Thursday, 4 March 2010
Driven: Toyota Passo Sette! (Perodua Alza EZi)
A little imagination can do wonders. You could be having a bite at McDonald's right in downtown Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle (corner of Bukit Bintang and Sultan Ismail) and yet think you're in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. Pardon me for the inaccuracy in the title of this blogpost but it's deliberate.
"Why?" you may ask. Well, Perodua has got it so right in their product mix that their latest Alza, so much feels like a Toyota, looks like a Toyota, drives likes Toyota; but not a Toyota. (Hmmm...sounded like one famous lawyer's testimony on court recently) And in Bolehland context - pricing it cheaper than even the base model Toyota Vios J-spec - that can be a good thing, a very good thing. Though frankly, I am of the opinion that the Passo Sette clone should not have crossed the RM60k mark, even for this Ezi spec version - to make it a truly value-for-money buy for the rakyat. But we are not here to to debate about social service, are we?
Admittedly, my initial enthusiasm was lacking upon picking up this COTY tester from Perodua. However, that soon changed as I got bitten by the travel bug soon thereafter. Loaded with 3 adults, one almost-adult teenager and three kids, we soon headed up to Cameron Highlands. On the following day, back through to Ipoh and returning to KL. The 3SZ-VE doesn't disappoint, being adequately responsive with an eloquently paired 4A/T, which resulted in decent tractability and driveability. On the downside, the naturally aspirated 4-pot 1.5L lump were often caught thrumming a little too loud - somewhat hoarse - as you venture near 6000rpm for that little extra top-end grunt. The other pleasant little surprise was that its average fuel consumption worked out to about 12km/l over some 863 km travelled. (That's roughly 15- 16 sen per km, running on RON95 @ current retail price of RM1.80/litre) Win some, lose some.
In all, there isn't much to complain about the Alza, expect for maybe absence of 2nd row a/c vents. A passenger in the 2nd row was complaining of getting hot and bothered even with the a/c blower set to fan speed #"3" during an afternoon drive. A full blast to #"4" did cure things but it was a hurricane for both occupants up front! I was getting a bit flustered and bogged down with so much of TURBULENT cold air enveloping my cheeks and temple, even with the vents angled upwards and away.
Could Perodua please add a 2nd ceiling mounted blower for the 2nd row? While at it, can the 3rd row of seat backrest be spilt into a 50:50 fold down to enable 2+3+1 seating with a little more luggage hoarding capability?
Back to the climatic indices of thermal comfort, I am sure there is enough cold air-conditioner gasses for a small 2nd auxiliary cooler coil. Seeing that, no imagination will be able to execute cooling comfort for 2nd and especially 3rd row passengers. Not even Toyota, which at this very moment happens to be a goliath of an automotive company busy with its tagline "Moving Forward...Non Stop!".