Complete Perodua Kenari lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

2000 Perodua Kenari - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions2000 - 2009 Perodua Kenari MinivanKenari2 Trims 56 Hp

The Perodua Kenari is a compact five-door hatchback city car produced from 2000 to 2009.

Perodua Background and Kenari Introduction

Perodua found success in the 1990s by bringing Japanese Daihatsu technology to Malaysia. It took the Daihatsu models, tweaked them in Perodua fashion, and sold them in its home country. It was able to corner a specific market segment, focused on providing economical vehicles that were aimed at a large consumer base that needed a practical car with sufficient space for passengers and cargo without spending too much money. Fuel efficiency was also key and the Perodua models featured small engines to provide it. In 2000, Perodua was set to unveil its fourth model, the Kenari. It was heavily based on the Dauhatsu Move (L900) and both vehicles sported a short 92.9 inch (2,360 mm) wheelbase. The total weight was an amazingly low 1,940 pounds (880 kg) at its heaviest, showcasing its incredibly lightweight and miniature size.

Exterior Shape and Design

The shape and style of the Kenari is what set it apart the most. While it wasn't all that different from many minicar designs, also known as kei cars in Japan, it has a unique look. Some didn't find it all so bad, others mocked it and found it to be a very displeasing arrangement. The front end is perhaps the most distinctive element and features a vertical facia. It uses four round headlight units above a straight line separating the headlight and grille unit from the lower bumper. The grill is petite, squished between the imposing headlights, with some relatively tiny rectangular fog lamps mounted in the side corners of the bumper of select trim levels. The top of the front facia extends at a steep slope across the hood and top of the engine, then meets the windshield at another sharp angle. The lines simply failed to flow very well, not offering any nice contouring nor appealing shape aggressiveness, just somewhere in the middle as if everything fit together based on happenstance rather than a planned design. The side profile was similarly vague and uninspiring. The main benefit is that the incredibly flat and vertical sides allowed for the interior space to be maximized, a crucial element for a tiny car like the Kenari. Another positive element is the height, which allowed for relatively expansive windows and decent visibility. This same square, plain design extended to the rear end, with another vertical design and a very cramped cargo area behind the rear seat. Of course, all vehicles in this extremely compact segment have limited cargo space, but the Kenari might take that to another essentials-useless level, unless the rear seats are empty.

Perodua Kenari Engine and Performance

One engine was the exclusive unit in the Perodua Kenari, a 990 cc EJ-DE DOHC inline-3, sourced from Daihatsu like the majority of the components. It produced just 54 horsepower and 65 lb-ft of torque, making it an extremely underpowered vehicle that is unlikely to perform at highway speeds. However, this was an attractive element to some of the Kenari buyers, as they wanted a car that barely sipped fuel, regardless of its speed from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km.h), which took a lengthy 12.5 seconds. It achieved a very respectable 49 mpg (4.8L/100km). The Perodua Kenari was available in three different trim levels, including the base level EX, the mid-range GX, and the higher-end EZ. The EX and GX featured a five-speed manual transmission, while the premium EZ, if you can stretch the term for a minute, offered a four-speed automatic. Features across the board were rather limited, but the rear seats could fold down and it featured two front airbags for safety. Despite the lackluster performance, Perodua unleashed the Kenari RS variant with an aggressive body kit and new wheels.

Suspension and Overall Take on the Kenari

The Kenari used a MacPerson strut front suspension with a coil spring and stabilizer, along with a three-link rear suspension, giving it a relatively sporty handling. The increased height, which was useful for interior space, hindered the overall handling though due to excessive body roll. Front disc brakes paired with rear drum brakes for stopping power, and the wheels were a 14-inch size. It may not have been Perodua's most successful or popular model, but it continued to help the company evolve its pallet for what the market wanted. While the vertically-stretched design helped provide a bit more headroom, it seems the model didn't really hit the target with precision and other Perodua models better served market demands.