Saturday, May 10, 2008

Perodua Nautica 4WD

The Perodua Kembara was launched in 1998, and as one of the cheapest 4WD SUVs in the market, it took the lion’s share of the SUV market - 60% by 1999. The Kembara’s successor - the Perodua Nautica 4WD was launched today and Perodua seems to be approaching it differently, bringing it as a premium product imported from Japan (a first for a Perodua) with only one variant priced at RM89,900 OTR with insurance. While the Kembara took 60%, Perodua only intends to take 5% of the current SUV market, with sales of about 150 to 200 units monthly.

The Perodua Nautica is essentially a Perodua-badged version of the short wheelbase Daihatsu Terios/Toyota Rush. The front bumper and grille is different, and these along with the rear bumper are made locally in Malaysia, while the rest of the car comes completely assembled from Japan. For lighting, you get foglamps and twin projector halogen headlamps (a step up from the highline Toyota Rush which has a single projector) while the rear brake lamp cluster use conventional bulbs.

The chassis is based on a derivative of the Toyota Avanza platform but has additional reinforcements to make it 30% stiffer than its derivative models. The suspension design consists of MacPherson struts at the front and a live axle at the rear.

The longitudinally mounted 1.5 liter DVVT engine is the 3SZ-VE producing 109hp at 6,000rpm and 141Nm of torque at 4,400rpm. This engine is also found in the Rush and Avanza 1.5. It is mated to a single overdrive 4-speed automatic, and a full-time 4WD system which has a centre differential lock which can be activated from a button on the dashboard. It locks so that the front and rear axles rotate at the same speed.

The shifter for the 4-speed automatic is located in a more conventional position between the two front seats, unlike another more premium-looking design which is available which positions it at an angle more towards the dashboard, allowing it to be much more closer to the steering wheel so that hand movements between the steering wheel and shifter is minimal.

Time for some dimensions - the Perodua Nautica weighs 1,200kg, is 4115mm long, 1695mm wide and 1740mm high. Interior space is 1800mm long, 1385mm wide and 1240mm high. The width between the front passengers is 700mm, and seat height is 740mm. The wheels are 16 inch alloys with 215/65R16 tyres. The cargo area takes 380 liters, and the rear seats can be folded down for more luggage capacity.

Additional niceties include electrically adjustable and flipping wing mirrors and a multi-info display on the meter panel which displays a clock, average fuel consumption, external temperature and remaining travel range.

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