Automagic: The Kelisa Conundrum

16 04 2007

When I first saw the Perodua Kelisa in 2004, my reactions were “Yuck! A Tin Can”, followed by “What a lame attempt to copy the Mini?”, finally ending with “AAARRRGH!” I swear that this car, and its siblings, the Kancil and the Kenari, have tormented me for the 2 years I was forced to share roads with them in Malaysia. I consider it a sin that the Mini’s looks have been abused, violated even, by the creation of this, this… monument to mediocrity…

When I see something like this video, it makes my heart sing. Maybe there is salvation for us purists who feel that a car has to look, feel, and sound like a car to be a car… [enter existential quandary…] I’ll leave it Jeremy Clarkson to express exactly how I feel about the Perodua Kelisa… You’re on Jeremy…

What I really love about this whole topic is how I found this video. The BBC had an article a couple of weeks back titled Malaysia Lamblasts Top Gear Host. Why would this interest me? Cause I know how sensitive Malaysians are when it comes to their [cough, cough] “national pride”. And knowing Jeremy Clarkson, when he pisses people off, its usually something outrageously funny.

So after watching the video over and over again for about 15 minutes [I rewound the explosion and sledgehammer bit quite a few times], I realized something even weirder. The video was posted in December 2005, and the Malaysian “outburst” was in April 2007. One and a half years and 201,309 views, and then they get MAD??? Jeesh, I know Malaysians can be a bit slow, but this is possibly a new world record in “slowness” of processing information…

There is a message to all you car designers out there. Make it look like a car, not some breadbox with wheels on it. There’s more to cars than having umpteen knobs to fiddle with [even though certain fetishists are well satisfied by this aspect]. Yes, I belong to the Top Gear school of automobile philosophy, and I believe that a car needs personality, style, and some amount sex appeal. It needs, “Ooommphhh!”

Otherwise, whats the bloody point? You’ll be stuck with an unattractive, high-maintenance, nerve-wracking nightmare that’ll make you dream of new ways of using 4 sticks of dynamite, a crane, a one-ton weight, and a sledgehammer. Ahhhh, what it is to dream.




2 responses

19 04 2007
Ram H. Viswanathan

It might amuse you to learn that Proton (that other Malaysian car manufacturer who just happens to own Lotus Engineering) has built a concept hybrid car called the ‘EVE Hybrid’ that can boost fuel economy by up to 28% (to 5.6 litres/100km) from the regular engines they use.

Here’s a Business Week article about it:

19 04 2007

O man o man… talk about more fodder… new post coming up shortly… thanks da…

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