Perodua Ativa owner review – five months on, here’s what it’s like to actually own and live with the SUV


Life. Never easy, is it? Even if yours is as straight as an arrow, the universe will discover a method to make it um, extra fascinating. Cue Covid, which upended the world and its methods.

If you advised me in 2019 that I’d be right here writing an owner’s review of an SUV, by no means thoughts one which has a CVT, I’d have requested you to take a Himalayan hike. But right here I’m, five months into Perodua Ativa possession and responding to the bosses’ request for an account.

It’s from a singular perspective – given the place I’m coming from (pre-Covid, I had two handbook coupes), my historical past (that is my first ever computerized), my standing (no household, I don’t want greater than two seats) and my job (regardless of all of the above, I’m acquainted with SUVs) – so my notes won’t be relevant to everybody. What’s annoying to me could also be invisible to you, vice versa.

Also, it’s my first time reviewing a automotive that I own, and I realise that it’s very completely different from the review of a take a look at unit, which we usually borrow for just a few days. Living with a automotive for an prolonged interval signifies that some preliminary observations are amplified with time, some grow to be non-points, some issues matter extra and some much less. The each day routine has unearthed new factors, too.

As such, what I consider the Ativa right this moment would possibly differ from my first impressions, in addition to Hafriz’s review. Once once more, these are private views from a singular perspective and utilization, and factors raised might not apply to others.

Why the Ativa?

Without going into an excessive amount of element, priorities modified, my automotive life wanted a reset, and the Ativa is a candidate that fulfils my present wants from a each day journey.

I experimented with a Myvi and King Unicorn (absolutely the G3 1.3L handbook is rarer than Ferraris) was the good pandemic associate – eminently sensible and fantastically frugal, whereas expertly mixing right into a sparse panorama (keep in mind the early MCO days?), even in Peppermint Green.

It shortly turned clear that the base Myvi is my private base level – it’s the most cost-effective present automotive that I’m OK with. The Axia/Bezza I can’t do, the Saga is just too gradual and the Persona too ugly. The Iriz loses out to the Myvi on too many essential areas to be viable. The Myvi served me effectively, however I wished one thing higher than base – proper on cue Perodua launched the Ativa.

The Ativa’s tech was the important draw. No one may have imagined a Perodua with a downsized turbo engine, security/driver help options that had been extraordinary beneath RM100k (this was earlier than the Myvi G3 facelift) and Lexus-level Matrix LED lights. I additionally like the design, which is relatively distinctive for an city SUV – the exterior is extra sq.-reduce than the norm, whereas the inside is a little bit quirky with its sharp edges, geometric sample and purple accents. The RM70k price ticket was the clincher.

Current state of play

Perodua Sentral is a snug place to work and wait (espresso is my own); click on to see the Covid SOPs

I collected my Granite Grey AV in September 2021 and have been each day driving it for five months now. As of January 31, the odometer studying is 6,889 km.

I’m lucky to be residing simply 6km away from Perodua Sentral, the model’s flagship 4S centre in Petaling Jaya, and have made three visits with the Ativa to date (assortment, 1,000 km inspection, countermeasure). I lined the launch of this 4S centre back in 2015 and have been sending the Myvi there for servicing too – every time I depart impressed.

P2 Sentral’s ready lounge is spacious and snug, and the frontline employees skilled. I normally work there whereas ready, and the respectable WiFi is appreciated. My automotive is at all times prepared earlier than the estimated wait time, too. Snacks and water are supplied, however a espresso machine could be good. All in all, no complaints.


Let’s begin with what many are right here for, the negatives. No automotive is ideal, and I do have a listing of “if onlys” for my each day. I’ve simply had a weekend with a RM1.35 million intercourse siren of a automotive and can’t suggest it with out main caveats, so there you go.

Some issues have continued to bug me five months on and some have pale into normalcy. The Ativa’s journey consolation sits someplace in between. I’m happy with its excessive velocity journey and stability – for me, the suspension strikes a very good stability and is rarely boat-like gentle, and there’s no occasional sideways rocking that some greater SUVs exhibit.

It’s the each day low velocity journey on unhealthy surfaces that may very well be higher. I really feel that the jolts are too massive, and the automotive hops over horizontal joints and lands with a thud.

My each day route has loads of velocity bumps, and the Ativa’s rear finish jumps over these and lands laborious with a thump. The Myvi leaps over the identical humps with cushioned journey, and I’m used to this stage of abandon – to have to go slower over obstacles in an SUV form of defeats the goal of a taller and more durable car IMO.

This preliminary shock to my routine (actually) was compounded by a clunking noise from the rear proper wheel, a free metallic sound that surfaced over highway imperfections. It’s a identified drawback and the repair is the addition of a washer to the rear brake drum meeting. I had this finished on November 18 after elevating a ticket and the sound is gone.

So, much less hopping and extra damping could be good. The Ativa’s not very refined journey is at odds with what in any other case feels like a really fashionable, excessive tech automotive, so it’s a bummer.

Another concern that I can’t change off to is the seatbelt that digs into my neck. The Ativa lacks the Myvi’s seatbelt peak adjustment (I at all times slide it to the lowest), and I believe this is the reason we don’t get alongside effectively. A ache in the neck, actually.

The different negatives are minor ones. Radio reception is patchy and probably poorer than any automotive I’ve tried, and it’s not like I live in the boondocks. Also, at low and parking speeds, stepping on the brake pedal releases an “air compression” or friction form of sound. While it doesn’t have an effect on braking efficiency, it’s fairly audible and could be categorised as a minor irritation.

No concern, simply me

The factors on this part are extra to do with adaptation coming from the Myvi relatively than failings on the Ativa’s half. The former was my pandemic struggle machine, and its myriad sensible options had been all totally utilised and appreciated.

The Ativa is the first Perodua to come with a central armrest, and whereas that’s an ideal (and a lot desired) addition, having it between the entrance seats means there’s no place for P2’s signature “handbag hook”, which debut in the Axia in 2014. The Myvi additionally has pockets on the entrance seat sides. Back then, I used all of those for my each day fight gear – caps, pen, masks, USB cable.

The Myvi’s entrance seat backs have constructed-in “tapau hooks”, that are lacking right here. The Ativa’s equipped hooks that sit at the base of the headrests are downright ineffective – method too quick and tight. A visit to Mr DIY solved the concern, however the low-cost repair just isn’t a really elegant answer. Hooks apart, I’d nonetheless select the armrest over the Myvi’s intelligent seat storage concepts – the Ativa is a cruiser and the sacrifice is price it.

A observe on the Ativa’s gas consumption. My principally city cycle has returned wherever from 13 to 15 km/l. While that is a way off the official claimed ECE score of 18.9 km/l, just a few km/l drop in the actual world is anticipated. Initially, I noticed my FC outcomes as “bad”, however that’s solely as a result of I used to be coming down from a 1.3L handbook Myvi, the place 16 km/l could be thought of meh.

With extra time and perspective, I’m now totally at peace with 14 km/l returns from my mild-footed driving type, which is actually fairly good contemplating the Ativa’s brick of a entrance form and the efficiency it has. That’s higher than many non-Peroduas on the city run, one thing I forgot whereas residing in Myviland.

Non-issue for me

Everyone talks about the vibration of the three-cylinder engine, however it’s simply not a factor for me, even in the early days. This wants some clarification and context.

No doubt, the vibration is there, however it’s not what you would possibly assume, and I reckon that you simply’ll solely discover it for those who’re actively searching for it. If I’m sporting my automotive reviewer hat for a weekend take a look at drive, this might be a much bigger deal than it’s now, in a protracted-time period possession report.

In any case, it’s faint however noticeable throughout idle, barely extra so when in D than in N, which is my default visitors mild place. Where would possibly you’re feeling it? The pedals and the seat base, sometimes. It’s nowhere close to the seen shaking of the Axia and Bezza, and the idle is actually very quiet. I’ve been in premium model vehicles with direct-injection engines which have extra intrusive idling, no thanks to engine clatter.

Are 4-cylinders at all times higher? No. I used to be lately given some helpful perspective by the newest Proton Iriz/Persona facelift. That 4-pot actually breathes by means of the steering rim – you possibly can really feel the vibes rise with rpm, and as a result of P1’s CVT doesn’t settle down throughout a freeway cruise, the steering wheel is a continuing vibrator. The Ativa cruises like a Rolls-Royce compared.

Turbo + CVT in a Perodua

Do you realise that the CVT – typically maligned by automotive guys – is now not another gearbox however the default and majority transmission round? Do a head depend. Most Toyotas and Hondas use it, Proton has been on it for a while now, the Ativa has it, and Malaysia’s best-selling car has just shifted from 4AT to CVT.

Perhaps it’s as a result of we get to pattern numerous vehicles, however I’m used to CVTs (regardless of solely shedding my computerized transmission virginity in 2021) and have lengthy stopped hating on the stepless field on non-fanatic vehicles. In reality, I like its effectivity, and my private driving type doesn’t deliver out the worse in CVTs.

A agency however transient squeeze of the throttle is all that’s wanted to stand up to velocity in the Ativa. The low velocity response is a bit excitable and for those who stomp laborious in reduce and thrust driving, it will get a bit growly. The secret’s to keep momentum and be gradual with the fuel, easing in and out of it as a substitute of treating the pedal like an on/off change.

The turbo and CVT mix for very environment friendly use of energy, which makes the Ativa a relatively swift and easy automotive – efficiency smart, it’s higher than anticipated and quick sufficient for me, a lot in order that I by no means use the PWR button or handbook mode, simply the occasional shift to S for immediate bursts of acceleration.

The half I like greatest about the D-CVT is its nature of going into “coast mode” every time potential, making for serene lengthy distance cruising (110 km/h is completed round 2,500 rpm). Yes, it’s not the quietest or most torque converter computerized-like CVT round (versus Japanese manufacturers, no programmed steps right here), however I’m superb with that. The buzzy depth of the Iriz/Persona CVT supplied me with context and appreciation for what I’ve.

A phrase on the turbo. Don’t let that phrase lead you to sizzling hatch dreamland as a result of it’s nothing like that, not even a VW TSI-type expertise. The enhance is there for effectivity, to make it simpler to get the automotive up to velocity, which in flip delivers good gas effectivity. There’s no kick in the again, however that vast digital speedo would possibly rise quicker than you’d assume. Cock your ears for the old style whistle, too.

Unconventional design

Remember the CBU Nautica? Daihatsu design bloodline is clear when each are aspect-by-aspect

With all the negatives over and finished with, right here’s what I like about the Ativa. As considered one of the few house owners who’ve seen the Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize in the metal earlier than Perodua launched the D55L, I’m stunned that I actually desire the Ativa’s face. IMO, even the P2’s profile is barely higher with the much less abrupt bumper cuts at each ends.

Preferring the seems to be of P over D and T is one factor. Actually liking it surprises me until right this moment. You see, I’m probably not an SUV form of man. Even for sedans, I’d have to rewind five vehicles again to attain one (E36 3 Series). I’m a sucker for glossy shapes – low is nice, the fewer doorways the higher, a roadster to come later. Personally, I like my coupes curvy and SUVs boxy.

Now, the Ativa isn’t any Jimny, however the design is kind of distinctive for an city SUV. These issues are normally fairly rounded – they both look like barely bigger superminis (Renault Captur) or have swoopy traces and falling rooflines (Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3). That’s the development, however I a lot desire the tall bluff face, straight beltline and clear/excessive sides of the Ativa. Even for hatchbacks, I’ve at all times most well-liked a straight rear glass (VW Golf) over a slope (assume Mk2 Ford Focus, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback), and the sq.-reduce Ativa delivers.

A random shot of the smallest SUV you should purchase vs the largest – the Rolls-Royce Cullinan

But it’s removed from a boring field with no design. The distinguished wheelarches (rims are effectively-sized at 17″) and the chamfer alongside the wheelbase prevents the profile from wanting slab-sided (see the night time shot above), whereas the kink at the rear finish offers visible curiosity, and dare I say, some muscle.

That’s my favorite half, alongside with the C pillars that break up the aspect glass panels. This “fin” is unusual, and it jogs my memory of the Land Rover Discovery Sport (and the Freelander earlier than it). The Mercedes-Benz GLE has the identical pillar type too. This element provides character and actually units the Ativa aside in the SUV area.

The Ativa is smaller than your common B-SUV, however the design makes it look bigger than it’s, not like say, the Captur. The solely angle the place it seems to be its dimensions is head on, the place the Perodua seems slim and tall. Like the Myvi, I purchased this as a software, so I’m stunned at how typically I’m it after parking.

The inside can be individualistic in design, eschewing the common Audi-like horizontal type that the HR-V introduced into the SUV class. No clean flowing traces, flashes of chrome and excessive centre console right here – as a substitute, it’s geometric shapes, sharp edges, nooks and crannies. It’s fairly a cool sprint, and I can think about that some could be turned off by the riot of parts, preferring a cleaner look.

I’m OK with this unconventional strategy, and really feel that it provides to the distinctive design character. Going for the AV nets you purple highlights on the aspect aircon vents, centre tunnel cubbies and door handles (curiously, the H will get solely the door bits); this seemingly small contact – collectively with the purple accented leather-based seats – lifts the cabin atmosphere significantly.

Instead of boring piano black, the gear space is surrounded by a 3D geometric floor that jogs my memory of Seiko’s Presage Sharp Edged dials. No clarification from Perodua or Daihatsu, however the watchmaker says that its dial work is predicated on Asanoha, a Japanese hemp leaf sample. This flourish is repeated in the crevices surrounding the higher screens.

Speaking of screens, the 7.0-inch totally digital instrument panel provides the Ativa a excessive-tech atmosphere. It’s tremendous clear too, with a hard and fast giant digital speedo and couple of preset tacho/journey designs. Adding to the superior really feel is the massive (9.0-inch) touchscreen and a full complement of steering buttons. There’s only one clean on the left spoke – a “Mute” button would have been good.

Cockpit design apart, I like the Ativa’s comparatively excessive seating place – that’s the level of an SUV, isn’t it? A excessive perch isn’t a given with fashionable crossovers – the Hyundai Kona I recently drove felt no completely different from a daily hatchback, as an illustration. Lastly, I’m comfortable that Perodua retained the air-con reminiscence buttons that I loved in the Myvi.

There’s no pretence of premium right here – not in the design, nor in the laborious plastics – however I’m superb with that as the Ativa is merely a software (for me). For those that need to really feel atas, I feel that the Proton X50 does a significantly better job in each look and really feel, however it’s a dearer automotive at the finish of the day – the worth distinction between the Ativa AV and X50 Flagship is an Axia. I’m curious – these with plush dashboard surfaces, do you ever contact it once more after the first time?

So low-cost, a lot package

You understand it by now. Perodua’s ASA security pack is now in model 3.0 and is customary throughout the Ativa board alongside with Lane Departure Warning and Prevention (LDW). The AV goes semi-autonomous with the addition of Lane Keep Control (LKC), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). This stage of security and driver help was unprecedented in a automotive beneath RM100k, till Perodua outdid themselves with the Myvi facelift, which tops out at RM58,800.

BSM and AEB had been issues that I used to be particularly in search of in my subsequent automotive. I’ve not had the probability to use ACC but, however it will likely be good assist on lengthy distance drives. Ditto LDW, which I’ve turned off for each day driving.

Unlike most of the ADAS options, Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB) impresses me on a regular basis. These Matrix LED-type, Lexus-level lights are tremendous efficient – in contrast to related programs in costlier vehicles, I really feel that ADB could be very keen to go most at each out there alternative. The draw back is that when you’re used to this stage of lighting, it’s laborious on your eyes to do with out it. Oh, and as a result of the headlamps sit fairly excessive, the foglamps (LEDs) actually make a distinction.

The prime-spec JDM Daihatsu Rocky has an digital parking brake and auto brake maintain

Still, I do have a small wishlist. For me, auto brake maintain is considered one of the most sensible fashionable automotive options, however it may solely come with an digital parking brake. Not unrealistic, as the top-spec JDM Daihatsu Rocky Hybrid has EPB (requires a brand new centre console), and so does the new Toyota Veloz MPV in Indonesia.

A mute button and electrochromic rear view mirror could be good, too. That’s about it, package-smart.


I feel it’s fairly apparent that I don’t consider the Ativa as an ideal automotive. Then once more, how can perfection be yours for less than RM70k? That sum buys rather a lot of automotive, although. A downsized turbo engine, an environment friendly gearbox, all the security I want and extra, plus the bonus of unconventional design that tickles my fancy.

What’s higher is that the Ativa isn’t simply loads of automotive, however a very good automotive as effectively. Yes, there are some things that I feel may very well be higher, however they pale compared to the positives. On the complete, it’s ticking off extra containers than I anticipated a software to, and I’m grateful {that a} automotive of this stage got here from Perodua, which is a sure bet for affordability and reliability.

It’s nonetheless early days, however I foresee the Ativa occupying my each day driver slot for just a few extra years at the very least.

GALLERY: Perodua Ativa AV

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