Back to basics – we drive one of Malaysia’s most iconic cars


Through the many times we’ve traveled up Ulu Yam, we came across a popular unasked question we don’t get – how do I go faster up the hills? Well, we believe that driving is an art form and that the weakest link is always that squishy lump of human behind the wheel. While most resort to getting a faster car to attack their favourite weekend corners, we believe that the proper way is to first upgrade the person behind the wheel. And honestly, there is no better way to approach this, than by going back to basics and driving a manual car.

How does driving stick level you up? For one, driving a manual car teaches you the basics of car control. This is all really basic physics but made simpler to comprehend with a practical lesson in vehicle dynamics – balancing the clutch, what happens when you upshift, what happens when you downshift, how to engine brake, how to react to weight transfer in your vehicle.

Perfecting this takes experience and plenty of time behind the wheel; and don’t forget that every car is unique. Different cars will have different clutch weights and varying bite points. Never be too embarrassed to jerk or stall or missed shifts, as this is all part of the learning experience. But when the universe aligns (or when you’ve become more seasoned) and you get it right on your favourite stretch of road, nothing is more rewarding than that feeling of accomplishment.

For the purpose of the video, we get our resident videographer, Eman, to drive a uniquely local car. Yes, the Perodua Kancil. Through its fifteen year production lifespan, over 720,000 Kancils were produced. The car you see in our video was at one point, the cheapest car money could buy in Malaysia. It was the 660cc variant which, when new, had a whopping 31 PS and 49 Nm, all in a frame that weighed some 700 kg. We can think of some kitchen blenders today which has more torque that our humble Kancil.

Because Eman confessed that the last time he drove a manual car was for his driving test twelve years ago, we selflessly volunteered him as subject for this video. In all honesty, we were hoping to capture some of his blunders on video and share it with the Internet. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for us), he managed to grasp the basics pretty quickly – which proves that you never really forget how to drive a manual. We needed more material, so we then put him up through another challenge which, again, he managed to breeze through.

You’ll have to watch our video below to see if he manages to pass the third and final challenge we hurled his way. Also, enjoy our gallery of the humble Perodua Kancil below 😉


About Author


From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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