Will The Perodua Rusa Return To Malaysia

Remember the Perodua Rusa? The little van with sliding doors that was popular in the first few years of its launch despite being very basic and with little else? It was launched to compete with the Nissan C22 van which was a dominate sales winner for 22 years in Malaysia. Now comes news that there might be a replacement for this compact van on the way.

The Rusa is still seen today, especially in rural areas. But many have since been traded in for the current crop of MPVs like the Toyota Avanza, Proton Exora and even Perodua’s own Alza. With the debut of the new generation Daihatsu Gran Max microvans in Japan however, rumours of a return of the Rusa nameplate are resurfacing.

Perodua Rusa sales brochure

With the debut of the new generation Daihatsu Gran Max microvans in Japan last week, rumours of a return of the Rusa nameplate are resurfacing.

The main question is though, do Malaysians still have the need for a Perodua Rusa?

Renderings of the all-new Rusa point to it being a reworked the aforementioned Daihatsu van. This is of course no surprise, considering Malaysia’s second largest automakers prior relationships with the Japanese brand and it stays true to the Rusa roots, as the original was also based of a previous generation of the Daihatsu kei minivan.

Daihatsu Gran Max

The styling, based on these rendering show a pleasing front end incorporating the Perodua family face. The rear however is almost identical to its Daihatsu cousin. Side body mouldings and two-tone Axia Style wheels that helps break up the side profile of the new Rusa.

Interior wise, the dash layout with its manual gear lever gives away the Rusa’s van underpinnings. A touch screen infotainment display doesn’t hide the fact that the dash looks to be constructed out of cheap hard plastic.

Powertrain options are speculative at this point. The 2NR-VE 1.5 litre four cylinder, as seen on the Myvi and Aruz, is used in the Daihatsu on which the Rusa should be based. Pushing out 97 PS and 134 Nm of torque, it will most likely mated to the same four speed auto gearbox as the Myvi for passenger variants while a 5 speed manual may an option for commercial Rusa variants.

Perodua Rusa 2020 model rear

Back to the main question though, would a new Perodua Rusa work in today’s market? Maybe not as a passenger vehicle. Although all the prerequisite safety features are offered in the Daihatsu, the Rusa may be too utilitarian and unrefined even for today’s budget MPV buyers. It also would not make much sense in Perodua’s current lineup too, considering the existence of the Myvi-based Alza.

Perodua Rusa 2020 model dashboard

The Rusa may fare better in commercial market though, as there isn’t a cheap locally-produced microvan on the market. Even the cheapest new van available, the Daihatsu Gran Max panel van, starts at RM 70k. With an ever-growing industry of young entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a cheap cargo hauler, the Perodua Rusa might just be the answer to this ever-growing niche in the commercial market.

Text By Joshua Chin




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