Perodua conducted a preview session with the local motoring media where we got to go on a short drive with the all-new 2023 Perodua Axia.
The new ‘Full Model Change’ (FMC) of the Axia has gone through leaps and bounds for the latest-generation model thanks to a number of highlights, particularly its Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) platform as well as the D-CVT transmission package. But, is it really that good compared to the previous-generation model? The short answer is yes.
Driving impressions: How is the new Axia better?
Most of you may already know that the new 2023 Perodua Axia has retained the 1KR-VE three-cylinder engine from the previous-gen model, which is a bummer for some since there were talks about a turbocharged powertrain like the Perodua Ativa. While that may have not come to fruition, Perodua did embed the D-CVT gearbox into the engine, which made a world of difference in terms of performance.
The outgoing four-speed AT might have been a fuel-efficient setup for the previous Axia, but compared to the new Axia with the D-CVT gearbox, the older-gen model seemed a lot more sluggish in nature. Yeah, it still has 67hp and 91Nm of torque, but how it delivers the power to the front wheel is a lot more efficient and immediate, which gave us a great impression that the new Axia is indeed ‘new’ inside and out.
When the current Perodua Myvi model adopted the D-CVT gearbox, it showed improved performance in acceleration (20% better) as well as fuel efficiency. You can expect those improvements to be reflected in the new Axia, and Perodua has already stated that it can do a maximum of 27.4km/l thanks to the Eco idle start-stop system.
That, however, is only available in the top two variants (SE and AV), but the base G and X Axia variants can still hit a very decent 25.3km/l because the 1KR-VE/D-CVT combo is the same across the board.
Yes, the new D-CVT gearbox gave the Axia a more peppy driving experience, but the DNGA platform grants so much more in terms of agility, driveability, and overall comfort. We were given the range-topping Axia AV variant, which was a surprisingly good drive despite the short distance – enough to clarify itself as not a ‘cheap’ car, but an entry-level model with the most it can offer within a reasonable price range.
Modern-looking interior, not ‘cheap-looking’
The Perodua Axia maintains its status as the brand’s most affordable model alongside the Bezza despite the slight price increase estimated from RM38,600 to RM49,500. However, we strongly believe that the minor hike in numbers is nothing compared to what the new Axia has to offer.
The range-topping Axia AV, in particular, is fitted with a seven-inch TFT multi-info display for the driver as well as a nine-inch display audio screen in the middle housed within an Axia that carries a very modern yet sporty interior design to match its exterior.
Semi-bucket front seats finished in two-tone semi-leather is also a very nice touch, which is only reserved for the range-topping AV variant. One step down from that is the SE, which also has the same type of seats, but finished in fabric, followed by standard fabric seats for the G and X variants.
As for the exterior, the bigger dimensions compared to the previous-gen Axia also justifies for the slight price hike. This gives a more modern and sporty facade to the 2023 Perodua Axia model, and it’s indeed a welcomed change compared to the outgoing model. Those 14-inch rims, however, could’ve been done better in our honest opinion.
Having said that, other additions like the LED headlamps with DRLs are a no-brainer in terms of looks. With the new Axia, there’s no reason to look at the previous-gen model. Why would you? It’s been improved in every way, shape, and form (apart from the engine, of course).
Perodua Smart Drive Assist
The slight price increase is also easily justifiable with the addition of the Perodua Smart Drive Assist which consists of:
ABS with EBD & BA
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Hill-start Assist (HSA)
Traction Control (TRC)
Solar & Security Window Film (standard for SE & AV variants)
At the end of the day, the 2023 Perodua Axia comes in a package that combines a great-looking exterior to match with a more modern interior finish, increased fuel efficiency and overall performance, as well as safety features to boot. Spend a tiny bit more to change those rims and you have a winner in our books.
Get ready for its official launch on 14 February 2023, folks.