2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: More than meets the eye

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

The 2019 Perodua Aruz AV surprisingly offers build quality of that in cars that cost more while providing a worry-free driving experience

Perodua is a brand synonymous with affordable and cheerful cars, and for many Millenials, it’s the cars they drove first. Especially in the Kancil which many of us got our probationary (P) licence with. Now, there’s the Perodua Aruz, the brand’s latest SUV after the Kembara and Nautica, and it’s selling like hotcakes. Whether you’re looking to move on to a bigger vehicle or need help in deciding, we take a closer look at the top-spec 2019 Perodua Aruz AV and to see whether if it’s a value buy.

Although the Perodua Aruz and the Toyota Rush are very similar cars, the Aruz isn’t a watered-down version of the two. You’re even right to say that both cars are made in the same plant. The thing is however, both SUVs aren’t exactly the same.

The exterior features of the Perodua Aruz

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

In today’s automotive landscape, it’s almost mandatory for automakers to develop shared platforms between vehicles, and in this case, a whole vehicle with styling tweaks to set them apart. The Perodua Aruz AV as tested comes with LED headlamps and halogen fog lamps as standard, likewise for the LED tail and brake lamps at the rear. The reverse and signal indicators are the conventional bulb types.

Illumination in the dark is pretty good with adequate coverage of the road ahead while activating the high-beam does have a good reach far ahead. The headlamps activate automatically when the switched to ‘Auto’.

The Perodua Aruz AV rides on 17-inch allow wheels with two-tone paint finish. And it comes with full-size spare wheel and tyre attached at the bottom rear of the Aruz. One notable feature is the electrically foldable side mirrors are a huge plus when parking in tight spots.

Interior features of the Perodua Aruz

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

Inside, the interior fit and finish are better than expected considering the cost constraint which Perodua had to work with, the plastics and the way they are put together is just as alike in more reputable brands. Honestly, the interior of the Perodua Aruz reminded me much of the Honda BR-V.

The seats provide comfort with good lumbar support straight out from the box. And the seat stays firm even when driving on long distances. The perforated leather-clad seat in the AV trim provides ventilation when driving in hot weather just as well as those with fabric seats. The seats are wide and can accommodate people of many builds and size, while for the front seats sacrificed much lateral support.

The second-row seats can accommodate three adults, while the third-row can only sit two children comfortably. The second row is a 60:40 split and slidable, while the third-row is a 50:50 split. Both rows can be folded forwards with single tug forwards on the lever.

Being 1 metre 68 centimetres in height, there’s plenty of leg and headroom for me at the second-row seats. The third-row is a little cramp for me, but still bearable on short trips. But overall, the Perodua Aruz is a spacious vehicle inside.


2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

In-car entertainment comes in the form of a 6.95-inch touch screen display with Smart Link (only for Android) and HDMI. Many of the head unit functions are mostly digital except for the power button. Bluetooth connectivity as well as USB and SD card slot is standard as well. Connecting your smartphone via Bluetooth is pretty straight forward without going through too many steps.

That said, the infotainment system is not very difficult to use as the interface provides clear graphics with large icons. The only thing that is needed to get used to is the audio volume adjustment, which only can be done via the touchscreen.

Another way to controlling the volume is via the steering wheel controls. Do take note that it’s best to adjust the volume before putting it into reverse because the volume is unadjustable and stays where it is when the reverse camera is on. Sound reproduction comes from six loudspeakers located at the doors and twitters in the A-Pillars.

Perodua Aruz’s practical features

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

Practicality is second to none in the Perodua Aruz. You’ll find many of the key features found in other Perodua models in here as well. Like the 3Kg shopping hooks at the front seatbacks of the two front seats, the 3Kg Anti-snatch Hook the right flank of the passenger seat, and a USB port at the left flank of the driver’s seat. There are also 12V sockets available at the second and third-row seats.

Native to the Aruz are deep cubbies on all four door cards, which the front occupants two drinks bottle on each side, two at the rear, and two more at the third row. This totals to 13 cup holders in the Aruz. In addition, the centre floor console can fit three drinks bottle when needed as well.

Standard in both the X and AV variant is the built-in Toll-Reader. Super handy when driving through Smart Tag lanes saving you much from buying 9V batteries as it runs from the Aruz’s own power. An AV standard only, the Aruz AV comes with an Integrated Driving Video Recorder that only takes onboard footages ahead.

With the third-row seats up, the Perodua Aruz’s luggage capacity stands at 213-litres, while after tucking them up frees up an additional 301-litres, up to 514-litres. The Aruz also allows flexible seating configurations depending on the activity and needs of the day.

Powering the Perodua Aruz

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

Powering the Aruz is a Toyota 2NR-VE naturally-aspirated 1,496 cc four-cylinder engine with EFI and Dual VVT-I, which makes 100 hp at 6,000 rpm and 133 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Mated to it is a four-speed conventional automatic gearbox which sends power to the rear wheels. The Edo Idle system keeps auxiliary items such as the air conditioning and infotainment system switched on while the engine is switched off while the brake pedal is depressed.

Perodua claimed that the Aruz is able to consume 15.6 Km/L (6.41 L/100km), and as tested in real-world situations, the claim is on point, almost:

  • 11.3 Km/L (8.8 L/100Km) Urban [including traffic jams],
  • 19.7 Km/L (5.07 L/100Km) Highway,
  • 15.5 Km/L (6.45 L/100Km) Combined [light to moderate traffic].

However, when it comes to fuel consumption figures, it will vary from person to person and depending on the type of journey and traffic conditions.

How does the Perodua Aruz drive?

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

As mentioned, the driving ergonomics in the Perodua Aruz is pretty good; The driver seat does offer height adjustability and the steering column is only tilt adjustable. As a person with long legs and short arms, finding my comfy spot in the Aruz wasn’t too much of a problem. That said, having the steering column with both tilt and reach adjustability is a huge plus.

The centre stack is easily accessible without hunching forwards and easy to spot. The driver seating position in the Aruz is perched up allowing a commanding view ahead without any obstructions. And with the tall windows, blind spots are minimal while allowing plenty of light inside, which adds the sense of spaciousness in the cabin.

The 1.5-litre engine is able to drive the 1.3-tonne Aruz around city streets and on highways without much effort, as it’s able to respond to throttle inputs pretty quickly. However, when it comes to driving up hills, the engine is anaemic and does require some persuasion from the pedal. A trade-off expected from a fuel-efficient engine.

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

And being rear-wheel drive only, the Aruz has a tight turning radius of 5.2 metres, which is impressive for a vehicle of this size. The electrical power-assisted steering rack does make things easy when driving in tight parking spaces.

Being a vehicle that is a monocoque welded to a ladder frame, the Aruz’s body-on-frame chassis is susceptible to torsional flex and less rigid than a pure monocoque design. Thus handling response isn’t the Aruz’s strong suit. However, when there are times when spirited driving is needed, the Aruz is able to accommodate within its abilities (and the driver’s).

The positive effect is that the flex does soak most vibrations away from the contents in the interior. However, don’t expect BMW 5-Series ride and acoustic isolation. In addition, the beefy 215/60 R17 Bridgestone Alenza tyres all-round also adds to the Aruz’s ride comfort.

Suspending the Perodua Aruz are MacPherson struts with coil-spring and stabiliser bar at the front, and a five-link coil-spring live axle suspension at the rear. These do provide compliance over uneven surfaces and decent ride comfort overall and rides better with more people or weight on board.

Active Safety Systems in the Perodua Aruz

2019 Perodua Aruz AV Review: When contradictions become harmony

Although it has a tendency to understeer, the Aruz’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) & Traction Control (TRC) systems work in the background in real-time to keep it on the lane and making driving on the limit more forgivable for the driver. ABS and EBD keeps the wheels from locking in emergency braking. While the latter keeps the car from diving forwards upsetting the Aruz’s balance especially when braking hard into corners.

The Advanced Safety Assist 2.0 is a suite of safety systems Pre-Collision Warning, Pre-Collision Braking, Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control. These systems do help the driver to mitigate impending frontal collisions. The Front Departure Alert to be very helpful especially when being distracted while being in the queue.

Should I buy?

The Perodua Aruz AV is a value buy. The interior has a higher perceived quality than its price tag, and driving the Aruz is surprisingly fun and worry-free. The Perodua Aruz AV is one to consider for its space and fuel economy, practicality, a comprehensive list of features, and drivability. The Perodua Aruz AV is priced at RM77,900.00 (RM79,900.00 East Malaysia), which under RM80k for an SUV with a lot to give is worth looking at.