Perodua to Introduce Most Advanced Model Yet D55L

THE HYPE regarding Perodua’s next model entry to the Malaysian market had circulated widely in the web media for some months now and Malaysians would finally get to see what it’s all about soon enough. Perodua has finally given hint of its entry here by stating that booking is now opened; which means it would be launched soon.

Hailed as the most advanced Perodua yet, the D55L would be available in three variants – X, H and AV – with prices estimated to range from RM62,500 to RM73,400 on the road without insurance in Peninsular Malaysia. President and CEO Dato’ Zainal Abidin Ahmad described it as the first model under the recently announced Perodua Smart Build blueprint that ‘spearheads breakthroughs for Perodua in style, safety, technology, equipment levels and value’.

Likened to a Daihatsu equivalent in the latest Rocky, the Perodua D55L does sounds like an interesting SUV (sport utility vehicle) to take on all and sundry currently in the Malaysian market. Despite its attractive price range, the D55L would come well equipped and featured to stamp its mark against respectable rivals.

For starters, it comes with Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) on all the variants. This is the latest generation of a driver assistance system that is aimed at helping to reduce the risk of collisions. Wisely, Perodua did put out a reminder that such a system is no substitute for safe driving. This is just as well as some vehicle owners tend to think that they are expert drivers with such systems and drive beyond their skills in good car control.

The latest version of the ASA features higher operating speeds and could detect two-wheeled vehicles. All variants would also have the Lane Departure Warning and Operation though the flagship AV would have a lot more in Lane Keep Control, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control. Perodua says all these features make the D55L its first model to satisfy Level 2 Autonomous Driving standards.

As to its power unit, the D55L would come with a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. Its link to three-cylinder engines (in normally aspirated form) is well established with the Kenari and Kelisa models, both of which were already discontinued quite a while ago. We had our fun driving the Kenari for at least eight years and it was quite sad selling the car, albeit to a brother-in-law, who appears to be having good time driving it now!

With the D55L, it marks the first Perodua to join the turbo bandwagon and it’s about time too since this toe the current global trend in adopting downsized (in engine displacement) forced-induction power units. Smaller engines mean better fuel economy and Perodua says the D55L would return 18.9km/l to give it a class-leading edge. The mild-turbo engine is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which is another first for Perodua.

Other vehicle details given at this time are that the D55L would have LED (light emitting diode) headlamps, with the H and AV models being fitted with an additional convenience in the Adaptive Driving Beam. Interior features include a 7-inch TFT multi-info display and a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice recognition.

The D55L does appear to be the trendiest Perodua to-date, as outlined by Dato’ Zainal Abidin, especially when compared to the more expensive and dimensionally bigger Aruz. With two SUVs in Perodua’s current portfolio to meet the rising demand for such vehicles, he sees the D55L as being suitable for urban motoring with its ‘compactness, contemporary style and modern features’.

To fuel your interest further, the X and H variants come in a nice choice of hues in Glitttering Silver, Granite Grey and Cobalt Blue. The H model is also available in Pearl Diamond White and Pearl Delime Red, which, along with Cobalt Blue, are new to Perodua’s colour portfolio. The top AV version would have the four colours mentioned, except Cobalt Blue, and has the option of the Pearl colour models coming with a black roof.

The D55L, which comes with a five-year or 150,000km warranty, certainly appears to provide good value for their respective prices. It might just take up the good and strong momentum that the Kembara, Perodua’s first SUV, had left off more than a decade ago. - LPS