Mention Perodua, and what comes to mind is a range of small hatchbacks and MPVs. Never would anyone imagine the country’s second national car maker would build a sedan.
Perodua started toying with the idea of a sedan since 2010, when they formally introduced the Bezza Concept at the 2010 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show. The same company showcased another sedan concept 3 years later, at the 2013 Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, though under a different name, Buddyz.
News of Perodua developing a new sedan surfaced in mid 2015, with Perodua’s President and CEO, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salled confirmed that the sedan was given the greenlight.
Fast forward to July 2016, Perodua officially unveiled its new sedan, unsurprisingly called the Bezza (BM launch article here, English here). At launch, the Bezza is available with two engine choices, across five different variants. Prices of the new Bezza start from just RM37,300 for the Bezza 1.0 Standard G MT.
According to Perodua, the platform of the Bezza came from the Axia, so in essence, the wheelbase, width and height are identical with the donor Axia. Despite that, both cars do not share any body panels. So its safe to say that both cars are very distinct.
In the past, Perodua’s biggest drawback was the lack of safety kit. Models before the Bezza did not offer Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC) or even Hill Hold Assist (HHA). Standard safety equipment for most Perodua models at that time include twin SRS airbags, ABS and EBD. Safety equipment aside, many folks were also quick to criticize that the structure of Perodua models was weak. Granted, when the 2015 Perodua Myvi was launched, Perodua fixed that.
Scoring 15.38 points out of a maximum 16 for Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), the Perodua Bezza is the company’s safest model yet. In fact, the Bezza scored 85% for Child Occupant Protection (COP), netting it a 4 star rating. Thanks to the inclusion of ESC on the Advance variant, the Perodua Bezza nabs the full five star award from Asean NCAP, while models without it makes do with just a 4 star rating. An impressive feat by Perodua indeed.
Furthermore, Perodua is the first Malaysian car maker to offer a child seat when buyers purchase the car. This works in conjunction with the Bezza’s ISOFIX child seat mounts, securing the kid properly when on the move. Though has yet to release further details about the said child seat, we do know for a fact that the price of the child seat will be included in the car’s hire purchase price.
Perodua expects to sell an average of 7,600 units of the Bezza a month, though they expect orders during the first three months to surge as high as 10,000 units a month. That comes as no surprise, as Perodua managed to record 20,000 orders in less than 2 months since the Axia was launched. The same story could repeat itself, as Perodua has mentioned that they company has recorded a total of 4,028 units ordered even before the car was formally launched!
Of course, we will be trying the Bezza out for ourselves and a full review can be expected soon after. Stay tuned to find out more about Perodua’s latest model!
So here we go, it was just a matter of time before Perodua stepped on our First Nation carmakers toes and they’ve done it resoundingly. Almost 5,000 bookings in 5 days, with no cars at the showrooms no less. My first impression of the Bezza is mixed; favourable and not-so-favourable. I like the fact that active and passive safety, not to mention child-occupant safety, has been given more emphasis this time around, that’s definitely a plus point right there. However, to be able to start a selling price at a mere RM37k, you just know they had to skimp elsewhere: The interior. Fortunately though, the effects are liveable. Door trims are especially noticeable, they’re made of hard plastic, and the lack of inner wheelarch protectors is telling. The good news is that it’s a big car on the inside, I was able to fit comfortably in the back seat, with ample legroom, despite someone of equally large build sitting in the front seat.
Long ago I wrote and editorial about building the cheapest and best sedan car for the masses, inspired by the (then) new Tata Nano. I had no idea at the time Perodua would be planning this, but the best part is they’ve actually done it. Really. Well done Perodua, you’ve given the people what they need. – CW.