Buying a new car is always an exciting experience, even more so for new drivers. However, choosing the best car for first-time drivers can be a daunting task with so many cars available in the market. You’d have to consider your needs such as space, comfort, fuel economy, ease of maintenance, ride quality, and the list goes on. And with limited time to survey and test drive suitable cars, you could have a long buying process.
Fortunately, there are numerous resources to help you narrow down the right car. To help you decide, we’ve considered the price, practicality, and fuel economy of some of the most popular cars in Malaysia to come up with a list of the best first cars you can buy in Malaysia.
Economical City Hatchback – Perodua Axia
The Perodua Axia is among the most affordable new cars you can buy in Malaysia. It’s great for drivers looking for a budget-friendly, compact, city car that’s fuel-efficient and affordable to maintain. Powered by a 1.0L engine across the lineup, its price starts at RM23,367 for the base manual variant up to RM41,427 for the range-topping automatic AV variant. This small, five-door hatchback is big on practicality and economy. With a fuel efficiency of up to 22.5 km/L and a low price, the Axia is the best first car for budget-conscious first-time drivers, especially students and young adults.
Some notable features in this car are an anti-snatch hook to hold valuables such as a handbag and a key reminder so drivers don’t leave their key in the ignition. The Axia even has Perodua’s A.S.A. 2.0 safety suite, though only on the range-topping AV model.
Best Economical Sedan – Perodua Bezza
For those who want the fuel economy of the Axia but with more space, the Perodua Bezza is a good alternative. It’s just as economical to drive and maintain as the Axia, but is a more practical car overall. Plus, It’s available in two variants: a fuel-efficient 1.0L engine and a more powerful 1.3L engine. Its price starts at RM33,456 for a new 1.0L manual G variant up to RM48,356 for the top-of-the-range 1.3L automatic AV variant.
Like its sibling, the Bezza has impressive practicality. It has similar fuel consumption numbers as the Axia, multiple storage compartments throughout the cabin, and a massive 508-liter boot – the largest in its class. On the highest-spec 1.3 AV, the Bezza even has Perodua’s A.S.A. 2.0.
Great Value Family Sedan – Proton Saga
As Malaysia’s first national car, the Proton Saga has gone through many updates and remains one of the best sedan cars for first-time drivers. Its large boot space, good NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) dampening, ease of maintenance, and ride quality makes the Saga a sound choice for drivers who are looking for a spacious car that they can drive for years. It’s robust enough to carry you through different life stages, such as when you start a family.
The Saga is among the most affordable sedans you can buy. It starts at RM32,800 for a new 1.3L manual transmission Standard variant and tops out at RM42,800 for the R3 Limited Edition. Being a sedan, the Saga has a decent 420-liter boot that can fit multiple luggage bags – suitable for families. As a budget car, the Saga is also affordable to maintain. Compared to other cars in its price range, it has better handling and ride quality. Thanks to Proton’s ride and handling tuning, the Saga is suitable for drivers who do a fair bit of long-distance driving on highways and winding backroads.
Best Value International Car – Honda City
The Honda City is a great value-for-money non-local sedan. It’s one of the best first cars for first-time drivers who have a bigger budget. With its higher price tag, it’s also equipped with more features, better NVH dampening, and more power than the other cars on this list making it a great car for drivers who want a more refined vehicle. It’s powered by a 1.5L engine mated to an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Prices for new units range from RM73,851.27 for the base 1.5L S variant up to RM105,610.45 for the 1.5L RS hybrid variant.
Compared to the previous cars mentioned above, the City is bigger overall. This means the City has a roomier cabin that’s more comfortable especially on long drives. Additionally, it has a boot space of 519 liters which is the biggest on this list. Although it’s the largest car here, it has good fuel consumption at 18.5 km/L for the regular petrol variant and 27.8 km/L for the hybrid variant.
Its extensive list of features includes rear air conditioning vents, 60:40 foldable rear seats, ECON driving mode, and Hill Start Assist (HSA) across the range. The hybrid RS variant includes additional safety features in the Honda SENSING suite of technologies and Honda CONNECT. Honda CONNECT allows owners to connect their car to their smartphone and monitor its location, car diagnostics status, and remotely start or stop the engine, among other things.
Overall Best First Car – Perodua Myvi
The Perodua Myvi is Malaysia’s top-selling car for good reason. It’s stylish, practical, and equipped with loads of safety features. These also make it one of the best first cars in Malaysia. The Myvi is a great car for new drivers as it’s compact, making it easy to maneuver around town. That being said, its efficient design allows for a roomy cabin. If you’re looking for a stylish first car that you’ll be comfortable in for years, the Myvi is it.
A brand new Myvi starts at RM41,292 for the base 1.3L engine manual transmission G variant and RM52,697 for the top of the range 1.5L engine automatic AV range. The Myvi is one of the best cars for first-time drivers as it’s reliable, spacious, fuel-efficient, and affordable to maintain. Even if you plan to upgrade the Myvi to a bigger car after a few years, you could get a good price on it as Myvis tend to hold their value quite well.
All variants have the essential safety features you’d expect from a modern car but the top variants come with Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (A.S.A. 2.0) which includes pre-collision warning, pre-collision braking, front departure alert, and pedal misoperation control.
Tips for Buying Your First Car
Buying a car involves numerous steps from researching, securing a car loan, to test driving the car. With all the steps required and factors to consider, it can be challenging and time-consuming to purchase the right car. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to help you buy your first car.
- Consider your needs. You first need to determine if you really need a car and what you will need it for. Do you need a budget-friendly car for your daily commute? Or do you frequently drive long distances? Do consider looking at used cars as they are often significantly cheaper than brand new models, while still being reliable.
- Do your research. Once you have an idea of the type of car you need, you can look at online car blogs, car-selling platforms, or even ask your circle for advice. When considering the best car for first-time drivers, look at what the car offers, ease of maintenance, and safety. If you’re looking at a second-hand car, don’t be afraid to ask questions about it such as its service history, if it’s been in an accident, and so on.
- Consider your budget and financing options. As a new driver, your budget is often limited. Therefore, make sure you can afford a car before deciding on it. Besides the price of the car, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of insurance and road tax, as well as the ongoing maintenance cost of the car. Shop around for auto financing options from reputable providers that give good rates. You can even check out CARSOME Capital; CARSOME’s auto financing product that offers competitive rates and an easy application process.
- Inspect and test drive the car. Before deciding on the right car, be sure to thoroughly inspect it and take it for a test drive. It’s best to bring along a friend or family member you trust to help you look out for issues with the car and help you decide. Inspect the car’s exterior for signs of damage or repainting, and do a thorough check of the interior as well. Turn the car on and pay attention to its sound and if it produces any odd smell. Odd sounds and smells from the engine could mean there are issues with the parts. Lastly, take the car for a test drive and pay attention to how it drives and sounds. Make sure that all components are working and that no warning lights come on.
There you have it, we hope this list of best cars for first-time drivers can help you decide on the right car. No matter what car you choose, pay attention to your needs and budget, and you’ll surely be happy with your decision.
If you’re looking for cars with excellent value, do check out CARSOME. All our cars go through our 175-point professional inspection to ensure they are free from any major accident and flood damage. Plus, there are no hidden fees when you buy from us; the price you see on our website is the actual, fixed price.
With that, we would like to wish you good luck with finding your first car!
Devan is a long-time writer who has dabbled in different fields from media to marketing. He enjoys some virtual driving on Forza Horizon and likes reading about various topics including cars.