As surprising as it may sound, it is actually possible for car buyers in Malaysia to purchase a new car cheaper than countries like Australia.
Here are three examples.
Mitsubishi Triton – Handsome looks, good prices
The first is the Mitsubishi Triton – a surprisingly well-packaged pick-up truck that is priced quite close to an open market.
The range-topping Triton Adventure X with all of its bells and whistles costs RM 137,900, while the closest counterpart from Australia is the Triton GLS Premium 4WD, which goes for RM 133,058.
To recap, the Mitsubishi Triton received a facelifted in early 2019, which gave it the Dynamic Shield front fascia you see here.
Mitsubishi also increased the Triton’s safety equipment considerably – the top Adventure X variant gets Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Auto High Beam, and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System.
This is in addition to the generous 7 airbags, 360-degree view monitor, and front digital video recorder (DVR) that the Triton Adventure X comes with.
Safety equipment aside, the Mitsubishi Triton is perhaps one of the most comfortable pick-up trucks in Malaysia, eclipsing rival pickup-trucks. Couple that with its quiet engine, the Triton is an excellent choice for those wanting to daily drive a pick-up truck.
The downside is that the Triton does not feel as powerful as the output figures suggest.
Ford Ranger – A Ranger for everyone
The second choice is the Ford Ranger, a very popular option for those shopping for a lifestyle truck.
In Malaysia, buyers need to pay RM 144,888 to get the Ranger Wildtrak, while folks in Australia need to pay roughly RM 174,000 to get one, almost RM 30,000 more than us.
That said, the recently updated, over-the-top Ranger Raptor goes for RM 208,888 in Malaysia. As for its Australian counterpart, it is marginally cheaper at a hair above RM 200,000, which further emphasizes our point – the Ranger Wildtrak is the one to go for.
The Ranger also has the best sound quality of the trio, and its cabin has a good mix of high quality materials.
While the Ranger's size may be bigger than any of its rivals, it doesn't have the Triton's tight turning radius and lack of a 360-degree view monitor makes parking in tight spaces a challenge.
Isuzu D-Max - Rock-solid reliability
Another viable pick-up truck to get in Malaysia is the Isuzu D-Max.
Our top-of-the-line D-Max 3.0 AT Premium costs RM 120,838, while Australians need to pay about RM 145,000 for an equivalent model.
But if the D-Max 3.0’s road tax is too much for you to swallow (about RM 1.7k annually), fret not, as Isuzu also offers the D-Max with a smaller 1.9-litre turbodiesel unit.
Not only is the new 1.9-litre turbodiesel more powerful than the older 2.5-litre unit, it is also far more economical, allowing the D-Max to become the first Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) certified pick-up in Malaysia.
Regardless of which engine you pick, the D-Max is proven to be a very reliable and durable pick-up truck.
Unlike the other lifestyle-biased trucks, the D-Max carries with it a more utilitarian image; that’s fine if you’re a business owner or an off-road enthusiast who wants a durable and reliable truck.
Due to its workhorse-biased nature, it’s tough finding for a Isuzu dealer within the city, and when it comes to servicing, you’ll need to drive into a lorry service centre, as Isuzu Malaysia’s main business is selling heavy-duty lorries.
In case if anyone is wondering why the Toyota Hilux isn't in this list, it's mainly due to the Hilux's pricing.
Yes the Malaysian Toyota Hilux is cheaper than the Australian counterpart, but all variants of the Australian Hilux are fitted with 7 airbags and the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) ADAS suite, which justifies the price premium. Here, the Hilux 2.8G costs RM 139,888, while Australians need to fork out RM 147,548.
To recap, pick-up trucks are the only type of vehicles that regular folks can buy without tax, even if you are not a resident of Labuan and Langkawi.