is only 68 PS and maximum torque is only 91 Nm. Neither figures reach three digits. Paired with a traditional 4-speed automatic gearbox, you can drive the Axia at 80% and it wouldn’t look like much to other road users.

Exterior - Adorable and practical

Looks-wise, the Perodua Axia is reminiscent of the older Perodua Myvi. The Perodua Axia has been around since 2014 and has undergone two facelifts.

The AV variant is decorated with front, side, and rear skirts. It makes the car look a tiny bit sleeker, but there’s no running away from the compact proportions.

Maximising space on the inside, the Axia has a rather boxy feel to it - Adorable nonetheless.

Compared to the 2017 Perodua Axia 1.0 Advanced, only a slight change can be observed at the grill and bumper area. The 14-inch alloy wheels have been carried over, thus not creating much of a visual change to the current Perodua Axia AV.

It gets angrier over the years

Interior - Entry-level with acceptable build quality

The AV variant dresses the interior up with different fabric patterns, different coloured dashboard trims, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a touchscreen head unit, and a stylized gauge cluster. The small upgrades on the AV variant are nice to have, but they barely hide the fact that the cabin belongs to an entry-level car.

Although soft plastics are not present in the Axia, the interior still feels well-put-together and decent to touch. The dashboard also doesn’t rattle, which is a pleasant finding, since the Axia runs on three cylinders.

In its essential simplicity, common cabin issues like glare and hot surfaces have been avoided. The Axia AV also doesn’t try too hard to impress you with things like fake dashboard stitching.

The seats are perhaps a little bit too soft. They are certainly comfortable for a car of this segment but they look like they will sag a little bit faster. Being a small car, the seats are also on the smaller side. A full-grown adult man would most likely have shoulders wider than the Axia’s driver seat. With that being said, don’t expect much in terms of side support.

Space in the second row is decent. There’s good legroom and head room is also acceptable. If you’re above 180 cm, the Axia might be a little bit tight. The back seats have only one recline angle and adjustable head rests for the second row are only available in higher tier variants.

Practical things in the Axia AV’s cabin include three “the tarik” hooks. Although iconic to Perodua, hidden compartments like the old Perodua Myvi’s under-seat tray are much more practical. You can hide stuff from thieving eyes and reducie clutter in the cabin. In the Axia, the screw jack and toolbox are placed under the front passenger seat.

A storage tray under the passenger seat in the old Perodua Myvi.

The infotainment unit has a very aftermarket feel and Android Auto is not available (unlike its Philippine cousin, the Toyota Wigo). Just like the rest of the car, the infotainment unit is best described as essential.

Boot space of the Perodua Axia is decent for an A-segment hatchback. With 260 L of boot space, the Axia rivals the 265 L boot space of the Suzuki Swift. The boot area is pretty much intruded by the wheel arches, producing a boot width of less than 1 meter (95 cm only). The boot floor is basically 59cm x 95 cm.

To maximise the boot space, you can fold the seats down to get a 113 cm long bed for your luggage. Unfortunately, the Axia is not equipped with 60:40 folding seats. You have to fold the whole thing.

Driving Experience - Don't expect much from the 1-litre engine

Lower your expectations on the 1.0-litre engine and the Axia will satisfy you. With a manual gearbox, the Axia is decent. While most modern automatic transmissions have exceeded four forward gears, the Axia is still stuck with a 4-speed auto gearbox.

The auto gearbox shifts a bit too early in uphill conditions so you will have to override the transmission. It gets better when you override the system, but the Axia still feels underpowered. It would be silly to expect performance from the Axia, so if you have the chance of driving one, just chill.  Yes, the Axia can reach 140 km/h, but that is not what it was built for.

Steering is a little bit vague, but good enough for a small car. MacPherson struts are used in front and a torsion beam setup is used in the rear. Our complaints about the steering? It's non-adjustable.

Weighing only 860 kg, there’s not much weight shifting around. Although our 0-100 km/h test recorded 17.2 seconds, the Axia feels nimble. You are only reminded of its lack of power during overtaking manoeuvres and uphill climbs.

The special thing about the Axia AV is the presence of Perodua’s A.S.A 2.0 system. The car warns you of forward collisions and even overrides the braking system. We did give this a little try and we’ll have to say that the system is mainly a supplementary system. Keep your eyes on the road and apply the brakes when necessary.

Watchful eyes

Ride Quality - Decent for its segment

The primary ride of the Axia could use some improvements while the secondary ride is decent. There is actually not as much vibration in the Axia as one would expect from a three-cylinder car. Yes, the engine vibrates as expected, but on the inside, you don’t see things like a rattling dashboard.

Essential noise insulation is present on the Axia AV. There is the standard hood lining and sound insulation materials behind the front fenders, but the cabin is on the noisier side. Driving at 110 km/h on the MEX highway, our tests recorded 72 dB of cabin noise.

You will need to turn on the stereo to neutralise the road noise. When it rains, it becomes a little bit harder to have a conversation in the Axia.

Fuel Consumption – efficient, but at what cost?

After driving the Perodua Axia 1.0 AV for 113.3 km, we managed 6.5 l/100km. That number was achieved with 50% city and 50% highway driving. To save on fuel with the Axia, you would have to mainly stick to the left lane.

Driving at 110 to 120 km/h already makes the engine rev near 3,000 rpm in 4th gear. Keeping the engine at 2,500 rpm can only let you cruise between 90 to 100 km/h comfortably. All the Axia needs is an extra gear ratio.

Conclusion

The Axia AV is a good entry level car. However, we would still suggest the GXtra for first-time car buyers. RM43,000 for an A-segment hatchback with a 1.0-litre NA engine feels a bit unnecessary. You can get more space with that money. Ride quality and driving performance may not be the Axia’s strength but it makes up for it with decent cabin space and fuel efficiency.

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