The 2nd generation Perodua Alza


After 12½ years, the second generation of the Perodua Alza has finally been launched. It’s a long time for a product to be in the market as normal cycles are around 5 years. However, during the lengthy period of production, the small MPV held a share of between 39% to as high as 61% of the MPV market in Malaysia as it was sold at an attractive price point. Perodua doesn’t commit to a model without good data that indicates its potential, and whether to have a second generation of the Alza was debated for a long time. This was because of the rise of SUVs and carmakers go where the biggest numbers are, especially for a major player like Perodua. Without a substantial volume to enable it to be priced competitively, it would not justify the investment. First generation of the Alza came out at the end of 2009. Sharing development and costs However, being in partnership with Daihatsu also has opportunities to be involved in joint development of models. This is a common practice in the industry as carmakers can share costs, and developing a new model does cost a huge amount of money. In this case, not only could Perodua share costs with Daihatsu but also Toyota for a new model that would come to be called the Xenia with a Daihatsu badge (mainly for Indonesia) and a Veloz with a Toyota badge – and an Alza when sold as a Perodua. And the total volume for the model would also be very much larger, making for good economies of scale. While the main engineering work, architecture and drivetrains are common, each company has also done its own work on the design to have differentiation. Perodua has been growing its expertise in designing the upper body on its own since the first Myvi, and today, it can do even more. Thus while the new Alza may have similarities on paper to the Toyota and Daihatsu versions, it is also a model on its own. RM770 million investment To achieve the differentiation and also make the necessary investments in the factory cost Perodua RM770 million. The project, internally designated ‘D27A’ took about 4 years and in that time, the model was also prepared to have up to 95% of its parts sourced locally. This meant early and close collaboration with many suppliers around the country, including the powertrain factory which is in Negeri Sembilan. When it comes to pricing its products, it’s always been a challenge for Perodua, being a Malaysian carmaker. Malaysians expect that because it is a ‘national’ carmaker, it should be able to offer cars at low and affordable prices. After all, that was one of the reasons for having the National Car Project and over the years, Perodua has done its best to keep prices down and enabled millions of Malaysians to own a new car. With the Alza, the model started in 2009 with a price range from RM55,200 to RM68,000 for 3 variants. As the costs were gradually amortised, the company reduced prices in 2014 (instead of making more profit), with the top version costing RM4,500 less. By 2018, the Alza had been in the market almost 9 years and there were newer rivals so Perodua looked for ways to reduce its costs and adjusted the prices downwards slightly. The model would maintain its popularity and almost 400,000 would be sold by the end of production. As shown on the pricelist above, the prices of the new Alza start at almost the same level (RM62,700) as the top version of the previous generation. But remember that this is 2022, and everything costs more (as any grocery shopper will tell you). The previous Alza had production costs at levels over 10 years ago and the new one starts with a new cost base – plus the fact that it also gets a lot of new technologies. Hopefully, Perodua will do the same thing over time and either maintain prices or even bring them down if possible. Over 30,000 orders Bookings have been accepted for the new Alza since June 23 and in 27 days, over 30,000 orders have been received nationwide – its highest ever. That’s an average of over 1,000 orders daily, although many may have quickly put their order in before the expiry of the sales tax exemption at the end of June so they could save some money. Perodua did not say how many bookings were received before June 30, but the government has allowed the sales tax exemption to be given to those customers if they can register their vehicles not later than March 31, 2023. Perodua is known to usually build up a large volume of stocks before launch so they can quickly start deliveries. With production of the new Alza having started in June and a targeted volume of 3,000 units a month, the already large number of orders means that the waiting period could stretch to 10 months. Will it be worth the wait? Here’s where we tell you all about the new Alza… The Alza sits on a DNGA platform which is also used for the Ativa. It’s a platform and architecture that is standardized but also variable in some aspects so that it can be used for different types of models. In this way, many things can be shared to reduce costs while the bodyshell can be different. A larger MPV Compared to the previous Alza, the new one is much larger. With an overall length of 4425 mm (+205 mm) and width of 1660 mm (+35 mm), it covers a road area that is 3% larger. Interestingly, though, the wheelbase is still the same at 2750 mm. The larger size is also complemented by additional height and the new Alza’s roofline is 50 mm higher than before. The ground clearance is interesting as it is more like a passenger car’s. With development of the model taking into consideration the Indonesian market where generous ground clearance is preferred, the 160 mm for the Alza is different from what is usually seen in the popular MPVs which are over 200 mm to cope better with rough roads and floods. This shows how Perodua has been able to ‘Malaysianise’ its product according to local preferences, a contrast to the earlier years when they had to accept whatever specification was decided upon. In fact, this autonomous approach started with the current Myvi where Perodua was able to convince the Japanese side that the suspension settings need to be different for Malaysian conditions. It was a difficult pitch but proved to be the right one as the ride and handling of the car are appreciated by most drivers. More expressive design For styling, the areas which Perodua’s designers have been able to alter are basically at the ‘apertures’ – the openings for the grille, lights, etc. This is where they have given the Alza a different grille theme from the other models. But the many different angles of the surfaces make for a fussy appearance which is more apparent with light colours and less so with the dark colours. It’s probably what the designers call ‘expessiveness’. The headlights are LED units so they use less energy, last longer and light up faster. Taking the Alza a notch up in its segment are the sequential signal lights at the top of each headlight unit. While they aren’t as fancy as those on some German models, they are nevertheless eye-catching and something special for this class of cars. At the very least, they give a visual signature that will identify the Alza from afar. New, more efficient engine The Alza continues with a 1.5-litre powertrain but while the displacement is the same as before, the engine is completely different. The previous engine was a 3SZ-VE with DVVT (Dual Variable Valve Timing) but the one in the new Alza is a 2NR-VE which DVVTi (the ‘i’ meaning ‘intelligence’). Being a newer engine with more recent technologies, the 2NR-VE has higher output of 106 ps/138 Nm, while the previous engine produced 103 ps/137 Nm. The extra power provides better performance as, in spite of its larger size, the new Alza weighs only 10 kgs more. With the Dual Mode CVT (drivers can also shift manually), the Alza is claimed to be able to go up to 22 kms per litre. That‘s 65% better than before and based on the current fixed price of RON95 petrol, it should cost less than RM40 for a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. The driver now has the option of going a bit further with each litre of petrol or having a sportier drive. It’s difficult for engineers to give both so it’s up to the driver who can just press a button to select ECO or POWER mode, and the engine characteristics will be adjusted accordingly. For daily driving, the NORMAL (default) mode would be best as it gives a balance of power and economy.  » Read More