Monday, June 14, 2010
The Perodua Alza is surely one of the most anticipated cars of recent times. In fact, this blog has been spreading the news of the Perodua MPV since early 2008, and we’ve been teased by numerous spy shots and revelations ever since. Well, it’s finally here now and we’ve got a chance to drive it over a weekend, covering 385km over a variety of roads.
Read the rest of the report after the jump.
The model we tested
The Alza we sampled is an SXi, which means it’s the Premium spec manual transmission variant priced at RM60,990 (OTR including insurance). Extra equipment over the Standard models include ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, dual airbags, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, leather wrapped steering with audio controls, driver seat height adjuster, fog lamps, rear spoiler, higher grade seat fabric and silver/chrome trim in the cabin. That’s quite a lot of added kit for an extra RM5,000 – well worth it in our opinion.
For more detailed technical info and measurements, view our previous post.
Living in the Alza
Using wheelbase length as a measure of spaciousness is more applicable in a passenger car than an MPV because rear overhangs contribute to an MPV’s interior length, so we shouldn’t read much into the Alza’s class leading wheelbase. The Alza feels much smaller than the Exora inside, and should be about the size of a Grand Livina, but with a much higher roofline than the Nissan which contributes to an airy and open feel. Stepping into the Alza is very easy, as doors open wide (typically Perodua) and the ride height is just perfect – no need to “climb” into the car.
Access to the third row is trickier. The Alza lacks a tumble fold system for the second row, which means you’ll need to fold down the seat backs (it doesn’t go fully flat) and pull the base – a two-step operation that’s less convenient than the Exora’s two-way, one-touch lever. Once that’s done, the opening is small and those who are less nimble might have difficulty entering.
Here’s a brief recap of how Perodua’s MPV stands on paper to its immediate rivals. The Alza sits on an elongated Myvi platform and its 2750mm wheelbase compares well with the Toyota Avanza (2655mm), Nissan Grand Livina (2600mm) and Proton Exora (2730mm) even though it’s the second shortest here after the Avanza. The Alza’s footprint is actually much smaller than the Exora’s – the long wheelbase is derived by pushing the rear wheels right to the car’s edges.
Under the bonnet is a cast iron block 3SZ-VE 1.5-litre engine, as used in the Avanza 1.5 and Rush, although it’s mounted longitudinally in the rear-drive Toyotas and transversely in the FWD Alza. Perodua quotes 103bhp (104PS) and 136Nm of torque, which is slightly lower than the Avanza’s 108bhp/141Nm – perhaps a slightly different state of tune. Transmission options are a four-speed auto and our tester’s five-speed manual.Once inside, the high roof gives adequate headroom but legroom fully depends on the kindness of other occupants – it can range from zero (if the second row is pushed fully back) to decent for mid-sized adults if a compromise between second and third row members can be made. Anyhow, the seat base is not much higher than the floor so your knees will point high, but this is not uncommon in a seven seater. There’s also very little space for luggage with all seats up. I also wished that the non-split rear seats can be folded flat with just one operation – at present you’ll need to pull two straps (one on each side) to tumble it.
“Is the air-con strong enough?” is a common concern among Malaysian carbuyers and we’re happy to report that despite not having a separate blower and vents for the rear section, the Alza’s air con provides a strong enough breeze to reach rear occupants. The system also cools very fast. There are also plenty of cupholders – 12 in our car!
From the driver’s seat
From the driver’s seat, the driving position, ergonomics and visbility are all pleasant. For me, the highlight of the dashboard is the integrated stereo system, which is full featured, easy to use with big buttons and looks premium with tight fit buttons flush with the surface. In contrast, the Vios derived “bottle cap” style A/C controls look cheap, and without the auto gear lever sharing this space, the area looks rather empty, as if something is missing.
The centre mounted instrument pack is OK for clarity, but the trip computer didn’t have much info other than Range. The manual variant also lacks the driver seat extension and fold down arm rest since the gear lever and hand brake are in their traditional location – between the seats. What it gets over the auto are a couple more cubbies and cupholders.
On the move, the Alza is a very easy and undemanding car to drive – the steering is light, turning circle is tight and clutch is similarly effortless. But the clutch pedal does not seem to have any biting point – it’s either up or down – and those without the habit of resting their foot on the clutch might crave for a foot rest – at present, the pedal is so near the centre console that Perodua wouldn’t have been able to fit one anyway.
The Alza’s gearchange could also be better. The shallow gates and imprecise rubbery feel means that there’s little satisfaction to be had swapping gears; the process feels quite crude and van-like actually.
Many have doubts whether a 1.5-litre is sufficient for an MPV and this is where the Alza surprised us and our passengers. Acceleration is lively, whether from rest or in gear, and there’s enough low down torque to merge with faster flowing traffic without venturing high up the rev range. You do hear and feel the engine buzz, as you would in other Peroduas, but it’s never annoying.
I ferried the family up to Genting Highlands to see how the Alza would cope with four adults on board, and it managed the task admirably. For the first half of the journey on the Karak highway, the Alza made decent progress in fifth gear; only a few times did I need to downshift to fourth to regain momentum. After exiting the highway to begin the climb, the Alza took care of slower traffic and more powerful but poorly driven cars mostly in second gear, even for the few super sharp slopes on the route. It did struggle a little to be honest, but so does its rivals, so there’s not much of an issue here.
n the matter of fuel consumption, I did 385km in the Alza with the trip computer showing a range of 150km (two bars of petrol) when I returned the car. The Alza’s full tank capacity is 42 litres and I added 10 litres to it, so the rough calculation points to 10.3 km/l, which is pretty decent considering the Genting detour. Perodua’s claim is 15.5 km/l for the manual, but keep in mind that it’s almost never possible to hit official figures.
That experiment showed that the Alza is pretty flexible on the move, although there’s an occasional hesitation and pause in the mid range, as noticed in our preview report. The Perodua feels more energetic, responsive and effortless than the 1.6 CPS powered Exora and although we did not do a side-by-side comparison, my money is on the car from Rawang in a performance test.
The Alza rides and handles capably as well. There’s not much body roll to speak of, and the ride comfort is relatively good – it doesn’t buck and bounce around like the Avanza or react so sharply to small bumps and ridges like the Grand Livina so it’s a good effort from Perodua. The 185-section Silverstone tyres aren’t exactly high on grip (ours were barely scrubbed in) but other than a steering that I feel should be tighter in high speeds, there’s very little to complain about. What the Exora does better is isolating the engine from the cabin, general refinement and car-driver communication.
Alza’s rear resembles the pre-facelift Myvi; here, it’s parked next to the current Myvi
As an MPV, it’s far from perfect. But to its credit, Perodua doesn’t call the Alza a full-sized MPV, preferring the “5+2″ occasional seven seater status. And if viewed as a bigger Myvi with much better legroom, a huge boot and two “emergency seats” the Alza becomes a brilliant proposition. We can see how popular the Myvi is with Malaysians, and if given more of the same with the abovementioned benefits at a small premium, there’s no reason why the Alza won’t be a runaway success. As a bonus, the Alza has adequate performance and is entirely decent to drive.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The highest specification level of the Perodua Alza is actually a model called the Perodua Alza Advanced Version, which is basically based on the Alza 1.5 Automatic Premium and Manual Premium but with a few additional specifications. You can book this now but delivery will only start in March 2010.
You basically get a new bodykit which consists of front, rear and side skirts and a different rear spoiler. On the inside, you get leather seat covers for all the seats, but the leather treatment does not continue onto the door trim. Also provided is a 5 inch touchscreen LCD which has a Windows CE-based GPS navigation system with a SiRF Atlas IV chipset and 500MHz CPU. The LCD also displays a feed from a 150 degree lense reverse camera.
Finally, there is tinted film for all the glass in the Alza which Perodua claims is GPS and SmartTAG friendly. Perodua states the specifications as following: 95% IR rejection, 99% UV rejection, 70% light for the front windscreen and about over 50% light for the rest of the glass. This tint has a 5 year warranty against peeling, oxidisation, cracking, discoloration and fading. I assume that as an OEM option this tint is also JPJ-approved.
The Alza Advanced Version manual goes for RM66,490 for solid and RM66,990 for metallic, while the Alza Advanced Version automatic goes for RM69,490 for solid and RM69,990 for metallic. The S. Metallic option is missing because the Alza Advanced Version only comes in three colours – Ivory White, Ebony Black and Classy Purple, while the only special metallic colour is Pearl White.
I reckon you could probably get a good Garmin nuvi for under RM1,000 and add on a very good set of tint for about RM2,000 to RM3,000 or so maximum. If you don’t want the leather seat covers and bodykit you’re better off adding your own tint and GPS. Not sure about the cost of the reverse camera though.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Assalamualaikum & Salam Sejahtera,
Semalam berkesempatan jenguk2 showroom Perodua kat Kota Damansara. Ramai orang malam tadi. Nak tengok kereta baru perodua tu lah… ALZA – kereta juga MPV… faham ke? hheeheh
So, kenapa Perodua kata Alza ni kereta juga MPV? Sebabnya, dia perform macam kereta, pada masa sama, dia juga nak jadi MPV. Sebab ada lebih 2 tempat duduk kat barisan ketiga. Sebab tu jek.
Saya rasa saingan terdekat Alza adalah Proton Persona. Ada orang kata Alza ni nak fight market dengan Exora, tapi saya rasa tak sangat lah… sebab Proton Exora ada marketnya sendiri dan ada kelebihannya sendiri. Proton Exora lagi besar, lagi bnyk ruang dan enjin nya pulak 1.6.
Alza ni tak lebih macam kereta pada pandangan saya. Alza ada 5+2 tempat duduk. So, jadi la 7 tempat duduk. Daripada pemerhatian saya malam tadi, ada beberapa point yang saya rasa boleh saya kongsikan kat blog saya utk pembaca semua.
1 – Tempat duduk – OK, takde masalah dengan tempat duduk dia… ada org kata tempat duduk barisan ketiga macam papan, tapi bila kereta dah keluar, ia tak lah seperti di sangka.
2 – Buatan Alza ni adalah OK – nampak mewah, tapi pada masa sama kualiti terjaga lah…
3 – Tayar – 15 inci
4 – Barisan ketiga sesuai utk kanak-kanak atau mereka yang bersaiz kecil. Tinggi tak leh lebih 170 sm. Kalau lebih, memang rasa sempit kat tempat duduk barisan ketiga.
5 – Warga tua adalah di galakkan duduk di barisan kedua utk memudahkan keluar dan masuk kereta.
6 – Enjin 1.5 macam Avanza, cuma bezanya, pembuatan enjin ni hampir sepenuhnya dibuat di Malaysia.
7 – Ruang kargo, pada saya limited lah. Kalau nak ruang lagi besar, kena la tolak tempat duduk barisan ke tiga tu… dapat la ruang lebih… bila dah ada ruang, boleh jadi tempat tidur utk anak2 kalau perjalanan jauh.
8 – Lampu meter adalah optitron – utk versi manual standard, lampu kaler oren. Versi automatik dia kaler biru.
9 – Utk versi automatik, gear lever adalah di dashboard. Ada tempat duduk kecik kat tengah antara driver & passenger kiri.
10 – Handbrake utk manual adalah di tempat biasa. Handbrake utk auto, Alza guna foot brake. Tgk kat slideshow atas.
11 – Pemanduan? Takde komen, sebab dah malam. Tak sempat test drive lah. Tapi utk enjin 1.5, pada saya sepatutnya pemanduan adalah seperti biasa. Macam drive kereta auto gak.
Nak bagi tahu apa lagi ye? Kalau nak tau lebih lagi, sila2 lah ke showroom perodua berdekatan.
Verdict saya: Sesuai utk mereka yang nak kan kereta lebih besar, tapi tak nak ambik MPV.