The Shiftr Review: Perodua Myvi 1.3 SE. Finally Driven the Best-Seller

Welcome to the FIRST ever Shiftr Review where I would drive whatever car I have been given and give a review on it. The cars reviewed could be brand new, used, a piece of junk with a broken suspension or a high-mileage rental. Just like this one in fact. According to the odometer, it has accumulated more than 90 000 km in the past 2 years. That is quite a huge distance for a two-year old Perodua Myvi.


Now a little back story on the Myvi. Ever since it was launched in 2005, the Myvi has been a sales phenomenon for Perodua in Malaysia. It was the first car to ever compete directly with Proton when the latter launched the Savvy. Needless to say, the Myvi changed the Malaysian motoring landscape. Gone were the days where your average Malaysian drives an ancient Japanese artifact slapped on with a Malaysian badge. Nowadays, it is common to see an average Malaysian driving a car that has 5 year old Japanese tech. The Myvi was based on the Daihatsu Sirion/Daihatsu Boon/Toyota Passo/Subaru Justy and the original car on which it was based (Sirion) sold fairly well in Europe. The Myvi was originally sold with a 1 litre or 1.3 litre DVVT engine. The model was refreshed in 2008 with a facelift. The model that I am reviewing is the second generation model which is also available in 1.5 litre DVVT engine. Perodua had dropped the 1.0 litre engine from the second-gen Myvi.


The model I’m driving is the 1.3 SE. The top of the range model for the 1.3 litre class. Since it is a rental, there will be a few wears and tears here and there. This is also the FIRST Myvi I have ever driven. I have never driven a Myvi before let alone sat in one. I know quite a number of friends had one but I have never even sat in one. The main reason I rented out a Myvi is not because I purposely wanted to review one but rather since I do not have my own car, I would have to rent one out to travel around the Klang Valley to meet some clients. So in the meantime, I also decided to do a review on what makes this the most popular car in Malaysia for the past nine years.

Equipment and space – 4/5


 The Myvi 1.3 SE has quite a number of equipment in the car. It has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls and to play music, a USB port, ISOFIX in the rear seats and two SRS airbags as standard. The equipment levels are impressive and the radio is easy to reach. This particular car has only two front speakers and the rear boot is messy. but sound quality is just average. It also has digital trip computer which measures the distance and petrol range. The Bluetooth connectivity is a little bit of a hassle and I do it find a little bit complex to operate. My friend tried connecting her phone to the Bluetooth system and it cannot even detect her phone. There have been complaints about the Bluetooth system in the Myvi but that is nothing compared to the USB port which could not detect our phones or even charge it properly. But overall, the equipment levels are pretty much standard for a car of this price. For a car with this size, the interior is pretty spacious and there is enough rear legroom and headroom.

Handling and brakes – 2/5


Oh dear. Here’s where the criticism begins. The Myvi has really heavy brakes. One that could actually pull positive G’s. Even in low speeds in the dreaded traffic jams that are all over KL, the brakes feel hard and nearly pulled our face off more than once. I do not know whether it is because this Myvi aged pretty badly or the brakes have always been this bad since it rolled of the factory. However, I really like the steering of this car. It is precise and intuitive. The handling is pretty good with minimal body roll around the bends but it is the brakes that pulled this one down.

Engine – 2/5


Yes, it is a 1.3 litre engine, so you would not expect much power from it. Nor is the fact that it can pull off impressive 0-100 km/h times and with those brakes, don’t expect much with 100-0 times either. The biggest downside is how much the car shakes when you are over 100 km/h in this. I have driven an Axia and it only begins to vibrate violently when you exceed the legal highway speed limit. Even my friend’s Viva Elite is more stable at 100 km/h and both these cars have a smaller 1.0 engine. No wonder they are a modder/ricer’s blank canvas. Perodua claims that the car has a fuel mileage of 17km/l. I only averaged 12.5km/l but definitely it is because of my friends and my lead feet.

Quality – 3/5 2/5


Actually, Peroduas have the similar problems with a Proton and that includes the mother of all electrical faults, electric windows. My particular Perodua model has a problematic front passenger window. Once you wind it down, it is difficult to wind it up. At first maybe they will fix it later and it turns out that they have been fed up with the windows, they decided not to fix it since it will go wrong again. Another quality issue is the horn which does not emit a sound and is in fact useless when you are facing countless idiots who cut into your lane out of nowhere without giving a signal. A similar answer was given to me when I asked about it. Also, the window washers are definitely broken even after topping it with washer fluid. The seats feel comfortable though and the switches and knobs feel top notch. Even the NVH at normal speeds is good with little engine noise but because of these maladies, the Myvi’s quality department is down.

Style – 3/5


Perodua did quite a nice job with the second-gen Myvi. It actually does not look like the Daihatsu Boon on which it is based and I prefer the headlamp arrangement of the Myvi compared with the Boon. But I find that it is not as pretty as the boxy first-gen model. The spoilers and skirts which are standard in the SE model gives it a sense of ricer attitude which is dumb and must be stopped. Seriously, it only makes it worse. Another thing which I do not really like is the faux carbon-fibre insets that can be found around the grille, the door trim, and the radio. I cringe every time I look at it. Speaking of the radio, it sure looks like a Transformer when I look at it.


Overall – 65%


So, how is my day in a Myvi has been so far? Well, to put it short, I am impressed. There are faults which are pretty bad but in conclusion, the Myvi is brilliant to drive and the equipment given in a car like this is impressive. The car may have shake easily and the electrical quality is questionable but it is a good car. It is easy to abuse with if it is a rental and to live with if it is a personal car. Finally, I can see why Malaysians fell in love with this car when it was first launched. It looks good, priced reasonably, and is well equipped. But for a similar priced car, I would rather have the Kia Picanto or a Proton Iriz. And the facelifted model looks ugly.

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