It’s the most significant car launch of the year, but one that no one knew was happening for sure until recently. Expertly kept under wraps till the final lap before today’s unveiling, we now have the all-new 2018 Perodua Myvi. You’ve read our launch report; now find out more about the third-generation Myvi, including our first impressions of it as a static object and in dynamic terms.

The Perodua Myvi has been Malaysia’s most popular car for the best part of the last decade. Launched in May 2005, the Myvi (My Vehicle, My Vision) shot straight to the top and was the top selling car in the country for nine consecutive years, before passing the volume baton to the Perodua Axia in 2015.

The rise of the Myvi also propelled Perodua to the top of the Malaysian sales charts ahead of incumbent and “big brother” Proton, a position that it has not relinquished since. Clearly, this car means a lot not just to its many owners, but to its maker as well.

A reworked JDM Daihatsu Boon (also known as Sirion elsewhere), the first Myvi was interestingly positioned as a niche model in what was then a mainstream market dominated by sedans (some pundits still subscribe to the “Malaysians prefer sedans” idea despite the charts showing otherwise), and the great response that cut across demographics caught Perodua by surprise.

The accidental people’s car moved into the “Lagi Best” second-generation in mid 2011, with a “Lagi Power” 1.5 litre variant offered for the first time. The D54T facelift appeared in January 2015. The outgoing car has been on its last legs this year, but Perodua still managed to shift a few thousand units per month – 42,000 units in the first three quarters of the year is just under 7,000 units behind the younger and cheaper Axia, and not too shabby for a six-year old car.

The “love of the nation” reached the one million units milestone in June this year, 12 years after it was born. Just like how an entire generation of drivers lived and learned in the original Proton Saga, the Myvi served that role for many a youngster today.


Top row (L-R): 2008 first-gen facelift, 2011 second-gen Standard
Bottom row (L-R): 2011 second-gen Extreme, 2015 second-gen facelift Advance

As ex-colleague Jonathan James Tan wrote in his birthday card for the Myvi’s tenth anniversary: “Foodies all over the world may gush and wax lyrical about coq au vin, bouillabaisse and Beluga caviar, but the modest nasi lemak, found on every street corner, has probably leaked more drool, satiated more appetites, evoked more memories and touched more hearts. In Malaysia, at least.”

With such a valuable household name in the pocket, it was inevitable that the “New Standard Compact” would carry the Myvi name for years to come. Perodua left it open till the official announcement earlier this month (to the press at least), but the continued use of the Myvi badge was never in doubt.

Now, Perodua calls the third-generation Myvi the evolution of an icon, but this writer begs to differ. It’s surely an icon in the local context, but ‘evolution’ is selling the third-gen car short, IMHO. The switch from first to second generations can be considered an evolution a’la Porsche 911 and Volkswagen Golf, but this new one breaks away from the norm in more ways than one. Let us explain.

The Axia and Bezza paved the way for the 99.9% Perodua effort that is the new Myvi

While early Peroduas were simple rebadge jobs of existing Daihatsu models, the Rawang-based carmaker has gradually took on more design responsibilities over the years. Jibes from opposing fans that P2 is just a bumper designing firm have held less water in recent times. For instance, the Axia, Perodua’s first “transformation model”, comes with localised features such as the anti-snatch bag hook between the front seats – small, but it addresses local security concerns and is much appreciated by owners.

Two distinct faces (Standard and SE) for recent models have given local designers plenty of practice, and it all culminated in the introduction of the Bezza last year. Perodua’s first sedan was an in-house design covering the body as well as the cabin. There’s no Daihatsu-badged equivalent in existence, and the Bezza is a car that’s made for Malaysians by Malaysians.

The trend continues with the new Myvi. Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said that the if the Bezza was 80% developed in-house by locals, the D20N Myvi is a 99.99% Perodua effort – now that the car has been revealed, it’s clear that the upper body has zero similarities with the Daihatsu Boon, ditto the unique interior.

Clockwise from top: D20N Perodua Myvi, Thai market Toyota Yaris, Toyota Auris a.k.a. Corolla iM

The new Myvi is also not based on the C-segment Toyota Auris (or Corolla iM in the US), as some have claimed, or even the Thai Toyota Yaris. There are design similarities with the Auris, although that surely can’t be a bad thing.

Under the all-new, all-local body is the platform from the previous Myvi, worked on to the extent that it’s 70% new for this application. The D20N’s longer wheelbase and completely altered dimensions are proof of it.

Perodua says that it used 2.5 times more high-tensile steel than before, with additional bracing and reinforcements in strategic areas. The increased body rigidity has translated to improved driving stability and crash performance. An acoustic windshield reduces NVH levels.

Enhancements to the suspension include thicker front and rear stabiliser bars, a new lightweight front lower arm, stiffer rear beam structure with new curved design and a redesigned rear cross member for better rigidity.

Aminar said that the development team had its share of fresh grads and many man-hours have gone into the project, which proved to be a steep learning curve for Perodua. While P2 had full autonomy in the new Myvi’s design, Daihatsu provided support and training. “The goal was to surpass all our models. This is our new flagship model,” he declared.

The new Myvi rolls out of Perodua Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (PMSB), the plant that made the previous Myvi and continues to produce the Alza. PMSB is Perodua’s original factory, and its only one before Perodua Global Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (PGMSB) came on board in 2014. PGMSB, the company’s RM1.3 billion “transformation plant”, mirrors Daihatsu’s top Kyushu plant in best practices and tech.

Back then, PMSB’s quality, defects per unit (DPU, the measure of quality and consistency) and efficiency used to be lower than that of Daihatsu plants in Japan and Indonesia, and PGMSB, with its fresh hardware, staff and culture, was supposed to lead the way for its older sibling. Aminar says that the upgraded PMSB’s automation level is now almost on par with PGMSB’s. The new Myvi project also pushed vendors to step up, leading to a few local companies being shortlisted by Daihatsu.

What’s more important for us is that the Myvi itself has been upgraded, and by some margin too. It’s rare that we start describing a car by its features, but it’s difficult to look past the new Myvi’s eye-popping list of equipment.

We were as surprised as you were finding out that the new Myvi will feature LED headlamps across the board (with auto off and follow-me-home functions), in addition to keyless entry/push start, VSC and a minimum of four airbags – all from the RM44,300 base model. For some context, Honda Civic FC buyers can only get LED headlamps with the RM132k range-topping 1.5 TC-P, and both BMW and Mercedes-Benz sell cars (costing multiple times more) without keyless entry, so these are features not to be scoffed at.

There’s more. The two 1.5L variants get six airbags; and as if that wasn’t big enough news on the safety front, the top 1.5L Advance gets an Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) pack that includes Pre-Collision Warning (PCW), Pre-Collision Braking (PCB), Front Departure Alert (FDA) and Pedal Misoperation Control (PMC).

With PCB, the new Myvi becomes the only car below RM100k to have or autonomous emergency braking (AEB), never mind in the B-segment or the national car market. The next cheapest cars to have AEB are the Hyundai Ioniq (RM114k), high-spec Mazda 3 (RM125k) and high-spec Peugeot 308 (RM128k).

The ASA components are existing Daihatsu systems (called Smart Assist in JDM Daihatsus) and they operate through a forward-facing stereo camera on the top of the windscreen, which detects car shapes. Daihatsu calls SA an “advanced crash-avoidance assist system”, but warns that SA assumes safe driving on the customer’s part, and that one should not rely on the system but to drive safe.

Pre-Collision Warning warns you when a collision is about to happen, sounding a buzz two seconds before an impending crash. It works between 4 and 30 km/h. Should the driver not respond to PCW’s audio visual warning by braking or steering away, Pre-Collision Braking takes over by automatically braking the car.

PCB works in two stages – soft braking 1.3 seconds before the crash and hard braking 0.8 seconds before impact. In real life, you’ll just feel one violent stop. If the original speed is around or below 20 km/h, a crash can be avoided altogether. If one was travelling between 20-30 km/h, damage from the impact can potentially be reduced.

Set to be deployed more often is Front Departure Alert, which as its name suggests, alerts you when the car in front has departed in a traffic jam or queue. Most drivers reach for their smartphones in a queue, so FDA’s buzzer will save you from being honked by the car behind once the lights turn green. FDA is activated once you get within 10 metres of the car in front. Once in line, the buzzer will sound if the gap exceeds three metres and the driver fails to react.

Lastly, Pedal Misoperation Control detects a wall in front (within four metres), and will not allow the car to accelerate forward. Engine output control will continue for up to eight seconds. PMC is useful to prevent the accidental stepping of the wrong pedal (gas instead of brakes) in parking situations, which can cause much damage. Before you snigger, these things do happen, and senior drivers are a main contributor to accident statistics in Japan, which has an ageing population.

Just like with all technology, there are limitations. The stereo camera detects car shapes and there must be a minimum of 60% overlap for the functions to work. The field of vision is 40 degrees horizontal and 20 degrees vertical, and the image is 1280 x 960 pixels. It can see up to 60 metres ahead. The cameras function as a pair of eyes would, and if vision is obscured by heavy rain or fog, it won’t detect well.

Personally, I’d like to think of ASA as a non-spooky invisible friend that’s ever present in the car. You, the driver, are fully in charge of the controls. But even the best of us get distracted sometimes – whether by a phone, kids or a wandering mind – and more often than not, oops moments happen in low speed urban situations.

It’s times like these that ASA makes itself useful, by nudging you to move when you’re supposed to, and screaming “watch out!” when you’re about to bend your fender. I can think of a few incidents where ASA’s features would have saved me time, money and hassle arising from minor accidents. The entire Myvi range has been given a five-star rating by ASEAN NCAP, by the way.

Lest we forget, all these equipment are mounted on a car, and the third-generation Myvi is the first big departure from the design template. Gone is the high-roofed body of the first two Myvis and in comes a sleeker shape.

At 3,895 mm long and 1,735 mm wide, the D20N is a significant 205 mm longer and 70 mm wider than the outgoing car. The larger footprint combines with a 30 mm drop in height (1,515 mm) for more conventional, and contemporary hatchback proportions.

The new car’s 2,500 mm wheelbase is 60 mm longer than before – this, together with greater tandem distance (937 mm between the front and rear passengers) and interior width translates to a more spacious cabin. The Myvi’s traditional top hat-accomodating head room is no more, but what’s left is perfectly adequate for most passengers, including my 180 cm colleague Hazril Hafiz sitting behind the driver’s chair in his own driving position.

The larger body has also freed up more cargo space – 277 litres is 69 litres up on the previous Myvi and more than the Axia’s 260 litres. Like the smaller car, the Myvi’s boot can swallow four pieces of cabin sized luggage. The rear seats can split fold 60:40 to reveal an 832 litre hole, but the surface isn’t completely flat. Previously, the seat base can be tipped forward for the backrest to fold flush with the boot floor, but the seat base is fixed here. The seat back retains the two-step recline, however.

Under the hood, the Myvi continues with 1.3 and 1.5 litre engine choices, paired to a four-speed automatic. There’s a five-speed manual option for the base 1.3L trim level (Standard G), but none for the 1.3L Premium X and the bigger engine. New to the Myvi, the two engines are from the current Toyota/Daihatsu NR family, with DOHC and Dual VVT-i.

The 1NR-VE 1.3L unit (94 hp at 6,000 rpm, 121 Nm at 4,000 rpm) made its Perodua debut with the Bezza, and the Myvi’s engine line-up is identical to the Toyota Avanza’s. The 2NR 1.5L engine also powers the Toyota Vios, and here, it makes 102 hp at 6,000 rpm and 136 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Eco Idle auto start-stop, which made its debut in the Bezza, is available on 1.3 Premium X and above variants.

Intake and exhaust Dual VVT-i aside, the new engines feature teflon coating for the pistons (reduces friction), larger water jackets (better cooling, improved combustion, lower noise), roller rocker arm (reduces friction between rocker arm and camshaft) and iridium spark plugs.

The engines are made locally by Daihatsu Perodua Engine Manufacturing (DPEM) in Sendayan, Negeri Sembilan. The DPEM plant neighbours the Akashi Kikai factory that makes the Myvi’s 5MT and 4AT gearboxes.

The new engines combine with aerodynamic improvements (Cd 0.296 vs 0.306) for improved fuel economy. The Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) classified Myvi’s claimed fuel economy is from 20.1 km/l (for the 1.3 AT without Eco Idle and 1.5 AT with Eco Idle; 20.5 km/l for 1.3 MT) to 21.1 km/l for the 1.3 AT with Eco Idle. An apple-to-apple comparison would be the 1.5 AT’s 20.1 km/l with the outgoing Myvi 1.5L AT’s 15.4 km/l. Even if you take five off the headlining figure to compensate for real world conditions, the FC would still be decent.

We were given the opportunity to sample the new Myvi a couple of weeks ago at Perodua’s test track in Sg Choh, and came away from the session impressed. It feels hugely different from the moment you step in, with the effect from the lower roof immediately apparent if you’ve spent time in previous Myvis. Equally, you sit lower than before – cliched it may be, but it feels more like you’re sitting in the car now instead of on it. The Ford Fiesta (in) and Mazda 2 (on) illustrate this difference perfectly.

It’s easy to find an ideal driving position with the seat height adjuster and tilt adjustable steering, which angle is more upright now (a good thing). The seat itself features side bolsters (they feel squishy, not restrictive) for more support, unlike the flat chairs of old, although the seat base is still a tad short. A proper driving position may sound elementary, but it’s something that’s not a given when it comes to Peroduas – the Axia is a great basic car IMHO, but the fixed steering and its angle is one aspect I can’t live with.

So, the Myvi’s unique super airy feel has been replaced by a more conventional ambience, one that’s more “connected” and conducive for involved driving. But a major contributor to that impression is the design of the dashboard, which for the first time in a Myvi, is centred around the driver. We’re not talking about sports car levels of driver focus here, but it’s a big shift for both model and brand.

Our testers were a mixture of pre-production units and prototypes with incomplete trim panels. Not the best to judge interior quality with, but even on the mules, it’s clear that Perodua poured more attention on perceived quality and touch points. It’s a lot more pleasing, and dare we say, premium compared to what was served before. No photography was allowed during the pre-launch drive.

It’s not easy to surprise people who look at cars every day, but the Myvi forced us to consult each other. Have you ever seen air con with memory for the settings? Are we looking at a world’s first? None of us have seen such a thing before, so the Myvi’s two air con presets could be a unique-to-Perodua feature, a Malaysian invention. The AC unit itself is a single-zone unit with a digital display.

Another surprise and delight feature we’ve not come across is a USB charger embedded in the driver’s seat. The shoulder level port is accompanied by a sleeve lower down, which holds a phone or power bank – no more unsightly cables and phones knocking the centre console during cornering. On the opposite side is the anti-snatch bag hook that made its debut in the Axia, and another pouch.

In the battle of the unique features, my vote goes to the built-in Touch n Go card reader, which retires a Myvi owner’s Smart Tag for good. Nicely integrated in a cubby to the lower right of the steering wheel (with magnetic closing no less), the device has a screen to show remaining value (it will sound an alert if stored value falls below RM10), and is linked to a transmitter located at the base of the windscreen. Really neat.

Satisfied with the new Myvi as a static object, we proceeded to put the new car through its paces around P2’s test track, which is a combo of high speed straights and “real world” challenges such as a hill section meant to simulate the North-South Highway’s Gua Tempurung stretch just before Ipoh.

We started with the 1.5 Advance, and response off the line was very sprightly; the impression that the bigger-engined Myvi is “fast” lasted throughout the loop. The engine’s reserves is not too far down the barrel, and the Myvi 1.5 should be easily exploitable in daily cut and thrust driving. In truth, the previous Myvi 1.5 felt very swift as well, and the advantages of the new Dual VVT-i engine should be more clear cut in efficiency.

The four-speed automatic does its business in a straightforward manner, as you’d expect such a proven performer to. Four forward ratios might draw some sniggers, but we think that it’s perfectly adequate in this application. More does not always mean better, as proven by the first five-speed auto Honda City against the then 4AT Toyota Vios. Not sure about you, but I’d choose this over a CVT in a car like the Myvi, where mechanical simplicity is part of the appeal.

The Myvi 1.3 performs adequately, but the extra effort needed to get it up to speed is noticeable – it’s just that bit less effortless than the 1.5L motor. This writer has never owned an automatic car before, but the streak would end if I were to buy a Myvi. The manual shift may be more precise than what I remember from Perodua, but the action is not the most satisfying – this car is better served by the faultless auto. At least there’s an option to DIY if you must.

A total of two sweepers, one high speed corner and one hairpin isn’t enough to draw conclusions on the new Myvi’s dynamics, but first impressions are good. The Perodua feels like the lower car that it is, more planted and secure at high speeds. The steering has decent weight and feels relatively “connected” to the action. We drove the Myvi over a stretch of scarred tarmac that simulates real world bad roads, and ride comfort seemed well controlled. It’s quieter in the cabin, too.

The Myvi hasn’t transformed into the driver’s pick of the B-segment overnight, but it appears to be more dynamically competent than ever, which improves the overall package into a well-rounded one. Coupled with an extensive list of features that wouldn’t look out of place on a non-national C-segment car, improved design, and inflation-defying prices; the new Myvi is as sure a hit as it can be.

We think that the new Myvi is fantastic value for money, but this being Malaysia, there are bound to be grumbles still. Expensive? Let us remind you that 12 years ago, the first Myvi’s price started at RM41,200, and that was for a kosong 1.0L manual. The top 1.3 EZi cost over RM51k then. Today’s car, with all the above kit, is priced from RM44,300 to RM55,300. “Thailand cars much cheaper, bro”. The bare bones Yaris J Eco 1.2L with steel wheels and no radio is yours for RM60k (479,000 baht).

Perodua has long realised – even before Honda’s recent rise – that in a liberalised market, its true competition is from foreign makes. Although it remains the Malaysian market leader by a comfortable margin, the new Myvi – which has exceeded expectations when it didn’t need to – is proof that P2 is not resting on its laurels. The next million units might come sooner than the last!

Perodua Myvi 1.3 Standard G – RM44,300 (MT), RM46,300 (AT)

Gets as standard:
Mechanicals

  • 1.3 litre Dual VVT-i engine (1NR-VE)
  • 1,329 cc, four-cylinder petrol
  • 94 hp at 6,000 rpm, 121 Nm at 4,000 rpm
  • Five-speed manual or four-speed E-AT
  • 36-litre fuel tank
  • 3,895 mm long, 1,735 mm wide, 1,515 mm tall, 2,500 mm wheelbase
  • 160 mm ground clearance
  • Electric power steering (EPS)
  • 4.8-metre turning radius
  • Five-year/150,000 km warranty

Exterior

  • LED headlamps with auto off and follow-me-home functions
  • Manual headlight levelling
  • LED tail lamps with light guides
  • Electrically-adjustable side mirrors with turn signals
  • Aeroblade-type windscreen wipers
  • Reverse sensors
  • 14-inch alloy wheels
  • 175/65R14 Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tyres
  • Full-size spare tyre

Interior

  • Keyless entry and start
  • Acoustic windscreen
  • Power windows, auto up/down for driver only
  • Double-din head unit with radio and USB input
  • Digital air-con controls (with two memory settings)
  • Polyurethane steering wheel with tilt adjustment
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Flexible 8+1 seating configurations
  • Rear seats with integrated headrests
  • 60:40 folding rear seats
  • 277 litre boot (expandable to 832 litres with rear seats down)
  • Side pocket on front seat (for mobile phones)
  • Shopping hook and anti-snatch handbag hook

Safety

  • Four airbags (dual front, front sides)
  • ABS, EBD
  • Electronic stability control (VSC)
  • Traction control (TRC)
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
  • Five-star ASEAN NCAP crash test rating
  • Seat belt reminder for all seats (active front, passive rear)
  • Two Isofix anchors for rear seats

Aesthetics

  • Silver front grille
  • No front fog lamps – black covers
  • Body-coloured door handles
  • Shark-fin antenna
  • Black interior door handles
  • Black interior trim
  • Silver trim on air-con vents

Perodua Myvi 1.3 Premium X – RM48,300 (AT)

Adds on:
Mechanicals

  • Eco-idle automatic start-stop system
  • Hill-start Assist

Exterior

  • Front fog lights
  • Front parking sensors
  • Power-retractable side mirrors

Interior

  • Double-din head unit with radio, USB and Bluetooth
  • USB charger
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio, phone controls
  • Rear seats with adjustable headrests

Aesthetics

  • Chrome front grille
  • Chrome trim around front foglamps
  • Chrome door handles
  • Chrome interior door handles
  • Silver trim around window controls, steering wheel buttons, gear lever base
  • Chrome trim in instrument panel
  • Chrome trim on air-con vents

Colour options for Myvi 1.3

  • Ivory White (solid)
  • Glittering Silver (metallic)
  • Mystical Purple (metallic)
  • Lava Red (metallic)
  • Peppermint Green (metallic) – new, exclusive to 1.3 models

Perodua Myvi 1.5 High – RM51,800 (AT)

Adds on:
Mechanicals

  • 1.5 litre Dual VVT-i engine (2NR-VE)
  • 1,496 cc, four-cylinder petrol
  • 102 hp at 6,000 rpm, 136 Nm at 4,200 rpm
  • Four-speed E-AT
  • Combined fuel economy of 20.1 km per litre

Exterior

  • 15-inch dual-tone alloy wheels
  • 185/55R15 Goodyear Assurance TripleMax tyres

Interior and safety

  • Built-in toll reader (integrated SmartTAG)
  • Six airbags (dual front, front sides, curtains)

Aesthetics

  • Front bodykit and side skirts (dual-tone)
  • Two-tone rear bumper
  • Rear spoiler

Perodua Myvi 1.5 Advance – RM55,300 (AT)

Adds on:
Interior

  • Leather upholstery
  • Touchscreen head unit with navigation and SmartLink
  • Reverse Camera
  • Security window tint film

Safety

  • Advanced Safety Assist (ASA)
  • Pre-collision Warning
  • Pre-collision Braking (low-speed autonomous emergency braking)
  • Front Departure Alert
  • Pedal Misoperation Control

Colour options for Myvi 1.5

  • Ivory White (solid)
  • Glittering Silver (metallic)
  • Mystical Purple (metallic)
  • Lava Red (metallic)
  • Granite Grey (metallic) – new, exclusive to 1.5 models

GearUp accessories – introductory prices until Feb 2018

Premium Package – RM1,250 (Myvi 1.5 only)

  • Additional chrome garnish for front grille, side mirror, window line, lower door moulding, back door and rear bumper
  • Chrome scuff plates
  • Rear skirtings (black)

Executive Package – RM900

  • Additional chrome garnish for front grille, side mirror, window line, lower door moulding, back door and rear bumper

Lifestyle Package – RM700

  • Additional chrome garnish for front grille, side mirror, lower door moulding and back door

Utility Package – RM320

  • Door visors
  • Coil mats
  • Luggage tray

Isofix child car seats

  • Infant seat – RM660
  • Toddler seat – RM780

Browse full specifications and equipment of all 2018 Perodua Myvi models, and get the best deals on a new car, on CarBase.my.

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi brochure


GALLERY: Perodua Myvi 1.3 Standard G

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi 1.3 Premium X

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi 1.5 High

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi 1.5 Advance

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi 1.5 High with Gear Up accessories

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi in all colours and variants

GALLERY: Perodua Myvi through the years

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