First things first: the upcoming 2021 Perodua Ativa’s Dual-Mode CVT (D-CVT) should not be confused with Toyota’s Direct Shift CVT, seeing that the latter features a launch gear, but the D-CVT doesn’t.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Perodua’s first-ever CVT-type automatic transmission.
What’s so special about it?
Unlike traditional belt- or chain-driven CVTs, what sets the Ativa’s D-CVT apart from the competition is its combination of steel chain and planetary gear set. Planetary gear set is used to complement steel belts to give the CVT a more direct feel.
The D-CVT functions like any other CVT, as it utilizes the belt at start-stop and lower speed conditions.
However, from medium to higher speeds, the clutch engages and power is routed to the planetary gear set, creating a simulated torque converter automatic sensation.
Without getting too technical, D-CVT works oppositely from Toyota's Direct Shift CVT, seeing that the planetary gear is used at higher speeds instead of start-stop conditions.
Apart from creating a transmission that has less of a rubber band effect, the D-CVT also helps improve the engine’s fuel consumption. In this case, the Ativa has a claimed fuel consumption of 5.29-litre/100 km.
So its very efficient, but can it handle more power?
The D-CVT found in the Perodua Ativa’s donor cars, the Japanese market Toyota Raize and Daihatsu Rocky, both have a torque limit of 150 Nm.
That’s fine and dandy, considering that the Ativa/Raize/Rocky has a peak torque of 140 Nm.
If you're planning to modify your Ativa, keep the torque limit in mind, as exceeding the torque limit could result in a damaged CVT.
If I don’t want a CVT, are there any other options?
Unfortunately, for the Malaysian market, the Perodua Ativa is only offered with the D-CVT transmission. No four-speed automatic to be found here.
That said, for buyers of the Ativa’s Indonesian siblings (known by their codenames A250 and A251), they will get an option of a six-speed manual transmission – something that even Japan misses out on.
The Indonesian-spec duo will also get an additional engine option, namely a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine that does 88 PS and 108 Nm.
Will other Perodua models get this CVT as well?
It’s a given, really.
It is only a matter of time before Perodua deploys the D-CVT into the rest of its line-up. While he Perodua Ativa is the first recipient of the new transmission, we reckon new DNGA-based models from Perodua will continue to offer the D-CVT, including the upcoming next-generation Perodua Alza.
To recap, the 2021 Perodua Ativa is an upcoming SUV that features a number of Perodua-first features, including a downsized turbocharged engine, CVT-type automatic transmission, and the ASA 3.0 ADAS suite. It is also the first Perodua to be developed on the DNGA platform – essentially the same as Toyota’s TNGA platform, albeit developed for budget compact cars.