Friday, May 11, 2007

Viva Perodua

An editorial article from The Star... Have fun!!! Honestly, the 660cc varients looks really cheap with crappy plastic on the front as bumper.

Viva-cious little runner


True love. Can you find it with a car? Well, Perodua thinks so, and it believes it has the perfect little vehicle to capture your heart.

To live, to love. This is the fully-loaded 1.0l variant.

Sounds a little far-fetched? Not really, because this one will simply run and run.

It's called the Viva, and the A-segment vehicle rolls in as the Kelisa's replacement and, at some point in the near future, the Kancil's too, though not quite yet completely at the moment.

A shape that will eventually be familiar to all.

If it looks somewhat like a downsized Myvi, well, you could say it is, at least a little. Some of the contours and lines on this - essentially based on the previous generation Daihatsu Mira - will look familiar, but there is enough to suggest that it is its own car. Sleek more than outright pretty, but nonetheless a very sociable-looking creature.

As for the choice of name, "to live" is what it is, and that's what Perodua says the vehicle is all about, a vehicle that represents a love for all things vital, and a zest for life.

Clean, and unfettered, the interior layout is.

Certainly, it's a big offering for a small car - wider and longer externally than the cars it replaces (it's even longer than the Myvi, at 1845mm to the latter's 1835mm), the cheer is carried into the interior, where significantly more cabin volume than the Kancil and Kelisa is to be found.

The design cues in the cabin falls in line with what was first seen in the Myvi; the lines and colour combinations give the interior a clean, unfettered look.

What it looks like from the rear ...

Granted, you could call it plain, and some parts are still a little plasticky to touch and sight, but on the whole, there's lots of appeal; given that this is an entry-level, affordably priced A-segment vehicle, it is eminently forgivable.

Whatever it is, it all feels and looks light years ahead of that in a Kancil, if you do a quick A-B jump-in comparison.

You can fill 'er up, certainly.

Notable features include all doors that open to a class-leading 90º wide angle, and improved luggage carrying capacity with the rear seats folded down.

There's also a fair bit in the way of storage compartments, a big plus. The 1.0l models come with an integrated seat height adjuster, which allows the seat to be raised by 45mm; handy, this one.

Space, there's quite a bit of it.

In all, the Viva features a rather comprehensive standard equipment list, though most of these are to be found on the Premium variant - if you want ABS and EBD, dual SRS airbags, reverse sensor, seat belt anchor adjuster and retractable side mirrors, this is the one you need to be looking at.

Three engine choices are available for the Viva, these being the EF-VE 660cc, ED-VE 850cc and EJ-VE 1.0l; all three 3-cylinder, 12-valve units come shod with DOHC, electronic fuel injection and DVVT (dynamic variable valve timing).

At the heart of the matter.

Power output for the 660 is 47bhp at 7,200rpm, while max torque is 58Nm at 4,400rpm. The 850 turns out 52bhp at 6,000rpm (and 76Nm at 4,000rpm), while the 1.0l puts out 60bhp at 6,000rpm (and 90Nm at 3,600rpm). Kerb weight starts from 755kg for the 660 to 800kg for the 1.0l auto.

A total of six variants will initially go on sale, with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic drivetrains. The 660cc comes only in five-speed manual, as does the 850cc, and the 1.0l versions are split into four forms, these being the 1.0 SX manual (standard trim), 1.0 EZ auto (standard), 1.0 SXi manual (premium) and 1.0 EZi auto (premium).

Never have an uncomfortable moment belted up again.

In terms of actual performance, there is enough to put together a brief, initial report. Weeks ago, Perodua organised a test drive for the media, but such was the need to keep things under wraps that the event was held inside the confines of Sebana Cove Resort in Johor.

The drive time was very limited - what else would you call six minutes in a Viva, covering a total of 4,400m (well, it does sound more impressive than saying 4.4km)?

See, it did rain ...

That it rained didn't help things further; speeds went down to a brisk pace of about 50kph. In effect, there was little to be had about the vehicle as far as notes were concerned.

But there were observations made, not gleaned from the above drive, of course. While not divulging any details, I can tell you that vis-à-vis against the Kancil, there is enough improvement in overall terms that it's safe to say there's no looking - or going - back once you've gotten behind the wheel of the new one.

The 660 in action.

For one, steering response and overall drivability levels are way up - even in basic form, the Viva shows up the Kancil for what it is, something that's soldiered on for a good 13 years now. It feels zippier, more nimble, and on the whole, a more cheerful proposition to nip about town in.

Seat comfort is decent, and though the three-cylinder jobs mean that the Viva is hardly the final word in refinement, noise levels are decently manageable for intermediate-haul city use.

Or if you prefer, in more upmarket form and different colour.

Ditto the Kelisa. While that was certainly fun to drive, it's now consigned to history. The Viva displays less verve and gumption, but it is more refined and - in a straight line anyway - not any less inspired; the 1.0l, in particular, feels quite the brisk, peppy performer, and is obviously the pick of the entire lot.

Perodua states that the Viva has 90% local content from rollout, a considerable achievement. The company is expecting a sales target of 6,500 units per month, of which 55% is expected to be 1.0l variants.

Dial this one for fun.

Production capacity is a maximum of 8,000 units per month, so that should mean less waiting time, unless everyone rushes out and orders one now. Still, there's decent stock on hand; 2,000 units are available at launch.

Ah, yes, prices. The 660 goes for RM28,400 (solid) and RM28,800 (metallic), while the 850 is priced at RM32,500 (solid) and RM32,900 (metallic).

So, what do you see? Winged creature? Car? Wide indeed, the door opening angle.

For the 1.0 SX, it's RM36,800 (solid) and RM37,200 (metallic); the 1.0 EZ is RM39,800 (solid) and RM40,200 (metallic), while the 1.0 SXi is RM40,800 (solid) and RM41,200 (metallic).

Finally, the 1.0 EZi, which goes for RM43,800 (solid) and RM44,200 (metallic); all prices are on-the-road, with insurance. Oh, and how about this - the Viva comes with a three-year warranty. It's a first for Perodua.

Five colour options start the ball rolling, these being Glittering Silver, Passion Red, Tropical Green and Pearl Jade, all metallics, with Ivory White the only solid colour.

Take your pick.

A black unit was spotted during the test drive, but it'll be some time before that comes into the line-up. Yes, and given the example pictured above, there should be a blue somewhere in the future too, I suppose.

So, true love? By all accounts, surely, interminably, until the next one comes along to replace it years on - if the target is to deliver the best entry compact in the country, then the Viva hits the spot quite nicely. Like I said earlier, this one will simply run and run.


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