As of late, the airwaves are getting filled with rumours and chatter of Perodua’s upcoming SUV, codenamed D55L. The new B-Segment SUV will be the first small SUV for Perodua after a long hiatus. Its last effort, the Nautica was axed over a decade ago (due to lacklustre sales).
The D55L, in contrast, is certain to make a far bigger splash. In a market hungry for SUVs – the success of the Proton X50 is a good indicator of this – and there’s much to be excited about.
What we know so far is that the D55L is based on the Daihatsu Global Architecture (DNGA) platform which also underpins the Toyota Raize and Daihatsu Rocky. The DNGA – a derivative of parent company Toyota’s TNGA platform promises superb packaging (to offer greater practicality and space in the finished vehicle), greater safety features (both structural as well as active and passive safety) at lower manufacturing costs.
After a variety of spyshots of camouflaged vehicles on Malaysian roads, and Perodua themselves making it known that the original launch plans were delayed due to the pandemic slowdown, we surmise the D55L is not too far away, with some media outlets reporting the launch could happen by end-Feb or early-March.
We also know that the D55L logically should slot in between the Myvi (RM41k - RM53k) and the range-topping Aruz (RM68k - RM74k), so that gives you an indication of the price bracket in which it would sit.
Much of how the D55L will eventually look on the inside and outside can already be seen with its Rocky/Raize siblings, so there’s only a number of questions that’s left to be answered:
- Its name
- The final variant and equipment lists
- The safety features it will receive
- The powertrain spec sheet
- And of course, the price (which has been a closely guarded secret)
What’s going to slip under the bonnet of the D55L has been an especially hot topic, because if the rumours are true, then Perodua will soon offer its first-ever turbocharged engine, and it could even be the cheapest ever turbocharged vehicle to go on sale in Malaysia (the RM59.8k Proton Exora is currently the cheapest turbo vehicle on sale).
Not to mention, the first CVT-type transmission in the company's history.
Let’s look at the powertrain for now
Both the Rocky and Raize are powered by Daihatsu’s 1KR-VET 1.0-litre turbocharged transverse-mounted three-cylinder petrol engine which produces 98PS and peak torque of 140Nm between 2,400rpm and 4,000rpm. While it may not sound like much, a revvy three-cylinder engine with 140Nm on tap from 2,400rpm should be punchy, to say the least.
The 1KR-VE by comparison, which features in the Perodua Bezza and Axia, is essentially a non-turbo version of the 1KR-VET (hence the ‘T’ at the end) engine that outputs 68PS and 91Nm of torque. Therefore, there is 30PS and approximately 49Nm more in the Raize/Rocky engine, courtesy of turbocharging.
Daihatsu’s automatic transmission, (dubbed D-CVT) adds split gears to existing CVT belt drives and uses both belt and gear drives at high speeds for improved transmission efficiency. According to Daihatsu, “The gear-ratio range has also been expanded to provide powerful and smooth acceleration at low speeds, and fuel-efficient and quiet performance at high speeds.” Therefore we can expect the D55L to perform well in both the city and those long balik kampung trips.
How does it compare to Perodua’s most potent powertrain currently?
Few of us need to be reminded just how fast a Perodua Myvi is. The most potent engine currently on sale currently is the 1.5-litre featured in the current Myvi, so how does the D55L’s prospective powertrain measure up to this proven package.
As we can see, the slight deficit in terms of power the 1.0-litre engine might have against the 1.5-litre mill is more than compensated with the additional torque; delivered as early as 2,400rpm and sustained until 4,200rpm.
This means better acceleration, better response, while still sipping fuel at the petrol pumps. It remains to be seen if the D55L will feature the company's ECO idle-stop but this is very much a possibility.
Why not just throw the Myvi's 1.5-litre engine into the D55L?
This is a perfectly sensible question. The 1.5-litre 2NR-VE is a compact, powerful, and proven package - though it is much easier said than done.
And it boils back down to the DNGA platform - Daihatsu calls it “collective planning and development" through which all vehicle models built on the DNGA platform (of which Daihatsu plans 21 by 2025) are envisioned from the outset to conform to very precise design and packaging requirements.
This means that not just the body, but the drivetrain, suspension, electronics, safety technologies, even the seats are positioned in a way to reduce the need for unique part development and streamline the production process to reduce cost. It's basically a one size fits all.
Changing the engine and therefore transmission would also mean homologating a plethora of other components including the crash structures, this would also increase the cost of the final product.
Therefore it just makes more sense to simply go with the new package, and adapt the D55L for the needs of Malaysian customers.
Ready for some turbo?
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