Coming from a family with several Perodua cars, I was looking forward to driving the 2021 Perodua Ativa. There was a lot to look forward to in terms of the powertrain, safety features, and platform. The price isn’t too bad either, being a bit pricier than the Perodua Myvi.
How good is the new Perodua Ativa? Let me walk you through my experience.
Exterior – An adorable thing
The Perodua Ativa strikes a good balance between adorable and aggressive. There is a sense of cheerful youthfulness to the car and a sense of adventure.
Several internet comments even say it looks like a MINI, but hey, we are all entitled to our own opinions. Maybe it does to some people.
Size-wise, it is only slightly bigger than the Perodua Myvi with a taller ride height. It isn’t the most good-looking car out there, but being Perodua’s new baby, the Ativa was greeted with a lot of smiles and curious looks throughout the whole test drive.
Upon first impression, the Ativa feels tiny. But after getting on the inside, you might just change your mind.
Interior – A mini RAV4
Unlike the Proton X50, the Perodua Ativa’s cabin is not decorated with soft plastics. Even so, the Ativa manages to feel like a step up from other Perodua cars that we have been accustomed to.
The Ativa’s dashboard feels more angular and complex despite being just a big piece of hard plastic. What’s missing on the inside are the “handbag hooks” that other Peroduas have. There’s also no built-in Smart Tag reader here.
Seating position is high and gives you a good view of your surroundings. It changes your perception on how diminutive the car was when you first look at it from the outside.
Build quality of the interior is good, but the red styling elements at the aircon vents and seats feel a little bit too tacky.
The lack of Android Auto/Apple CarPlay makes you feel like you’re being short-changed, but a mirror link function is available nonetheless.
There are no built-in maps too, so there’s not much functionality going on. Yes, there is a rear-view camera, but that’s pretty standard for a budget car of this era.
One thing worthy of praise in the Ativa is the digital meter cluster – something rare for a car of its price.
The large digital speedometer is very easy on the eyes and the customizable tachometer is entertaining.
Driving Experience – Smooth
I didn’t expect much from the Ativa since the Perodua cars I have driven never felt smooth or good with the power delivery. With the 4-speed automatic, Perodua cars always felt like they were hunting for gears, despite only having 4 to choose from.
With the Ativa, power delivery is excellent. The car barely struggled and overtaking manoeuvres were not difficult. It seems that Perodua has nailed it with the CVT on their first try.
The 1.0-litre turbo engine is not to be underestimated, since it is actually quite capable. It only managed a 0-100 km/h time of 13.2 seconds, but that’s good enough for a tiny urban SUV (The test unit still had below 1000 km on the odometer).
Highway cruising felt effortless and the Ativa climbs to 120 km/h or 140 km/h very easily. It wouldn’t cross your mind that you only had a 1.0-litre engine under the hood.
The brakes aren’t exactly confidence-inspiring, but are good enough for the daily commute.
Its small size makes it a breeze to drive and doesn’t intimidate the average driver. Whether you are a young driver with a fresh license or an older driver who just needs an point-A-to-point-B car, the Ativa is very accommodating.
All around visibility is good as you can pretty much see where the car ends. The high seating position plays a big factor here. What the Ativa lacks in ergonomics is a telescopic steering adjustment.
So, what about the ASA 3.0?
Well, it’s pretty good, especially the lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keep assist (LKA). They performed consistently well in broad daylight and are actually a very good feature for long and tiresome journeys. The only problem was that it was not very effective at night.
The adaptive cruise control (ACC) smoothness was acceptable too, given this is a sub-RM80k car.
Ride Comfort – The most comfortable Perodua
While other Perodua cars always felt like they compromised ride comfort for cost savings, the Ativa’s ride quality was actually impressive.
The suspension is on the softer side and it soaked up the bumps really well. I had to drive over several speed bumps after the first one, just to confirm that my rear-end receptors were still working. At higher speeds, it does waft a little bit.
The seats are average, and my only gripe is with the red colours on it. It feels tacky.
What about cabin noise levels? Well, for a three-cylinder engine, it was actually not so bad. The sound of the aircon compressor isn’t very apparent in the cabin too.
With a sound-level meter at hand, we managed to record the following readings:
|Perodua Ativa Cabin Noise Levels|
|0 km/h (AC off)||43 dB|
|0 km/h (AC on)||47 dB|
|60 km/h (AC on)||60 dB|
|90 km/h (AC on)||68 dB|
|110 km/h (AC on)||70 dB|
Wind noise and tyre noise are not as intrusive as I expected them to be at high speeds and you can actually have a decent conversation in the car. For context, you would have to raise your voice to have a conversation in Axia at highway speeds.
High praises aside, vibration at idle and crawling speeds still seeps into the cabin. Admittingly, the Proton X50 does a better job of reducing the three-cylinder vibrations.
Fuel Consumption – Yet to reach claimed figures
The test unit that we had came with 63 km on the odometer. With car that has not been fully run-in yet, it wouldn’t be fair to do a fuel consumption test.
Out of curiosity, we still conducted the fuel consumption test to see what figures would come out. With 255 km (60% city, 40% highway) on the trip meter and 20.38 litres of fuel used, a calculated 7.9-litre/100km was obtained.
Again, keep in mind that the car has not been run in yet. The claimed figure is 5.29-litre/100km and we’ll see if we can achieve that with our own Ativa that will be arriving soon.
Conclusion – Will it be the new Malaysian favourite?
Still fresh from its launch, what we can say is that the Perodua Ativa is a good little car with good appeal. Its quality and performance don’t disappoint either. The packaged features are interesting and we’re curious to see how well the Ativa will do in the months to come.
Will it be reliable? Will it be the new Malaysian favourite over the Myvi? Time will tell.