Review: The all-new 2022 Perodua Alza is the best car for under RM 100k, period
CY Foong · Sep 6, 2022 05:20 PM
No, you’re not reading the clickbait-worthy title wrong because the all-new 2022 Perodua Alza isn’t just the best model to bear a Perodua badge to date. It surpasses almost everything that buyers want in a daily driver.
As popular as the first generation Alza was with nearly 400,000 units sold in the past 13 years, its time is long overdue. So, it really comes as no surprise as to how much more improved the all-new Alza was when it was unveiled in July.
It also instantly captured the hearts of Malaysians with the Alza receiving 51,000 bookings in 3 months but hype can be a bad thing sometimes (*cough* Proton X50). Luckily though the Alza is worthy of all the hype but how much flattery can Perodua’s newest model get?
Styling – Elegant aesthetic
The first-gen Alza was a product of its time that was initially meant to be marketed for women in Japan which failed spectacularly. Yet, what flopped in Japan became a success in Malaysia at a time when MPVs were facing a boom in sales.
That segment’s popularity was short-lived as crossovers and SUVs entered the Malaysian buyers’ consciousness. The previous-gen Alza would see a drop in sales as the MPV trend started to crumble to make way for another new craze.
The all-new Alza would be yet another “rebadge” of a Daihatsu – the Xenia and its Toyota twins, the Avanza and Veloz. It would share most of the low crossover design of its Indonesia-developed donor cars but compared to them, Perodua did a fine job in injecting some premium feel into the design.
The glossy black cascading front grille and chrome treatment on the AV combined with the LED headlight design give off a very elegant presence.
The Vintage Brown colour of our test unit adds yet another premium flair while the 16-inch dual-tone wheels create some sporty vibe. Adding to that sportiness is the RM 2,500 Gear Up body kit that surrounds the exterior of this low 7-seater.
The sporty-looking rear might be contrasting to the elegant front but the Alza’s retro-looking badge brings out some premium class on the table. Unlike the front design, the rear isn't as drastic as Perodua kept the rear design largely untouched from the Daihatsu and Toyota donor cars.
Interior – Premium… until you start feeling it
For all the praise of being premium from just the photos of the Alza alone, alas it is still wearing a Perodua badge with hard plastics felt all over the interior.
The burgundy “upholstery” across the dashboard? That’s hard plastic. So are the burgundy trims on the front doors. I mentioned front doors because the rear doors are all black. OCDs would quiver with the thought of mismatched door trims.
No doubt these are meant to last but really at less than RM 80,000, I shouldn’t have any right to complain about the quality and materials used. The average Alza buyer wouldn’t really mind on the interior's refinement.
Refinement aside, the Alza’s interior is as contemporary as its rivals but it’s easily the most modern. The two higher variants of the Alza, the H and AV get a 7-inch TFT display that is similar to the Ativa and just like the SUV, there are a few display options for the gauges.
Speaking of the Ativa, there are some parts shared between it and the Alza including the gear selector and AC controls which are also lifted from other Perodua models.
The steering wheel feels a bit on the thinner side and isn’t that comfortable on long journeys but as we’ll get into the drive, you’ll probably get used to it.
The all-new Alza features a lot of firsts for a Perodua including the first model to come with an electric parking brake (EPB) with auto hold and an infotainment unit that supports proper car connectivity which we’ll get to later. These features are only offered on the AV spec though.
The all-new Alza is only available with one powertrain, a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre 2NR-VE that is paired to a Dual-mode CVT (D-CVT). This is the same combo as seen in the updated Perodua Myvi (103 PS/137 Nm) but is slightly more powerful at 106 PS/138 Nm.
Given the extra power, you might think that the Alza would at least be as quick as the uber-popular King but in our 0-100 km/h test, we could only muster a time of 13 seconds. For the record, the Myvi got a time of 10.6 seconds during its century sprint.
In the real world though, 0-100 km/h times don’t really matter since the Alza and its rivals are far from being a fire-breathing supercar. We did a more realistic 60-90 km/h test to simulate overtaking and the Alza recorded a time of 5.13 seconds.
Though the Alza is the only model in its class to come with disc brakes on all 4 corners, making a complete stop from 100 km/h requires 41 m of road which is a few centimetres more than the BR-V (40.8 m) and Xpander (40.6 m).
We’ve praised the smoothness of the D-CVT on other Perodua models in our reviews and it’s no different in the Alza especially when compared to the last generation. The old Alza had the usual 4-AT issue of not being efficient in acceleration, giving you less confidence when overtaking and sluggish from the get-go.
The newer D-CVT works very well in the Alza and the acceleration feels a lot smoother on highways and during stop-start traffic. Granted, it’s not entirely perfect with the typical rubberband response of a CVT still felt albeit not as pronounced as most.
Ride – Plush for a Perodua
If there is one thing that is very impressive in the Alza, it’s the ride which is simply unlike any other Perodua on sale now. Normally, you wouldn't expect sheer comfort in a Perodua, but the Alza is proof that the people behind the “budget-conscious” brand are starting to take it seriously.
Okay, it’s technically a Daihatsu underneath with the Alza sharing the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) platform as the Xenia and Toyota twins but let’s put the Japanese brand’s connections aside for a moment.
It's the same platform used on the Perodua Ativa but because of the longer wheelbase, it feels more composed than the SUV.
Throughout my week spent with the Alza, I can say with full confidence that this is the plushest experience I have had in a Perodua ever. On highways, the Alza feels like an absolute cruiser which is what you certainly want during those long balik kampung journeys.
The ride feels so composed that rear passengers will have little to no issues feeling car sick. The vibrations are minimal and having taken a few e-hailing rides in the older Alza, the new one feels first class.
2022 Perodua Alza 1.5 AV sound test
Idle (0 km/h)
Granted, the noise levels aren’t the best in its class with our trusty noise decibel recorder giving a reading of 70 dB at 110 km/h with the Xpander leading (68 dB) at the same speed. Still, this isn’t going to completely ruin your slumber in the rear.
Fuel consumption – One of the best in class
During its launch, Perodua claims the all-new Alza has a fuel consumption of 22 km/L or 4.5 litres/100 km. Admittedly, we can’t match those numbers given the huge traffic currently faced by every KL-ite and the unit we received had less than 5,000 km mileage on the odometer.
Going through a mix of highways and city traffic (60/40 percent), the Alza returned an overall fuel economy of 7.1 litres/100 km which though off the mark of Perodua’s claimed figures is still impressive when compared to rivals.
B-segment 7-seaters fuel consumption
Fuel consumed (as tested)
7.1 L/100 km
7.7 L/100 km
7.9 L/100 km
In fact, the Alza is the most fuel-efficient compared to both the BR-V and Xpander. This might be reason enough for those looking to get one for the purpose of being an e-hailing ride.
Practicality – Truly a people’s first carmaker
Whether you’re looking for a car for the family, to transport passengers, or just a spare car for your hauling your motorsport hobby, the Alza is a perfect fit when it comes to practicality.
The third-row seats fold flat to free up some room for whatever gear you want to haul and there are some extra storage bins in the boot and underneath the boot floor. It can’t beat the Xpander in terms of hidden cubby storage but it’s good enough.
Sticking with the third row, the rearmost seats are quite cramped to be in with nearly no legroom unless you put the second-row seats at its most forward position. Still, it’s more of a space best reserved for kids or those with a smaller stature.
The second-row occupants are treated to a much better place to be with ample legroom and headroom. The nearly flat floor also gives them a place to really stretch their legs.
The low ride height makes it easy to get into the Alza and though the tumble forward second-row makes it easy to access the third row without awkwardly contorting yourself, it is admittedly a bit harder to operate at first.
Another extra reason of joy for rear occupants is the rear air-cond which makes its cool presence felt all the way to the third row. They also come with adjustable vents to easily direct the airflow.
We counted 16 cupholders in the Alza but none of them has room should you have a big bottle in hand. It also has plenty of pockets to store your smartphone with a couple placed behind each of the front seats.
Despite the impressive quantity of storage spaces and rear seat practicality, it is not all perfect, especially for the driver. As every Alza now comes with an RFID tag, Perodua removed the signature built-in SmartTag reader which frees up room for a SmartTag/TnG card holder but this is placed quite low.
Okay, that might be intentional and most Alza owners are likely to use the RFID provided but what about the space to place your phone? Instead of being placed in a hollow spot in the lower part of the centre stack (as with most Hondas), the storage compartments are located on each side of the console which is an awkward and difficult-to-reach position.
Funnily enough, the lower X and H variants have a storage compartment at the lower part of the centre stack. Perhaps it's a sacrifice needed for EPB given that the X and H variants still use a mechanical parking handbrake?
Features – Proper car connectivity at last!
Like most Malaysians, features are normally what makes or breaks a model’s success and the Alza brought an impressive array given its price tag.
More importantly, the Alza is the first Malaysian car to offer Android Auto (AA) and Apple CarPlay (CP) connectivity right from the factory. There’s no need for aftermarket replacements or ‘hacking’ solutions that could void the warranty here.
It might still require a cable to connect your smartphone but this is already proper enough. Also, it seems that Perodua got the approval from Apple since CarPlay is working fine in our test unit, so owners should take note of this if they’re using iOS.
With both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto running out of the box, Perodua is on the right track in bringing proper car connectivity to Malaysians within a budget. Hopefully, we might see this being trickled down to other models like the Myvi and Ativa.
Aside from superior car connectivity than the proprietary Smart Link, the Alza is also very generous on the safety front with the top-spec AV offering 6 airbags and the whole suite of Perodua Smart Drive Assist (PSDA) ADAS which includes among others:
Pre-collision Warning (PCW)
Front Departure Alert (FDA)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB)
Besides EPB and AA/CP, the Alza is also the first model to be equipped with a 360-degree panoramic view monitor and it is quite crisp. It’s even clearer than most models especially in this price range.
Conclusion – Is it truly the best?
Now having read through the whole review, you might notice that the D27A Alza isn’t all that perfect. It has some shortcomings in refinement and practicality but then again, has there ever been a truly perfect car that fits everyone’s preferences?
Though my week with the Alza made me see some of those imperfections, the truth is, I got over them quickly. It already has proper in-car connectivity, rides very well, gives impressive fuel mileage, and is very practical without being too difficult to get in and out.
Just like how the Mazda MX-5 or Toyobaru twins are the answers for those seeking an affordable sports car to play with, the all-new 2022 Perodua Alza is the answer for those looking for a perfect daily driver for under RM 100,000.