The biggest car launch of 2021 is upon us – the new Perodua D55L SUV! This has been an open secret for a while now, that Perodua will be launching a new compact B-segment SUV, based on the Daihatsu Rocky and the Toyota Raize. Now, finally, it has been confirmed, and we have the preliminary details!

We’ll just list it out first – 1.0 litre turbocharged engine, CVT, an all-new DNGA platform, ASA 3.0 with AEB as standard across the range, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. All in a Perodua! As for the price, it ranges from RM62,500 to RM73,400.

First of all, it’s not actually going to be called the D55L. That’s just the internal codename for it, just like the Myvi is the D20N and the Aruz the D38L. The new SUV will get a proper name when it is launched, but as usual, Perodua likes to keep it a secret until then.

There’s plenty of rumours saying it’s going to be called the Perodua Ativa – a play on the word “Active.” That’s unconfirmed for now, but if it’s true, what do you think of the name Ativa?

UPDATE 1: The Perodua Ativa name has been confirmed, along with the first few official pics of the new SUV.

UPDATE 2: We’ve driven the new Perodua Ativa! Read our first impressions review here.

Perodua D55L render

For me, I think it doesn’t really matter. We’ll all get used to it soon anyway. Those of you old enough will remember a time when the name Myvi sounded really weird, almost alien, even. But now, hey, it’s a household name!

Having said that, I personally think it’ll be fun if Perodua pulls a surprise and calls it the Kembara again. If that happens, I might just have to buy one for myself. The original Kembara was my very first car almost 20 years ago, so it’ll be cool to have a new one again.

Anyway, let’s talk about the car itself. Again, there’s no secret that it is based on the Daihatsu Rocky. Perodua even flew our own Senior Editor Danny Tan to Japan to see its debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Since then, the Toyota version of the SUV, the Raize, has become the best-selling new car in Japan in 2020, beating its own Corolla.

All the photos and video clippings featured in the video above are of the Rocky or the Raize – some are even digital renders based on the pair. We don’t have any real photos of the actual Perodua model yet, but it’s safe to say it won’t run very far from the base model. It will perhaps have slightly different lights or bumpers, but by and large, this is what the Perodua D55L will look like.

Perodua D55L render

The interior may not be exactly the same as the Daihatsu, because remember, Perodua completely redesigned the Toyota Rush’s dashboard for its own Aruz. We’d like for the interior to remain largely the same, because the Rocky’s interior looks pretty darn good!

Perodua has already confirmed that the D55L will offer a full digital instrument cluster, plus a generously-sized nine-inch touchscreen head unit with voice recognition.

Now, before you say that Perodua is simply rebadging Daihatsus again, that’s not exactly true. Perodua was involved in the designing process of the new SUV in Japan from the very beginning. There are no less than 30 Perodua employees based in Daihatsu’s design department in Japan, so if you see that the Daihatsu Rocky’s styling looks a bit similar to the Perodua Myvi, well, that’s no coincidence.

The D55L will be built on Daihatsu’s brand new DNGA platform, which stands for Daihatsu New Global Architecture. It’s essentially a derivative of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), and it is really all new. No carry-over parts here, folks.

Size-wise, it’s actually very close to the Myvi, so you can say that this is basically the Myvi SUV. The D55L, or at least the Rocky is only 100 mm longer and taller than the Myvi. In fact, the Myvi is actually slightly wider than the SUV, by about 40 mm. Wheelbase is also similar, but the Rocky is longer by just 25 mm.

Now, the Proton X50 is quite a fair bit bigger than the D55L, despite both being technically B-segment SUVs. The Proton also has a bigger engine (1.5L vs 1.0L), but we’ll take a more incisive look into the whole Perodua D55L vs the Proton X50 topic in another video (watch it here!).

What is deeply in favour of the D55L is pricing. Perodua has essentially confirmed that pricing will start from RM62,500 for the base model, going up to RM73,400 for the range-topping version. So, even the most expensive D55L costs about RM6,000 less than the X50 1.5T Standard. And that’s before you even look at the specs!

The main highlights are obviously the advanced safety specs. The usual six airbags and electronic stability control is standard, of course, and that’s already better than the base X50’s four-airbag count. Perodua’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) is also standard across the range, so every variant gets AEB as standard. With the X50, you’ll have to spend over RM100k to get AEB. Now this is how it should be – safety for all, no compromises.

The ASA 3.0 is also more advanced than any systems fitted onto existing Peroduas. The AEB’s operating range is now wider, and it can detect motorcycles (very important for markets like Malaysia) for the first time.

The top AV version will get additional features like Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control. Yes, that’s right, the D55L will get ACC, a feature commonly reserved only for high-end luxury cans no more than five years ago.

Together with LKA, Perodua says that the D55L has Level 2 semi-autonomous driving features, making it the cheapest car in Malaysia to have it, undercutting the X50 Flagship by a full RM30k.

There’s no Auto Parking either, but remember, this SUV is the size of a Myvi. If you can’t park it properly, then the fault is not the car’s, really.

Let’s move on to engines. It’s big news, for the D55L will be the first Perodua to get a turbocharged engine, specifically a 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol mill. It’s likely that the engine will be that of the 1KR-VET variant that’s offered in Japan, which produces 98 PS and 140 Nm of torque. This, however, has yet to be confirmed. What’s certain is the fitment of a CVT – also a first for Perodua.

In terms of sheer output, that might not sound like much. In fact, it’s pretty similar to the Myvi 1.5, but the Daihatsu Rocky is also very light, tipping the scales at under 1,000 kg. So, technically speaking, it should be slightly faster than the Myvi. Will the Myvi still be “The King” with the D55L around, then?

Jokes aside, the 1KR-VET three-potter is basically a turbocharged version of the engine found in the Perodua Axia and Bezza. There’s no direct injection here, but at least it comes with a timing chain. That should keep some of you happy, if that’s your thing.

For colours, Perodua will offer five options – Glittering Silver, Granite Grey, Cobalt Blue, Pearl Diamond White, and Pearl Delima Red. That’s delima as in pomegranate in our mother tongue, which honestly is a cool Malaysian name. You can also have the white and red options with a trendy dual-tone black roof, but this is for the top AV model only.

So that pretty much sums it up. The features listed here are pretty much all the info we have on the Perodua D55L (or Ativa, if you will) for now. Perodua has already begun taking orders for the hot new SUV, and the official launch should take place sometime in March. The wait won’t be long! Over to you – what do you think of all this? Let us know what you think, below.

GALLERY: JDM Daihatsu Rocky

GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style at TAS 2020

GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky Modellista kit