Used Car Tips: Best Affordable 5 year old Used Car in Malaysia - Circa 2016

In 2014 I wrote about what's the best 5 year old car you could buy then. One and a half years have passed and I have been requested to do another one for this year. So let's see what we can get for about five or so years old with a budget of under RM20,000 circa February 2016.

A five year old budget car should be a reasonable used car purchase. The reason being that most Malaysians rake up about 25,000km per year and at about five years old, 125,000km later it still has a good 100,000km before things start going really wrong..... IF the car hasn't been neglected by its previous owner that is. So at around 100,000km, most would only require a timing belt change (if required), an oil change for the transmission and engine as well as some secondary belting (air condition compressor and/or powersteering belts) for the car. So what can we buy cheaply and that isn't a Perodua Viva sized car . 

Now a Perodua Viva, which was produced from 2007 to 2014, is in the same price range used obviously as I had stated in the earlier article. It can be had for under RM19,000 for a full specced Elite 1.0 A but if you're buying used, buy something with a little more comfort. A Viva is a city car and it is tiny. It is narrow and you put two fat people side by side inside one and it'll look like something from a circus. So I looked through the classifieds and I've narrowed it down to as follows:

The 2011 Perodua Myvi 1.3

Creeping into the RM20,000 price barrier I've set is the 2011 Perodua Myvi 1.3 for a decently kept one. At this price you could find the manual transmission version and if you're extremely lucky, one or two automatics. Usually this would be the base model 1.3 Sxi manual version of the Myvi but this is a good car for the price. The 2011MY (model Year) models are the facelifted versions with a nice squared off bumper front and rear which actually make the car look more aggressive than the current second generation Myvi. Due to this the car does not look out of date. The facelifted Myvi is a good buy because the engine comes a redesigned cylinder head which actually adds some low down torque compared to the pre facelifted model – a fact not really mentioned by Peordua.

You also get good Perodua nee Daihatsu nee Toyota levels of build quality and reliability (the engine has a timing chain and would last a while if you keep the oil change regular). Space is good for a small hatchback and you could carry three at the back seat without much problems. Being a hatchback, it is quite versatile if you need to cary more stuff with the rear seats able to fold flat when needed. The car is also nippy in traffic and able to cruise reasonably well on the highway. Just don't expect it to feel planted or do corners from its skinny 175/65/14 tyres and very understeery setup (unless you get some mods done to them like the rear 'anti roll bar' for the car).

The second generation facelifted 2011 Proton Saga FL and some FLX.

With around RM19,000-20,000 you can go hunting for either a 1.3 manual or a 1.3 automatic if you're lucky. The car has four doors and a boot which a lot of Malaysians seem to like. It isn't cramped as a Viva and it rides well too. The steering may be slow and the handling slightly stolid. It also looks dumpy but made slightly better with the facelifted Saga FL (pictured above) and FLX facelifts but then again, cheap almost never equals to cheery.

The Saga is dumpy looking but driveable (and obviously handles slightly better than the Myvi). Don't expect it to look like a Subaru Impreza (but that does not stop most people from trying to make a Saga into one) or don't expect it to drive like even a Proton Satria Neo. But if it's transport you're looking for on the cheap and one that is also cheapest to maintain (cheap spares compared even to the Perodua Myvi). This car is it. Add the fact that Proton has not facelifted it this car is technically a current model (before Proton is purported to coming out with a replacement for it later this year). 

The 2011 Proton Persona 1.6

This also creeps in at under RM20,000 these days. You can do some searching for both the manual or the automatic variants of this popular four door sedan. Like the cars mentioned above, you could buy an earlier model but I am only referring to cars which were sold in the year 2011 to be specific (which are also cheaper but could have higher mileage obviously). I like the Persona because it is still on sale (which means you are driving a current model), its spares are cheap, it is spacious as it is a C Segment car compared to the B segment Myvi and Saga and it has a larger 1.6liter engine (which is still a tax break engine as road tax is under RM90 per annum).

This is the best buy actually. For under RM20,000 or thereabouts you get a larger car that actually drives well. It offers the best space and boot for families. The drawback of the Persona would be the fact that fuel consumption isn't as good as the Myvi. But this is obvious since it has a 1.6liter engine and is a larger car.

2011MY gives you the slightly facelifted Elegance variant which is sold to this day. Expect a new Persona soon according to Proton. But if you're looking for something used below RM20,000, this could be the best bet. I would personally buy this - Larger car, more performance.

Notable mentions:

2011 Proton Waja

There are some last batch Proton Waja cars out there that could be bought under RM20,000. Produced from 2000 to 2011 you could buy this Proton which was Proton's first in-house design (although its chassis was based on the Mitsubishi Charisma/Volvo V40). It is a large car in terms of usable space and shares the same base Campro 1.6liter engine as the Persona but with the CPS variable valve timing system. It had 125hp /150Nm compared to 110hp /148Nm in the Persona but it weighed more, about 1250kg compared to 1190kg so the Persona could still accelerate faster as torque figures and weight counts here.

Anyway, I do not really recommend the Waja because it is an ergonomic disaster. The seat support for the thigh is bad and size is all wrong, the steering size is too chunky for small hands and its placement slightly off. Because of this I have never enjoyed driving the Waja. If you want transport, then you could buy this.

2011 Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10

Nice small cars. Good looks from the Kia (above) and great build quality in the Hyundai (amazing bigger car feeling from this although styling isn't that nice) - pictured below. The problem with these two cars is that they are small city cars a size smaller than the Perodua Myvi. They are still larger than the Perodua Viva which make these cars a better used purchase than the Viva. They do offer decent motoring but they do not offer space over the others mentioned above. These cars would be good puttering around the neighbourhood as they do not offer any larger engines too – 1.1liter 4 cylinder engines that is very good at sipping fuel but will not give you much thrill of driving. Spares could be a little pricey (Hyundai actually quite reasonable if you buy from Hyundai Sime Darby actually). 

There are other cars if you can find them. You could enjoy yourself in any of these, but this article is about finding the best 5 year old used buys. You know, cars that are more value for your money to buy, run and maintain for at least another 5 years or so without breaking the bank. Of course, you should not limit yourself to this overly simple rule. You could go out and buy a 25 year old Mercedes Benz W124 for RM15,000 and that car would be stupendous to run on a daily basis and still be cheap to maintain (spares are dirt cheap). So if you can find one in good nick, get one of these.

So there you have it. 2016's best 5 year old used buys. Happy shopping.

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