In 2005, Perodua launched the Myvi which was more than just another new model. It marked a sort of ‘graduation’ for the carmaker as the development of the Myvi had seen the involvement of the Malaysian R&D team in a far greater way than ever before. Furthermore, Perodua was a participant in the project together with Daihatsu and Toyota. While the three companies pooled resources for the project and shared a platform, each ‘customised’ the new model to their own market’s needs.
When the Myvi was launched, it became a favourite right away, partly because it was a competently designed car but also the trust that Perodua had gained from the public which had seen its quality getting better and better. With the Myvi, Perodua was propelled upwards to become the No.1 brand in Malaysia, a position which it has held up till today.
Fast forward 12 years later and once again, the company is making a big leap forward with the all-new Myvi launched this evening. Some companies may think that once they have become No.1, it’s time to relax and enjoy the achievement. But that’s not been Perodua’s way and adhering to the philosophy of ‘kaizen’ – Japanese for ‘constant improvement’ – they have kept looking for ways to give customers better cars at affordable prices. Actually, in the segment which Perodua dominates, other carmakers would not spend so much time and effort, let alone give the best value for money possible.
The new Myvi is a continuation of Perodua’s journey to becoming a global carmaker. It’s an objective which the company is not rushing towards, though, and even when it can do 99.9% of a new model by itself, it still wants to learn from its partner which is over 100 years old. In the case of this new model, the ‘teacher’ must be proud of his student being able to now do the entire upper body design on his own.
For this reason, the design of the new Myvi is unique and not an adaptation of an existing Daihatsu model. This gives Perodua many advantages because it is not constrained by design issues so it can put in whatever it wants, and that also means being able to involve Malaysian suppliers in a bigger way.
The new Myvi is a bigger model than its predecessor, longer by 205 mm and wider by 70 mm. The increase in the overall length has meant that the car can no longer be bulbous, as it was before. So it’s not sleeker and the roofline is 30 mm lower. The new shape is certainly more efficient aerodynamically – 0.296 Cd compared to 0.306 for the previous shape.
Perodua has so far not applied a specific design philosophy for its models although there is a degree of consistency in the frontal appearances. Functionality is more important than trying to ‘force’ on a corporate look and with the latest Myvi, the ‘face’ is more assertive with bold elements like the large air intake below the grille and the big auxiliary light apertures on either side.
The headlights are also larger and every variant now uses LEDs instead of bulbs. At the rear too, the lighting units have LEDs with light guides, a styling feature which is found on cars a class or two higher.
Under the ‘skin’, there’s additional evidence of how Perodua has gone its own way, so to speak, in the development of this new model. The platform is not from a Daihatsu model and is an evolution of the one used in the previous Myvi, which was a fairly well engineered one. From what we understand, the platform was extended to lengthen the wheelbase by 60 mm and it was also given additional reinforcements to increase rigidity.
The suspension has also undergone a lot of revision and improvement. The front and rear stabilizer bars are thicker while the front lower arms are lightened. There’s also a new rear beam structure using a curved design which is stiffer and the rear crossmember has been redesigned for greater rigidity. With the structural revisions, Perodua’s engineers believe that the new model should be able to get the maximum 5-star score in ASEAN NCAP’s crash tests (which have tougher criteria now).
Indeed, safety has been given a huge amount of attention and rightly so since Malaysia, Perodua’s home and biggest market, has a high rate of motor vehicle accidents. Since Perodua sells the most vehicles every month, it would have a responsibility to help bring the statistics down by making its vehicles not just better in protecting the occupants but also safer to drive.
This is where the Big Leap for the model is most evident. Where in the past, the lower-priced variants did not have certain safety features, now Perodua is offering the important ones for every variant. ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution is standard across the range along with Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control. The latter should prove valuable as it can help to prevent the car from spinning out of control in a slippery corner, subject to the laws of physics and tyre grip. Hillstart Assist is also available on some variants, preventing rolling backwards when moving off on a steep slope.
Even the provision of airbags is commendable. The 1.3-litre variants have not only frontal airbags but also airbags on the outers sides of the front seats for additional protection during side collisions. The extra money paid for the 1.5-litre variants gets another two airbags – curtain airbags which drop over the side windows when the car is hit from the left or right side. These airbags not only provide cushioning as the body is thrown against the side of the cabin but can also prevent a body from being ejected through the window (which has happened before in violent accidents). Since the structure would be the same for the 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre variants, it will be possible to offer the curtain airbags for the smaller variant at some time in the future when the cost becomes low enough for Perodua to add it without having to charge more or charging just a little bit more.
But it is the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) package that is the most impressive. This is a driver-assistance feature which has four separate functions: Pre-Collision Warning, Pre-Collision Braking, Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control. The first two are related while the third and fourth are independent functions.
ASA relies on two cameras mounted above the rearview mirror which scan the road ahead and the imagery is analysed by a computer at lightning speed to make certain decisions that can avoid an accident and costly repairs.
Let’s look at Pre-Collision Warning (PCW) and Pre-Collision Braking (PCB) which is active from 4 km/h to 30 km/h. PCW will alert the driver by sound when the car is approaching another vehicle ahead at a speed which may result in a collision. If it appears that the driver has not taken appropriate action like slowing down or braking, then PCB activates and the brakes are automatically applied. This is known as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) which safety organisations are pushing for to be made standard in vehicles sold in Europe and America.
AEB may sound worrying as the driver is not the one who is in control but the first time someone experiences it, then its value will be appreciated. It should help reduce the multiple car pile-ups that we sometimes see on highways. When AEB occurs, the hazard lights also start flashing to alert the driver behind that the Myvi is braking hard.
Front Departure Alert is not really a safety feature and is more for ‘convenience’. It is activated when the car is stopped and should the driver not move off when the vehicle ahead has moved off, then a buzzer will sound. The example given is what many people often do these days – check messages on their phone while waiting for the traffic lights to change. Sometimes they may not realise the light has changed to green and hold up others behind. You’ve probably had that experience before… or you are the driver who has held others up!
The simple explanation of Pedal Misoperation Control is that it helps to avoid crashing into a wall. This can sometimes happen because a driver may be distracted and step on the accelerator pedal too hard and the car shoots forward. With the two cameras watching the area ahead and noting that there is a wall, the moment this situation occurs, engine power will be suppressed and instead of shooting forward, the car will crawl like it’s lost power.
You may say that PCW, PCB and AEB are nothing new; after all, Volvo already had it 6 years ago and even the Ford Focus has it. But such models cost much more than a Myvi. Over time, the features in more expensive cars will come down to the cheaper cars as the cost drops (ABS and airbags are two examples) but these AEB systems should not, by right, have reached the entry-level segment yet. Perodua has obviously found some way to bring the cost down (or squeezed the supplier a lot) so that it can add this advanced feature – at least in the top variant for now which, in any case, is still under RM60,000.
Other safety features in all new Myvi variants include 3-step headlamp levelling (which has to be done manually) so that the headlights won’t dazzle oncoming motorists if there is a heavy load in the back of the car and the headlights point higher than usual. There’s also a ‘follow-me-home’ feature which keeps the headlights on after the engine is switched off and the doors locked. The idea is to provide illumination in front of the car as you walk towards your front door. Of course, that assumes that you park your car facing the front door!
There are also sensors in the bumpers, front and rear, so you not only avoid hitting something but you won’t scratch the paintwork. The most expensive variant also includes a reverse camera to make parking easier and you can position your Myvi precisely in the bay so that its picture does not appear in ‘Stupid Parking Idiots’ (a Facebook page which shows pictures of cars parked badly).
Carried over from the Axia is the anti-snatch hook fitted to the front passenger’s seat. This may be a uniquely Malaysian feature and sadly, it is also a reflection of the sort of crimes we have on our roads. The hook is for holding a handbag strap so that if someone breaks the window glass and tries to grab the handbag, it will be held in place and not easily snatched.
Both the engines are new and come from Perodua’s affiliated factory in Negeri Sembilan. They are ‘NR’ engines and if those alphabets sound familiar, you’re right. They are also the engines found in the Toyota Vios and the sharing is a practical approach to lower costs. This is where Perodua, partnering with Daihatsu, has access to better technology since Daihatsu is part of the Toyota Group.
The all-aluminium engines meet Euro-4 emission standards and have Dual VVT-i which means that the valve timing on the inlet and exhaust ports is constantly varied to optimise output, depending on driving conditions. The peak output for the 1.3-litre (1329 cc) engine is 95 ps/121 Nm and for the 1.5-litre (1496 cc) engine, it is 103 ps/136 Nm. Both engines qualify as Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) powerplants so Perodua gets incentives from the government which helps to offset its production costs and keeps the car prices down.
On average, the new Myvi is 32% more economical than the previous model. The 1.3-litre engine has a claimed fuel consumption of up to 21.1 kms/litre while the 1.5-litre engine does 20.1 kms/litre. With a fuel tank capacity of 36 litres, that means a range of about 750 kms per tankful. An Eco Idle system which shuts down the engine during long periods of idling to save fuel is available on certain variants. Some people may find it irritating and it can be switched off but then you don’t get that extra bit of fuel-saving.
The 5-speed manual and 4-speed electronic automatic transmissions are also made in Negeri Sembilan at a joint-venture factory. In fact, so many parts of the latest Myvi are made in Malaysia that the level has reached 90%, which is probably as high as it can get. No car model made by any manufacturer has 100% of its parts sourced from within the country it is manufactured and even cars made in Japan use some parts imported from Malaysia.
The larger body with a long wheelbase makes for a more spacious cabin, which was one of the strong points of the first Myvi and which the Malaysian team had asked for when they were involved in the joint project. With the latest Myvi, the distance between the front and rear passengers has been increased so legroom is even better.
With folding rear backrests as well as the front passenger’s seat backrest able to fold flat (backwards), there are up to 8 layouts for the cabin. So extra-long objects can be carried and in one example, a person who needs to stretch the legs out can do so comfortably by folding the front backrest all the way down. The driver’s backrest can also fold flat but this is, of course, only when the car is not being driven!
Hatchbacks don’t usually have large boot spaces but even with the rear backrests up, the boot capacity is 277 litres, which is 33% more than what was available before. As the picture shows, it can still take in 4 travel cases and perhaps squeeze in a soft bag or two at the sides as well.
Materials with a higher quality and more refined texturing of surfaces raise the image of the Myvi’s cabin. Again, this is not something which most manufacturers would do for an entry-level model but Perodua tries hard to give the best value for money. That also extends to convenience features and owners of the new Myvi – all variants – can enjoy something which just 10 years ago was found only on expensive cars or more expensive variants of most models – pushbutton unlocking/locking of doors and starting/stopping the engine. No more fumbling for the key when your hands are carrying nasi lemak and teh tarik packets!
Other standard convenience features across the range are front and rear power windows, adjustable driver’s seat height, teh tarik hooks and an adjustable steering column. The interior designers also inserted a USB port on the driver’s seat (by the side) so the rear passenger can recharge their phone. There’s a small pocket to stow the phone while it is being charged.
On some variants, there is also a built-in tollcard reader. This is a compartment on the lower right side of the dashboard where the TouchN’Go card is slotted in and it is linked to a transmitter on the windscreen to send a signal to the receiver at toll plaza SmartTag gantries. It is meant for the current infrared system although it is known that there is a move towards the more efficient radio frequency (RF) method. However, Perodua feels that the current system will still be around for many more years so its effort in developing this feature won’t be wasted.
Now that you know more about the new Myvi, wouldn’t you agree that it’s the best Perodua model ever offered for sale? Some 5,000 people must think so and have paid their deposit to be among the first to own the new model and they should be getting their cars soon. As with other models, Perodua has done its homework and understands that in the initial period, there will be a surge of orders and it has built up stocks so that waiting times are not too long. It has made some calculated guesses as to which variants will sell in bigger numbers but this will obviously be adjusted as orders come in. However, having more common features across all variants now also means that manufacturing can be more efficient.
Congratulations to Perodua on another fine effort and we’re sure that this model will win the hearts of many more Malaysians.
To locate a Perodua showroom to view and test-drive the latest Myvi, visit www.perodua.com.my.