Not 2 Grand Cars, Perodua

The Perodua Kelisa…

Don’t dismiss the Perodua Kelisa. It might be a bit of an odd duck, but it’s mega fun.

Don’t ever say we don’t have variety here at Not2Grand. Our last update was the 225bhp powerhouse that is the Audi S3. This time we’ve gone right to the other end of the scale with a full 55 snarling, wild horses. This is the Perodua Kelisa. We know, right? It’s awesome.

Okay, you’re not sold are you? We can sense that furrowed brow along with the cursor that is hovering over the ‘close window‘ button. Trust us though, there’s a point to this. You see, the Perodua Kelisa is stupid amounts of fun. GET AWAY FROM THAT BUTTON, just read on.

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We live in an age of cars trying to offer everybody everything. In our day job, we were writing about a Volvo XC60 earlier. It had Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound. IN A CAR. Who needs that? What exactly is wrong with a car that is, from bumper to bumper, a car in the truest sense of the word? Nothing, that’s what. And that’s what the Kelisa is. It’s a car, plain and simple. There’s something oddly satisfying and somewhat refreshing about its humble honestly.

The thing is, in 2017, we forget about cars like this. Instead, we dismiss a car if it can’t tie our shoes or make us a coffee or phone our mum back because she’s rang ten times today and we can’t be bothered. We are, to put it simply, spoiled. The Perodua is the car that can take you back to pure driving fun.

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The Perodua Kelisa is, and this may be a bold statement, the modern embodiment of the Mini. Not the one BMW knocked out, the one Sir Alec Issigonis scribbled on a napkin in the late ’50s. The proper Mini. It was a simple, practical car that could fit four human beings inside it and some shopping in the boot. But more than that, it was brilliant fun. A wheel at each corner, a curb weight that would make Kate Moss blush and just enough power to scoot it along. Perfect.

And that’s what the Kelisa is. It’s 55bhp, it’s made to be lighter than a birthday card from your tight uncle and handily, there’s a wheel at each corner. And that means fun.

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Okay, so it’s about as well equipped as a shoe box, but so what? Manual window winders are good exercise, plus they remind your kids just how damn good they’ve got it. Air-conditioning? No, you use that manual winder. Traction control? Not on your nelly. Remote central locking? Jog on you fool, that’s what putting the key in the door is for.

Yeah, it’s a pretty damn basic automobile. But it does have some excellent features such as:

  • SEATS! Four of them. That’s eight cheeks.
  • A ROOF! Keeps the weather off you.
  • DOORS! Stop you from falling out.
  • A BOOT! In here, you can put THINGS. Things of your choosing. Small things..
  • WHEELS! Look at them go around and around!
  • LIGHTS! See things. At night!
  • PAINT! Stops your car looking like a forlorn skip.

Look at all those good things. Honestly, what more could you possibly want? Okay, Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound, probably. Just put some headphones in. We’d suggest a CD, but, um, the Kelisa doesn’t have a CD player as standard. In fact, some didn’t even have a stereo. Just, um, a hole.

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It also doesn’t have much in the way of safety, sadly. And while it has decent brakes, it has no ABS. If you do buy one, it may be best to avoid trees. And buildings. Other than that, it’s a blinder.

The little three-cylinder 1.0 petrol engine has an odd charm thanks to its off-beat raspy chatter as you work though the gears. The suspension is basic, but while it’s firm it can also be forgiving if you clout something. Okay, so it’s no Rolls Royce, but what do you expect from a small Malaysian car?

It also returns 50mpg with ease, and that’s never a bad thing. If you’re reading this and thinking it might make a good first car, you’re right. Get three mates to chip in a fiver each for fuel and you won’t need to top up for six months. Cheap motoring at its finest.

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In fact, that ‘first car’ angle isn’t a bad one. Yes, the Perodua Kelisa would make a fun little reserve, but it would be a cracking first car. Its basic, uninhibited driving characteristics would help young drivers learn. There are no safety nets (though it doe have airbags) to cosset the driver. With a Perodua Kelisa you’ll be learning all about the limits of grip, how to maintain speed and because it’s your first car, how to do handbrake turns.

But seriously, much like the Mini we had when calling us a teenager was correct, you feel the road in a car like this. You feel it move about on its tyres, you feel it shift what little weight it has when you corner or brake, you’re a very important part of the driving experience in this. You’re connected to it. Not just prodding fly-by-wire pedals while turning overly-assisted steering.

We love the Kelisa. It’s just simple, fun motoring with no frills. And that’s fine. Not every car has to be all things to all men. The Kelisa is simple, but at the same time it’s cheap to run, cheap to buy and because it’s simple, it’s pretty damn reliable, too. But most of all, it’s an absolute giggle to drive. And for around £1,000, you really can’t argue.

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