Say you have a budget of up to RM 60,000, and you're looking for something more matured, grown-up and comfortable. It doesn't have to be new. Perhaps, something that has a longer wheelbase than a Perodua Myvi (that goes for around RM 52k new). Something that is as reliable, but can munch miles more effortlessly.
Believe it or not, you can have a used D-segment sedan for RM 60k or less. Sure, the maintenance costs will be higher than a Perodua Myvi, but you get a car that is larger, more sophisticated, and infinitely more comfortable than any new cars that you can buy at that price. Here is a look at our 3 favourite D-segment sedans for under RM 60k, in no particular order.
The indestructible wafter
If you spend most of your time on the expressways and straightaways, you could do a lot worse than the XV50 Toyota Camry. RM 59k bags you a clean 2013 2.5V pre-facelift model. It is everything you'd ever need in a D-segment sedan: Quiet, supremely comfortable and fabulously bombproof mechanicals.
The 2AR-FE 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine (181 PS, 231 Nm) serves up its power in a smooth and seamless fashion, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Kit count is as you'd expect from a flagship sedan: HID headlamps, electric front seats, 4 airbags, Optitron meters and VSC (2013 models were updated with this).
Dislikes? It looks a bit.... uncle in here. This is chiefly due to the styling of the car, and those geriatric-looking beige interior upholstery. This is taking 'matured and grown-up' to a whole new plane, and not in a good way.
A car this comfortable has to handle like a ocean liner, right? Not quite, but close. The XV50 Camry is no Lotus Elise. It's predictable, rolls a fair amount, and doesn't like being asked to dance. These aside, the XV50 Camry can do no wrong.
The VTEC-powered athlete
Out of the box, the Honda Accord (CR-generation) is a more balanced car than the Camry. It has a more sporty edge in the way it drives, even if it rides more firmly. Kit wise, it is identical to the Camry, with LED headlamps, powered front seats (in black, thankfully), 4 airbags, VSA, and paddle-shifters (something the Camry does without). We found a clean 2014 2.4 VTi-L model (pre-facelift) going for RM 59k.
Gripes? The 'Earth Dreams Technology' 2.4-litre (177 PS, 225 Nm) engine suffers from very obvious low-rev lethargy. You really have to rev the knackers off this unit to make progress, and it makes a wonderful howl on the way to redline, but who drives like that everyday? Compounding matters is the 5-speed automatic 'box. Ratios are poorly-spaced and takes the action away from the engine's powerband.
The cabin, whilst not as 'uncle' as the Camry, doesn't feel all that sporty, in comparison to how it drives. The noise insulation also isn't befitting of a D-segment sedan. However, the Accord has the pretty cool Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera, a boast none of the other two can claim.
The sporty and stylish one
The GJ-generation Mazda 6 is the most sporty one here of the 3. It blends svelte looks, a sharp drive, and a driver-centric interior (with beautifully cowled dials). You get in, and instantly, it makes you feel special. This one eggs you on, to look forward to a drive, to actually go for one. We found a 2013 2.5 pre-facelift model going for RM 59k (this is beginning to sound like a magic number).
Show it a set of twisties, the Mazda 6 is happy to oblige. It's fluid, responsive, full of feedback. Mazda's 'Jinba Ittai' philosophy is never more apparent. A sedan this size has no right to be this nimble, yet somehow, Mazda found the formula. If you prize driving engagement, then look no further. The SkyActiv 2.5-litre engine (187 PS, 250 Nm) and 6-speed automatic transmission are wonderful companions in making the 6 such an immersive steer.
Problem is, whilst the drive is undeniably sharp, so is the ride. There's always a price to pay for having 19-inch wheels, which is a ride that can get jiggly at times and more expensive tyre replacements (price to pay, geddit?).
Furthermore, the interior looks and feels the most cramped in comparison to the Camry and Accord. Noise insulation is also not its strongest suit, even compared to the Accord, never mind the Camry. Worse still, this 2013 model doesn't come with Mazda's brilliant MZD Connect infotainment system. Boo.
Depending on your needs and preferences, these 3 cars serve up great ownership experiences in their own way. Wanna waft? Take the Camry. Prefer a soulful engine? The Accord promises VTEC thrills. Want a driver's car? Mazda 6 it is.
There's nothing wrong with buying a new, B-segment car for RM 60k. It's just that, some people perceive value differently from others. A new car is covered by warranty, is more straightforward to maintain. But, a B-segment car is still a B-segment car, however new. Me? I'd take the Mazda 6 any given day.