Published on October 23rd, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
Perodua Alza SE: What’s New in the 2018 Facelift
The Perodua Alza recently got an update to keep it fresh and competitive against its sole rival in the space, the Proton Ertiga. First launched in 2009, the Alza was a simple, reliable compact MPV for the masses.
It was a huge success, with over 344,000 units sold between 2009 and 2018. By building on the strengths of the Myvi, Perodua delivered something budget-friendly that many Malaysian families needed.
Nine years on, the Alza is still going strong. But, of course an update was necessary. It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t the first time Perodua have updated the Alza. Most Malaysians would by now be familiar with the initial 2014 facelift, which has an aggressive front end and a glossy black plastic trim piece across the rear.
So, what have Perodua done to keep the Alza relevant in 2018?
If you’re already familiar with the Alza, here’s what’s new:
This SE and the Advance variant come with this new exterior look. Note the more stylised front and rear bumpers. You’ll also find a new front grille that merges with the headlamp units as most do on newer cars. A modern two-tone look is what the designers have settled on.
The SE and Advance models come with 15” alloy rims finished in a darker shade of ‘titanium’. It’s less conservative than before, but we’re happy that the proportions have not been altered.
The car still looks easy on the eyes and unpretensious in spite of the changes. The two-tone look with the new Granite Grey paint finish give it quite a nice finish. Good that Perodua took the opportunity to present an Alza that has a more aggressive, ‘masculine’ flavour to it without going too far with a sporty bodykit or oversized front grille.
So, exterior, quite tidy and sufficiently improved. Very little to love, but also nothing to hate about it.
The interior though, is where a lot of the best changes have been made. First of all, the centre air-condition stack now features a fixed element to keep some cold air permanently flowing to the rear passengers. In our testing, it worked well at fan speeds 2 and above. The air-conditioning system itself has seen some internal part improvements which ought to address the lack of a dedicated rear air cond unit.
But there are more substantial improves to the cabin that merit attention. The leather wrapped steering is particularly pleasant. The difference between the polyutherane steering on the Bezza GXtra and this leather one in the Alza is night and day.
The new infotainment unit on this SE and the Advance model now support Bluetooth and have a little USB outlet. In 2018, this is essential to facilitate navigation and music streaming over smartphones. No touchscreen, no problem. As long as there’s a reliable, easy-to-use Bluetooth interface, even a budget-conscious car becomes easy to live with.
And speaking of easy to live with, this new instrument cluster and dashboard look. It sports a trapezoidal design and features more premium looking elements. While the 110km/h mark isn’t indicated on the speedo, Perodua have made it so that the needle points to the top dead centre of the dial at this speed.
Now for the things that have stayed the same.
Under the hood, nothing has really changed. The Alza’s still running the same 1.5-litre DOHC engine that was in the previous Myvi. Quite honestly, it’s the right engine for the job. Super reliable, efficient, powerful and with plenty of parts available. With a load of 6 people, the car is capable of getting to highway speeds sufficiently well. Admittedly, the car feels more secure and at home at around 90km/h. At this speed, not only is the engine able to give you a quick burst of acceleration when necessary, but it’s also a lot quieter and composed inside. This is, after all, a budget-friendly compact MPV.
Another thing that’s unchanged is most of the interior plastics. I, for one think it’s a good thing. Peroduas made in the mid-to-late 2000s have some of the most durable interiors. As newer customers demand more complex and intricate designs, something has got to give. We feel that this older interior with the sprinkling of modernity (its new head unit and instrument cluster) is the best combination.
Perhaps the only real thing we wished had changed is the safety features. The 2nd row of seats still sports a lap belt instead of a 3-point seatbelt and ESC is still not present. Perhaps these are things that simply cannot be upgraded on the current Alza platform. In any case, these are not available on the Alza’s only rival, the Proton Ertiga either, so we can’t be too hard on it.
All-in-all, the Alza still delivers great value for money and gives larger Malaysian families what they need out of a car: versatility, reliability, comfort and space for seven.
Perodua Alza SE Specifications
Engine: 16-Valve, DOHC, VVT
Capacity: 1495 cc
Gearbox: 4-speed conventional automatic
Max power: 102 hp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 136 Nm @ 4400 Nm