The 2012 Perodua Alza looks pretty much like a larger, longer Perodua Myvi—which means a neat, inoffensive appearance that is considered acceptable by most Malaysians, judging from the number of times the Myvi has topped the sales chart. Yes, the 2012 Perodua Alza could be more interestingly styled, both inside and outside. But the smart money has always been betting on something proven, and the familiar Myvi-esque looks would do more good than harm for sales.
Based on an elongated Perodua Myvi platform, the 2012 Perodua Alza rides and handles in a capable, though unexciting, manner. Body movements are well-controlled, with little body roll even when pushed. But it is in an urban setting that the 2012 Perodua Alza really excels, thanks to its excellent all-round visibility, tight turning circle and compact dimensions. The limited mechanical grip and light, muted steering would discourage most forms of spirited driving, however.
The 2012 Perodua Alza's ride feels firmer than the Perodua Myvi's, with more impact from surface imperfections filtering into the cabin as a result. Still, it never gets uncomfortable. Cruising refinement is marred by noticeable amounts of wind and road noise, however. With seat-height adjustments (base versions do without) and light-weighted, well-positioned controls, settling into a good driving position is easy. The buttons and dials on the centre console are direct to use, although the centrally-mounted instrument cluster is less intuitive to navigate, requiring time to get used to.
Quality + Reliability
Everything in the cabin feels well put together, with a test car that proved to be rattle-free. The fit-and-finish and plastic quality are typically Perodua, meaning, while durable, there remains plenty of room for improvement on either aspect. Lower-quality aside, the cabin feels like it should be able to withstand the rigours of family life. The 2012 Perodua Alza should also perform well on the reliability count, as both its engine and transmission have been in use on other models all along.
Powering the 2012 Perodua Alza is a 102 bhp, 136 Nm 1.5-litre engine, borrowed from the Toyota Avanza and Toyota Rush, mated to a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The good news is that the engine has enough oomph, particularly at the lower rev range, to ensure decent acceleration even when the 2012 Perodua Alza is carrying seven on board. However, the manual transmission is poor, let down by a rubbery, vague gear-change and a weak-biting clutch. Like for the Perodua Myvi, the recommendation is for the automatic version, even though the manual version may provide better drivability.
The 2012 Perodua Alza's interior is smaller than either the Nissan Grand Livina's or Proton Exora's. The tall roof means no lack of headroom for all passengers, but the rearmost passengers will struggle with legroom unless a compromise is found between the second and third rows. Like in most seven-seaters, passengers sit with their knees pointing high. Getting into the third row is a hassle: the second row seats lack a tumble-fold mechanism, and the opening to the third row is small. Luggage space is miserable with all seats in place, and the third row seats are not split-foldable.
The 2012 Perodua Alza is reasonably efficient to run, returning an average fuel economy of between 11-12 km/litre for the manual and automatic versions when loaded with seven on board. Servicing and repairs are affordable, while parts are readily available. Like for all Proton and Perodua owners, Alza owners would suffer the most from their car's potential depreciation. While deemed as relatively reliable for a national car, the Perodua Alza's lack of brand image and increasing popularity/numbers would count against it in the resale market.
Value for Money
Car one moment, MPV the next is the tagline that Perodua uses for the marketing of the Alza. Indeed, the 2012 Perodua Alza would fail if judged by the benchmark of full-sized MPVs such as the Proton Exora and Toyota Innova. But considered as a 5+2, seven-seater Perodua Myvi, the Perodua Alza presents a compelling proposition. Like the hugely popular smaller Myvi, the Perodua Alza is a car that looks neat, drives effortlessly, has a durable cabin, and is economical and reliable to run. Unlike the Myvi, however, the 2012 Perodua Alza sets itself apart by offering two entirely usable third row seats for the rare occasion that you might need a seven-seater MPV.
1.5 GX/EZ gets 15" alloy wheels, electric side mirrors with turn indicator, 4-speaker audio system with tuner/CD/MP3/WMA, multi-info display, power windows, reverse sensor, and alarm/immobiliser. 1.5 GH/ZH adds on front fog lamps, rear spoiler, high-grade seat and carpet material, silver/chrome door armrest/handle, USB/Bluetooth audio connectivity, leather steering wheel with audio switches, dual SRS airbags and ABS, EBD & BA. 1.5 GHP/ZHP further brings tinted windows, front/side/rear skirting, GPS with reverse camera and leather seats.
The 2012 Perodua Alza is one of the cleanest seven-seater MPV on the market, thanks to a clean, efficient and small 1.5-litre engine whose fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are relatively low. The 2012 Perodua Alza's good drivability further ensures that the engine will not need to be worked hard to make any form of progress, which in turn reduces consumption and emissions.