After rounds and rounds of spyshots, this time, it’s the real thing. Moments ago, Perodua officially launched the much anticipated Myvi SE 1.5 which is a new Myvi with a 1.5-litre engine, the biggest capacity lump that has ever been put into the popular hatchback.

And if the new Myvi launched in June is called “Lagi Best” (34,000 people agree and have booked the car) the Myvi SE’s tagline is “Lagi Power, Lagi Best”, referring to the bigger 1.5L engine powering the car.

There’s also the Myvi Extreme 1.5, a name which we broke last week. The Extreme is essentially the same car as the SE, but with a more extreme bodykit and some added kit. It can be immediately recognised by the grey lower lip missing on the SE.

At the back, the Extreme gets a unique bumper, a more elaborate spoiler and chrome door handles. The new seven-spoke rim design and grille insert are shared by both.

Click to enlarge price list

Both the SE and Extreme are available with a four-speed auto gearbox or a five-speed manual. Prices range from RM50,900 for the SE manual to RM61,700 for the Extreme auto, figures that are lower than some have speculated. To recap, the Myvi 1.3 range starts from RM43,900 and tops out at RM57,400 for the 1.3 Elegance auto.

Myvi Extreme (white) easily identified via grey bumper lip, fog lamp housing has less bars

Let’s start with the heart of the matter. The SE and Extreme are powered by a 1.5-litre twin-cam engine with DVVT. This is the 3SZ-VE engine used in the Alza, and not the 1NZ-FE from the Toyota Vios. The chain driven (timing chain, not belt) engine puts out 102 hp at 6,000 rpm and 136 Nm of torque from 4,400 rpm, a 12 hp/19 Nm jump from the Myvi 1.3.

While this is lower than the Vios’ 108 hp/141 Nm, the Myvi 1.5 (at 970 to 995 kg) is lighter than that sedan, and Perodua’s power-to-weight ratio charts sees the SE beat the “Model SS” (Suzuki Swift), “Model V” (Vios) and “Model P” (Persona).

Rear bumper design is unique for each variant, Extreme gets a more elaborate spoiler

Lagi power eh? The Myvi 1.5’s acceleration is not to be scoffed at – the SE manual does the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 9.98 seconds, which is very swift. To compare, a BMW 320i Sport does the same sprint in 9.8 secs, so don’t play play! The Myvi SE auto is timed at 12.49 seconds. So 2.0L sedan owners, don’t be too surprised if that pesky yellow thing runs neck-to-neck with you in the traffic light GP!

As for fuel consumption, Perodua claims 15.9 km/l for the manual and 12.9 km/l for the auto. These figures are slightly down from the 1.3L, but are still better than competing national cars, says P2.

All black interior and steering buttons are standard, Extreme gets leather seats and tinting

Inside, the Myvi 1.5 gets an all black dashboard and interior, unlike the dual-tone scheme on the standard car. The steering wheel is now wrapped in leather, and there are audio controls on the left spoke, a first in Myvi history. The front seats are also unique – Perodua calls them “semi bucket seats”.

Start the car and you’ll also realise that the Camry style instruments – orange illumination in 1.3 Standard, turquoise in the Premium/Elegance – is now in red, with white for the needles and trip computer. The dial design is also slightly different and there are chrome rings thrown in. The plastic surround for the meter panel is now in sliver.

Myvi 1.5 instruments are in red and white, design is different, chrome ring added

The Myvi SE comes with the “flush type” audio system as seen in the Myvi 1.3 Premium. This one has Bluetooth, USB and the a sliver carbon fibre look, but the backlight is now red to match the instruments.

The full colour DVD touch screen system with navigation found in the Myvi 1.3 Elegance is an option for the SE automatic and standard on the Myvi Extreme.

The other additional kit that are exclusive to the Myvi Extreme include leather seat covers (with Extreme badge on the front seat backs), Extreme carpet mats (driver’s mat comes with locks to keep it in place), and window tint. These are in addition to the exterior differences mentioned and shown above.

We’ve driven the Myvi SE 1.5 already. Read our first impressions and view the hi res gallery after the jump. You can pore over 50 images of every nook and cranny, and there’s a presentation video, too.

Perodua Myvi SE 1.5 and Extreme – First Impressions

Two days ago, we attended a media preview and test drive of the Myvi 1.5 around Cyberjaya, the same place where Perodua did the media preview for the new Myvi in June. Fortunately, we got to drive a bigger loop this time around (about 10 km), giving us the chance to stretch the Myvi SE’s legs a little and test out the “Lagi Power” claims.

The changes to the cabin were immediately felt once I stepped in the car. Perodua may have been too liberal to call those seats “semi buckets” but the seat backs are new, offering more side support for the lower back section. However, they should have also changed the flat seat base, which was carried over from the standard Myvi.

One sits very high in the Myvi (SE and 1.3), even when the seat is set to the lowest position – not very sporty or conducive for hard driving, but a boon for most Myvi drivers. I’ve seen some so petite, they’re fully “sheltered” by the seat, and cannot be seen by the car behind, have you?

The steering feels much better in the hands with the leather wrap, noticeably chunkier but not too thick. The red dials were chosen for a sportier feel, and most will love it. Oddly, I prefer the cool blue dial lighting in the Myvi Premium/Exclusive, though. In any case, the Camry style instruments are a big deal for a car this price – they do so much to raise perceived quality and premiumness.

After being told that the manual Myvi SE is a 10 second car, I had to try the stick shift first. Far from the most satisfying gearshift feel, doing it yourself in the Myvi SE is a typical Perodua manual shift experience. No snick snack, the shift feel is rubbery and the gates don’t go deep enough/not very well defined for yours truly. Gets the job done, but not the most fun to use. But remember that the Myvi SE is no hot hatch, so it’s unfair to expect Swift Sport shifting!

Flooring the pedal and getting past the first three gears, the Myvi SE’s improved acceleration is very apparent, and getting to highway speeds is very easy. The pick up is really quite impressive, and the buzzy engine is quite energetic at the higher end of the rev counter.

The first bend I encountered, a long sweeper, also revealed a weightier and generally nicer steering feel. I later learned that there’s no difference in the EPS, and the difference in feel is due to the reworked suspension.

Speaking of that, the Myvi SE feels firmer than the standard car. Body roll is still a frequent visitor, although the lean angles are smaller now. There wasn’t bad roads to try the ride comfort in our route, but my guess is that it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable. I sat at the back for a round (headroom is less generous than the previous gen Myvi) and the high speed ride is quite composed.

I got hold of an engineer from the R&D team, and he explained that the rebound and compression rates for the shock absorbers were a little higher than the standard setting. Same for the springs, which are untouched in front but stiffer at the back.

He also revealed that the Continental CC5 tyres used were specially tuned for the SE, a unique Perodua spec 175/65 R14, in other words. Rubber wise, they sacrificed a little bit of ride comfort for better stability. The tyres are not too loud and grip was better than I expected.

So the Myvi SE is a better drive than the Myvi 1.3, and not just for the improved pace, which is the most impressive part of the car for me. But don’t get us wrong, this is no hot hatch, and a Ford Fiesta 1.4 trumps the SE in every subjective driving criteria.

However, if one’s in the market for a Myvi, do test the SE first. Unlike the old one, this SE is not just leather and bodykit, but a better car. The Myvi SE is lagi best than the Lagi Best!