Moving ‘Entry Level’ Forward- Perodua Myvi 1.5 (H) Automatic 2018 Review
The Myvi has achieved the status that any model from Proton could only dream of right now. It’s the people’s car. And Perodua never even tried to be a pioneer in automotive technology or a Motorsport champion throughout its entire existence. I still remember reading not so kind comments about early Perodua models like the Kancil and the Kelisa when I was little. And back then, saloon cars were seen as the ideal family car and the Proton Wira was everywhere. Proton was the bigger brother that would always beat little brother Perodua in an arm wrestle. But just like many sibling rivalries, things changed when little brother hit puberty. With recent changes in auto industry, we hope to see a healthier Proton in the future.
So, this is the new Myvi that was launched in Q4 of 2017. It got everybody talking about it and now in May 2018, I finally give it a proper go. I did check this out when it was newly launched (link to article) but it was only a brief encounter. Let’s have a little bit of an overview before we proceed.
Engine: 1.5L I4 2NR-VE Dual VVT-i
Drive train: Front Wheel Drive
Transmission: 4-speed Automatic
Price (Brand New in 2018): ~RM51,800
Immediately we see that the Myvi still uses a 4-speed automatic gearbox with a torque converter. It’s traditional and it works, but I was expecting something a little more advanced since we are already in 2018. Even the tiny VW Polo comes with a 6-speed automatic with a torque converter. Max horsepower is 106hp at 6,000 rpm and the car weighs around 1015kg. So that’s approximately 104.4hp/tonne. Decent figures for a city car.
My parents bought this Myvi 1.5 (H) and being the elderly couple that they are, the car doesn’t get driven much. So, I took the liberty of breaking in (or running in) the car for them. “What is breaking in?”, you may ask. Well, it is something similar to breaking in a new pair of shoes. You are advised to take certain precautions during the first 1000 kilometres driven in the car.
Why is Running In important?
To ensure the piston rings are settled in into the engine’s cylinder wall. Why is that important? So you don’t waste the power from the combustion that is meant to push the cylinder. You will get the intended performance and efficiency figures with a properly run in engine. The engine will also last longer and give you your money’s worth.
How do you run in a car?
This is usually written in the owner’s manual. For the Myvi, the instructions for the first 1000km were:
Do not exceed 90km/h
Do not drive at a constant speed (fast or slow) for a long period of time. (Basically keep the engine speed varied)
Do not execute hard braking
Do not execute full throttle acceleration.
Why do I bother telling you about this?
It is something average car buyers often overlook and executing a proper engine run in would improve your ownership experience in the long run. I also had to properly run in the Myvi before being able to drive it hard and give it a fair review.
What is it like to drive?
It’s different from other Perodua models and it is a step forward for entry level cars. It’s still not as comfortable as a Honda City and I’ll set the Honda City as a benchmark for interior quality when it comes to entry level B-segment cars.
I did like the steering wheel in the 1.5 (H) Myvi. The grip is comfortable even when driving through twisty hill roads. In my old 2007 Persona, my palms would feel a little numb after long drives through twisty roads. The 1.5 (H) Myvi was also quite relaxing once I got my seating position right. Is it lower than the previous Myvi? I think it is because it certainly handled the corners better. The handling isn’t as sharp as the Iriz (link to article), but the Myvi doesn’t have a gearbox that you would despise.
Talking about the gearbox. Like I said earlier, it is traditional and conventional. And it works. I don’t despise it, but it does leave much more to be desired. Not because it’s lethargic, but more because it feels outdated in 2018. A lot of fancy features have been slapped onto this entry level car and admittingly, they can be very convenient (like the Smart Tag feature and the steering wheel audio controls). It just feels like in the midst of making the car hip with features, things like the gearbox have been overlooked.
Nonetheless, the Myvi is still a decent car for you to run your errands. The previous gen Myvi was still using a mechanical throttle and only after thirteen years of the Myvi do we get to see electronic throttle control being applied.
Is it better (the electronic throttle control)?
In the case of the new Myvi, yes, it is. It’s not as eager or excited as the older Myvi with the mechanical throttle cable. In the older Myvi (link to article), it feels like you’re walking a little dog that’s high on cocaine and you have to tame the car with the brakes. That probably explains why we see so many aggressive older Myvis on the road. Although the new Myvi has a more aggressive looking face, the drive is more relaxing.
The 1.5 (H) Auto Myvi does come with Eco Idle that turns the engine off when you stop the car for more than a few seconds. I guess this can help you save fuel in certain conditions but it can get annoying. The Eco Idle feature is automatically turned on when you start the car and move and if you find it inconvenient, you can always turn the feature off with a button on the dashboard. That’s what I did every time.
Alright let’s talk about the engine. 1.5 Inline-4, Naturally aspirated, Dual VVT-i, and with DOHC. It seems pretty standard for a 2018 Inline-4 engine. It’s a Toyota 2NR-VE which is similar to what you get in the Toyota Avanza (with some refinements). I did take this up to 140km/h but it wasn’t impressive. I was impressed by the 1.0 Ecoboost Ford Fiesta (link to article), so the 2018 Myvi 1.5 (H) was just an OK when it comes to highway driving.
Is power delivery instantaneous?
No. But good enough for an entry level B-segment car.
Is it good for highway driving?
It’s fine but not great. I wish it had a 5th gear. Or even better, a 6th gear. The drive would be much for relaxing. Things get quite noisy at 140km/h and the noise is moderate at 120km/h.
The New Myvi is slightly longer, slightly wider, and slightly shorter than its predecessor. It feels a bit more planted. That’s good. And even better than that is the improved ride for backseat passengers. In the old Myvi you had to be very careful on bumpy roads to keep your passengers comfortable. Even the slightest of bumps could launch their heads into the ceiling. My guess is that with new Myvi, they shifted the wheel centre a bit further back from the centre point of the back seat. It’s just my guess.
Who buys a Myvi?
This is either a first family car for a young family or a second car for a more mature, well-to-do family. The 1.5(H) Auto is priced at RM51,800 which is more expensive than a 1.3 Iriz but less expensive than the 1.6 Iriz.
To be fair, we can only compare the Myvi 1.5 Advance Automatic (RM55,300) with the Iriz 1.6 Premium CVT (RM56,950).
A rung lower would be the Myvi 1.3 (G) Automatic (RM46,300) against the Iriz 1.3 Standard CVT (RM45,314).
Personally, I would go for the Myvi since I was disappointed with the CVT in the Iriz previously.
If you’re a young man who’s either getting married soon or already married, the Myvi does look like a financially responsible choice. The drive is not bad, and it’s got a decent size. You might be thinking of getting a sedan but look around you and see how many sedan cars actually get their boot space fully utilised. The lack of a separate boot space does create some significant weight reduction (better fuel consumption) so you can save the money to get a Mercedes or a BMW later on.
What other options do we have?
Kia Picanto, Honda Jazz, and many other B-segment hatches. Personally, I’d still take the Myvi since the Picanto is a smaller car, and to me, other B-segment cars like the Jazz are just a little too overpriced for the kind of car that you end up with. I’d rather use the extra money for a project car.
If you’re buying a Myvi, you’re not looking for performance. Maybe some of you will do little exterior tweaks here and there but that’s about it. It looks decent and it does the job. It’s not exhilarating and it’s not fast. If you just need a daily driver, the new Myvi is alright. It’s big enough for you to run your errands and small enough to keep things low maintenance.
Things I Noticed Along the Way
I did take the Myvi for quite a drive so there was time to take notice of the smaller things. The gauge cluster is decent and helpful. It is always lit up so even when the sun is glaring through your windscreen, you can still see the gauges clearly. All icons are visible and nothing gets blocked by the tachometer or odometer needle.
The seats took some time for me to get used to but once I got it right, they were decent. They could be better though.
The seat adjustment controls could use some improvement as well. They feel flimsy and the seat recline spring seems to lack strength. You have to pull the seat with your hand to get the backrest nice and upright.
The engine noise isn’t great (in the cabin), but I don’t think it’s something to complain about in an entry level B-segment hatch. The exhaust note, on the other hand, is actually quite fun to listen to. It does try to sound angry.
The central locking only works from the button on the dash. You can no longer do it from the lock on the driver’s door. I find that to be inconvenient.
Is it a good car?
Yes, for an entry level B-Segment car, I think it’s rather satisfying.
Although I wouldn’t recommend you buy it yet. This still is a newly launched model. If you’re thinking of getting one, I’d suggest waiting a little until Perodua gives us a facelifted Myvi from this chassis. I do think we’ll start to see less aggressive Myvis since things are more relaxed with this third generation.
Is it fuel efficient?
I averaged 14.5km/l with normal driving (highway & backroads)
Is it a game changer?
Well, the Smart Tag feature is not game changing. What is a game changer here is how the car feels on the inside and how it matches with the price tag. It’s a new passing mark for entry level. If vibrating dashboards was something acceptable in new entry level cars of the past, it no longer is. If unpleasant backseat comfort was acceptable in the past, it no longer is.
The 2018 Myvi 1.5 (H) Automatic has some fancy features slapped on for an everyday car. Some of you might like them, and some of you may find them to be unnecessary. I just wish it came with a 6-speed automatic with tiptronic instead.