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  • DRIVEN: Perodua Ativa D55L SUV, first impressions

    Perodua D55L render

    Peroduas aren’t known for refinement. They may have improved beyond recognition in many areas, but refinement; well, it has been a weak point. But considering the fact that the folks from Rawang are selling the cheapest and best value cars in Malaysia, it’s forgivable.

    Coming from a Myvi – which before this was the carmaker’s flagship product – the biggest takeaway from a short ride and drive session in the Perodua D55L today (Perodua would like to keep the name unveiling for the launch, but since everyone is calling it the Ativa, I’ll follow) is its refinement. There are two parts to this.

    Rolling noise and general refinement is good in the Ativa, significantly better than in the third-generation Myvi, which was already better than any P2 product when it came out in 2017. The wheel well roar, so bold in the Myvi, is not here, and wind noise at highway speeds (and beyond, we were in P2’s private test track with strict SOPs in place) doesn’t stand out.

    Perodua D55L render

    I had to check the tyres once my session ended, and it’s the Bridgestone Turanza T005A (sorry, no pictures were allowed at the session). That’s a very premium touring tyre for a RM70k car, and we’ve praised this model before when it was launched in 2018 – not just for its typical touring qualities, but for its surprising performance too. To see the T005 here is a big surprise. The 16-inch wheels on the base X variant gets Goodyear Assurance tyres.

    But good tyres can’t mask bad NVH, and the Ativa is not a noisy fella. Perhaps more significant is the D55L’s powertrain refinement. Now, knowing that P2’s first turbo engine is essentially a boosted version of the Axia and Bezza’s 1.0L KR engine, expectations aren’t high to say the least. If you’ve driven those cars, you’ll know that there are significant amounts of vibrations, which are rather noticeable at idle. This has been tamed in the Ativa.

    For a three-cylinder engine in a non-sporting application, you’ll want it to feel as “normal” as possible, and I feel that not many buyers, if any, would know that the Ativa’s engine “lacks one cylinder” from the default four. It does feel and sound regular. Many will have an opinion on this, so try it out and judge for yourself.

    Also feeling normal is the CVT gearbox, which is another debuting component for Perodua. Much like modern CVTs from Toyota and Honda, it feels very natural in normal driving, with speed rising with revs in linear fashion. The D55L gets up to highway speeds without too much of a fuss; however, as usual for CVTs, the more measured your right foot is, the more invisible it becomes.

    There’s also a seven-speed manual mode (via the sequential gear lever, push right for S/M) for times when you need more control, as well as a “Power” button on the steering wheel’s right spoke. This is supposed to give you more oomph and higher revs, but I did not feel heaven and earth. Perhaps more time is needed. Longer seat time in the real world is also required to confirm the Ativa’s good NVH performance.

    Another big question is power. Enough is what I would say. Perodua’s internal test track has a sweeping hill section mimicking a section of the North South Highway, and the Ativa – with two onboard – tackled it well enough. The turbo engine’s strong mid range means that the Ativa feels less strained than the Myvi 1.5L when pushed to the same speeds, but we did not have the luxury of a back-to-back comparison.

    Perodua has yet to release official figures, but the JDM Rocky’s 1.0L 1KR-VET turbo triple makes 98 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm. The twist, and where it’s made, makes the difference.

    I have to admit that with just a short loop, I can’t share much about the SUV’s dynamics other than the fact that it doesn’t feel tall and clumsy (200 mm ground clearance, higher than Rocky) – and the drive experience is not very different from a regular hatchback.

    Compared to Perodua’s own best-selling hatchback however, there’s a greater feeling of stability and heft in the way the Ativa moves, including a better damped ride. We understand that the Ativa has a Malaysia-specific suspension setting, which is firmer than its comfort-focused JDM twin. Like spicy food, we like our cars on the sporty side, if you haven’t already realised.

    Any shortcomings? For what it is – a RM70k SUV – I can’t think of much really. A couple of years ago, we praised the Myvi for raising the level for Perodua (and budget cars in general), and the Ativa has now done the same. However, the leap this time is not just bigger, but more impressively, it can now be felt in the drive, and not just on the spec sheet. With the Ativa, there’s no longer a gulf between P2 and Toyota/Honda in powertrain and refinement.

    Driving aside, P2’s SUV has an interior (it’s similar to the Rocky’s, but the air con control panel is unique to P2, and there’s AC memory) that probably won’t wow many like how the Proton X50 does, but it’s still relatively funky and modern.

    For those who desire a taste of premium, the X50 does much better in this regard, both in design and materials. For the latter, it’s all hard plastics in the P2, but with some texture thrown in to liven things up. The gear lever surround has an interesting diamond-like 3D pattern, and top spec cars get red accents.

    Active cruise control, adaptive high beam were added to the Lexus NX in 2019; they’re now on a Perodua

    I managed to check out the base spec X as well, and finally, there’s some not so good news to share. Unlike the entry-level Myvi, the base Ativa does look very base indeed – its dashboard is a daily reminder that you couldn’t afford the higher variants.

    The lack of a touchscreen infotainment system is the most obvious because of the floating screen design (slim, unlike Toyota’s CRT TV-style housing), but that’s understandable – even style-conscious Mazda does this on lower variants. Similarly, the lack of a digital instrument panel and its four display themes is to be expected; that’s OK as the twin analogue dials are sunken and actually rather decent looking.

    What’s more jarring are the empty steering spokes. Unlike in the Myvi, they are very obviously designed for buttons, but only the Power button is left there, alone. With almost no brightwork and accents (the above-mentioned ‘3D diamond’ gear lever surround survived, thankfully) – it looks very dour.

    The D55L’s digital meter panel has four themes, and even birthday/anniversary reminders!

    Which is not what the Ativa is about, even the base X. The single-tone 16-inch wheels are OK to look at, and the spec list is very good. One gets LED headlamps, six airbags, the improved ASA 3.0 (which includes AEB), Auto High Beam, and even Lane Departure Warning and Prevention on the entry-level RM62,500 (est) variant. The base Ativa X – at nearly RM20k cheaper than the base X50 Standard – soundly beats the Proton in kit and safety. It just could have been presented better.

    Now that we’ve touched on safety kit, it’s the Ativa’s trump card. On top of ASA 3.0 and LDW/P, the mid-spec H adds on Adaptive Driving Beam. An upgrade on AHB (which is already a P2 first), ADB is a smart auto high beam that “cuts out” oncoming vehicles from the glare when high beam is on, instead of dipping the high beam completely. A visible and desirable bonus of ADB is sequential turn signals.

    The range-topping AV adds on Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Keep Control (LKC) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC, follows vehicles ahead from 30 to 125 km/h). It’s amazing to think that adaptive high beam and ACC were added to the Lexus NX in 2019, and they’re now on a car that’s much lower in Toyota’s SUV hierarchy.

    Click to enlarge

    So there you go, our first impressions of the Perodua D55L SUV, also known by many as the Ativa. So much more than a “Myvi SUV”, this is a completely new level for P2 in terms of safety, equipment and surprisingly – driving performance. If before, going for a Myvi over a Japanese B-segment car means you had to sacrifice some refinement and powertrain sophistication, it no longer seems to be the case with the Ativa. We’ll need a longer drive, but Perodua’s latest model makes a good first impression.

    PS: There’s more about the Ativa to be shared, including pics, but only driving impressions are allowed at this point – full specs and details will have to wait until the March 3 launch. Stay tuned.

    Our coverage of the 2021 Perodua Ativa D55L SUV

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky in Japan

    GALLERY: Toyota Raize in Japan

  • Gran Turismo 7 launch delayed to 2022 due to Covid

    In June last year, Polyphony Digital released an announcement trailer for Gran Turismo 7, which is the next entry in the company’s famous racing simulator series. It’s been more than eight months since we saw the game run on a PlayStation 5, but if you’re hoping to get your hands on it soon, we have some bad news.

    In an interview with GQ, Jim Ryan, who is the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), confirmed that the game’s launch will be heavily delayed. “GT7 has been impacted by Covid-related production challenges and therefore will shift from 2021 to 2022,” Ryan said.

    “With the ongoing pandemic, it’s a dynamic and changing situation and some critical aspects of game production have been slowed over the past several months. We’ll share more specifics on GT7’s release date when available,” he added.

    So, there will be no new Gran Turismo this year, which is unfortunate because the game is certainly one of the most anticipated exclusives for the PS5. The game is the first in more than seven years (coming onto eight with this news) to be given a number at the end, and appears to be more fully fledged than the current Gran Turismo Sport, which is more focused on e-sports and considered to be more of a spin-off than the numbered series.

    Fans of the series will be familiar with a full-on campaign mode, along with other favourites like the used car lot and tuning parts shop, all of which are in GT7. With the PS5’s hardware, the game also looks incredibly pleasing to the eye, with support for raytracing. As there’s still quite some time before 2022, you’ll have plenty of time to first source a PS5, which has become increasingly rare as current demand heavily outweighs supply.

    GALLERY: Gran Turismo 7 announcement


  • Perodua impacted by chip shortage – production of Myvi, Aruz and Alza affected; for Myvi, well into March

    Over the past few months, a shortage of semiconductor chips has led to significant disruptions in global automotive production, with carmakers forced to halt or scale back vehicle assembly as a result of the supply shortfall. A slew of brands have been impacted by the issue, among them Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, FCA, General Motors, Stellantis, Audi and Volkswagen.

    Given the severity of the matter, which was first sounded by Volkswagen back in December, you’d expect that the crunch would inevitably affect local automakers, and now, it has, with Perodua being hit by the chip shortage. The national automaker revealed this in a circular issued to sales outlets late last week.

    In the document, which was sighted by this publication, the company said that it had been impacted by the chip shortage issue, resulting in the production of the Myvi, Aruz and Alza being affected. It added that for the Myvi this issue would extend into March. Whether this translates to a halt or a slow down in build was not revealed, but a source familiar with the matter said that some outlets may not get any Myvi deliveries next month.

    The disruption in production will mean delays in customer deliveries for these models, and the impact will be felt most with the popular Myvi, which is very much the bread and butter product for the automaker. It is not known how long this issue will persist, and what impact it will have in terms of numbers.

    The company said that its “production department has been trying to simulate a few pivotal options to mitigate the problem,” and told dealers that there was no significant impact in the supply of spare parts for after-sales. It added that further communication on the topic will be provided to outlets once available.

    There is no mention of the Ativa, which is due to be launched on March 3 – it could be that assembly of other models has been halted to prioritise its production, or it could be a case of the Perodua Global Manufacturing plant, where the Ativa is being built, having a sufficient supply of components – the three affected models are built at the company’s older plant.

    In any case, if you’ve booked a Myvi and are being told that there will be some delays in you receiving the car, you know the reasons why, and semiconductor chips have everything to do with it. Be patient.

  • Perodua Ativa D55L SUV – virtual launch on March 3!

    We’ve been waiting a while for Perodua’s forthcoming compact SUV – its codename, D55L, first surfaced back in 2019. Well, the wait will soon be over, as the national carmaker has confirmed that the car will be revealed in exactly a week’s time, on March 3!

    UPDATE: We’ve driven the new Perodua Ativa! Read our first impressions review here.

    Perodua opened bookings for the car last week and released preliminary specifications and pricing. The one thing we’re still waiting on is the D55L’s finalised name, but even this we’ve pretty much nailed down – soon after the order books were opened, a legitimate-looking leaflet surfaced on social media containing the Ativa moniker. It hasn’t been officially confirmed, however, so we’ll wait and see if it ends up on the car.

    Whatever it will be called, the D55L will be based on the Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize, riding on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA). Sharing much of its componentry with the Japanese partner’s latest and greatest, it will offer several Perodua firsts, not least of which concerns safety.

    For the first time, all models will come standard with the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) system, including autonomous emergency braking and the brand’s first lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and auto high beam. The AV version, however, will get several new goodies under the Driving Assist banner, such as adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

    Other bits of new kit include matrix LED headlights, seven-inch digital instrument display and nine-inch freestanding infotainment touchscreen on the H and AV variants. The D55L will also mark a new chapter for Perodua as the company embraces downsizing for the first time.

    All models will be powered by a 1.0 litre turbo engine, almost certainly the 1KR-VET three-cylinder from the Rocky and Raize. That mill makes 98 PS at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm, sent to the front wheels through a new D-CVT that adds gears and a planetary gearset for high-speed driving.

    Prices are expected to range from RM62,500 to RM73,400 on-the-road without insurance. As such, the entry-level model will undercut the larger seven-seat Aruz by some margin, but will be more expensive at the top of the lineup. However, the car’s significant advantage in terms of equipment should provide recompense.

    Now that you know when the D55L is going to be revealed, all you have to do is sit back and wait. As usual, we’ll be bringing you comprehensive live coverage of the launch, so stay tuned. In the meantime, what are your thoughts of the new car? Sound off in the comments after the jump.

    Our coverage of the 2021 Perodua Ativa D55L SUV

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky in Japan

    GALLERY: Toyota Raize in Japan

  • Michelin tyres to become 100% sustainable by 2050

    Michelin aims to become a fully sustainable manufacturer of tyres from fully sustainable materials and processes by 2050. At present, nearly 30% of components used by Michelin in the manufacture of tyres are already from natural, recycled or otherwise sustainable sources, the tyre manufacturer said.

    A Michelin tyre is comprised of more than 200 ingredients, starting with natural rubber as the main ingredient. This is joined by synthetic rubber, metal, fibres, as well as strengthening components such as carbon black, silica and plasticisers such as resins. These combine to deliver a blend of performance, drivability and safety along with reducing the tyre’s impact on the environment.

    Quicker and more in-depth innovation calls for new forms of cooperation, and to that end Michelin has formed partnerships with companies and start-ups which offer promising prospects, said the tyre manufacturer.

    The BioButterfly project is spearheaded by Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles, two companies whom Michelin has been working with since 2019 for the production of bio-sourced butadiene to replace petroleum-based butadiene. Up to 4.2 million tonnes of wood chips could be incorporated into the manufacturing of Michelin tyres each year, using the biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalks and other plant waste.

    Michelin has also signed a partnership with Canada-based Pyrowave, which will produce recycled styrene from packaging plastics such as yoghurt pots and food trays, as well as insulating panels. Styrene is a key monomer in the manufacture of polystyrene, as well as synthetic rubber for tyres and a wide range of consumer goods.

    Plastic bottles can also be recycled into tyres, says Michelin. A process developed by French start-up Carbios uses enzymes to deconstruct polyethlene teraphthalate (PET) plastic waste into its original pure monomers, which can be infinitely recovered and reused to produce new PET plastic products. Among these are the polyester yarn that is used in tyres, and some four billion plastic bottles could be recycled into tyres this way.

    Most recently, Michelin announced this month that it will commence construction of its first tyre recycling plant with Swedish firm Enviro, which has developed patented technology for the recovery of carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel, gas, and other high-quality reusable material from end-of-life tyres, says Michelin. This will the recovery and reuse of tyres in several rubber-based production processes, it said.

    Michelin also supports the circular economy model through its participation in the European BlackCycle consortium. This project is coordinated by the Michelin Group and financed by the European Union, which brings together 13 public- and private-sector partners in order to design processes for the production of new tyres from end-of-life rubber.

  • 2021 CFMoto 700CL-X Heritage in Malaysia year end?

    Launched in Malaysia as a brand back in 2019 with the CFMoto 250NK, followed by the CFMoto 250SR, a hint has been dropped by importers KTNS Holdings that the 2021 CFMoto 700CL-X Heritage will be coming to the local market by year’s end. Strongly resembling the Ducati Diavel, the 700CL-X Heritage is styled as a “power cruiser” with drag bike styling.

    Powered by a liquid-cooled parallel-twin, the 700CL-X Heritage produces 73 hp at 8,500 rpm and 68 Nm of torque from 6,500 rpm with the engine fed by Bosch EFI. Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox equipped with slipper clutch and chain final drive.

    Suspension at the front is done with KYB 41 mm diameter upside-down forks, adjustable for preload with compression and rebound adjustment in separate forelegs. At the rear, a KYB monoshock holds up the rear end and is adjustable for preload and rebound.

    The CL700-X Heritage is stopped by single hydraulic J Juan disc brakes on the 18-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel, with ABS as standard equipment. Claimed to weigh 196 kg wet, fuel is carried in a 13-litre tank and seat height is set at 800 mm.

    LED lighting is used throughout on the CL700-X Heritage with a monochrome LCD panel as instrument display. Other riding conveniences include a USB charging port and cruise control as standard with colour options being Twilight Blue and Coal Grey.

  • BMW Operating System 7 gets updated – deeper Alexa integration, improved driver profiles, BMW M Laptimer

    BMW Operating System 7 has been given another update, with version 11/20 rolling out to over one million vehicles worldwide across more than 20 models as of February 22, 2021. As with previous over-the-air (OTA) software updates, customers in their respective countries will be notified when the update is made available, with new features to enjoy once installed.

    First up, the Amazon Alexa voice assistant will have a deeper integration in BMW’s system, allowing owners to access a variety of functions like editing shopping lists, accessing the latest news, playing music and even control smart home devices from their BMW. For now, Alexa integration is being made available for Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, with more countries set to join the list later on.

    There are changes to BMW driver profiles too, as users can now assigned a personalised profile photo, which can be synchronised easily using the My BMW app. On a related matter, a personal driver profile can now be transferred to other BMW cars, including rental vehicles, by simply scanning a QR code using said app.

    All preferences like climate control and navigation settings will then be automatically imported into the vehicle along with the driver’s personal settings. Should you want to remove all personal data when returning a vehicle, all associations with the My BMW app or BMW ID will be cleared when resetting the vehicle to factory settings.

    Next up, there’s the BMW M Laptimer, which pulls telemetry data (accelerator position, rev speed, G-meter) from onboard sensors, and track drivers can also record their lap times, driving time and distance travelled. All that data is compiled into a user-friendly format for later analysis.

    BMW’s own Intelligent Personal Assistant also gains the ability to give passengers a taste of the sound made by BMW M models. A novelty feature at best, you can now pose the question “Hey BMW, what does a BMW M8 sound like?” which “prompts the arrival of a stirring aural accompaniment to sports performance,” the company says.

    For owners in France, Portugal and Spain, an Active Navigation feature is now available as an extended function of the Steering and Lane Control Assistant. This function suggests making a lane change based on the travelling route. If a gap in the traffic is detected, Active Navigation will wait until the vehicle is level with the gap before prompting the driver to change lane. Last but not least, the digital owner’s manual in relevant models have been updated with the latest information

  • Daihatsu Rocky hybrid planned, to debut later this year

    It looks like Daihatsu is planning to roll out a hybrid version of the Rocky SUV later this year. According to a Nikkei report, the move will mark the automaker’s second attempt at hybrid technology, and the electrified powertrain is tipped to be co-developed with its parent company, Toyota.

    Daihatsu’s last hybrid model was the Hijet mini commercial vehicle, the sale of which ended back in 2010. The automaker has traditionally been wary of offering higher-priced hybrid models to its main customer base, choosing to focus on weight reduction and improving its internal combustion engine to achieve the best fuel economy.

    But last year, the Japanese government outlined an ambitious plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and part of the plan is to completely eliminate the sale of petrol vehicles by 2035. With that, Japanese automakers are expected to ramp up electrification efforts, and the Rocky hybrid in particular will offer between 20% to 30% better fuel economy, Daihatsu said.

    This will come at a cost, though. The Rocky hybrid could be priced several thousand US dollars more than the regular 1.0 turbo variant. The good news is, the hybrid powertrain won’t be a rudimentary stop-gap system with a tiny battery.

    The report said Daihatsu and Toyota have developed a full-fledged hybrid system where the electric motors alone can provide propulsion with the engine completely turned off. No technical details have been revealed yet, but the engine, lithium-ion battery, electric motors and other components have all been optimised for the DNGA platform.

    For now, it’s unclear if the Rocky hybrid will be sold in other markets. In Japan, minicars and minitrucks account for roughly 30% of new vehicle sales. Electrifying the segment will see emissions reduced significantly, contributing to Japan’s carbon neutral goal. Daihatsu’s rival Suzuki also offers hybrid vehicles, but most of them use a simplified system that do little to improve fuel efficiency.

  • Perodua Ativa – how D-CVT is different to other CVTs

    Welcome to part three of our deep dive series into the Perodua Ativa (also known as the D55L), where the focus this time is on the transmission that will be used by the compact B-segment SUV.

    UPDATE: We’ve driven the new Perodua Ativa! Read our first impressions review here.

    Based on all the information we have so far, it’s known that the Ativa will have quite a bit in common with the Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize. This includes the use of the 1KR-VET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA), the former of which is paired with a D-CVT.

    We’ve already talked about the 1KR-VET and DNGA in parts one and two, so if you want to know more about either of them, just click on the links above. In this post, we’re discussing the Ativa’s D-CVT, which is not only the first for a Perodua model, but is different from a conventional CVT. What does the “D” stand for? How does it operate? Read on to find out.

    D-CVT – Dual mode CVT, world’s first split-gear system

    Daihatsu’s full marketing term for its D-CVT is Dual mode CVT, and the transmission first made its debut alongside the DNGA platform with the fourth-generation Tanto kei MPV back in July 2019. At the time, the company claimed the D-CVT was the world’s first split-gear CVT system that combines belt drive with a gear drive, resulting in improved fuel efficiency, acceleration feel and quietness.

    The Raize, which shares the same transmission, was publicised as the the very first Toyota model to use D-CVT technology in 2019.

    Why a CVT is ideal for small cars

    Before getting into what Daihatsu is on about, let’s start with the fundamentals. In a typical CVT, there is an input pulley that is connected to the engine crankshaft through a torque converter (or clutch pack) and an output pulley that sends power to the wheels. A belt (or chain) connects the two pulleys, which can alter their diameters to provide an infinite number of gear ratios.

    Without any gears, the stepless transmission allows for smoother acceleration and efficiency, while being smaller in size compared to transmissions that do have gears. This is a good set of characteristics for Daihatsu, as it allows for better packaging in its kei and compact cars.

    But there are downsides to a traditional CVT

    However, there are some downsides, as CVTs typically experience energy losses due to friction (of the belt or chain) as compared to geared transmission. That’s not all, as CVTs bring with them a normal whining sound due to all that belt-on-pulley action, which is more profound when it has to deal with heavy loads like during hard acceleration or high speeds.

    Furthermore, a CVT will always want to keep the engine operating within its peak output rpm by varying its gear ratio accordingly, which is why the engine sounds “tortured” as the vehicle gets up to speed, even if it isn’t – that’s just the way it works.

    At higher speeds like while highway cruising, the CVT is at its highest possible ratio, which might still result in the engine being at a high rev point that isn’t good for fuel economy. One method to expand the gear ratio range of a CVT is by increasing the size of the pulleys, although this is counterintuitive if the unit has to be small.

    D-CVT shifts from belt to gears on higher load

    Unlike conventional CVTs, Daihatsu’s D-CVT doesn’t just rely on belt drive, but introduces split gears into the mix. As you can see from the cutaway of the D-CVT, there are additional gears and a planetary gear set fitted to the input and output shafts of the pulleys, with a clutch pack to engage or disengage the latter.

    In normal operation, when you’re pulling off from a stop and travelling up to low to medium speeds, the D-CVT functions like any other CVT, with the engine’s torque going through a torque converter and into the input pulley, before being transferred to the output pulley via a belt and to the wheels.

    However, when you get up to higher speeds (Daihatsu says between 40-90% driving force in its presentation), the D-CVT shifts into its split mode, engaging the gear drive that provides a more efficient (less energy loss) means of power transmission, while the rotation to the belt drive is decreased significantly.

    You can see this transition between normal and split mode in a video by Japan’s Web Cartop above. At low to medium speeds, the belt drive is fully engaged, but at higher speeds, the D-CVT’s clutch pack brings the gear drive into operation, relieving the belt drive.

    Not Toyota’s Direct Shift-CVT, but an entirely different Dual mode CVT

    While both the D-CVT and Direct Shift-CVT have additional gears in them, Toyota’s approach is totally different as it adds on a launch gear that acts like a first gear in a conventional transmission. The launch gear is used when setting off from a stop, before the transmission switches to belt drive like a CVT instead.

    Toyota’s Direct Shift-CVT was first revealed in February 2018 and was designed to offer a more direct drive connection at low speeds. It is not the same as their older CVTs used in the Vios and Yaris, and not all models get it (even the newer Corolla Cross). In Malaysia, you’ll find the Direct Shift-CVT on the Lexus UX as well as the base RAV4.

    In a way, the D-CVT is like a “flipped” version of the Direct Shift-CVT, as gear drive is used at higher speeds rather than for setting off. So, why not just adapt Toyota’s technology then? Well, adding a gear selector to engage the launch gear increases the complexity of the transmission, which could be costly and wouldn’t be suitable for budget vehicles.

    Better transmission efficiency, lower rpm, gear ratio range equivalent to an eight-speed automatic

    It’s all facts and figures at this point, as Daihatsu says the split gears allow the gear ratio range of the D-CVT to be extended on both low and high sides from 5.3 to 7.3. On the low side, it has a higher number of short ratios to handle acceleration, while on the other end, high ratios allow it to be better suited for high-speed cruising.

    The company notes that a conventional CVT’s gear ratio range is typically equivalent to that of a normal six-speed automatic, but the D-CVT in split mode is closer to an eight-speed unit instead. This is achieved purely thanks to the split gears, as there’s no need to make pulleys larger for a wider gear range ratio.

    Compared to a regular CVT, the D-CVT in split mode experiences less energy losses as the friction that comes with the belt drive in play is removed. This results in improved transmission efficiency by 12% at 60 km/h and by 19% at 100 km/h.

    The engine speed is also reduced by at those speeds by 200 rpm and 550 rpm respectively, so you hear less of the engine at work and benefit from better fuel consumption too. Daihatsu also claims that drivers will have 15% better acceleration feel, which should reduce the “sluggishness” that people feel when using normal CVTs.

    Ultra compact, smallest in the world, but with max torque limit of 150 Nm

    For more figures, the company says that the distance between the centre of the input and output pulleys in the transmission is only 136 mm, while the distance between the centre of the transmission’s input and output points is just 168 mm, both claimed to be the smallest in the world.

    Limitations? Like other CVTs and normal transmissions, the D-CVT is can only handle a certain amount of torque, which is up to 150 Nm. Daihatsu says its transmission is optimised to be used in all models from mini (kei cars) to vehicles with engine capacities of up to 1.5 litres.

    Since kei cars are limited to 660 cc by regulation, with a max output of 64 PS (63 hp), the D-CVT is more than up to the task. As for the 1KR-VET in the Ativa, it makes 98 PS (97 hp) and 140 Nm, which is well within bounds of the D-CVT, so the pairing is well within the limits.

    So, the effect on driving experience?

    To summarise, the D-CVT should offer smooth acceleration up to medium speeds, but with better fuel consumption and a quieter drive at high speeds. It’s more compact, has a wider range of ratios and allows for lower rpms at cruising speeds, with reduced belt friction/slip losses. Perodua claims a class-leading fuel consumption figure of 18.9 km per litre.

    However, as you will see in the video above, it still behaves like a traditional CVT on full throttle situations, where it holds on to a very high rev (between 5,500 to 6,000 rpm) under hard acceleration. It does not simulate any gear changes like certain newer CVTs from Toyota and Nissan. Now this is something users will have to get used to, especially if they’re coming from a normal torque converter automatic like Perodua’s own 4AT.

    Interestingly, the Rocky and Raize have a Power button on the steering wheel, which remaps the engine and gearbox for quicker throttle response. It’s unclear, however, if the Perodua version will come with the same function.

    CVT is the way forward for Perodua

    With all this information, it is clear that D-CVT is the way forward for Daihatsu and Perodua. It’s a brand new transmission technology designed alongside the DNGA platform, and it will be used in most, if not all new product launches from now on. So, like it or not, D-CVT is here to stay.

    While it is unlikely that the current Perodua models will shift from 4AT to D-CVT anytime soon, the next generations models will very likely feature the new transmission, starting with the rumoured DNGA-based new D27A Alza.

    So, armed with this info, what do you think of the Perodua Ativa’s D-CVT?

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky in Japan

    GALLERY: Toyota Raize in Japan

  • 2021 Triumph Bonneville range gets model updates

    2021 Triumph Bonneville T120

    Comprising of five models and one limited edition variant, the 2021 Triumph Bonneville “Modern Classics” range gets engine updates and weight reduction. The entire Bonneville lineup gets Euro 5 compliance in the engine room along with improvements in engine response and lower emissions.

    Topping Triumph’s Modern Classics are the 2021 Bonneville T120 and T120 Black, carrying the 1,200 cc High Torque parallel-twin. This year’s T120s are 7 kg lighter than previous, coming with lightweight aluminium wheels rims.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black

    Braking has taken a serious upgrade, with the T120 now coming with Brembo brake callipers on twin brake discs. Cruise control is now standard fitment and software for riding modes has been revised, while the instruments sport a new fascia.

    Colour options for the 2021 Bonneville T120 are Jet Black, Cordovan Red and Silver Ice or Cobalt Blue and Silver Ice with the two-tone paint schemes complemented with hand-painted gold pin striping. The T120 Black comes with blacked out wheel rims, grab rail, engine covers, mirrors, headlamp bezel, indicators, and exhaust with a brown bench seat and there are two colours – Jet Black or Matte Jet Black/Matte Graphite with hand-painted silver stripes.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville T100

    A step down the range is the Bonneville T100, with a 900 cc parallel-twin, now made Euro 5 compliant and putting out 65 PS at 7,400 rpm and 80 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm, 10 PS more than previous. Engine response has been improved and the twin now revs 500 rpm higher.

    For suspension, new forks improve handling while the front brake calliper is now a Brembo unit. Overall, the T100 has lost 4 kg and features black powder coated engine and cam covers with service intervals now 10,000 km between visits to the workshop.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin

    Seat height on the T100 is 790 mm and a USB charging port is found under the seat. Paint choices include Lucerne Blue/Fusion White or Carnival Red/Fusion White with silver pin striping and solid Jet Black.

    The 2021 Street Twin has a 900 cc parallel-twin identical to the unit in the T100 with 65 PS and 80 Nm of torque, but has a lower 765 mm seat height as well as Brembo front brake calliper. Revisions for 2021 include new cast alloy wheels, a more comfortable seat, new bodywork and improved finish and detailing with three colour options available – Cobalt Blue, Matte Ironstone and Jet Black.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin Gold Line

    Joining the Street Twin is the limited edition Street Twin Gold Line, to be produced in a run of 1,000 units. Coming in Matte Sapphire Black with hand-painted gold lining, the Street Twin Gold Line is fitted with a new side panel featuring a custom Street Twin logo and each bike comes with a certificate of authenticity, personalised with its VIN number.

    As for the Bonneville Speedmaster, its Euro 5 compliant 1,200 cc parallel-twin delivers 78 PS at 6,100 rpm and 106 Nm of torque at 3,850 rpm, with 90% of the torque available through the rev range up to 5,750 rpm. Seating accomodations have been improved, with the very low seat height of 705 mm now featuring lumbar support and deep foam construction, while the pillion seat – swappable for the solo rider look or installation of a luggage rack – is now 11 mm thicker for better passenger comfort.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

    Handling wise, the Speedmaster now comes with 47 mm diameter Showa front fork while the rear preload-adjustable monoshock is retained. Braking sees a similar jump in spec with the inclusion of twin Brembo callipers in front and there are three colour choices – the new Fusion White/Sapphire Black and Red Hopper.

    Rounding out the Triumph Bonneville range is the Bobber, which now features a 16-inch front wheel and larger 47 mm diameter forks, giving it that “hunky” style. New blacked out engine covers, cam cover and sprocket cover, with Led lighting used throughout.

    2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber

    The seat on the Bobber, set at 690 mm, is adjustable either “up and forwards” or “down and backwards”, allowing the bike to accommodate different leg lengths, something that was an issue on the first generation Bobber. The instruments are angle-adjustable to suit the seat positions and for 2021, the Bobber comes in Matter Storm Grey/Matt Ironstone, Cordovan Red or classic Jet Black.

    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville T120

    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black
    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville T100
    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin
    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin Gold Line
    GALLERY: 2021 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
    Gallery: 2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber


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Last Updated 20 Feb 2021