At first glance, this scene doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. What you’re looking at here are several units of the Perodua Ativa being carried on a trailer, but the keen-eyed among you might notice something peculiar.
See it, yet? Well, if you look at the rear bumpers of the cars on the trailer, you’ll notice they are of a different design than those of the Ativa currently on sale. Rather than having L-shaped elements at the corners that meet up with an arched segment in the lower apron, the cars on the trailer have five-sided fog lamp surrounds that are separate from the flat black trim.
It’s certainly too soon for the Ativa to be refreshed considering it only made its launch debut last March, so what’s the story here? Well, this rear design is what you’ll find on the Daihatsu Rocky which the Ativa is based on, and we could very well be looking at the hybrid version of the compact SUV.
The idea of Perodua introducing an Ativa Hybrid isn’t new. Following the launch of the model in March 2021, a Rocky e:Smart Hybrid was spotted a few months later in October on Malaysian roads – e:Smart is what Daihatsu calls its hybrid system. In November the same year, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad confirmed that the taped-up SUV sighted was “for evaluation and study purposes” and “more will be disclosed when the time is right.”
It appears the time may very well be soon, as none of the cars on the trailer are disguised and they all bear the Perodua badge. Of course, the carmaker hasn’t confirmed if or when it will introduce a hybrid version of the Ativa, but it looks like they’ll have quite a few units to offer.
We don’t get a clear frontal shot of the cars on the trailer, but what little of the headlamp we can see appears to be the same as those on the Rocky. The Ativa’s face differs from its Japanese sibling, the latter of which has a smaller honeycomb-mesh grille and triangular cutouts for the front fog lamps and DRLs.
Seeing how the design of these cars appear to be identical to the Rocky e:Smart Hybrid (at least from the rear view), these cars are likely fully imported (CBU) from Japan before being rebadged here. Word on the wire is the Ativa Hybrid is currently codenamed D47B (the regular Ativa is D55L).
The e:Smart Hybrid system in the Rocky is claimed to provide a WLTC-rated fuel consumption of 28 litres per 100 km and features a WA-VEX 1.2 litre Atkinson-cycle three-cylinder rated at 82 PS (80 hp) at 5,600 rpm and 105 Nm of torque from 3,200 to 5,200 rpm.
The engine primarily acts as a generator for a 4.3-Ah lithium-ion battery that sits under the rear seats, which then powers an E1A electric motor that drives the front wheels with 106 PS (105 hp or 78 kW) and 170 Nm.
The range extender setup also comes with a Smart Pedal feature that enables one-pedal driving, with normal and eco modes available to vary the throttle response. Though not visible, the provider of these images, paultan.org reader Shavinish Nash, noticed an orange high-voltage cable running across the undercarriage when snapping the photos.
In Japan, the Rocky e:Smart Hybrid is offered in two variants, starting with the X that is priced at 2.116 million yen (RM69,577) and followed by the range-topping Premium for 2.347 million yen (RM77,172). The current Ativa we have here with the 1KR-VET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is priced between RM62,500 and RM72,600, for context.
Are you looking forward to getting your hands on the Ativa Hybrid? How much would you be willing to pay for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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