Automotive 2021 Perodua Rusa front

Published on June 30th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Next Generation Perodua Rusa In The Works

Small business owners will look forward to the launch of this van.

Many older Malaysians may still remember a time when the Perodua Rusa was seen everywhere on the road. Available three specs as a van, a five and a seven seat people mover, this utilitarian microvan was the tool of choice for many small businesses or families looking for a cheap way to transport people and cargo all around Malaysia. 

Perodua Rusa brochure

The Rusa is still seen today, especially in rural areas. But many a Rusa have since been traded in for the current crop of MPVs like the Toyota Avanza, Proton Exora and even Perodua’s own Alza. With the debut of the new generation Daihatsu Gran Max microvans in Japan however, rumours of a return of the Rusa nameplate are resurfacing. 

With the debut of the new generation Daihatsu Gran Max microvans in Japan last week, rumours of a return of the Rusa nameplate are resurfacing.

Daihatsu Gran Max

The main question is though, do Malaysians still have the need for a Perodua Rusa? 

Renderings of the all-new Rusa point to it being a reworked the aforementioned Daihatsu van. This is of course no surprise, considering Malaysia’s second largest automakers prior relationships with the Japanese brand and it stays true to the Rusa roots, as the original was also based of a previous generation of the Daihatsu kei minivan.

2021 Perodua Rusa

The styling, based on these rendering show a pleasing front end incorporating the Perodua family face. The rear however is almost identical to its Daihatsu cousin. Side body mouldings and two-tone Axia Style wheels that helps break up the side profile of the new Rusa. 

Interior wise, the dash layout with its manual gear lever gives away the Rusa’s van underpinnings. A touch screen infotainment display doesn’t hide the fact that the dash looks to be constructed out of cheap hard plastic. 

BHP

Powertrain options are speculative at this point. The 2NR-VE 1.5 litre four cylinder, as seen on the Myvi and Aruz, is used in the Daihatsu on which the Rusa should be based. Pushing out 97 PS and 134 Nm of torque, it will most likely mated to the same four speed auto gearbox as the Myvi for passenger variants while a 5 speed manual may an option for commercial Rusa variants. 

2021 Perodua Rusa rear

Back to the main question though, would a new Perodua Rusa work in today’s market? Maybe not as a passenger vehicle. Although all the prerequisite safety features are offered in the Daihatsu, the Rusa may be too utilitarian and unrefined even for today’s budget MPV buyers. It also would not make much sense in Perodua’s current lineup too, considering the existence of the Myvi-based Alza. 

The Rusa may fare better in commercial market though, as there isn’t a cheap locally-produced microvan on the market. Even the cheapest new van available, the Daihatsu Gran Max panel van, starts at RM70,000. With an ever-growing industry of young entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a cheap cargo hauler, the Perodua Rusa might just be the answer to this ever-growing niche in the commercial market. 

Text By Joshua Chin

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