Something peculiar to start your week – reader Mike Maximiliano caught two units of the rather amusingly named Daihatsu Thor in Melaka, wearing Selangor trade plates. Given the brand in question, this can only be the property of Perodua, and we can glean quite a bit about what the national carmaker is up to.
Unfortunately for those of you clamouring for a revived Kenari, this is not some prelude to a future small MPV. Unless Perodua completely changes the way it does things, a niche product like this one isn’t likely to be on the cards. No, it’s what’s under the bonnet that is of interest here.
You see, the Thor is available in Japan with a 1KR-VET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, making 98 PS and 140 Nm of torque and mated to a CVT. If that sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s the exact same engine and transmission combination that is found on the new Daihatsu Rocky, which we know is going to form the basis for the upcoming D55L SUV.
The Thor uses the same engine and gearbox as the Rocky, which the
D55L (rendered here) will be based on
This suggests that Perodua is testing the powertrain package for its own application – a suspicion that only grows stronger when you note the oil cooler wedged into the front bumper. To survive our climate, vehicles with CVTs are usually fitted with a transmission cooler when they are sold here, like the Nissan Teana and the Mitsubishi Lancer-based Proton Inspira. It’s also mounted high up, hinting of an SUV application.
All this is a sign that the company is serious about introducing the high-tech powertrain over here in the D55L, though it’s not exactly a shoo-in. Two other options are possible – Perodua could either use the Myvi‘s 2NR-FE 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated Dual VVT-i mill (paired with a four-speed automatic), or introduce the hybrid technology that it previewed at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) last year.
Either way, the D55L will likely share much of its mechanicals – including the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) – with the Rocky, as well as most of the body panels and interior. There will obviously be a few design tweaks here and there to differentiate it, much like those on the Aruz that distance it from its Daihatsu Terios and Toyota Rush siblings.