BMW has responded to powerful new rivals with updates for the M5 and M6 - including a racy new 575hp Competition Package option
Perodua Myvi 1.3 Ezi SE review (2008 onwards)
Model: Perodua Myvi 1.3 Ezi SE
Bodystyle: five-door hatchback
Engine: 1.3 petrol
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Date of test: October 2010
Size-wise, it sits slap bang in the middle of its class - although chunky styling and a relatively high roof line actually make it look somewhat bigger - but it's the Perodua's budget price tag that singles it out.
Where does it fit?
At £9,099 for this higher-spec SE version (including the £700 Ezi automatic transmission option), the Myvi significantly undercuts most of its rivals on price.
Importantly, though, it does so without sacrificing much in the way of equipment. Power steering, leather upholstery and air-conditioning all come as standard on the SE.
To buy into the same market with a Ford or Vauxhall badge would cost over £12,000, and even the Daihatsu Sirion - with which the Myvi shares its basic platform - would cost over £9,500.
There are compromises to be made, however, with performance and refinement both lagging somewhat behind its more expensive competitors.
Is it for you?
If you're looking for a mid-sized supermini on a very limited budget, and you absolutely have to buy new, then the Myvi could well be a contender.
It's a rather utilitarian choice that's less likely to stir the heart than the wallet, but it is extremely easy to drive and relatively inoffensive to look at.
You can see where many of the savings have been made. The interior surfaces feel cheap - there's an attempt at texturing on the dashboard that doesn't work very well and there's swathes of plain shiny plastic elsewhere. Even seat the material, which purports to be leather, doesn't lift the ambience hugely, but it does represent good value in terms of basic transport.
What does it do well?
Aside from its price, the Myvi's greatest strength is its ease of operation. The automatic gearbox picks up smoothly and briskly, making it acceptably nippy in stop-start traffic.It's an extremely easy car to place on the road, and excellent rear visibility, combined with huge (almost van-like) mirrors, make manoeuvring a doddle.
Inside, its high roof line and large windows give the cabin an airy feel, and the rear seat legroom is notably good for its class. As with most superminis, taller adults will struggle, but there's ample room for kids or those of a more compact stature.
What doesn't it do well?
Truth be told, the Myvi is not a particularly inspiring car to drive. The 1.3-litre petrol engine revs keenly, but it makes a lot of noise in the process and it feels ill at ease with the auto 'box once you're up to speed.
Up the pace suddenly and the transmission gets itself in a bit of a flap, kicking down rather too eagerly and exposing the engine's less-than-refined nature. In fact, so determined is the gearbox to do this, that it can make it difficult to modulate the throttle on steep hills without the transmission intervening.
There are other ragged edges too. Wind and tyre noise are quite considerable, making the car feel somewhat tiring on the motorway, while various miscellaneous shakes and rattles fill the cabin on bumpy back roads. These can also be felt through the steering column, which, sadly, is the closest thing to feedback the keen driver is likely to encounter.
The steering has a rather artificial feel, which seems to have little bearing on what's actually happening at the front wheels, and there's quite a lot of body roll considering the car's unexceptional ride quality. Realistically these aren't likely to be major issues if you're buying a Myvi, and you have to bear in mind its bargain price, but there's no denying that most rivals are both sharper to drive and more refined.
What's it like to live with?
It may not be particularly exciting, but the Myvi is certainly functional. At 225 litres the boot capacity is competitive in its class and this grows to a generous 630 litres when the rear seats are folded. Its relatively compact external dimensions and excellent steering lock mean the car will fit happily into the tightest of parking spaces too.
The Myvi has yet to go through Euro NCAP crash testing, but the Daihatsu Sirion on which it's based scored a respectable four out of five stars. This makes it competitive in its class and it's fair to assume the Myvi would perform comparably.
How green is it?
In the grand scheme of things the Myvi's CO2 output of 151g/km, and its combined fuel efficiency of 44mpg are pretty good, but a familiar story is starting to emerge.
Once again the more expensive rivals better it on both counts, typically by around 10%. This isn't a huge amount, but it is enough to put the Myvi a couple of tax bands higher.
Would we buy it?
Not personally. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the Myvi - at least as far as basic transport goes - but it does lacks the polish of the better cars in its class. Its price could be quite compelling if you simply had to buy a new car of this size on a tight budget, but that is quite a big if.
In reality, if the cost was paramount you'd be better off spending the money on a nearly-new example of one of its more accomplished competitors. Not only would that get you a better car, but also firmer residuals. Ultimately, it seems, you do get what you pay for.
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