The range-topping Perodua Bezza 1.3 Advance is in many ways, a misunderstood car. Mainly because of its hefty asking price (for A-segment sedan) of RM 49,980.
In comparison, the most expensive 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 Premium sells for RM 39,800 – a cool RM 10,000 cheaper. With a budget of circa RM 50k, one would also look at the Perodua Myvi 1.3 H (RM 50,290) and Proton Persona 1.6 Executive (RM 49,600).
Cross-segment shopping is not uncommon given how sensitive buyers are with their money – even more so in uncertain economic climate. Price comes first before anything else.
At launch, Perodua received the most bookings for the Bezza 1.3 Premium X (RM 43,980) which comes with all the essential feel-good items (keyless entry, 15-inch wheels, ESC) sans the fancy stuff. We feel the Bezza 1.3 Premium X is the more appropriate competitor against the Saga 1.3 Premium.
So where does that leave the range-topping Bezza 1.3 Advance? Should you even consider it and is it worth your money?
Exterior – Two words, LED, Headlamps
Perodua’s design brief for the Bezza facelift was to create a sporty image for the Bezza because let’s face it, their targeted buyers love and want a sporty looking sedan.
They’ve tweaked the front bumpers to be even more angular, fitted a set of larger 15-inch alloys to fill up the archers better and most importantly throwing in full LED headlamps for the entire line up.
The LED headlamps are highly unnecessary, but it gives the car an upmarket feel that buyers would no doubt appreciate plus it does provide better forward illumination. However, we are concern about the replacement cost because they won’t come cheap compared to regular halogen headlamps.
I wished they’ve spent a bit more effort around the rear of the car to make it less ‘bloaty’ but nevertheless it’s still a rather sharp-looking sedan.
Interior – Nothing fancy but updated nonetheless
Changes are minimal but effective in giving a more pleasant cabin. Gone is the highly reflective piano black on the passenger side, now replaced with a flat plastic piece with a silver trim running the entire length of the dashboard.
Other new and welcomed additions include a revised instrument cluster with white backlit illumination and updated 7-inch touchscreen infotainment that now displays Bluetooth media information – something which the Myvi and Aruz don’t.
Perodua did not include the ingenious built-in Toll Reader in the Bezza facelift, presumably to keep the cost low or possibly due to the eventual demise of SmartTag lanes (replaced by RFID).
Driving Experience – Good enough to go from A to B
The Bezza was never known for its driving dynamics, not in the pre-facelift and not in this facelift either.
The suspension setup is overly soft, and the chassis demonstrates quite a fair bit of flex when changing directions. Steering feel is as good as dead. It’s all acceptable up to 80 km/h but beyond that, you ought to be extra focused.
However, the Bezza was never made with gunning down the autobahn in mind. It’s a budget family sedan that puts everyday folks behind the wheel, enabling them to move from point A to B, to find a source of income, to shelter their family from the elements. You just can’t expect it to handle like a BMW.
Performance from the 1NR-VE 1.3-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder DVVT-i petrol engine is decent for everyday driving. Getting up to highway speeds achieved in a respectable manner, I mean there's only so much you can ask from 95 PS and 121 Nm. Although it lacks Saga's Sport Mode, the DVVT-i engine is so much smoother and refined, which many drivers would appreciate.
But for all its intended purposes, the Bezza excels in every bit that makes up a good city car. It’s effortless to maneuverer and park, great outward visibility and plenty of space for a family of 5.
It doesn’t matter that it can’t outhandle a Saga through a slalom course, but the Bezza will easily stuff all your balik kampung goods.
Ride Comfort – 5-Stars for airport transfers
Perodua has fixed one of the biggest complaints about the pre-facelift Bezza and that is the rear seatback angle. We’ve tested ourselves with a protractor app and it shows a recline angle of 23 degrees thanks to new seat sculpture
In the real world, you no longer sit as upright and have a much more relaxed seating position. The Bezza’s rear bench offers more thigh support along with an adjustable headrest compared to the Saga.
What they didn't change is the fixed steering column and it's perhaps my biggest gripe I have with the cabin. No matter what adjustments you make for the seats, the steering wheel is always either too far or too close to you. Not only is it impossible to get a correct driving position, but you can also get quite tiresome after some time behind the wheel.
The front passengers are also graced with what Perodua calls ‘semi-bucket’ seats. Despite the name, it’s nothing that you’d find in a Mercedes-AMG, but to give credit where it’s due, it does offer better back and shoulder support around corners.
Bezza maintains good ride comfort despite riding on a set of 15-inch wheels (175/60 R15 profile tyres) but wind noise can get intrusive around the triple-digit speeds. But in the city, the Bezza is quiet enough.
Fuel Economy – King of fuel economy
We covered 120 km (70% city, 30% highway) and used up 7.608 litres of fuel in the Bezza 1.3 Advance which works out to an average of 6.34 L/100 km.
Note that throughout the fuel test exercise we disabled the automatic start/stop feature because the start/stop activation is rather rough and uncomfortable. If you’re able to put up with that, you should get even better fuel economy.
The Bezza is more fuel-efficient than the Saga 1.3 which we averaged about 7.2 L/100 km.
Conclusion – Why should you pick the 1.3 Advance?
One reason, safety. The Bezza 1.3 Advance comes equipped with the A.S.A 2.0 that bundles autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, pedal misoperation control, and front departure warning.
Say what you want about the aforementioned features being unnecessary because you’re ‘a safe driver’. It’s called an emergency for a reason.
Imagine after a long day at work, driving home and you’re coming to a traffic light. For whatever reason, you misjudged your braking and the system intervenes, avoiding a collision with the car in front.
Although for the same price you could go one segment up, no other sedans within the price point offer Advanced Driving Assistance System. I always stand by my belief that if the system saved you just once, it has already paid for itself
Yes, the 2020 Perodua Bezza 1.3 Advance is pricy and doesn’t offer the same driving dynamics as its competitor. But make no mistake, the Bezza is still a very respectable choice in every regard.
It’s fuel-efficient, easy to drive in the city and most importantly, comes with the most advanced safety features in any A-segment sedan. Allow me to put it another way for you, the Bezza is the cheapest sedan to come with ADAS. Sounds like a good deal now?