Which is cheaper to maintain over a 5-year period, the Proton Saga or Perodua Bezza?

Eric · May 06, 2020 12:43 AM

Earlier, we've compared the maintenance costs between two of Malaysia’s cheapest sedans, the Proton Saga and Perodua Bezza.

Now, let’s throw periodic maintenance, road tax, and insurance into the mix and see which entry-level sedan is cheaper to run and maintain.

From the table compiled, it is clear that over a period of 5 years, the Proton Saga is RM 910.64 cheaper than the Perodua Bezza, but that is not the full story.

It is worth noting that Proton has quietly revised its maintenance schedule by moving the Saga’s pricey RM 633.85 timing belt replacement to the 110,000-km/66-month mark, just outside of the 100,000-km/5-year table.

Furthermore, optional service jobs like tyre alignment and balancing, brake system flush, and air-conditioning servicing are not included on Proton’s publicly-available maintenance schedule. We tried checking with Proton for the cost of these optional jobs, but Proton has declined our request, saying that they do not publish the cost of these optional jobs.

But that is not the case with Perodua, as they are very transparent about its maintenance cost. Optional but recommended jobs are parked under Perodua’s “ProCare” package. Opting out of the ProCare package won’t void the car’s warranty, but customers are encouraged to opt for these optional jobs to keep their Perodua in tip-top condition.

While it may appear that the Perodua Bezza is more expensive to maintain than the Proton Saga, keep in mind that Perodua utilizes iridium spark plugs, which drives the cost up front, but offers a longer service life. Iridium spark plugs typically have a 100,000km lifespan before requiring replacement, while regular spark plugs are required to be replaced at every 30,000 km.

The range-topping Bezza 1.3 AV is equipped with Perodua’s Eco-Idle start-stop system, which requires a more sophisticated enhanced flooded battery (EFB) or absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery. Expect to pay around RM 411 at an authorised Perodua service centre to replace the Bezza 1.3 AV’s battery. Other Bezza variants aren’t fitted with the start-stop system can utilize cheaper, but compatible-sized batteries.

As for the Saga, it is not equipped with a start-stop system, and as such, owners are free to use any type of compatible-sized battery, be it regular wet-type or maintenance-free type.

Apart from battery replacement, over the 5-year period, a car’s tyres would require replacing as well. The Bezza 1.3 AV uses 175/60 R15-sized tyres, a rather odd size so sourcing a replacement tyre is a little bit tougher, keyword a little bit, because the Bezza is still a very popular car. A quick check reveals that the Bezza's tyre costs roughly RM 180/piece.

The Saga uses a more conventional-sized tyre, coming in at 185/55 R15. Expect to pay about RM 140 a replacement tyre.

On paper it may seem that the Perodua Bezza is pricier to maintain, but you can rest assured that there are no hidden charges – what you see on Perodua’s maintenance schedule is what you will be paying at an authorised service centre.

That said, it’s not exactly the same with the Proton Saga, as the only way to get the actual maintenance cost is to ask other owners. But that may prove to be a problem, as the updated Saga was introduced only last year, and it’s unlikely that there is anyone who can tell you the actual maintenance cost after 100,000 km/5 years.

Insurance wise, the Proton Saga is cheaper to insure over a 5-year period, coming in at RM 5,646, while the Perodua Bezza costs RM 1,021 more at RM 6,667. Keep in mind that we picked the Bezza 1.3 AV, which costs nearly RM 10,000 more than the top-spec Saga, resulting in the pricier insurance premium. Opting for cheaper variants of the Bezza will narrow the price gap in insurance premium.

The insurance rates we listed assumes that the driver has zero No Claims Discount (NCD), zero loading, and excludes additional coverage items, such as windshield or flood coverage. Opting for additional coverage items will drive the insurance premium up a fair bit.

Considering that we’re comparing 1.3-litre variants of the Perodua Bezza and Proton Saga, the cost of road tax is equal, coming in at RM 70 annually.

At the end of the day, the difference will be rather miniscule – both the Bezza and Saga have their pros and cons and the overall maintenance cost is quite similar.

Keep in mind that the top-spec Proton Saga is roughly RM 10,000 cheaper than an equivalent top-spec Perodua Bezza, which is enough to offset the slightly higher maintenance prices. That said, the Perodua Bezza is unbeatable when it comes to fuel economy and reliability.