Posted on September 15, 2011 at 12:00 am
?13% more power, 16% more torque
?11% improvement in weight-to-power ratio
?Uprated suspension with stiffer dampers
?Extreme version has standard multimedia package
?Price range from RM50,900 – RM61,700
?First driving impressions here
In the past, whenever Perodua has introduced a SE version with sportier looks, the complaint has been that there was no improvement in performance because the engine remained the same. Of course, Perodua usually clarified that ‘SE’ did not mean ‘Sports
Edition’ and only referred to ‘Special
Edition’. However, making the car look sportier and not offering better performance was sometimes a disappointment.
But it’s not unusual that manufacturers are quick to offer cosmetic upgrades but tweak technical specifications less. The reason is that they need to maintain reliability and durability; an engine upgrade has to be properly engineered and tested and must meet strict standards. This all costs a lot of extra money as it is not just a ‘bolt-on’ kind of exercise that an owner might do.
Where an engine upgrade is intended, then a full engineering program has to be carried out and with the new Myvi 1.5 launched today, this has been the case. It has involved more than just replacing the 1.3-litre unit in the engine bay with a larger one. Most people (especially those who buy ‘half-cut’ engines to replace the stock engine) may think it’s a very simple thing to do but for a manufacturer, it is not. Everything from the body structure to the safety systems must be tested and strengthened or modified if necessary.
Apparently, the Myvi 1.5 is unique in the world as it is the only 1.5-litre variant of the model shared with the Toyota Passo and Daihatsu Boon. Everywhere else, the model has only a 1.3-litre engine. Perodua could do this because the volume – now almost 100,000 units a year – is at that point where the next level of engineering customization is possible.
The long-stroke all-aluminium DVVT engine is the 3SZ-VE, similar to that in the Alza but tuned a bit differently to suit the lighter Myvi. Compared to the 1.3-litre engine
, power output is up 13% to 103 ps while there’s 16% more torque at 136 Nm. Though the new Myvi with a 200 cc larger engine is, on average, about 1.5% heavier, the extra output improves the weight-to-power ratio by 11%. Manual and automatic transmissions are available, like the Myvi 1.3.
Incidentally, the DVVT engine uses a chain drive instead of a belt drive for the camshafts as a chain is more durable. Unlike a belt which has to be changed periodically, a chain can last for a very long time, reducing the replacement cost to the owner.
|Suspension settings uprated for 1.5
Many manufacturers are returning to chain drives these days because new materials and technology enable them to run with less noise (the complaint which brought a switch to belts during the 1980s).
The other mechanical specifications are similar to the Myvi 1.3 including the alloy wheels with 175/65R14 tyres. According to a Perodua engineer, the suspension settings are different for the Myvi 1.5, with additional stiffness to accommodate the increase in weight which influences weight distribution to a small extent. He said that if the dampers from the 1.5 are installed on the 1.3, then the ride height would increase so it’s not recommended to try and do that. However, the Myvi 1.5 has the same ride height as the Myvi 1.3.
|Myvi 1.5 SE on the left and Myvi 1.5 Extreme with more aggressive bodykit on the right
Looks-wise, the Myvi 1.5 has a smarter front grille design and reprofiled bumpers that give a more distinctive appearance. Like previous SE versions, the emphasis is on sportiness and there are pronounced side skirts with styling elements on the rear bumper that should please the boy-racer types.
For those who want even more aggressive looks, there is an additional version called the Myvi Extreme which has a front airdam extension attached (you could also buy this separately and fix it to the SE). Black is used to accent certain elements giving a bolder, more aggressive appearance.
The SE has six colour choices and the Extreme has three, with Majestic Yellow being a new shade. The aggressiveness of the Extreme is more apparent with the bright colours (Majestic Yellow and Ivory White) but a bit lost with the dark shade of Ebony Black though black does still look bold.
In the cabin, the most obvious difference from the Myvi 1.3 is that the all-black colour theme instead of the 2-tone theme on the dashboard. This is in keeping with the sportier image and metallic accents on various panels provide a touch of stylishness. Where the dashboard had a more horizontal emphasis visually, in the Myvi 1.5, this is not the case and the central area is highlighted with metallic finish.
|Myvi 1.5 SE dashboard above and Myvi 1.5 Extreme dashboard below.
Multimedia package with large touchscreen is standard for the Extreme
The Optitron instrument panel (Optitron was first used in the models of Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota which is also the parent company of Daihatsu, Perodua’s partner) has the same layout with the information display panel integrated in the larger speedometer. However, it now has red illumination to go with the sporty character of the car.
Other special features in the SE are the audio controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel with a magnesium core, semi-bucket front seats and electrically-retractable door mirrors. The Myvi Extreme has all the goodies in the SE with the addition of leather upholstery and the multimedia package (option for SE) which has a larger and bright 6-inch touchscreen, DVD player and GPS navigation. This version also comes with exclusive floormats with red trim.
The price range starting at RM50,900 surprised many who expected that Perodua would ask for many thousands of ringgit more. The most expensive Myvi 1.3 (Elegance with automatic transmission) is RM57,400 and the SE, with its fairly comprehensive equipment level, doesn’t cost that much. Of course, the Myvi 1.5 price range does go as high as RM61,700 for the top Extreme but for many, the SE would probably be enough.
Perodua expects the 1.5 to account for 45% of total Myvi sales but the price separation with the 1.3 seems rather close and it is possible that more people will choose the 1.5. It is often the case in Malaysia that the more expensive versions sell better, probably because they are seen as being better value for money. And in Malaysia, the price of the car is not as influential as the monthly instalments to repay the H-P loan. A version costing a few thousand ringgit more is still considered ‘affordable’ when the extra cost is spread out over 60 months or more.
So the question is whether the 1.3 should be repositioned as a more basic model and this is something which will need time to determine. There will still be those who believe that the 200 cc will make a meaningful difference in their running costs and with concerns about rising fuel costs in years to come, the smaller the engine, the better. But fuel consumption is really in your hands – or rather, your foot – and the 1.5-litre engine could have similar or even better consumption than the 1.3-litre unit, depending on the driver and driving style.
We’ve already driven the Myvi 1.5 - our first impressions are here