The facelifted 2019 Perodua Axia has just been introduced, equipped with a revised look and a handful of significant new features. Of course, not all models get all of these features, which is why choosing the right spec is more important than ever before.

This is especially true at the lower end of the range. Barring the kosong, fit-only-for-driving-schools E, the real range that actual customers will consider starts with the G, which is priced at RM33,490. Pretty affordable, I think you’ll agree, but this year Perodua has complicated your options a little bit.

You see, for just RM1,500 more, you can get the new RM34,990 GXtra variant, which is being offered as the value-for-money alternative. Right off the bat, it makes a compelling case for itself, as it comes with one of the biggest new features for the Axia – Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). The addition of this vital safety net makes this the cheapest car in Malaysia to offer it (although the next closest, the RM36,700 Proton Iriz Standard MT, isn’t too far off), and it’s worth the price premium alone.

The Axia GXtra is the cheapest car in Malaysia to come with stability control

It’s amazing, the rate of progress on display here. The G variant did not even come with ABS when the Axia was introduced way back in 2014, and it wasn’t until nearly two years later that it received this basic feature. Now you can get stability control for a slight increase in price. Remember that time Perodua said it couldn’t simply install the system in older models like the Axia? Those days are long gone now.

It only gets better from there. Perodua has actually removed quite a lot of features from the G, to the extent that you don’t even get reverse sensors. The GXtra adds that and the anti-snatch hook (one of the Axia’s original USPs), along with a driver’s seat height adjuster that’s crucial if you want a driving position that’s even remotely comfortable. You also get nicer fabric upholstery and some silver interior trim.

You may be wondering, then, what’s the point of having the G if the GXtra adds so much for so little extra outlay? Well, we actually put the question to Perodua itself, and the answer was surprisingly simple. See, almost everyone buys their cars through hire purchase loans, and the difference in monthly instalments between the two variants ranges from RM15 to RM30, depending on the loan tenure.

Interiors of Axia G (left) and GXtra (right)

Don’t laugh – that amount might seem inconsequential, but Perodua says it could make the difference between getting your loan approved or rejected. Of course, if you’re running such fine margins you really should be asking yourself if you actually need the car in the first place, but the fact of the matter is, that’s the reality of many Malaysians these days.

So yes, you should buy whatever you can afford, but if you have the means, you really should go for the GXtra instead of the G. And if you don’t need a new car right away, you can always wait a few months to save up, and put the extra money into the downpayment – that way, you’ll be paying the same monthly instalment as you would the G. The extras really are worth it.

And please, please, please don’t buy the G variant and then spend a huge amount of money on GearUp accessories – stuff that you just don’t need. You can do better than that.