Expert Review

CarBase.my reviews Malaysian cars on sale - the most detailed reviews covering performance, handling, comfort, space, safety and value for money.

Sedan
A-Segment
RM 480.68 /month
RM 36,035.17 to
RM 49,176.89
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Date Reviewed
9 August 2016
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The new Perodua Bezza takes the national carmaker to new heights - it's the company's first sedan, and comes with many new toys and safety features. But for better or for worse, it feels very much like a Perodua to drive - even though it feels like the company's most complete car to date. There are plenty of cars on the market that are much nicer and better to drive, but if all you want is a traditional sedan with a big boot, your search ends here.

For
  • Strong 1.3 litre Dual VVT-i engine
  • Plenty of space, big boot
  • Stability control on top-spec Advance
  • Standard-fit ABS on all models
Against
  • Unrefined manual gearbox
  • Excessive road noise at speed
  • Steering is slow and imprecise
RM 2,032.48 /month
RM 152,368.00 to
RM 211,729.20
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Date Reviewed
29 April 2016
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Subaru Forester is a good all-rounder that feels just as home on the city streets as it does off-road. Featuring the familiar Subaru DNA of a boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, the Forester also comes with an impressive safety package and a comfortable ride. However, it does command a slight premium over its rivals and isn't the best when it comes to handling.

For
  • Good off-road capabilities
  • Impressive safety package
  • Comfortable ride
Against
  • Interior isn't the most premium
  • CVT not the most responsive
  • No around-view monitor
SUV
B-Segment
RM 1,750.36 /month
RM 131,218.50
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Date Reviewed
26 January 2016
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Mazda CX-3 shares many traits with the car on which it is based, the Mazda 2, including an exterior that is eye-catching, and an interior that exudes a premium feel above its class. With admirable handling and an engaging drive, it is marred by a small cabin, firm ride and a price tag that exceeds the competition.

For
  • Premium-feeling interior
  • Equipment list is comprehensive
  • Engaging drive and handling
Against
  • Price tag exceeds its competitors
  • Small cabin
  • Ride can be a little firm
Sedan
Executive
RM 4,239.23 /month
RM 317,800.00 to
RM 498,800.00
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Date Reviewed
1 June 2015
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value
by Paul Tan

The F10 BMW 5-Series was outstanding when it first came out and with the latest LCI mid-life facelift we still consider it to be near the top of the pack, if not the top of the pack for its segment. The new five year unlimited mileage warranty from June 2015 is a big plus point.

For
  • Engine and gearbox combo is one of the best in business
  • Fuel efficient even when you gun it
  • Dynamic dampers are standard equipment and quite comfortable
  • iDrive system is relatively easy to use
Against
  • Hit and miss build quality
  • Baseline audio system is sub-par
  • Loud cabin at high speeds
Hatchback
B-Segment
RM 1,140.11 /month
RM 85,470.00 to
RM 90,766.30
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Date Reviewed
13 March 2015
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The new Mazda 2 is striking to look at and has an interior that feels more expensive than it has any right to be, with an impressive amount of kit on offer. It handles nicely too, but the small cabin, firm ride and slightly anaemic 1.5 litre SkyActiv-G engine does take the shine off things.

For
  • Premium-feeling interior
  • High kit count, including lots of feel-good toys
  • Balanced and agile handling
Against
  • Cramped rear accomodation, small boot
  • Ride can be a little harsh at speed
  • 1.5 litre petrol engine struggles under high loads
Hatchback
Compact Executive
RM 3,718.99 /month
RM 278,800.00 to
RM 348,800.00
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Date Reviewed
14 November 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

Polarising looks aside, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is an impressive piece of kit. What you lose in visual appeal, you gain in oodles of newfound space, while retaining a pleasing blend of ride, handling and performance. Only the steep entry price disappoints, although you do get quite a lot of standard equipment thrown in.

For
  • Massively roomy, especially at the rear and in the boot
  • Impressive ride and handling balance
  • Torquey, frugal diesel engine
Against
  • Wind, tyre noise at higher speeds
  • Diesel can be rough at idle
  • Cabin materials fall short of newer rivals
  • Poor rear visibility
RM 1,773.84 /month
RM 132,978.59 to
RM 145,448.20
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Date Reviewed
4 November 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Nissan Serena S-Hybrid is a spacious, comfortable people mover with an impressively versatile and practical cabin. No, it's not the most stylish ride around, but it does exactly what it is asked of it commendably well. The fact that this locally-assembled facelifted model is priced even lower than the previous CBU car will make it an even more tempting choice for families, although the safety conscious may think twice, no thanks to it having just two airbags.

For
  • Roomy, practical and versatile interior
  • Cosseting ride comfort
  • Easy ingress and egress
Against
  • Only two airbags in a car designed to carry eight people
  • Noticeable wind noise at speed; engine slightly vocal when pushed
  • Nondescript cabin design; materials feel a little low rent
Hatchback
B-Segment
RM 927.96 /month
RM 69,566.29 to
RM 86,723.57
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Date Reviewed
11 August 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value
by Jonathan Lee

The Honda Jazz is a handsome, competitive alternative to the Ford Fiesta, although potential customers might balk at its close proximity in price to its booted and slightly better-equipped City sibling. Its cabin, however, is a standout in its class in terms of space and versatility, and it also uses less fuel than most of its rivals.

For
  • Outstanding space and versatility
  • Smooth drivetrain
  • Impressive safety equipment for the price
Against
  • Engine noisier than most under hard acceleration
  • Slightly less well-equipped than the City
  • Most of the toys are reserved for the top V model
Hatchback
B-Segment
RM 1,127.72 /month
RM 84,541.50 to
RM 98,488.00
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Date Reviewed
11 June 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

If you value the joy of driving, the sprightly Fiesta is just the sort of car that will get you grinning. Its contemporary looks aid its cause, with an outlook that will appeal to the young and young-at heart. The face of the facelift is a hit or miss visually, and the hatch is still preferable to the sedan, but the Fiesta still makes a case for itself three years on. The EcoBoost 1.0L is the pick of the lot.

For
  • Segment-leading handling and dynamics, drives well above its class.
  • Well-equipped (but the competition is catching up).
  • 1.0 litre EcoBoost is a gem of an engine
Against
  • Six-speed dry dual-clutch system not the smoothest in slow urban conditions.
  • Rear occupant space is a bit cramped.
  • Interior plastics could be better, but look hardy.
  • Average rear visibility.
RM 1,990.93 /month
RM 149,253.34 to
RM 149,738.00
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Date Reviewed
27 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

Revisions to the Peugeot 3008 have significantly improved the pseudo-SUV's aesthetics. It’s still fast and well-equipped, but it's uninspiring to drive and the lack of space does mean it’s not as practical as the looks suggest.

For
  • Ample performance from smooth 1.6 turbo engine
  • Quality, premium-feeling interior
  • High equipment levels
Against
  • Cramped rear legroom compared to rivals
  • Stiff ride, so-so handling
  • A little on the pricey side
Hatchback
B-Segment
RM 1,035.74 /month
RM 77,646.00 to
RM 90,628.00
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Date Reviewed
20 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

As an entry point to Volkswagen ownership, the Polo does well enough. Compared to sub-RM100k B-segment rivals, as you should, the Polo is competitive in spec and decent to drive. Just don't put it side-by-side with the 1.2 TSI.

For
  • Keen CKD pricing means Malaysia now has a starter VW hatchback.
  • Proven powertrain acquits itself well, and top marks for comfort and refinement.
  • Feels more substantial than Asian B-segment rivals on the move.
Against
  • Being nearly RM30k cheaper than the TSI means sacrifices have to be made in materials and features - if you've been in the CBU car before, you'll feel it.
  • Not as fun to drive as the ads claim.
RM 675.60 /month
RM 50,647.73 to
RM 62,889.44
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Date Reviewed
20 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

Not the most sophisticated drive, but the Perodua Alza is a good family wagon. The third row is a boon, whether as emergency seats or for a young family future-proofing its family car. Performance is adequate and ride comfort is good.

For
  • Alza is the most affordable three-row MPV in town.
  • Slide and recline second row means third row (now split foldable) is usable.
  • Facelift for 2014 successfully freshens up the looks.
Against
  • Brake pedal requires too much effort.
  • Steering assistance inconsistent.
  • Minor cabin issues - door ajar cabin lighting doesn't include front bulbs, no driver's vanity mirror.
Hatchback
A-Segment
RM 705.81 /month
RM 52,912.21 to
RM 58,160.35
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Date Reviewed
20 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Picanto would appeal to the trendy urbanite who desires to stand out from the sea of Myvis. It has the most sophisticated exterior and interior of its rivals, with class-leading safety and warranty to boot. Pity it isn't a particularly engaging drive.

For
  • Impressive list of standard kit, especially safety
  • Fresh, funky styling
  • Refined and solidly-built cabin with a premium air
Against
  • Steering could do with more weight and feedback
  • Overly light clutch and abrupt brake pedal action
  • Some rivals in the same price range offer more space
Sedan
B-Segment
RM 957.01 /month
RM 71,743.87 to
RM 89,240.89
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Date Reviewed
20 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Honda City climbs off its previous high horse to properly take Malaysia's biggest vehicle segment by storm. It is the most complete product in its class, with contemporary styling, a smooth and flexible drivetrain, a lot of space and commendable safety features. And if you're a techie, you'll love the V grade.

For
  • Safety equipment: top V grade has six airbags and stability control
  • Very spacious rear quarters and boot
  • Sophisticated cabin with lots of gadgets
Against
  • Most of the good stuff is reserved for the V grade
  • No leather seats, shift paddles nor disc brakes for the rear wheels
  • Overwhelming engine note when throttled
Sedan
B-Segment
RM 906.78 /month
RM 67,978.50 to
RM 75,796.50
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Date Reviewed
20 May 2014
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

The Attrage is for the family man who cares more for km/l than km/h. Mr. Sensible will enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride, while saving money at the pumps. Will have to explain his purchase often though, because this is a B-segmenter with not much kerbside appeal.

For
  • Hybrid levels of fuel efficiency and 21 km/l claims aren't impossible to achieve.
  • CVT-equipped car is smooth on the move.
  • Small footprint hides a reasonably spacious and well-equipped cabin.
Against
  • Uninspiring design in and out means the Attrage will be under most radars.
  • Main Japanese rivals offer more rear and boot space.
SUV
Executive
RM 7,001.79 /month
RM 524,900.00 to
RM 589,900.00
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Date Reviewed
1 January 1970
Performance
Ride & Handling
Comfort
Safety
Space
Value

Going from being one of the heaviest cars in the segment to one of the lightest is no easy task, but Audi has pulled it off with its Q7 - a gist of the model's extreme makeover from one generation to the next. A behemoth from the outside, the Q7 does fall short of spaciousness inside, but score top marks for quality, performance, features and safety.

For
  • Handsome, attention-grabbing style
  • Premium build quality
  • New equipment and features
Against
  • Poor cabin spaciousness
  • Too soft air suspension - even in Sport mode
  • Poor handling