The most important car launch event of the year is about to take place. Bookings for the 2023 Perodua Axia are now open, while the first official details of the new Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) model codenamed D74A have also been revealed. It’s an all-new model with plenty of changes and surprises, but we start with an apology – no turbo, sorry.

The 2023 Axia will be powered by an “EEV engine with D-CVT.” That’s all the official leaflet mentions in terms of powertrains, and while there’s no explicit mention of the engine being naturally aspirated, there’s no mention of turbocharging either, a development this big is definitely worth shouting about. It is understood that the 1KR-VE 1.0L three-cylinder VVT-i engine with 67 hp/91 Nm has been used.

The biggest change is the gearbox. Gone are the four-speed torque converter cars, with the D-CVT gearbox first appearing on the Ativa in March 2021, and the Myvi facelift later that year converting the 4AT to a CVT.

The full name of D-CVT is Dual-Mode CVT, which is the world’s first split gear CVT system. Basically, the setup combines a belt drive with gears for better fuel efficiency, acceleration feel, and quietness.

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From standstill to moderate speeds, a D-CVT functions like any other CVT, with engine torque going through a torque converter (such as Toyota and Honda CVTs; Proton’s Punch CVT uses a clutch pack) to the input pulley and then to the output pulley via the belt , then to the wheel. At higher speeds, the D-CVT switches to split-split mode, engaging the gear drive for more efficient power transfer (less energy loss), while significantly reducing belt drive spin. For more information on D-CVT, click here.

Fuel consumption is now 25.3 km/l with the new gearbox and up to 27.4 km/l with the Eco Idle stop-start system. These purported figures are in what P2 calls the Malaysian Driving Cycle (MDC), which is said to follow local road conditions and driving patterns.Btw, in Myvi facelift, FC has been improved by 5% by 4AT-CVT swap (engine unchanged) and 0-100km/h acceleration has been improved by 20%, so expect more economical and Faster new Axia.

This new 1.0L NA D-CVT combo is standard on the new Axia board, which comes in four variants – G, X, SE and AV. The latter two variants add Eco Idle and Power modes (PWR button on the right spoke of the steering wheel, according to Ativa).

You can tell the SE from the AV visually, thanks to the LED daytime running lights, which are housed in side T-shaped trim that reminds me of the pre-facelift G20 BMW 320i Sport. Yes, Axia now offers LED DRLs. Starting with the X, LED headlights are standard.

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The mirrors on all Axias are motorized, but on the SE/AV they retract automatically. Keyless entry is standard from the X, pictured here with an electrostatic sensor that’s done with a touch rather than a push of a button. This is an upgrade from the Ativa and Myvi black buttons.

Another feature highlight is the digital instrument panel. The top AV is equipped with a 7.0-inch TFT instrument panel. This is the same size as the MID in the Ativa and Alza, and the leaflet shows a ‘3D ring’ tachometer, so it’s probably the same unit with a digital speedometer. Also unique to the AV is the floating 9.0-inch display for audio. Again, it’s the same size as the Ativa, and the graphics look similar. Every other variant has a non-touchscreen radio.

Moving on, there are two tiers of seating, divided into G/X and SE/AV. Cheaper models come with “standard” front seats and rear seats with “pillow headrests.” Higher-end models get “semi-bucket” front seats and “independent head restraints” for the rear seats. As for the upholstery, only the AV has a two-tone half leather case. SE and AV retain solar and security window tints.

These days, we kind of expect new Perodua models to offer a big boost in safety over previous versions, and the Axia doesn’t disappoint. The top model will feature six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), a big jump from its predecessor, which had up to two front airbags.

Perodua Smart Driver Assistance System (PSDA) is also available. Advanced Safety Assist (ASA, including Automatic Emergency Braking, AEB), which debuted on the 2019 Axia facelift, should be available here too – we’ll have to wait and see which variants get ASA. At the same time, VSC is a comprehensive standard.

By the way, the PDSA umbrella also covers the “driver assistance” suite, which features lane keeping, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control – it remains to be seen if the new Axia will have these semi-autonomous features in the AV, or will it just be ASA ? Regardless, it’s a good value safety product, and it’s a new DNGA product that’s expected to score five stars in the ASEAN NCAP crash test.

Finally, color. The new Axia comes in five shades – Granite Grey, Lava Red, Silver Sparkle, Ivory White (a solid color) and a new Coral Blue. The latter is the D74A’s flagship color, with hints of the cheery mint green of the pre-facelift G3 Myvi.

Estimated price from RM38,600 For G, RM40,000 For X, RM44,000 For SE and RM49,500 For AVs, all hit the road without insurance. That’s higher than before, so you’re really paying more for a better product and new features. For reference, the 2019 facelifted Axia is priced at RM34,990 for the GXtra and RM43,190 for the AV with the VSC.

not to mention cheap and Takamatsu E spec, but maybe the P2 will come back to this variant later. From what we understand, ‘Driving School Spec’ has the lowest demand of all the variants and is therefore the easiest to shelve. Also not in the new lineup is an SUV-inspired Style variant; later, maybe.

So what do you think of the preliminary specs and features of the new Axia? Expect a ton of teasers between now and launch, which is likely to happen in mid-February. stay tuned.

Label: Perodua Axia 2023 D74A

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