In the week we had the latest Myvi, three people came up to us and enquire about the car as if we represented Perodua - and offduty one at that since we were not donning the company uniform. Many who cast second looks were young men and older folks driving the previous Myvis or the smaller Perodua models.
One thirty-something in an Axia even stopped alongside at the traffic lights, wound down his window and try to get as much info about the new Myvi in the time it took the lights to turn green. His parting shot: "Hey bro, you got a (name) card?"
Such is the public interest in the Myvi every time a new generation comes around. It's understandable. The Myvi is a well-loved model among Malaysians, sort of like the iconic VW Golf is to the Germans, only with less of its talents. But it's okay because what the ordinary Malaysian wants is reliable transport that is spacious, relatively cheap to maintain and most of all affordable. Even more so now than ever when cost of living is on the up and up.
The Myvi has improved in appearance and feature set as it crossed generations. The first generation was, you could say, rotund and cute. It came with a 1.0-litre and 1.3 litre engines. In its second gen, it tightened up its looks, appearing leaner and sportier with accessories to match. It was also at this stage that the 1.5-litre 'Lagi Power Lagi Best' engine debuted alongside the 1.3-litre car, which became the base variant.
And then the latest generation came along, looking hunkered down, sleek and trendier from the get-go. It's still based on the previous Myvi platform albeit with 70% new parts.
The 1.5-litre engine of the new Myvi makes 102hp and 136Nm, while the 1.3-litre delivers 94hp and 121Nm.
The new Myvi is Perodua's little weaponry to dominate and not just chip away at market share. Going by the 20,000 bookings received in the first month, it looks set to keep Perodua working overtime to meet demand.
In terms of specifications, it has no equal in its segment - at least for now. Standard LED headlights, 4 airbags minimum, and a safety suite that includes pre-collions braking , heighten its allure.
And how can one forget the built-in toll card reader that has become a point of public fixation above and beyond the other selling points that should have taken precedence. Fact is Perodua did not expect a tidal wave of public acceptance for this feature.
The integrated toll card reader with backlit display is a brilliant move, making Perodua the first car maker in the country to do this. It s a nice-to-have kit but not necessary, with Perodua banking on the premise it would be a minor unique selling point. But public response can sometimes be misread. This was the case here.
Still public sentiments for it may mean Perodua could make it a standard feature across all variants rather than just on the 1.5L versions. That will have to be decided upon when it comes time for the Myvi to get its nip and tuck in a few short years.
Who knows, with the stereo camera upfront, a digital video recorder aka window cam could be shoehorned into the mix of value propositions for the Myvi in the future.
First-generation Myvi owner's viewpoint: Hong Boon How
Being a regular user of the first-generation Myvi, it's obvious to me that the latest Myvi is a huge jump from the earlier models in technology, styling, safety and convenience features.
Aside from being more powerful, the new Myvi also handles more confidently on twisty roads and soaks bumps better for a more comfortable ride.
Another new feature is that the Myvi is much sleeker looking now with a low roofline compared with the earlier generations which had a sort of "pudgy" appearance.
However, this "pudgy" architecture is not without a purpose and this had enabled earlier Myvi models to have huge headroom and high seating position that gave drivers and passengers the feel of being inside a multi-purpose vehicle despite the Myvi's compact size.
Users of earlier generation Myvi models may bemoan the loss of this feature but they can take some comfort in tonnes of updates that the new Myvi has to offer.
Second-generation Myvi owner's viewpoint: George Wong
Say what you like about the new Myvi being a Honda Jazz wannabe, it's a massive upgrade that will have plenty of people heading to the showrooms to put down the booking fee.
I have to hand it to the first-gen Myvi: its headroom remains unbeatable. The headroom was reduced in the second-gen and remained little changed in the current model. However, a colleague who is 6 feet 4 said he could fit into both rows without trouble though he would find it not the most comfortable in journeys exceeding an hour.
The interior layout is modern and attractive though I still miss the real estate advantage of having the 4-speed auto shifter on the dashboard as seen in the previous Myvi. Nevertheless, cabin quality is several notches up, complemented by a quieter interior by comparison. The full-size spare tyre and larger boot step up the car's practicality.
There's a trade-off in carving out more space from a Myvi that is now longer, wider and lower. Seats appear to be smaller this time, and this seems like a move to make the interior look and feel roomier.
One deleted feature in the new Myvi is the water temperature gauge that has been the source of much debate among CarSifu readers. I personally like it, whether in analogue or digital form to give me a running report on the health of the engine cooling system.
This is also a much safer Myvi than before with its array of safety features, some of which, like the pre-collision braking, used to be found only in more expensive cars. Making it proudly Malaysian are its body design and localised features such as Anti-snatch theft hook, driver's seat USB port, and the much talked about integrated toll card reader.
The engine responds quickly with every dab of the right foot, propelling the car quickly on its way. Braking isn't instant grabby but still gets the job done as decently as in the previous model.
Ride and handling are improved but can still be better. The lower stance and better aerodynamics endowed the car with more confidence at speeds and when tackling corners.
While Thomas Huong was not impressed with the new Myvi's ride and handling quality in his earlier review, I am inclined to give it more slack, referencing it against the second-gen Myvi. And from that perspective, the new Myvi has redeeming qualities. The suspension does well to dampen minor surface ruts but isn't outstanding in suppressing rougher patches with tyre roar tarnishing the ride experience somewhat.
In addition, the official fuel efficiency of 20km/l has to be taken with a pinch of salt as I only managed to average 16.5km/l. Still that speaks well for the car's fuel economy.
The new Myvi remains competitively priced and would tempt owners of previous Myvis to upgrade. More so the first-gen Myvi owner who seeks the better refinements and safety upgrades the new one has to offer.
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