It’s always a little amusing to see an automaker back itself into a corner. Such is the case with Perodua and its all-new 2nd-generation Alza and its years-old ‘big’ MPV option: the Aruz.
This new Alza has gotten much bigger than its predecessor where it previously could justify it peacefully sharing showroom floor space with the Aruz despite also boasting the same seating capacity (seven).
The logic goes something like this: “you could fit 7 in the (old) Alza, but you’ll fit those 7 occupants more comfortably in the Aruz.”
2022 Alza – Aruz buat apa?
Midway through 2022, that no longer applies as the all-new Alza is almost as large as the Aruz as well as being more technically advanced, better equipped, has a newer and slightly more powerful engine/drivetrain (that’s also more fuel efficient), comes with active safety on all variants, and is just the clear winner in terms of being a value proposition.
Basically, as much as Perodua might be trying to avoid these two models from cannibalising each other, there’s no denying that that is exactly what is happening. More accurately, the Alza is severely eating into any appeal the Aruz might have had.
It must be a touchy subject for the second national automaker to address, but their conspicuous indifference suggests that perhaps one of their 7-seater MPVs doesn’t have a long life left in production (out of Rawang).
Alza vs Aruz – Head-to-head
Instead of just outright declaring that the Perodua Aruz doesn’t have a leg to stand on, let’s examine it against the Alza, one part of the car-buying equation at a time.
Pricing – Alza Lagi Berbaloi
It just is. In this all-important factor for Malaysians, the Alza is less expensive – plain and simple – with a starting price of RM62,500 for the base 1.5 X variant. Above this is the mid-range 1.5 H (RM68,000) followed by the top dog 1.5 AV at RM75,500.
Taken in its totality, the Alza is clearly priced to bisect the two Aruz variants which, for its part, with the same seating and many of the same practical attributes, start at a full RM10k dearer at RM72,900 for the 1.5 X and RM77,900 for the 1.5 AV – the automaker’s most expensive model on sale.
Looks – We Prefer The Alza
This is purely subjective, we admit, but there’s something to be said about the Alza’s stronger shoulders and more contemporary lines. Not that the Aruz looks particularly unpretty, but its attempt at trying to be perceived as ‘rugged’ or ‘SUV-like’ makes it look a little odd and confused.
The Alza is an MPV, a 7-seat family mover, and its design reflects that. The Aruz is happy to think it can take harder knocks and maybe even a little adventuring off the beaten track – but in actuality, it’s no more gifted in this regard than any of its stablemates. At least the Kembara had four-wheel drive.
And the GearUp package does add some tasteful aggression that does uplift the Alza’s visual appeal, even to someone like myself who wouldn’t look twice at an MPV much less buy one unless absolutely necessary.
Dimensions/Practicality – About The Same
To me, this is the most surprising find – that the Alza and Aruz are so dimensionally similar despite apparently occupying separate ‘segments’. Let’s just get to the numbers.
The 2nd-generation Alza comes in with an overall length of 4,425mm, is 1,730mm wide and 1,670mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,750mm. Cargo capacity is 137 litres with all 7-seats up and 498 litres with the 3rd row folded.
How much bigger is the Aruz? Overall length is 4,435mm, width is 1,695mm, and height is 1,740mm with a wheelbase of 2,685mm. Its boot is claimed to hold 213 litres or 514 litres with the 3rd-row folded.
2022 Perodua Alza
2022 Perodua Aruz
If you reckoned the Aruz occupying a larger footprint meant a measurable difference, it does, but is definitely negligible. The Alza’s significantly longer wheelbase may result in a much larger feeling cabin, which is most important in any MPV.
Powertrain – Aruz Is Much Heavier, A Bit Less Powerful
Both vehicles have a single engine and transmission option with each powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol under their bonnets. They are, in fact, the same 2NR-VE unit developed by Toyota that’s also used in the Myvi and the incoming Veloz.
However, though the Myvi and the Alza utilise the more advanced and fuel-efficient D-CVT gearbox, the Aruz comes with a 4-speed torque-converter automatic. Importantly, the Alza’s engine does produce a little more power and torque than either of those other 2 models, which may be crucial given the difference in kerb weight and its expected people carrying duties.
1.5L 4-cyl 2NR-VE
1.5L 4-cyl 2NR-VE
1.5L 4-cyl 2NR-VE
Kerb Weight (AV spec)
Tech Features, Active Safety – Alza Wins Again
Suppose you were already eyeing the Aruz as your next Perodua but couldn’t shell out for the top-spec 1.5L AV that’s approaching RM80k, so you settle for the lesser 1.5 X variant at RM72,900.
On pure equipment levels, the Alza 1.5 AV (which is a bit pricier at RM75.5k) completely demolishes the case for the Aruz. To start, the Aruz uses an older-gen 7-inch touchscreen for infotainment duties but the Alza has a larger, sharper 9-inch panel that also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Each Aruz, as well as Alza, comes with 6 airbags on all variants along with anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability control, traction control, and hill-start assist, but choosing to spend the ~RM3k for the Alza 1.5 AV over the Aruz 1.5 X also nets you an Integrated Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – essentially a built-in dashcam.
Glaringly, there’s also no active safety functionality whatsoever on the lower rung Aruz as that is reserved only for the near-RM80k 1.5 AV. However, for less money, the 2022 Alza comes with A.S.A features as standard on all variants. This adds Pre-Collision Warning and Braking (AEB), Front Departure Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic High Beam.
Should you opt for the Alza 1.5 AV, you’ll even get access to Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Keep Control and, a first for Perodua, Adaptive Headlights and a 360-degree camera system for easier parking. Furthermore, the top-spec Alza also adds Adaptive Cruise Control with low-speed follow, something not available at any price on the Aruz.
Wrapping Up – Where Does The Aruz Fit?
This whole exercise to explore the differences between the Aruz and Alza sure seems to be going pretty one-sidedly, and we haven’t even covered every point of comparison yet. Still, all is not lost.
There are still things that the Aruz can do that the Alza just has no answer to, but they are rather minor and unlikely to sway anyone’s decision too greatly. Since it rides on a ladder-frame chassis like a pickup truck (or the Toyota Innova), it does boast a higher ride height and a 60mm advantage in ground clearance over the Alza. This may come in handy if you’re caught in a flash flood.
The Aruz is also rear-wheel drive due to its workhorse platform, if that somehow matters to you. In slippery (dangerous) conditions, it is more prone to having its rear step out in a drift than the Alza. That said, with just around 100hp to play with, it won’t be fun nor will you be lighting any tyres on fire.
We’re honestly struggling to find a solid argument for someone to buy the Aruz over the Alza. To put it simply, it’s a better MPV for less money, beating it on nearly every metric and on-paper specification.
For all we know, Perodua is very aware of how poorly their newcomer 7-seat MPV makes the Aruz look and are well on their way to addressing all these issues in a substantial mid-cycle facelift model or all-new version. We’re not holding our breath, though.
With these two Perodua models positioned so close to each other, it’s more likely that the Aruz will be phased out in the coming years or even months. Still, one thing is for sure, it probably won’t have a crazy-long waiting list.