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Before we delve deeper into this topic, it is prudent to understand how engine displacement works. Engine displacement is the volume swept by every piston inside the cylinders of an engine in a single movement. Displacement is most commonly cited in cubic centimetres (cc).

As previously mentioned, engine displacement of under 2 litres is most common here in Malaysia. Smaller engine capacities are most commonly used in lighter, smaller cars, while larger engines are fit to bigger, heavier cars. This is down to fuel economy as well as tax laws. Generally, the larger the engine displacement, the more the power. Naturally, one would assume a larger displacement would be more advantageous, and one would be right. But apart from the obvious fuel economy issues, road tax comes into play.

Road taxes in Malaysia are calculated based on the car’s engine displacement (in cubic centimetres). The lower the car’s engine displacement, the lower the road tax figure. Do note, however, that road taxes are structured to increase exponentially. For example, the road tax for a 1,499cc displacement (1.5-litre) car is RM90.00 per year, but one would need to fork out RM2,125 for a car which has double the displacement. A shockingly high figure (roughly 24 times the price), for a car that is theoretically twice as powerful. It is no wonder then, as to why most cars available in Malaysia feature smaller engines.

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