From one national car brand, we now move on to another. This time, we’re focusing on Perodua and the new products that could potentially be introduced by the company in 2021. Unlike Proton, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua hasn’t been explicit of their plans for the future, although there have been plenty of hints here and there.

Back in January, the company launched the facelifted Bezza and later presented its full year review, where it discussed the strategic direction for upcoming products. At the time, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad told members of the media that “our next model will use DNGA platform” when asked about the D55L project, so let’s start with that and move on to more.

Perodua D55L SUV

Undoubtedly set to become one of the biggest launches of 2021, D55L is the codename of Perodua’s upcoming compact SUV that will be positioned above the Myvi in the local line-up, alongside the seven-seat Aruz.

The yet-unnamed model will be based on the Daihatsu Rocky, which rides on the DNGA platform mentioned by Zainal Abidin. DNGA stands for Daihatsu New Global Architecture, and aside from the Rocky, it is also used for the rebadged Toyota Raize.

We’ve seen spyshots of the D55L before, where the overall profile doesn’t differ much from the Rocky. However, expect the D55L to have a noticeably different exterior design compared to its Daihatsu sibling, and this should extend to its interior. A similar approach was done with the Aruz, which differs by a certain degree from the current Terios and Toyota Rush.

In terms of running gear, the Rocky is offered with a sole powertrain in Japan, made up of a 1KR-VET 1.0 litre (996 cc) turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that makes 98 PS (97 hp) at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm. The mill is paired exclusively with a CVT and can be had with front- and all-wheel drive configurations.

Daihatsu Rocky (left), Perodua D55L prototype (right)

The D55L will be pretty significant for Perodua, as it will have the brand’s first all-new platform (DNGA) in years. Not only that, should the powertrain match the Rocky’s, it’ll also be the first time one of the company’s models comes with a turbocharged engine and CVT – AWD is unlikely. Remember back in December 2019 when a Thor was spotted in Malaysia with an oil cooler? That was a strong sign that Perodua is testing the powertrain package for its own application.

It’ll be interesting to see how the D55L will be priced next to its larger but far more basic Aruz, which currently starts at RM68,526. The Rocky’s close sibling, the Raize, has proven to be a hit among car buyers, outselling the Corolla to become the best-selling car in Japan. Whether it will unseat the Myvi here, we’ll have to see.

Originally hinted for a 2020 launch, this has since been pushed back to 2021, with the rumour mill suggesting a March debut. It should be noted that the D55L does not compete directly against the X50, as it’s a really, really small B-segment model – it’s actually closer to being an A-segment and is known as such in Japan – given its purported dimensions, while the X50 is a properly-sized B-segment SUV.

Perodua Myvi facelift

Wait, didn’t the Myvi get an update this year? Yes, but the July revision merely saw the company’s best-selling model receive the latest Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0. The safety suite first appeared on the Aruz in 2019, adding more features and increasing the capabilities of some systems, and has since found its way to the facelifted 2019 Axia and 2020 Bezza.

This is purely speculation, but seeing how the Myvi is now three years old in 2020, it is the oldest car in the Perodua range if you count facelifts – even the Alza got a facelift in 2018. As such, a proper facelift with new styling is probably due, although as per typical Perodua procedure, no one but the people within the company knows about it.

If it does happen, don’t expect huge changes beyond the usual minor visual nip and tuck, as the Myvi is already extremely well equipped for its price. However, could we finally see a new GT variant that was previewed during the 2018 KL International Motor Show (KLIMS 2018)? The latest word from Perodua is the idea of a Myvi GT is still being evaluated for feasibility.

The Myvi has already made its way to Brunei, where it is available in a S-Edition variant featuring a body kit sourced independently by dealers there, which resembles the KLIMS 2018 show car. Perhaps a Myvi SE might be on the cards as well? In any case, what would be on your wishlist for a 2021 Myvi?

Perodua D27A/all-new Alza

Once again, this is pure speculation, although there is some sense to it. The current Alza has been around since 2009. Back then, the world was dealing with H1N1/swine flu pandemic – and we thought that was bad, although most people have already forgotten about it.

Since then, the seven-seat Perodua MPV has gone through two facelifts – the first in 2014 and the second in 2018 – so it is effectively 11 years old in 2020 and will turn 12 in 2021. In all that time, the car hasn’t changed by a whole lot, still packing two airbags, no electronic stability control (or VSA for that matter), an aging DVVT engine (not Dual VVT-i), so an update is desperately needed.

Again, Perodua has made no mention of a replacement, although in October 2019, it was caught testing a Mitsubishi Xpander, a Suzuki Ertiga and a suspect-looking Toyota Avanza with a Genting Highlands climb. Could this be an “all-new Alza” currently being developed under the rumoured D27A codename?

Previous reports coming from Japan suggest that Daihatsu is preparing a new MPV, and Indonesian media are linking that to a new generation Daihatsu Xenia, which is the Toyota Avanza with a D badge. The model will reportedly use the DNGA platform and is said to be offered with a 1.0 litre turbo power as well as a 1.2 litre hybrid option.

Hybrid power in a Perodua? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, as the national carmaker did preview such a technology at the 2018 KLIMS. Perodua also revealed during its year end review in January that it was keeping an eye on including electrification, so there could be some truth to it.

Perodua has said that it is capable of introducing one full model change (all-new model) and one minor model change (facelift) per year. There was no all-new model in 2020, which was supposedly meant to be the D55L but has since been delayed, so we can assume that the D27A Alza would have been originally planned to be a 2021 launch. We’ll have to see if Perodua plans to stick to this plan, or if the current pandemic has forced it to reshuffle its timelines.