Malaysian car buyers have come a long way in the past ten years or so. From only caring about looks, performance, and spaciousness, we now have a demanding consumer base that asks more pertinent questions regarding safety features.
That’s great to know, and in general, car specifications in Malaysia have seen gradual improvements over the years. It wasn’t too long ago that a brand new Toyota Camry, a D-segment sedan was sold here without any form of electronic stability control.
Now, not only does the latest Camry have ESP as standard, but it also gets the full suite of active safety features, complete with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitor. In fact, pretty much the entire Toyota range in Malaysia is fitted with ESP as standard now, down to the cheapest Yaris. Only the long-in-the-tooth Avanza is an exception.
The same goes for more basic safety features such as airbags. A few years back, you’d need at least a C-segment vehicle to have anything more than two airbags, but now, even the Perodua Myvi gets at least four. The Kia Picanto, technically an A-segmenter, 1/5 gets six airbags. Similarly, AEB and other active safety features were once exclusive to high-end premium cars, and now they’re available on the Perodua Axia and Bezza.
But it’s not all roses, obviously, because while we have seen great advancements in most areas, some things have stayed the same. Even with Malaysian car buyers being more demanding of safety equipment in new cars, quite a few car brands in the country still have the habit of offering compromised safety kits on lower, cheaper variants.
I can forgive older models that were launched a few years ago. It was a different time, then. The Proton Iriz, for instance, only offers two airbags in Standard and Executive forms, but let’s not forget that it is offered with six airbags in Premium guise was a landmark moment for the industry in Malaysia way back in 2014.
Back then, the Perodua Myvi only had two airbags and no ESP, even in its most
expensive variant. It was not until the end of 2017 that it matched the Proton while moving the goalpost even further with the inclusion of AEB. Stability control was also fitted to the Myvi and added to the Axia and Bezza more recently. A great byproduct of competition– all parties improve.
But back to the matter at hand, we still have brand new car models launching with compromised safety kits here and now in 2020. Of the three biggest launches in the past month – the Proton X50, Honda City, and Nissan Almera – all have fewer airbags in the lower variants compared to the more expensive variants.
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