The Perodua Viva is another entry on the long list of cars that sprung off from one of the different generations of the Daihatsu Mira. This specific one is based on the seventh generation (L250) and just like the Mira, it’s a five-door hatchback that with minor modifications to the original design attempted to become its own thing.
Introduced as a replacement to the Perodua Kancil, the Viva was offered with three different-sized DOHC three-cylinder engines - a 659cc, an 847cc, and a 989 cc. Six different variants of the car existed in its run with some being manual only, others automatic and one that had both as available options. As a small car, it featured good maneuverability and a small turning radius in order to allow for better dense-city navigation. The overall performance and riding experience were great, especially since the suspension geometry was optimized for more responsive steering and overall riding comfort. While the smaller engine basic models were a lot more barebones, the 1000cc models had power-assisted steering and a front stabilizer.
Depending on the selected model different features were included, but the overall interior quality remained the same across all models. Materials were decent enough not to feel cheap, the seats are more comfortable than expected and in general, you get a light cheerful vibe from the interior of the car. Trunk capacity is above average and it gets even better if you fold the rear seats down.
Safety is one of the stronger features of the Viva as despite its lower price it features an anti-locking braking system, electronic brake distributions (as well as general brake assistance), and even dual supplemental restraint system airbags. Most models also had a collapsible steering shaft mechanism to further enhance the safety parameters. Out of the five seats, four feature three-point seatbelts, while the rear center seat has a two-point seat belt. None of these features are revolutionary by any means, but there are a lot of examples of cheaper Kei cars that lack even some of these.
Furthermore, the overall economy and reliability of the Viva are great. Fuel efficiency is top-notch and the long-term maintenance cost is not high. This makes it great for a starter car, a cheaper family car, or a second car that doesn’t sacrifice too much on the safety side of things or even overall comfort. After all the name Viva means long life and this aspect the manufacturer did try to live up to it. It’s only a bit ironic that the name itself only lived for a few short years since the Viva was in production from 2007 to 2014.
Some of the downsides do show that you are in fact driving a more economic purchase. The sound insulations could be a lot better, the dashboard can rattle when accelerating and the car feels really light when driving at higher speeds.
Even though it lacks any serious power, it’s only really noticeable if all five seats are occupied and the trunk is filled up to the brim. The built-in CD player and audio system quality are rather low and the air conditioning can seem like it does not match the settings you have set it to. These however can be all easily overlooked when you take another look at the asking price here. For the most part, this car is good where it matters and it is expected that some sacrifices need to be made in order for it to stay on the cheaper end. What’s important is that most of those sacrifices did not come off from the more important list of needed features. This car will get you around the city and on short-to-mid-range trips with little trouble and fewer fuel stops than average.