Toyota Calya GIIAS 3

We kicked off our GIIAS 2016 coverage with a world debut of a concept that previews an upcoming MPV, but here’s the MPV that has got the Indonesian car market buzzing, now. The mobil of the moment – the Toyota Calya. Revealed earlier this month, the seven-seater budget MPV makes its public show debut at ICE along with its Daihatsu Sigra twin sister, which we’ll get to later.

It’s typical of the Toyota and Daihatsu brands to share models here – both companies go way back and DMC is now a fully-owned subsidiary of the big T. Both carmakers also share the same local Indonesian partner, the Astra group. Both Calya and Sigra are made by PT Astra Daihatsu at the Karawang plant, a West Java facility with a 200,000-unit capacity. The cars have 94% local content.

The best-selling Toyota Avanza also has a Daihatsu twin in the more affordable Xenia. Where does the Calya stand relative to the Avanza’s “low MPV” segment? Below. While Toyota is not the first to offer a budget three-row car here – Datsun launched the GO+ Panca in 2014 – the Calya appears to be a more complete offering. Of course, it also has the all-important badge.

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Specially designed for the biggest country and car market in ASEAN, the Calya is an Indonesian Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) and shares a platform with the Toyota Agya/Daihatsu Ayla/Perodua Axia, which of course also underpins the new Perodua Bezza sedan that was launched in Malaysia last month.

LCGC rules cap engine size at 1.2 litres, so all Calya variants come with a 3NR-VE 1.2 litre four-cylinder engine with 88 PS at 6,000 rpm and 108 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm.

This DOHC Dual-VVT-i motor belongs to the same new NR family as the 1.3 litre unit that powers the Toyota Avanza facelift and Perodua Bezza. You can read more about the engine here. Two transmission options are offered for this front-wheel drive MPV – a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. The Sigra has the further option of a 1.0L engine.

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As the entry MPV in the family, the Calya is also the smallest in size. At 4,070 mm long and 1,600 mm tall, it’s 120 mm shorter and 95 lower than the Avanza. The 2,525 mm wheelbase is 130 mm shorter.

Chassis highlights (monocoque rather than the Avanza’s ladder frame) are as expected – MacPherson struts and ventilated disc brakes in front, and a torsion beam with drum brakes at the back. Electric power steering and 14-inch two-tone wheels (with 175/65 Bridgestone Ecopia tyres) complete the package.

This MPV could well be the production version of the Daihatsu UFC-3 concept from IIMS 2014, which was supposed to preview an MPV smaller than the Xenia. There are a number of styling details that are shared between the UFC-3 and Calya, such as the side window shape and some of the surfacing, although things have been toned down. What hasn’t been moderated is the aggressive face, which is similar in style to the sportier Avanza Veloz. The Calya’s rear lamps mimic those on the new Innova.

Two grades are available, E and G. Both come with reverse sensors, rear air circulator vents (not a full on rear AC), four power windows and a multi-info display. The G adds on front fog lamps, electric-folding side mirrors, side mirror indicators, silver interior trim and chrome accents in and out. A 2-DIN head unit with USB is standard, with the one in the G adding on Bluetooth and two speakers to make it four in total.

The 60:40 middle row seats tumble fold with one motion while the third row bench folds as a single piece. The two front seats have integrated headrests but those on the other two rows are height adjustable.

Safety-wise, the Calya comes with dual front airbags and Isofix child seat anchors. The G and E A/T come with ABS, while the entry E M/T does without it. Six colours, including the red and orange metallic shown here, are available.

The Toyota Calya is priced from 129.65 juta rupiah (RM39,662) to 150 juta rupiah (RM45,887) for the G A/T. It’s set to be a hot seller in this MPV-dominated populous country, but do you think such a basic car will work in the demanding Malaysian market?