To say that the Perodua Myvi has been a success story would be understating it. Following its arrival on the scene in May 2005, the five-door B-segment hatch quickly became the best-selling car in the country, a position it held for nine consecutive years before the Axia took over the mantle in 2015.

The default vehicle choice for many Malaysians has gone through two incarnations (the second-gen D54T debuted in June 2011) and a production run of more than a million units (1.024 million, over the first two generations). Now, the baton has been passed to the third-gen D20N 2018 Perodua Myvi, which made its debut last month. In just under a month, orders have surpassed the 20,000 mark, so we can expect this one to continue where the previous two left off.

We’ve already covered the car in great detail at point of launch and via a first impressions drive report, and also via various galleries and walk-around videos, but there are still observations to be had – we took a range-topping Myvi 1.5 Advance, with all the bells and whistles as well as active safety and a more affordable Myvi 1.3 Premium X out last month to evaluate them in more comprehensive fashion.

The full road test revealed quite a bit about the new car, from its good/bad points and how it compares to the old one in performance to revealing real-world fuel consumption and NVH figures. It also answers the question of which variant should you go for if you’re looking at one, so without further ado, on to the entire low-down on the new Myvi.

First, a recap of the prices. The new Myvi range starts with the 1.3 Standard G, which goes for RM44,300 for the five-speed manual and RM46,300 for the four-speed auto. The 1.3 Premium X automatic adds mostly aesthetic items, and takes the price up to RM48,300.

The 1.5 litre model range is available only with an auto transmission. There’s no more SE, at least not yet. Taking its place is a 1.5 High, which goes for RM51,800. At the top is the 1.5 Advance, priced at RM55,300.

Compared to the old Myvi, the 1.3 models have had a slight price increase of around RM3k, but you do get a lot more equipment. The 1.5 models, meanwhile, are almost exactly the same as the old models. In fact, the new 2018 Myvi 1.5 Advance, with all its new features, is actually almost RM1k cheaper than the old 1.5 Advance.

Actually, from a price point of view, Myvi prices really haven’t changed much since the original version made its debut. The first-gen Myvi started from RM41k, and that was for a 1.0 litre three-cylinder version, while the then range-topping 1.3 litre version (with two airbags and ABS) cost RM51k. Twelve years later, it’s still in the same price range, but the car itself has progressed significantly.

In terms of competition, Perodua’s own smaller Axia hatchback is still more affordable, with the 1.0 Advance version being cheaper than the base Myvi 1.3 at RM41k. The Bezza sedan is slightly closer, with the 1.3 Advance model priced at RM49k.

As for other brands, the Proton Iriz is almost identical in price, from RM42k to RM57k. And what about the Honda Jazz? Well, the cheapest Jazz variant goes for RM72k, which is a RM17k premium over the range-topping Myvi. Move on to the top-spec Jazz and the difference is RM30k more for the Honda.

Next, let’s take a look at the platform. Prior to the launch, a lot of rumours said that the car is based on the Toyota Corolla iM. That’s not true. It’s actually built on a revised version of the old Myvi platform, but with 70% new parts. The wheelbase is 60 mm longer than before at 2.5 metres, but this is still very much a B-segment hatch, not a C-segment unit like the Corolla.

At 3.9 metres long, it’s 205 mm longer than the old car, and it’s also wider by 70 mm and lower by 30 mm than before (full dimensions and how it compares to the competition, here), and these completely change the proportions of the car – it’s no longer a tall, bubble-shaped JDM car but a sleek-looking, contemporary hatchback.

Perodua says the exterior styling is all done locally, essentially designed by Malaysians. While some parts look familiar, it’s still a good looking car. Unlike the old Myvi, where the 1.3 and 1.5 litre models had different faces, a common design features here – the bigger engine version just adds on a front body kit and side skirts to make it look more sporty.

The new Myvi’s front end is a lot lower and sharper than before, and the headlamps are now LED reflector units, standard across the board. This technology offers brighter light, uses less power, and should last longer than halogen bulbs. There’s still no LED DRLs though. It’s fitted with aeroblade type wipers, a first for Perodua, together with an acoustic windscreen for improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) aspects.

At the back, the Myvi’s usual vertical taillamps are now two piece horizontal units – LEDs feature, though the signal and reverse lights are still bulbs and there’s no rear foglamp. The 1.5 litre models add on a bigger rear spoiler, and the 1.5 Advance gets a reverse camera, neatly integrated into the grab handle.

In terms of wheels, 1.3 litre models are dressed with 14-inch wheels as standard, which is upgraded to 15-inch dual tone alloys on the 1.5 litre models. Despite the increase in size, weight has been kept in check. The 1.3 litre model is still under a tonne, and the top 1.5 Advance tips the scales at 1,015 kg, which is just 35 kg more than the old one.

It’s also safer – the new Myvi has received a full five-star crash safety rating by ASEAN NCAP, improving on the old car’s four stars. In fact, for the frontal impact test, the Myvi scored higher marks than the latest Honda CR-V. From a construction perspective, Perodua says the new car uses 2.5 times more high-tensile steel than before, with additional bracing and reinforcements in strategic areas.

Next, the powertrain. While the engine sizes are similar, the mills on call here are brand new Dual VVT-i engines. The 1NR-VE 1.3 litre engine is the same as in the Bezza, with 94 hp and 121 Nm of torque. For those counting, that’s four hp and four Nm more than the old Myvi 1.3, and peak torque is delivered at lower rpm, 4,000 instead of 4,400 on the previous outing.

The 1.5 litre Dual VVT-i engine is new to Perodua, but the 2NR-VE has been seen before – it’s the same engine that’s used in the Vios (though the Toyota’s 2NR-FE unit is rated with higher outputs), assembled at the Perodua factory in Negeri Sembilan. Claimed output numbers are exactly the same as the old engine at 102 hp and 136 Nm, though peak torque comes in at lower revs.

Elsewhere, the suspension layout is familiar, with MacPherson struts up front and torsion beams at the back. Likewise the configuration of the brakes – ventilated discs up front and drums at the rear. Transmissions have also been retained.

As for colours, all variants get the choice of the usual Perodua colours – white, silver, red and purple. On top of that, there are two new colours. Peppermint Green that’s exclusive for 1.3 litre models, and Granite Grey for 1.5 litre variants.

The interior has been changed completely. Gone is the usual symmetrical dashboard, replaced by this driver-focused design, with the centre console angled slightly towards the driver. It’s much more traditional looking compared to that on the older car.

The gear lever is placed on the floor, instead of on the lower dash. While I do think this looks better, you do lose out in terms of practicality, because you no longer get the cupholders and large cubby bin like before. There’s actually only one compartment here for your keys and phone, which may not be enough for some people. You also lose out on the clever fold-out cup holder of the old car.

Another big change is with the meter panel design. The large half moon design seen previously has been replaced by a conventional two dial design. This does look a lot more mature and classy, but in terms of absolute legibility, the old one was slightly better. The speedometer dial is a little on the small side, and the needle is abnormally thick, almost covering the numbers as it goes over them.

Materials-wise, the quality is a clear step up from the old Myvi. You won’t find any soft touch materials in this price range, of course, but what you do get is very decent textured plastics all around. There are premium touches like the chrome trim around the air-con vents and piano black in the centre.

Elsewhere, the leather used on the steering wheel and seats feel far better than in the old car, and fortunately, Perodua has stopped using tacky splashes of red and “carbon-fibre” stickers to make the interior look more sporty. On the whole, from a trim and material viewpoint, I’d say that this gets very close to the levels of the Vios and Jazz in terms of perceived quality.

Above all that, the biggest advancement where I’m concerned is with the seating and driving position. You now sit much lower in the new car, compared to the MPV-like high seating position of the old Myvi, so you feel like you’re sitting in the car, rather than on it. The steering – adjustable for tilt – is also angled straighter, and on the whole the new Myvi feels far more comfortable to sit in and drive.

At the back, the amount of legroom is excellent – there’s more than before, thanks to the stretched wheelbase. Headroom, however, is slightly down compared to the old car, because the car is just not as tall as before. Still, you can slouch down a little, or recline the seat back a bit, to make up for it.

There’s still no rear air-con vent, but quite a few convenience features are present, including two teh tarik hooks, an anti-snatch handbag hook, and new to the Myvi, a pair of 2A USB charging slots for electronic devices. There are also two Isofix anchors for child seats, and new to the Myvi is a seat belt reminder for all seats.

The boot is now 277 litres, which is 69 litres more than the old car. Crucially, this mean you can now load your luggage lengthwise, which was not possible before. The rear seats can be folded with a 60:40 split, but it doesn’t fold flat anymore, as the rear seat base can no longer be tipped forward. Still, with the seats down, you now get over 800 litres of space, which is a big improvement. Underneath the boot floor is a full size spare tyre, instead of a space saver in the old car.

In terms of infotainment, the 1.5 Advance’s head-unit features a touchscreen display, which is very clear and easy to use. It also has navigation and reverse camera functions, but the buttons feel a little flimsy, and it could use an English lesson or two. It still says “Setting” rather than “Settings” for an example.

Carried over from the Bezza is a SmartLink function for your smartphones. With this, you can run your music and Waze navigation through the touchscreen, which is handy. But, this only works with Android devices, and not iPhones. Bluetooth is now standard on all models, except the Standard G.

As for the sound system, there are still only four speakers, but the automaker has moved the front two speakers from on top of the dashboard to the lower front door cards. It sounds slightly better now, less hollow and tinny, but if you’re particular about sound quality, you’ll still want to upgrade the speakers. Audio and call buttons are to be found on the steering wheel, though unfortunately they’re still not illuminated at night.

The air-conditioning system remains a manual system, but it now has digital controls, which look better than traditional knobs. One cool feature, which is unique to this car, are the two memory buttons. With this, you can preset two settings, say Memory 1 for cold mornings or nights, and Memory 2 for hot sunny days. Very convenient, and uniquely Malaysian.

One more feature designed specifically for Malaysia is the SmartTAG toll reader, standard fit on 1.5 litre models. With this, you just need to slot in your Touch ‘n Go card and you’re good to go. It has a display to show your remaining balance, and if you have less than RM10, a sound will remind you to top up. This is pure genius by Perodua.

On the whole, the interior has plenty of major positives, but there are a few minor negatives. One drawback for me is the inconsistent font used throughout the cabin. A few labels appear too big, others too small, but maybe it’s just me being too picky. Also, there’s also no centre armrest and no vanity mirror for the driver, so it’s not quite perfect.

As for safety, electronic stability control and traction control are now standard on all variants, while models from the Premium X onwards add on a hill-start assist system. In terms of airbags, 1.3 litre models get four, while 1.5 litre models come with six. The old model had just two throughout the range, without ESC too.

The big ticket items is the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) active safety system offered on the 1.5 Advance model. This uses a pair of cameras on the windscreen to offer four features: pre-collision warning, pre-collision braking, front departure alert and pedal misoperation control.

The first two is a form of low-speed autonomous emergency braking, or AEB, working between four to 30 km/h. The cameras can detect if you’re about to come into an accident, and first warns you with a buzzer – if you fail to react, it will automatically brake for you. The braking action is quite strong and sudden. If you’re feeling sleepy, that’ll surely wake you up.

This is a big thing, of course, as the next cheapest car to have any form of AEB is the Hyundai Ioniq and Mazda 3, both costing more than double of this car.

Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is purely a support safety system to reduce chances of low speed collisions. It is not an auto braking function that you can use in traffic jams. In fact, if you trigger the system three times in a row, it will turn off, as you’re obviously not paying attention to driving, and should go take a rest instead. That is placed in so drivers don’t start relying on this system to help them brake.

The next feature is Front Departure Alert. It works like this: as you stop at a traffic light, the cameras will detect the car in front. If you’re distracted – say, on your mobile phone – and you don’t notice the car in front moving, FDA will sound a small buzzer asking you to put your phone down, and drive. It’s much more pleasant than having the car behind honking you.

As for Pedal Misoperation Control, this is supposed to prevent a driver from crashing into a wall or another car if he/she somehow mistakenly selects drive when reverse is actually wanted. In this case, it will greatly reduce the engine power, preventing a crash.

All these functions only work in specific scenarios, so it’s best to know exactly what they can or cannot do – the car comes with a detailed ASA manual, so do read it. One more thing – ASA relies solely on the front cameras, so if that is blocked by, say, bird poo, the system won’t work. And if you need to replace the windscreen, you have to go to an official Perodua service centre to recalibrate the cameras.

That out of the way, let’s see how the new Myvi drives, starting with the 1.3 litre auto. First of all, it still feels very much like a Perodua, with a sharp throttle response and a vocal engine. But right off the bat, it definitely feels more refined than the old car. The throttle isn’t as jumpy, and the brakes feels more linear and easier to modulate.

The steering feels lighter and not as tightly wound as the old car, but the big difference for me is the lack of vibration coming off the steering and pedals compared to the old Myvi. It really is a night and day sort of difference, and makes the new Myvi feels far more relaxing and less tiring to drive.

As for performance, it feels just about alright. The car isn’t fast, but it’s not underpowered either, though you can’t really feel the torque being delivered lower down the rev range, as the gearbox will shift down to very high revs when you try to accelerate hard.

In that sense, the drawback of having a four-speed automatic becomes apparent immediately, and having more ratios would have helped in this regard. Would it be better with a CVT? I’m not sure about that, as most affordable CVTs have slow throttle response and bad rubber band effect.

I think I’d rather have this, because unless you’re always going to be hard on the throttle, it’ll feel absolutely fine. It’s not great, and you can feel the shifts, but it’s never as frustrating as a slow CVT can be either.

You can also get the Myvi 1.3 with a five-speed manual gearbox, but it’s the usual Perodua manual affair – the clutch is spongy, the throw is long and it feels rough and notchy. If you’re thinking of having fun behind the wheel, rowing your own gears because you enjoy it, you’re better off with a different car, like the Proton Iriz. As it goes, the auto fits the Myvi’s character far better.

Move up to the 1.5 litre model and there’s an immediate jump, courtesy of the extra torque – 15 Nm doesn’t sound like much, but remember, this is a light car. Once you get going, the 1.5 litre actually feels rather fast. There’s almost an old school VTEC-like second wind coming in above 4,000 rpm, and it gets beyond 100 km/h pretty quickly. Based on the extra performance, the 1.5 is well worth the price premium, in my opinion.

Now, rather than just saying that the 1.5 is faster than the 1.3, we set up a drag race to see just how big the difference is, with a previous-gen Myvi thrown in for good measure.

From start to finish, the new and old Myvi 1.5 were neck and neck, and they crossed the finish line together, while the 1.3 litre model lagged behind. This was translated to the 0-100 km/h times we recorded – the new Myvi 1.3 Auto did the run in 12.5 seconds, while the Myvi 1.5, both new and old, accomplished it in 11.5 seconds.

As for handling, it’s solid, but not great. It’s far more planted and stable compared to the old Myvi by a long shot, but the likes of the Iriz and Honda Jazz are still ahead. The steering now feels more connected, and you need far less steering corrections when you’re going fast on highways compared to the old Myvi. It also handles corners with more confidence and less body roll, and there’s certainly less of that nervousness that was evident in the old car when things got fast.

Ride has also been improved. Again, it’s not quite Jazz levels, but it’s a tangible improvement over the old car, especially at low speeds. On highway jaunts, the more relaxed steering, better NVH and more comfortable seats make this a better long distance cruiser than the old one.

It’s also far quieter and more refined inside, and numbers tell the whole story. On full throttle, we recorded a maximum of 77 dB in the new Myvi, compared to 81 dB in the old one. Even at a 110 km/h cruise, the new Myvi is far quieter, at 71 dB vs 73 dB in the old car. Having said that, we also drove the car in the rain, and the water splashing on the wheel wells can be quite loud, so, the NVH can still be improved further.

Lastly, fuel economy. Perodua claims that the new Myvi is up to 30% more economical than before. To verify that, we did a real world fuel test, covering over more than 400 km in a drive to Ipoh and back in the 1.3 and old/new 1.5.

The air-conditioning was set to mid levels on all three cars, and there were two driver stop points, with the three drivers always maintaining the same position in the convoy, regardless of car. Travel speed to Ipoh was 110 km/h (+/- 20 km/h), though the return trip was carried out in faster fashion as it was getting late. There was not much attempt to save fuel, because this was not a fuel saving competition style run.

In the end, the new Myvi 1.3 auto averaged 17.6 km/l in our test, slightly better than the new Myvi 1.5, which recorded 17.3 km/l. The old Myvi 1.5, meanwhile, did 15.1 km/l. Essentially, in our real world test, the new car is around 15% more economical than before. That’s not quite the 30% as claimed, but still a tangible improvement.

So there you have it, a comprehensive view of the all-new Perodua Myvi. It really is a big improvement over the old model. It looks better, has a more practical cabin, high quality interior, a lot of new convenience and safety features and as we found out, better NVH, fuel consumption and driving dynamics too.

It still has a few faults, of course, but they are very minor ones, and at these prices, there’s nothing else that comes even close to the new Myvi in value for money terms. Indeed, if you’re looking to buy a car under RM100k, do take a look at the Myvi first. It really is that good.

Check out for the full specifications breakdown of each individual Myvi model.

GALLERY: 2018 Perodua Myvi 1.3 Premium X (Peppermint Green Metallic)

GALLERY: 2018 Perodua Myvi 1.5 Advance (Granite Grey Metallic)