5 of the best cars to drive to Malaysia

Ben Chia

The borders have opened, and it’s time to drive to Malaysia once more. Here are what we think are five of the best cars to blast up North in


Now that the land crossings between Singapore and Malaysia have opened up, it’s time to plan for that long-awaited road trip up North. There are plenty of reasons to head across the border, whether you’re visiting relatives, seeking out cheap shopping deals, or indulging in your favourite makan spots. For the keen driving enthusiast, Malaysia also offers up a driving scenery that you just don’t get in Singapore, with its long open highways and winding rural B-roads.

If you’re planning a driving trip up North, you’ll ideally want something that’s fun to drive, comfortable, and reasonably practical if you plan on doing some shopping. Here are what we think are five of the best cars to make the most out of your cross-border journey.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

If you’re heading across the border simply to have a bit of driving fun, then there’s arguably few better cars for the job than a hot hatchback like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Its 2.0-litre turbo engine with 245hp offers plenty of performance, while its agile and nimble chassis makes it one of the most entertaining drives you can have today. Driving one of these down a twisting B-road is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Skoda Octavia RS

Then again, if you seek a similar sort of driving experience, but want a bit more boot space to load up on your grocery shopping before you head home, you might want to consider the Skoda Octavia RS. Sharing the same essential underpinnings as the Golf GTI, the Octavia RS offers similar levels of driving entertainment, with the same 2.0-litre turbo drivetrain that will get you anywhere you want to go pretty briskly. The difference is that it comes in a liftback body style, along with a massive 600 litre boot, enough to contain your entire day’s loot from City Square Mall and beyond.

BMW i4 eDrive40

Now, you may ask, why would you drive an electric car into Malaysia. Wouldn’t it be risky if you run out of charge? While it is true that Malaysia’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure isn’t quite as developed as Singapore’s yet, the i4 proves that it need not necessarily be that big an issue. In eDrive40 guise, the i4 is capable of covering over 400km on a full charge, which should at least get you to Malacca and back. It’s also brilliant to drive, being smooth, comfortable, quiet and entertaining, so you’ll be in for an enjoyable experience.

​​Lexus NX 450h+ PHEV

The Lexus NX 450h+ PHEV is probably the ideal car for Singaporeans who plan to make regular long distance trips to Malaysia. Its plug-in drivetrain allows you to drive a pretty substantial distance (up to 60km in our experience) within urban confines using just electric power alone. Once you cross the border and hit the highway though, the petrol engine kicks in and you’ll drive it just like any other petrol car, which also lets you take advantage of the cheaper fuel there. And being a Lexus, the NX is smooth, comfortable and luxurious, while its SUV form factor means you get plenty of space and practicality for your shopping.

Kia Carnival

All of the above choices are great cars for the driver, but what if you want to bring your friends along as well? If you want to make a party out of your jaunt up North, then there’s no better choice than a large seven-seater MPV like the Kia Carnival. This massive people mover offers plenty of room for you and six other friends, plus all your associated barang barang, while there’s also lots of cool features, like reclining and ventilated seats, so that you can cruise the North-South Highway with your mates in absolute comfort.


best bmw carnival driving golf golf gti gti i4 Kia Lexus malaysia NX octavia octavia RS skoda volkswagen

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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