The D74 generation Perodua Axia is arguably the best version of Axia yet that Perodua has given us. The car is defintely simple but the elegance and performance demands a starting price tag of RM38,600 that is a sure head turner.
Now, on to the matter at hand, unless you are driving an Axia G or E variant, there is no ‘Off’ option in the new Axia’s light control stalk – a basic function that was available in the previous generations of Axia and honestly most cars too.
Despite all the great features of the car, there is no possible way to turn the lights off once you have started the car. You must think that we’re joking right? News flash, no we’re not. But hey, that’s what we are here for right? To tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. And guess what? Its not even Perodua’s fault.
Where’s the OFF mode?
Some of you have probably heard of this and some of you probably have not. But, lets give a minute of silence to those who had just gotten the new Axia as they may be thinking that its some sort of manufacturer’s mistake. Again, its not. They must be wondering why they can’t turn off the headlights of their new Axia.
For the purpose of context, there should be four modes on the light control stalk- Auto, main beams, side lights a.k.a clearance light (or as the streets calls it, parking lights) AND ‘off’ option but in the new Axia, there are only three modes on the light control stalk– Auto, main beams, and side lights – none of these three modes turn the headlamps completely off. One of the three front lighting components will always stay lit – either the main beams or side lights or daytime running lights located at the sides of the front bumper.
But why you ask?
Enter United Nations.
Before I tell you the reason, lets all collectively boo the United Nations. Ok, done? Lets continue. The reason why we do not get the ‘Off’ option is because of a new UN resolution where a bunch of bureaucrats in Geneva, Switzerland have decided that cars shouldn’t be driven without any exterior lighting, even when it’s driven in bright daylight. Yeah, you read that right.
Since 1998, the United Nations has formed a very, very long name working group whose role is to establish a common international regulation for modern cars. It’s called the “Agreement concerning the Establishing of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which can be fitted and/or be used on Wheeled Vehicles,” which is also known as the “World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations,” which is also known as the WP.29 working group.
Are your heads spinning? Pop some panadols and continue reading below.
Malaysia is one of the signatory countries under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. In the WP.29 resolution, there is a long list of technical regulations that Malaysia has to follow before a new vehicle can be issued its Vehicle Type Approval (VTA)
VTA is basically the birth certificate of your car (only for the first unit produced in the model), which manufacturers will be issued for every car models after successfully following the regulations set by UN (See above pic). For example, if Perodua wants to update a specific model like Bezza (facelift etc), they have to get VTA or even if they want to introduce a new model other than the existing models, they still have to acquire VTA. And, in order to acquire VTA, they have to follow the regulations that has been set.
Though, not every UN regulation is adopted in its entirety, but it forms the basis for our VTA. It has to be pointed out that only the first unit in the model will be sufficient to acquire the VTA. Subsequent units after that don’t need a VTA so you will never see a copy of your car’s VTA.
Back to the no ‘OFF’ option debacle
The UN Regulations No.48, also known as UNECE R48 OR UN R48 states that passenger cars should have so-called daytime running lights (DRLs, the ones at the sides that you can’t switch off) illuminated when the car is shifted out of Park (or in a manual transmission car, gear engaged).
Please note that daytime running lights is not yet compulsory in Malaysia, but manufacturers are more tha happy to include as cutomers are willing to pay extra for it because it adds a certain flair of style to the car.
All high-end cars no longer have an OFF position in their light control, and if you’re wondering Mercedes-Benz use knobs and not stalks, here’s an explanation
Article 6.19.7 in the UN R48 document concerning electrical connections for headlamps states:
“6.19.7: The daytime running lamps shall be switched ON automatically when the device which starts and/or stops the engine (propulsion system) is set in a position which makes it possible for the engine (propulsion system) to operate. However, the daytime running lamps may remain OFF while the following conditions exist:
184.108.40.206.1. The automatic transmission control is in the park position; or
220.127.116.11.2. The parking brake is in the applied position; or
18.104.22.168.3. Prior to the vehicle being set in motion for the first time after each manual activation of the propulsion system”
It’s a legal document so there’s a lot of legal and function-descriptive terminologies used, rather than feature-specific ones, because the legal document must be technology neutral.
Older models or cars that received their VTA years earlier may still be sold with OFF mode on their light control
Previously, cars can still have an ‘off’ option even when daytime running lights is fitted in the car, but a subsequent revision to the UN R48 document adds:
“22.214.171.124. If daytime running lamps are present and operate according to paragraph 6.19., either
“126.96.36.199.1. The dipped-beam headlamps shall be switched ON and OFF automatically relative to the ambient light conditions (e.g. switch ON during night-time driving conditions, tunnels, etc.) according to the requirements of Annex 13;
There’s more where that came from but lets not dive deeper and save us some time. You get the picture.
To summarize, if a car is fitted with DRLs, automatic headlamps is compulsory, and you are not allowed to manually disable it, hence, thats why there’s no ‘off’ option.
Ativa doesn’t have DRLs, so OFF mode is still presentThis is why the Perodua Ativa, which doesn’t have DRLs, can have an OFF mode in its light control stalk.
In conclusion, the reason why there is no more OFF mode on even the simplest Perodua is because:
Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are regulated by UN R48 regulations
UN R48 is not fully adopted in Malaysia, but vehicles fitted with DRLs must comply with it
Automatic headlamps are now compulsory when used with DRLs, manual override to disable automatic illumination is strictly not allowed
In conclusion, Perodua is just following the regulations that has been put in place. So, lets have a positive view towards this matter and hope to see the benefit of not giving customers the luxury of the ‘OFF’ option.
Fun fact, Some manufacturers like Honda still offer the OFF mode in their cars’ light control, but it only works when the car’s transmission is in Park.
Images from WapCar.my.