£7,140 - £9,522 Price range
44 - 48 MPG
The very attractively-priced Perodua Myvi gets reasonable reviews from critics thanks to a spacious interior and how easy it is to drive. Unfortunately, the same critics are hard pushed to recommend it over rivals – Perodua’s quest for cheapness is rather evident in more or less every area.
Reviewers are happy with how untaxing it is to drive, especially around town, but it’s probably wise to stick to urban areas as it’s not particularly good at high speed and has a disappointingly low level of safety equipment on board.
Still, it should not be completely written off, as it’s one of the cheapest cars on sale in the UK today and could be a very affordable A-to-B city runabout for those who are less concerned with how their car looks and feels.
Superminis are required to be a bit Tardis-like by nature – small on the outside but generously proportioned on the inside, and the good news is that the Myvi achieves this very well.
Space is excellent for a car of this type, with plenty of headroom and legroom in the back for adults thanks to the tall body. Space in the boot is a little small at 225 litres, but you can improve this by folding the rear seats almost flat – they split 60/40.
In the front, the dashboard is logically laid out and the controls are easy to find, but the experts were disappointed with the low quality feel of pretty much everything, even when considering the low asking price.
Most people should be able to get comfy behind the wheel – the seat can slide forwards and backwards and the steering rake can be adjusted too.
The reviewers found the car has light steering, although a couple noted that it felt quite slick and responsive for such a cheap car. This makes town driving very easy, and the good turning circle makes parking a cinch.
The low grip levels makes brisk progress on twisty roads a little hair-raising – this is not a car that can be hustled. Refinement is good enough around town but take it on the motorway and you’ll get a lot of wind, road and engine noise.
The ride is generally okay, with some reviewers saying the set-up is quite good at absorbing imperfections in the road, but others say that it behaves itself only on the best road surfaces.
There’s only one option available with the Perodua Myvi – a 1.3-litre petrol unit that produces 86hp and is good for nearly 50mpg. It’s obviously not engineered for performance, and it takes over 11 seconds to hit 60mph from standstill, but around town it’s perfectly adequate.
It can just about keep up with motorway traffic – at least until you try to overtake, which requires quite a lot of noisy effort from the car and down-changing from the five-speed manual gearbox.
The optional EZi automatic gearbox is unrefined and acts only as a rather effective anchor on the little petrol engine, so it’s best avoided.
The Myvi hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, and it’s hard to predict how well it would do given how cheaply it’s been made. One indicator is the four-star achieved by the Daihatsu Sirion, which is nearly identical in design to the Myvi.
Only the driver and passenger get airbags, and it can only boast equipment such as seatbelt pre-tensioners, an anti-lock braking system and all-round three-point seatbelts, which are things that one would’ve expected as standard on cars 15 years ago.
Security isn’t great either – the Myvi has no deadlocks and an alarm is only available as a dealer fit option.
A Myvi in standard form, badged SXi, is very generously equipped for a car like this, coming with air conditioning, four electric windows, CD player, metallic paint and electric door mirrors.
It’s relatively cheap to tax and can achieve 48.7mpg on a run, though more expensive rivals offer much better fuel economy by virtue of having a diesel option.
The Myvi is one of three cars that shared basic designs – the others being the Daihatsu Sirion and the Subaru Justy – but neither of those competitors are produced any more. The Myvi was the cheapest at the time, and the most inferior of the three, and depreciation will have been high thanks to brand obscurity.
Today, the Myvi is rivalled by the Kia Picanto and Chevrolet Spark, other superminis that are a little pricier but are generally regarded as significantly better all-round performers. Their equipment levels may be lower, but modern safety features and long warranties make them more tempting than the Perodua.
Unfortunately for Perodua, the bargain-basement corner of the market is better catered for now than it was when the Myvi was released in 2006.
The Dacia Sandero is a more refined, stronger-performing and safer supermini with a basic asking price around £1,000 less than the Myvi, albeit with practically no equipment to speak of, but with a decent warranty and diesel engines available too.
For those who want a little more refinement and composure on the road from their basic transportation device, looking at such rivals would be understandable.
Saying that, the Myvi’s exceptionally low asking price does go a little way to justify its short-comings to buyers who simply want a very basic, spacious, well-equipped city car.