2003 Perodua Kelisa GXi 1.0L from Malaysia
A lovely car, saves fuel, reliable, extremely fun to drive
Spare parts for this vehicle are rather expensive. Replacing the clutch system or overhauling the transmission system requires the removal of the engine, where the labour cost is very expensive.
It is rather cramped for a tall person, and basically can only fit 4 huge people. Fitting 5 people would be a little hard on the engine.
After 10 years of age, wear and tear will cost a lot to get the following replaced: drive shaft boots, oil filter seal, all seals, gasket, engine mountings, bushes, etc.
The exhaust system seems to get rusted all the time. I had replaced it with a brand new exhaust system, but after 4 years it started to rust again. I have noticed many Kelisas in Malaysia have no tailpipes due to the rust that rots the tailpipe.
The clutch cable requires replacement often as it dries out rather quickly and could break the clutch housing bracket.
The original head unit does not last long.
Head lights turned yellowish and blurry after a few years under the sun. A pair of original head lights are expensive.
3rd brake light housing will melt over time due to the heat of the light bulb that melts the housing.
No steering adjustment.
It is a wonderful car.
Handling is quite good; it is far better than its successor the Perodua Viva. The engine power is great for 1 person (95% of the time I am driving myself (85kg) only). I have absolutely no problem squeezing around the traffic. Cornering at high speed is not recommended as it feels like it is going to roll over.
The driver's side is still considered spacious for a 1.8M tall guy like me. But, it would require a shorter person to sit behind the driver's side when I'm driving. Even though it is a small car, I have actually helped my friends to move house several times; with the rear seats being placed down, there is lots of space. I even fitted in a dissembled PC desk, a full size mountain bicycle with tires removed, a 5 foot tall ladder, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
This car saves fuel a lot. For the past 6 years, my average FC is 15.9km/l. My driving behaviour would be shifting gears around 2-2.5K RPM, 30% of the time with the air conditioner on, service on time with Shell Helix hx5 10w30, using Shell Fuelsave ron95, tyre pressure at 200 PSI, K&N drop in filter, changed spark plugs every 25k km. My routine is actually 80% heavy slow moving traffic. When you drive carefully, be nice to the pedals, this car can really save you a lot in terms of gas.
I have not really had much major maintenance since I owned this Kelisa. For the years, I only had the engine oil changed, brake fluid changed, gear box oil changed, and all these aren't costly at a Perodua service center. My alternator, air con compressors, radiator, suspension, and a lot of parts are still running fine and never show me any problems.
But, as for today (11 years old), more and more wear and tear items are required to be replaced, such as rubber bushings, drive shaft boots, and oil seals are starting to crack and require replacement. All these are very, very costly if it is fixed in a Perodua service center. If you're on a budget, it could be fixed at a cheaper price at other workshops, but the quality of the part replacements are questionable and reliability is unsure. Except for the head unit, most electronic parts are working fine, I seldom experience a burnt light bulb, or any electronic parts failure. The past 6 years of ownership, I only ever replaced 1 front head light once, and 1 reverse light bulb once.
The Kelisa gives me an amazing driving experience. Every time I hit the long highway, it just makes me feels like going on and on at 80km/h, and I just wish the road would never end. It never fails to put a smile on my face when I'm driving this car. Fuel economy is fantastic. I have never actually broke down before in the middle of the road, as most of the parts of this vehicle are reliable Daihatsu parts. Driving around in the city is simply magical.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th July, 2015
19th Jul 2015, 11:41
Really good review and very thorough. These were based on the Daihatsu Mira, which was ok-ish when new, but by the time these were launched, incredibly outdated.
I sold Daihatsu along with Kia in the UK between 2003 and 2005, so drove a few Mira's, and having had a lot of experience driving various cars, my opinion was that they were fun to drive with a revvy little engine and go kart like handling, but slow, cramped, noisy, incredibly unrefined, and I can't imagine the road going on and on in one as you say!
I seriously think you should try driving a few different cars; you might be surprised at how much things have moved on...!