The Perodua Bezza – which was officially launched yesterday – comes with plenty of firsts for Perodua. It is the first in-house-designed car, the first with a new range of VVT-i and Dual VVT-i engines, the first with an automatic engine start/stop system and the first with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).

As it is such uncharted territory for Perodua, there are bound to be questions regarding the new car and the technologies inside, so we spoke to executive chief engineer Albert Ngu to answer those enquiries.

Built on the same platform as the Axia, the Bezza nevertheless has seen several changes underneath to account for the extra boot and larger engine. For one, the engine compartment has been redesigned to accommodate the new 1.3 litre Dual VVT-i engine on the Premium X and Advance, as the Axia is only available with a 1.0 litre mill. The suspension system has also been revised to suit the change in bodystyle.

Perodua has also worked on reducing the Bezza’s weight – at 865 kg, the base 1.3 Standard G manual is just 45 kg heavier than the base Axia 1.0 Standard E manual, and that’s with a larger body and a much more comprehensive level of kit. The company has managed to do so through the use of high-tensile steel in the construction, which also contributes to a higher level of crash safety.

Next, we asked Ngu about the Eco Idle start/stop and regenerative braking systems that make their debut on the Advance variant. A lot of you have fielded questions regarding these features, including their suitability for the Malaysian market and concerns of reliability and maintenance costs.

Ngu said that the battery, starter motor and the new linear control alternator used for these features are just as durable as conventional components, and the regenerative braking feature keeps the battery at full charge, so the latter should last just as long with the system as without. Do note, however, that the battery capacity is larger, thus making it more expensive to replace.

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Another concern regarding the start/stop system – particularly in our tropical climate – is the compressor for the air-conditioning system. On a conventional system, the compressor turns itself off the whole time the engine is off, for several seconds or even a few minutes. In a traffic jam on a hot afternoon, this makes the interior of the car feel warm, stuffy and therefore uncomfortable.

On the Bezza, the interior is fitted with a temperature sensor to monitor cabin heat, and will automatically restart the engine if it gets too warm. Ngu said that the feature is unique to Malaysia, to suit the needs of the typical Malaysian customer. Another feature that is unique to the Advance model is stability control, which Ngu said will be introduced in all of Perodua’s future models.

Regarding the new engines, the 1KR-DE 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine is based on the one in the Axia, but now gains VVT-i variable valve timing. Ngu said that the smaller engine will not be underpowered despite the bigger body and luggage capacity because the addition brings improved power and torque – outputs are now up 1 hp and 1 Nm to 67 hp and 91 Nm of torque.

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Meanwhile, the 94 hp/121 Nm 1NR-VE 1.3 litre Dual VVT-i engine is completely different from the K3-VE DVVT engine in the Myvi, with a lightweight aluminium block and improved torque, fuel consumption and refinement.

Ngu said that both new engines will not be any more expensive to maintain – in fact, they have longer service intervals, so maintenance is less frequent. Refinement issues have also been tackled though a more rigid body, increased sound insulation and improved aerodynamics.

So there you go – a look into the new additions and technologies on board the new Perodua Bezza sedan. Want to know how it all comes together on the road? Read our review here.

GALLERY: Perodua Bezza 1.3 Advance