Affordability has always been a Perodua hallmark, and it has been something that has been ingrained in the buying psyche over the years. Whether that slant is seen as a plus or a minus depends on how you approach it. The cost-conscious have generally had no complaints, save wanting to see more tech for the money. Detractors, meanwhile, have called its cars cheap and lacking in advancement.

Whatever the case may be, the automaker is looking to ditch the long implanted “cheap car” association, something that it believes has more negative connotations than good ones. “When it’s said we sell cheap cars, it comes across like we are giving a sub-standard product to Malaysians. We are not selling cheap cars, but price optimised cars,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

“What optimised means is that we try to give more value, to have better specification at a reasonable price. We are not just providing mobility, but mobility with convenience and ease, with new features so that average Malaysians can enjoy the latest technology,” he said.

Zainal said the attempt to fulfil all the mobility requirements of buyer and increasing the level of tech and refinement without breaking the bank can be seen in the all-new Axia. While this has inevitably brought about a price increase with the new car, he explained that the D74A is more expensive due to its bigger size and the incorporation of advanced features, and not because of a planned price hike, something it says it will attempt to stave off as long as possible.

“With the increased specifications, the increase in safety, the pricing will be different from before. We increased the price of the new model not because of inflation or material costs, but because of additional features that we included,” he said. Will it be good enough to lose the negative imprint for good? Time will tell. Full details on the all-new Axia when it is officially launched tomorrow – you can read our first drive impressions here.

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