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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For Adequate town car for hardly any cash

Against Basic isn't the word - the Nippa comes with practically no equipment at all

Verdict It makes a passable city run-around, but low prices are its only real virtue

Go for… GX

Avoid… EX

Perodua Nippa Hatchback
  • 1. The cabin feels cheap and nasty, and it's short on headroom in the front, and shoulder- and legroom in the back
  • 2. The boot is quite big by the standards of the class
  • 3. The standard car comes with four part-vinyl seats, an engine and that's literally about it. You don't even get a stereo
  • 4. There are only about 70 dealers nationwide, and we've also heard that some parts are hard to come by
  • 5. Service intervals are short, and Nippas really suffer if they're neglected
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Perodua Nippa Hatchback full review with expert trade views

You can't expect too much luxury when you buy a cheap car, and when you buy what was the UK's cheapest new car, you can't expect too much of anything.

The Nippa is a former holder of this dubious honour, and it's every bit as basic as you'd expect. If you're partial to creature comforts, it's definitely not going to be your thing.

Even if you can ignore the stingy specifications and oddball looks, the Nippa isn't a particularly nice car to drive. It's fine in town, but alarming amounts of body lean mean that corners should be treated with a large amount of respect. On the plus side, though, the ride is adequate, if a little bit too bouncy, and only the deepest of potholes will trouble it.

The cabin feels cheap and nasty, and the Nippa is also a bit short on headroom in the front, and shoulder- and legroom in the rear. The boot is quite big for the class, though.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Unrefined so needs to be very cheap. Basic A to B transport

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

There aren't many versions to choose from, and what few there are all have the same engine, a 42bhp four-cylinder 850cc unit.

As you'd expect, performance is anything but electrifying, but the Nippa's light body means that it isn't unbearably slow - if you stay in town. Put it on a motorway or a fast A-road, though, and it'll struggle immediately.

There's more of a choice when it comes to trim, but the difference between the two versions is minuscule. The EX is the most basic car, and when we say basic, we really mean it. The standard car comes with four part-vinyl seats, an engine, and that's literally about it.

You don't even get a stereo. Higher-specification GX models got a rear wash wiper and fabric upholstery, and that's where the creature comforts end. Even if buyers were prepared to pay extra for airbags or power steering, they weren't available as options.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Lots more GX around, 1999 limited editions help

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Nippa was the cheapest new car it was possible to buy, and used examples aren't much different. This is about as cheap as motoring gets. Even the newest models can be picked up for just a few hundred quid at a dealer. Find one that's being sold privately, and you'll pay even less.

Your running costs will be dirt-cheap as well. Although the little 1.0-litre engine doesn't provide much power, it provides economy by the bucketload. You'll see an average return of 53.3 miles for every gallon of petrol you put in.

Insurance costs are also very affordable. Whichever version you go for, you'll pay a group 3 premium.

On the other hand, servicing might set you back more than you expect, as it needs to be serviced every 6000 miles, and more visits to the dealer mean you'll part with more cash.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Unrefined so needs to be very cheap. Basic A to B transport

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

From the small amount of data we've seen, the Nippa appears to have a reasonable record for mechanical dependability. However, bear the short service intervals in mind, and be aware that it really suffers if it's neglected. Also, there are only about 70 dealers nationwide, and we've heard that some parts are also hard to come by.

Unfortunately, we can't tell you too much about how reliable the Nippa is. This is for two reasons. First, The Nippa didn't sell in very large numbers, and as such, there aren't many kicking around today, so we can't collate enough data to give an accurate indication of how reliable the car is going to be, or what is most likely to go wrong with it.

Second, Perodua is such a small manufacturer that it is very rarely included in reliability surveys, so this means that accurate reliability data is also quite sketchy on Perodua as a brand.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Lots more GX around, 1999 limited editions help

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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