7-Seater Cars Below RM100k For Your Growing Family

7-Seater Cars Below RM100k For Your Growing Family

As 2017 heads to a close, most of us are already marking our calendars for that well-deserved outstation trip or balik kampung sojourn.

But such lengthy pilgrimages are only worth the trip if you and your family are ensconced in a spacious four-wheeler.

Snarled-up traffic along the North-South corridor is no longer the stuff of legends – last year, there was even a how-to guide on avoiding traffic jams when travelling during the festivities.

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But as Malaysia has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, this situation is likely to exacerbate, meaning you have but no choice to brave through the crawl until you’ve reached your destination.

The good news? There’s a way to make the journey slightly bearable and that’s investing in a capacious auto that offers everything you need – from safety to comfort – while you are on the road.

So here are the top five seven-seater cars under RM100,000 that are worth considering especially if you and your family are one of those serial weekenders:

1) Perodua Alza

Perodua Alza

Price from RM52,332

Monthly repayment: RM557.77**

This functional family wagon is a three-row seven-seater that comes in five variants.

Its design is based on the Toyota Passo Sette but don’t underestimate that made-in-Malaysia badge: this compact rivals the likes of the Toyota Avanza or Nissan Grand Livina.

Fuel efficiency8.0 L/100km
SafetyTwo SRS front airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, ISOFIX child restraint system, seatbelt warning buzzers

*Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.
Space and comfort- Adjustable rear seat slope delivers more space
- A spacious interior for a B-segment car
- Spacing between seats suitable for tall passengers
*Available on the higher-spec SE and advanced versions.

Other features on the standard Alza kit include LED rear lamps, multi-information display, split folding rear seats and a four-speaker audio system and reverse sensors.

If you opt for the range-topping Advanced kit, you get additional bells and whistles such as roof-mounted monitors, a multimedia system with navigation, USB and Bluetooth, as well as a leather-wrapped interior.

As for what’s under the hood, the only engine choice is the naturally aspirated 3SZ-VE 1.5-litre DVVT DOHC unit that powers the 1.5-litre Myvi variants. Power output is rated at 104hp at 6,000rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

The Alza can be opted with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

For a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, here’s the estimated fuel cost:

TripMileage (two-way)Estimated fuel cost (RON95)
Masjid Jamek – Gurney Drive – Masjid Jamek356kmRM62.66^

2) Proton Ertiga

Price from RM56,984

Monthly repayment: RM607.35**

This people-hauler is a compact MPV that’s smaller than the Exora and is built on the extended version of the Suzuki Swift platform.

There are three variants to choose from – its range-topper fetching a price tag of RM82,560 – and it sets itself as a direct competitor to Perodua Alza or Toyota Avanza.

Fuel efficiency7.0L/100km
SafetyDual frontal airbags, ABS, EBD, and ISOFIX mounts
Space and comfort- Adjustable rear seats
- Decent cargo space
- Good legroom on all three rows

As for the car’s innards, it is powered by the K14B engine that produces 91hp at 6,000rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Transmission options include a five-speed manual and a four-speed auto. Fuel consumption for both the manual and auto is rated at 6.0-litres per 100km.

For a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, here’s the estimated fuel cost:

TripMileage (two-way)Estimated fuel cost (RON95)
Masjid Jamek – Gurney Drive – Masjid Jamek356kmRM54.82^

3) Proton Exora

Price from RM56,940

Monthly repayment: RM606.89**

Another seven-seater in the affordable bracket, the Exora is offered in five variants with prices going all the way up to RM82,560 for the top of the line Super Premium CVT.

It is similar in size with the Mazda 5, the difference here being the Exora’s cheaper price tag and its innards.

Fuel efficiency11.1 L/100km
Safety2 SRS front airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners

*ABS with EBD, two extra airbags and electronic stability control
Space and comfort- Decent cabin space
- Second and third row seats can be put down flat for more room
- Excellent headroom
- Third row best for kids
*Available on the higher-spec SE and advanced versions.

As for additional features, the Standard model is equipped with typical installations such as side skirting, smoked rear combination lights and a reverse camera as well as reverse sensors.

The range-topping variants get much more robust gear such as daytime running lights, rear fog lamps, multi-functional steering wheel, cruise control and an audio system that supports DVD, MP3 and Bluetooth.

What’s under the hood depends on the variant you pick. There are two 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines on offer. First is the naturally aspirated CPS unit that powers the entry-level Executive Manual and Auto. The CPS is rated at 125hp at 6,500rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. Drivers can opt for this engine with either a five-speed manual or four-speed torque converter type automatic transmission.

The three other variants are powered by the carmaker’s turbocharged CFE mill that is good for 138hp and 205Nm of torque. This engine is solely available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) only.

For a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, here’s the estimated fuel cost:

TripMileage (two-way)Estimated fuel cost (RON95)
Masjid Jamek – Gurney Drive – Masjid Jamek356kmRM86.94^

4) Honda BR-V

Price from RM85,800

Monthly instalment: RM914.49**

The BR-V is Honda’s first full-size seven seater for the Malaysian market. It has two variants with the range-topping Type V priced at RM92,800.

The car uses a heavily worked platform that is shared with the Thai/Indonesian market specific Honda Brio hatch and Amaze sedan.

Fuel efficiency6.3 L/100km
Safety2 SRS front airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners

*ABS with EBD, two extra airbags and electronic stability control.
Space and comfort- Comfortable front, second and third row seats.
- Top of the class legroom.
- Average shoulder space.
- Foldable rear seats for extra boot space.

Under the hood, the car is powered by the 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine, which is shared with the Honda Jazz and City models. Power is rated at 120hp and 145Nm, distributed to the front wheels through its Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

For a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, here’s the estimated fuel cost:

TripMileage (two-way)Estimated fuel cost (RON95)
Masjid Jamek – Gurney Drive – Masjid Jamek356kmRM49.34^

5) Toyota Sienta

Price from RM92,900

Monthly repayment: RM990.16**

Toyota’s latest MPV is the answer for those looking for an affordable seven-seater within a RM100,000 budget.

There are two variants with the 1.5V being top of the line with an asking price of RM99,900.

Fuel efficiency6.7 L/100km
SafetyABS, EBD, BA, Hill Assist, Electronic Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), ISOFIX
Space and comfort- There’s space under the second row to tuck one’s feet.
- Third row is only suitable for average-sized adults.
- May not be able to accommodate a bulky child car seat.

Other features on the Standard model include LED daytime running lights, rear fog lights, monochrome trip computer, and rear air-con vents.

The upmarket variant – the 1.5V – has the following additional features: smart keyless entry, auto climate control, leather-wrapped steering with audio controls and an infotainment console.

Powering the Sienta is a transverse engine configuration with front-wheel drive. Its 1.5-litre NR-series engine with Dual VVT-i is effectively the same unit on an Avanza and its rated outputs for both variants measure at 107PS and 140Nm, higher than the Avanza’s 105PS and 136Nm.

For a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, here’s the estimated fuel cost:

TripMileage (two-way)Estimated fuel cost (RON95)
Masjid Jamek – Gurney Drive – Masjid Jamek356kmRM52.47^

Which one should you go for?

When shopping around for a seven-seater, remember this: the vehicle has to fit the purpose. Your purpose.

If you are into hard-core interstate travel, then you’ll need one that has sufficient legroom and head space and shoulder space.

If you are looking quick getaways nearby the capital, than something that offers decent legroom between all three rows and a slim boot would do the trick.

Buying a car is also not just about the monthly instalment. It’s a long-term financial commitment from petrol cost, road tax to maintenance cost. Based on the comparison above, although the Perodua Alza ranks as the cheapest in this list, it’s petrol consumption is not the lowest.

We understand that fuel efficiency depends on a number of factors, for the estimated fuel economy listed for each car should serve as a guidance to choose a vehicle that is the most economical, fuel-wise.

Although the Honda BR-V comes fourth in this list, it comes in first in terms of fuel economy.

Ultimately, to get the best bang for your bucks, it all boils down to what you need and how frequently you’ll use it to travel.

**The monthly repayment for each car is calculated based on the interest rates of 3.10% per annum and 9-year auto loan. Actual repayment rates may differ. Loan amount used is the car prices minus 10% deposit.

^ Based on RON95 price as of September 13, 2017 at RM2.20 per litre.

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