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Recommended Cars for Beginners - Malaysia and Singapore

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

So, you have passed your driving license. Or it could be your teenage son or daughter who has finally done it.

Now, you are thinking of getting a car for yourself or your son/daughter. But which car would be the ideal one for a beginner driver?

We have listed our top 3 recommended cars for beginner drivers in neighbouring countries Malaysia and Singapore and you will be surprised by the differences.

We have set three rules for our selection:

  1. Price - it should be one of the cheaper ones (it is less painful to see damage like scratches or dents on a cheaper car than an expensive one)

  2. Size - A smaller car will help a beginner driver to get around and maneuver easily, especially in tight places. It should also be a smaller cc car.

  3. Maintenance and Repairs- it should be easy to maintain and there are less repair costs expected for the vehicles

Let's get to the list!

Malaysia Top 3 Beginner Cars

In no particular order, these are our top 3 beginner cars for Malaysia:

Proton Saga

The Proton Saga 1.3L Standard AT sedan, priced at around RM36,000 (USD8,500) is the first car on the list. It has a 4-speed automatic transmission and is definitely much better all round than it's previous predecessors. You can get the Saga at a cheaper price for the manual transmission but we will always recommend the auto transmission for a beginner.

Perodua Myvi

There is no way that we would not include the Perodua Myvi on our list, one of the all-time favourite small hatchback vehicle in Malaysia. It comes in the 1.3L and 1.5 L variants but our recommendation is the 1.3L G AT which retails around RM43,000 (USD10,000). The Myvi model has always been constantly improving with new features and more modern designs over the years. It may not be the most comfortable ride but a perfectly sized vehicle for the beginner driver.

Perodua Axia

Last but not least on this list is the Perodua Axia, which has the smallest engine size of the three. We recommend the G 1.0 AT which retails at around RM32,500 (USD7,670). With it's small engine, the driver will have great savings on fuel. There will also be no problems with parking the vehicle in this small hatchback.

Singapore Top 3 Beginner Cars

Singaporeans do not have the privilege of having locally built cars to purchase. With the high taxes and Certificate of Entitlement (COE) fees included in every car, the list is completely different to the one for Malaysia.

These are our top three for Singapore:

Honda Fit / Jazz

The Honda Fit 1.3 A has always been one of the favourite parallel import cars in the market. This compact hatchback is reliable, easy to maintain and has very little issues of note. Retailing around SGD88,000 (USD64,500), it is also one of the cheaper cars to own in Singapore. There is also the option of getting the Jazz, which is basically the same model but distributed by the authorised dealer. However, it will set you back by another SGD12,000 (USD8,800). Ouch!

Kia Stonic

This 1.0 litre turbocharged engine, compact crossover looks good and is a comfortable ride as well. Retailing around SGD87,000 (USD63,800) and with a nice little cabin and the Apple CarPlay coming as standard, we recommend this for the crossover vehicle fans who wants a good looking car to drive as their first.

Toyota Vios

How can we not include a Toyota on this list? Their reliability is second to none. The Vios 1.5 A comes in just under the SGD100,000 mark and retails at SGD99,000 (USD72,600). This model must have been many beginner drivers' first car through the years. This small sedan takes the meaning of 'no-frills' to another level and is a car that can keep going on and on with very little maintenance. Not as good looking as the other cars in the list but definitely has to be on the top three list!

Our Final Thoughts

In summary, Malaysians are privileged to have locally-produced cars with very decent prices to purchase for a beginner drivers.

Therefore, it is no surprise that we have selected three local makes as our top 3. If we do not include the local makes, then the Toyota Vios (RM74,500/USD17,500) and the Honda Jazz (RM72,500/USD17,000) would have been very strong shouts. However, these vehicles are about twice the price of the Proton and Perodua and that makes it very difficult for us to recommend. Only those with a bigger budget should consider getting these.

For Singapore, we have selected the smaller Japanese and Korean Makes, taking into consideration that these are reliable, smaller vehicles that are also on the cheaper end. There are not many new cars selling less than SGD100,000 in Singapore!

For Singapore, with its ridiculous car prices, we strongly recommend buying pre-owned vehicles that are between 5-7 years old for a beginner driver. You can get a Toyota Vios or Honda Fit at about half the price as compared to new and since these are very reliable vehicles, there should be little worries about maintenance and repairs.

We have written another article about tips for buying a used car. For the detailed article, please click here.

So, what do you think? Are there any other cars that you think should be on the list? How much are you willing to spend on your first car?

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