Published on May 17th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
2021 Perodua Myvi 1.5 AV Review
The facelifted 3rd generation Perodua Myvi 1.5 AV makes gains in the cruising department.
It’s hard to fault Perodua’s approach to vehicle-making. They’re a relatively small automotive company with less than 30 years of experience. Sure, they borrow very heavily from their technology partner Daihatsu, but they’ve also been learning the car game step-by-step and finding their footing over the years with regards to Malaysian tastes. The Myvi is the best demonstration of this. Even after 16 years, the Perodua Myvi keeps hitting new highs with 2021 being its single best sales year. 2021 also marked the biggest leap forward for the powertrain of the Myvi.
Since its inception, the 4-speed automatic has been the primary choice for buyers. The 5-speed manual was slowly being forgotten by Malaysian buyers to the point where only 1% of Myvis went out of the showroom with these gearboxes. So with the late 2021 facelift, Perodua decided to drop the 5-speed manual entirely. They also decided to move with the times and replace the 4-speed conventional automatic with a D-CVT (Dual-Mode Continuously Variable Transmission).
The D-CVT is a Daihatsu-derived gearbox that first debuted here in the Ativa crossover. At low speeds, it uses a belt-on-pulley system like a traditional CVT. However, at higher speeds, the belt system is relieved and a set of gears are engaged.
On the road, the new Myvi is much improved at speeds 50km/h and up. The car’s a lot more refined as a cruiser with the engine kept well below 2,000 rpm at speeds in excess of 90km/h.
This closes the gap to the Yaris in terms of highway refinement. However, the steering feel, responsive, general NVH and suspension damping is still a rung below the Myvi’s Toyota cousin. Still, for under RM60,000, the Myvi really feels more like a global product on the highway. It also handles itself well through corners and feels like it’s built to last well beyond its warranty period in typical Perodua fashion.
That being said, the new gearbox doesn’t quite improve things in stop-and-go traffic. It’s a little intrusive going from a standstill to 40km/h and the engine stop-start system does get a bit tiring after a while. We found ourselves disabling the system often and forgoing the savings on fuel for a bit more driving pleasure.
The Myvi still doesn’t weigh much, tipping the scale at just over a tonne. This gives it a natural lightness that has its pros and cons on the road. On the one hand, it feels fleet footed and is naturally not thirsty. On the other hand, the chassis lacks the heft and chunkiness required to absorb vibrations presented in many Malaysian roads.
But again, for under RM60K, it’s hard to complain when no contenders present a real case for themselves. The only real rival the Myvi has is the Proton Iriz, and between the two local hatchbacks, the Myvi is a more complete product with a smaller list of shortcomings. Yes, the Iriz is more fun to chuck around corners, but that’s not a key priority for this class of vehicle, which is part of the reason why Perodua sold 47,000 Myvis in 2021 while Proton sold fewer than 7,000 Iriz hatchback in the same year.
Besides the new DCT, the other big jump for the Myvi comes in the form of equipment. LED Daytime running lights are now available in the Myvi for the first time and the design is pretty neat and eye catching. This full-spec 1.5 AV model also introduces red into the Myvi’s interior in the form of glossy red air vent surrounds and red upholstery. It’s not my favourite interior, but I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I like my Peroduas with simple, uni-tone fabric seats, but we’re sure the majority of the buying public want something more.
Perodua are also throwing in loads of unexpected ‘nice to haves’. The Myvi 1.5 AV comes with Optitron dials (once a Camry-exclusive), a colour multi-info display, and a factory-installed front dashcam.
The 1.5 AV also introduces Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Control, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. It’s incredible that for UNDER RM60,000, all of this safety equipment makes its way into the Perodua Myvi. This really changes the game for the competition, who must now consider making all of this equipment standard, as almost no non-national car brand can bring cars in below RM60,000 in the first place.
From our experience with the Myvi, these features under ‘Perodua Smart Drive Assist’ work well and have been improved and enhanced over the first ‘Advanced Safety Assist’ that was introduced with the Myvi in 2017.
Perodua aren’t just slapping together OEM parts, but are learning the nuances of these systems – making improvements year on year and it shows. As this is a camera-only system for now, there are still some limitations, but hey, it works.
Prevention is better than cure and having pre-collision braking is probably the best kind of ‘insurance policy’ there is for road safety. It’s also rather surreal that the Myvi now has Auto High Beam technology.
It would have been nice if Perodua gave customers the option of a headunit with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, as these have become the industry standard on most imported vehicles. SmartLink continues to be offered for phone mirroring, but it lacks the polish of these native mirroring solutions.
It would also be great if Perodua offered a reverse camera on lower grades of the Myvi, but on a car with visibility this good, perhaps it isn’t quite as important to most drivers.
The 2021 Perodua Myvi also introduces other minor changes to the model, including seat belt reminders for all seats and an ‘off’ button for the climate control interface. There’s also a USB port built into the side of the driver’s seat for rear occupants to use. A couple of seat-mounted ‘tapao’ hooks and the safety handbag hook returns, as does the useful integrated SmarTag reader.
All-in-all, the Perodua Myvi 1.5 AV facelift represents an immense leap forward in terms of value-for-money and technology. There are subjective gripes with regards to the interior colours on this AV model and the drive character which trades start-stop traffic smoothness for high speed refinement. Otherwise, it’s a fine, fine example of how to make a car on a tight budget and advance the game on a shoestring.
2021 Perodua 1.5 AV Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, 16-Valve, DOHC, Petrol
Gearbox: CVT Automatic
Max power: 102hp @ 6,000rpm
Max torque: 136Nm @ 4,200rpm
0-100 km/h: 10.2 seconds