The Cheapest Just Got Cheaper. Steve Ghosley Reports On Perodua's Bargain Basement Kelisa SE Packs Range
It is hard to imagine that you can buy a modern, well specified car for less than £5,500 but you can. The Perodua Kelisa GXi with SE pack and manual transmission comes in at a lowly £5,495. This doesn't include road fund license and first registration fee but it does represent tremendous value for money when you consider that, for the money, you are getting a descent spec and a car that is also a lot of fun to drive.
Yes, you did read that correctly. The Kelisa has been one of the most fun cars I've had the pleasure to drive in a long while. There's something hugely entertaining about driving a vehicle that costs about as much as a leather interior option on some cars. As you may suspect, it's not hugely sophisticated but it has enough about it to put a big smile on your face. The value proposition is simply unarguable and compared to the Kelisa, the entry level Toyota Aygo looks pretty ostentatious at £6,745. The SE pack adds an RDS radio/cassette player and reverse-park control to the specification of the EZi automatic and the GXi manual versions of the Kelisa. The Range-topping £6,399 EZi SE automatic model also comes with colour-keyed mirrors and exterior door handles but again, you'll still have to fund the road tax and first registration fee. The Kelisa is virtually as affordable as the car it originally replaced, the Nippa. This best-forgotten little runabout was notable only for the fact that at less than £5,000, it was the cheapest car you could buy in the UK. Not that this honour helped it much. Perodua had trouble shifting more than 1,500 units a year. The Kelisa just about retains the cheapest car title but it crucially also has the potential to appeal on criteria other than price.
"Careful design ensures that four adults can travel in reasonable comfort with adequate legroom and headroomâ€¦"
Yes, for much the same kind of cash as the Nippa, the Kelisa is a much better bet. Instead of being fundamentally based on a design (the Daihatsu Mira) which hailed back to the Eighties, its Daihatsu Cuore fundamentals mean it feels far more up to date. Or as up to date as a car based on something introduced in 1998 ever can be. Under the bonnet lies a three cylinder twin-cam 12-valve 989cc powerplant, the very same not only as used by the Cuore but also Daihatsu's larger Sirion supermini. It develops a decent 54bhp, good enough to push the Kelisa to sixty in 14.8s on the way to a less impressive maximum of 88mph. More importantly however, it's reasonably frugal: expect to manage a combined figure of over 55mpg. On the road, you should find the whole package quite brisk enough to keep up with the traffic flow, and the strident engine note encourages foot to the floor progress. The gear change on the manual cars is none too slick and there's a huge amount of body roll around corners but this only adds to the car's charm. Both SE packaged models come with the same 1.0-litre petrol engine and the same five-door body shape (no three-door option is currently available). Both models also come fitted with twin front airbags, an engine immobiliser, power steering (crucial for a car like this) and a rear wash/wipe. You also get electric windows, central locking, metallic paint and cupholders. The automatic-only EZi, as we've said, provides the full works in terms of equipment. With an overall length and width of 3480mm and 1490mm respectively, the Kelisa is more compact and narrower than the three door-only Ford Ka, a Plus which makes it an ideal city car. Even better news comes in the form of a turning circle of just 8.6 metres, which means that parking spaces can be accessed with ease. Moreover, that high `Toytown'-style roofline means that headroom is great and visibility impressive. Careful design ensures that four adults can travel in reasonable comfort with adequate legroom and headroom, making even longer journeys viable. Wide-opening doors allow for easy access. You can even swallow a deceptively large amount of baggage should the need arise. Load volumes Range from 155 litres VDA with the rear seats in place to 428 litres VDA with the bench folded. Unfortunately, a 50/50 split rear seat is not available. Running costs will be crucial to potential buyers of a car like this and here again, the Perodua doesn't disappoint. The old Nippa was the cheapest car to run in the UK over 60,000 miles According to CAP independent research and this one is just as easy on the wallet. A low 3A insurance rating and extended 10,000 mile service intervals should also help in this regard. The Perodua Kelisa was already a good value-for-money option even before the SE pack. So, if all you're after is a cheap city runabout, this Kelisa makes even better sense. It even has enough about it to suit those who are looking for a little fun behind the wheel. For a student or as a first car, this Kelisa is an inexpensive solution.
Facts At A Glance
CAR: Perodua Kelisa SE Packs Range
PRICE: £5,495-£6,399 - delivered
CO2 EMISSIONS: 121g/km
INSURANCE GROUP: 3
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 14.8s / Max speed 88mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 55.4mpg
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Widthmm 3480/1490mm