How a year will shape up is typically anyone’s guess, and safe to say, few could have foreseen the gravity of 2020’s developments. Despite the effects of Covid-19 becoming visible across the industry from early in the year, we’ve seen comparable readership numbers despite disruptions by the pandemic, and now’s a good time to revisit the most popular stories on paultan.org for the year that has just been.

First, the raw numbers. In 2020, we have published 4,324 posts last year compared to 3,551 in 2019, yielding an average of more than 16 posts per weekday. This has given us a tally of 173 million page views in 2020 versus 175 million in 2019; a comparable figure given the disruptions from the pandemic. Our user base continues to grow, now 21 million users recorded in 2020 compared to 20 million in 2019.

This time around, we are limiting entry into the top 10 to one entry per vehicle model. We have done so because the Proton X50 has punched well above its weight in drawing interest from you, our dear readers; the national brand’s B-segment SUV would otherwise have six of the top 10 spots here. Interest in national carmakers nevertheless takes the bulk of the list, with Proton and Perodua parked in five out of the 10 spots.

Which stories drew the most attention last year? Here are your top 10 from 2020:

10. 2020 Proton Saga Anniversary Edition launched – 35th birthday special in black-yellow, 1,100 units, RM39,300

Known officially as the Proton Saga Anniversary Edition (AE), the limited-run variant commemorates the 35th anniversary of the Saga nameplate and was capped at a production run of 3,500 units. Based on the Premium AT variant finished in Quartz Black exterior paintwork that is normally the reserve of government-issue vehicles, the AE additionally gets flashes of yellow in a nod to R3, Proton’s motorsports division.

9. 2020 Proton X70 CKD details: 4 variants, AWD dropped, new ventilated seats and power boot

A great deal of you were eager to know the details of the locally assembled Proton X70, among which was the inclusion of a seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission. While new equipment was added to the CKD model, AWD departed from the kit list, though the same 1.8 litre turbo four petrol engine gained 15 Nm more torque, with the same peak power figure.

8. 2020 Honda Civic facelift debuts in Malaysia – three variants, 1.8 NA and 1.5 Turbo, RM114k to RM140k

Pricing issues held back the Malaysian debut of the 2020 Honda Civic facelift, officially being launched five months after its initial preview. At its debut, the facelifted FC-generation Civic saw price increases of between RM5.5k to Rm11k.

7. 2020 Nissan Almera Turbo in Malaysia – 1.0 litre turbo CVT, AEB on all three variants, from RM8xk to RM9xk

Nissan’s fourth-generation B-segment sedan gains turbocharging, and made its ASEAN debut in Thailand that preceding November. The headline act here is the HR10DET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol, with the top VLT variant packing Intelligent Around View Monitor (360-degree bird’s eye view) with Moving Object Detection, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

6. Perodua D55L SUV coming second half of 2020: report

Interest in the B-segment SUV category shows no sign of letting up, as evidenced by your interest in our January report of Perodua’s much-anticipated entry into this segment. Come August, the D55L was announced to be delayed into 2021, which is the soonest the compact SUV from the national automaker will be released.

5. 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift launched in Malaysia – ASA 2.0, LED headlamps, 4 variants, from RM34,580

Despite ever-growing demand for the likes of SUVs and crossovers, the three-box sedan remains a perennial favourite, as proven by interest in the launch of the 2020 Perodua Bezza facelift. Among the biggest draws for Perodua’s sedan was the inclusion of the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 suite, joining the Axia facelift to make the most affordable duo in Malaysia to be equipped with AEB.

4. 2020 SST exemption: all the revised car price lists

Money matters, and therefore Malaysian car prices make for hot topics here, with the 2020 sales tax exemption making it into the upper half of the 2020 top 10 list. This saw a 100% sales tax exemption on locally assembled (CKD) vehicles and a 50% sales tax reduction on fully imported (CBU) models, initially set in place from June 15 until December 31, 2020. This has since been extended to June 30, 2021.

3. 2020 Honda City open for booking in Malaysia – new 1.5L NA DOHC, world debut for RS i-MMD, Q4 launch

To further drive home the point that the sedan flag still flies high in the minds of Malaysian car buyers, as shown by interest in the 2020 Honda City. The Japanese brand has also made Malaysia the world debut market for the Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid version, otherwise known globally as the e:HEV.

2. Mini EV X2 in Malaysia – electric citycar, just RM13.8k?

Not to be confused with the more established brand with its own electric hatchback, this compact curiousity from China certainly piqued the interest of Malaysians, what with a starting price of just RM13,800. The Mini EV X2 was claimed to have a range of 120 km, of which 80% can be attained through a five-hour charge. Top speed is 50 km/h, which is attained in 25 seconds from a standstill, or 80 km/h in the ‘High Speed’ version.

1. Proton X50 SUV – 2020 launch confirmed, CKD straight

Behold, your favourite of 2020, the January announcement of the Proton X50 launch. We’ve since detailed the powertrain that goes into the Malaysian carmaker’s B-segment SUV, the Malaysian research and development that led to key safety changes for the right-hand-drive version, as well as a detailed review. Our man, Hafriz Shah has also taken delivery of his very own unit.