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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Decent town transport for an unbelievably low price

Against It does most things adequately - just about - but nothing well

Verdict A basic, no-frills city runabout that’s terrifically cheap to buy

Go for… GXi

Avoid… EXi

Perodua Kelisa Hatchback
  • 1. Check for uneven tyre wear that will show signs of suspension trouble
  • 2. There are reports of batteries not earthing properly, so take a long test drive to check the charge lasts
  • 3. We’d advise against the automatic gearbox – it only has three gears, so performance is feeble
  • 4. Equipment is basic - air-con is just a pipe dream, and even anti-lock brakes aren’t available
  • 5. There isn’t much room in any of the seats
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Perodua Kelisa Hatchback full review with expert trade views

If your budget will only stretch to a cheap used car, but you want something that’s still quite new, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to afford a Perodua Kelisa. It really is that cheap, even for a young one.

Be warned, though, cars this inexpensive don’t come with many frills. Equipment is basic, for a start - air-con is just a pipe dream, and even anti-lock brakes aren’t available.

However, considering the price you pay, the Kelisa isn’t all that bad. The ride is supple enough to deal with most surfaces, and grip is decent around corners, provided you don’t ask too much of it. Keep the Kelisa mostly in town, and it’ll serve you well.

For all that, though, the cabin is a bit grim. The plastics are cheap and nasty, and there isn’t much room in any of the seats. However, for such a low price, you can’t expect too much.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Cheap unrefined transport for little money

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There’s only one engine, a 1.0-litre petrol with 54bhp. The performance figures are modest, but it’s quick enough to cope easily around town. However, fifth gear is tall, so you'll probably need to change down a gear or two as soon you reach a steep gradient on the motorway.

We’d advise against the automatic version – it only has three ratios, so performance is even weaker.

The basic EX trim level is just that. You’ll get power steering, twin airbags, a wash-wiper for the rear screen and an immobiliser. GX - our favourite - has a few more gadgets, including electric front windows, metallic paint and central locking. EZs have the same kit as GXs, but come with the automatic gearbox.

The range was rebadged shortly after the car was launched, with EX becoming EXi, GX GXi and EZ EZi. Despite the name change, there are no differences. An SE version was added later on, and this provided more kit, including parking sensors.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Ezi at bargain bucket price, pre-’04 face-lift even cheaper

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Value for money is about the only thing the Kelisa has going for it. As the cheapest new car on sale, prices were extremely low to start with, and because residuals aren’t strong, you can pick up a used example for next to nothing.

The manual will give you decent fuel economy of 55.4mpg, but this is ruined if you plump for the automatic, which will only provide 43.5mpg. Both versions have a group 3 classification for insurance, which is high for a cheap car with such a small engine.

You’ll have to find one first, though. Kelisas aren’t common on these shores, even as new cars, so finding a used example will be tricky. The other problem is that Perodua dealers are few and far between, so finding somewhere to get it serviced may be a problem. And, independent dealers may experience difficulties sourcing some parts.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Cheap unrefined transport for little money

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Peroduas aren’t covered in most reliability surveys, primarily because there aren’t enough about to warrant inclusion. Based on the data we’ve seen, however, the Kelisa has proved dependable. It’s derived from the Daihatsu Cuore, a small car with a big reputation for toughness and reliability, and the Kelisa is just as solid.

We have heard reports of batteries not earthing properly, so take a long test drive to make sure the charge lasts. Also, the Cuore has one or two suspension problems, which could materialise on the Kelisa, considering the cars’ close connections. Check for uneven tyre wear for signs of trouble.

If buying a 2005 model, check the service history to confirm that work has been carried out on the handbrake. Perodua issued a recall on cars built between February and August of that year, because some handbrakes were failing to latch when applied, and some were even releasing themselves.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Ezi at bargain bucket price, pre-’04 face-lift even cheaper

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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