Car Mods: 1st Gen Perodua Myvi Mod Tips

I suppose this article is a tad bit late as Perodua has already launched the second generation Myvi. But then again, I have news for you. There is actually no difference betweeen the old 1st generation Myvi 1.3 and the new Myvi 1.3 beneath the new bodyshell, new floating type dashboard and the electrically assisted power steering that supposedly helps the engine make 4 more horses (quite true, but slightly off as the Myvi actually came with an improved cylinder head when it was facelifted – giving more torque lower down and one or two horses but this was not mentioned at all. Why? Who knows.) I should know as my mother in law just bought one and I don’t seem to think that there is a big difference compared to the pink one pictured herein after a hard drive up to Genting Sempah using the old Bentong Road (lots of body roll, lots of holding on to the steering wheel for support).
Anyway, you now have a 1st generation 1.3 Myvi from 2005- mid2011. How do you improve the performance of a Myvi? You sell it and buy yourself a Proton Inspira 2.0. No? You’re stuck with it for the next five years at the very least because you took a nine year loan that only breaks even in four and a half years? Okay. Aside from being suicidal as you’re stuck with a tall, skinny tyred town car for the next five or so years your options are limitless. Remember, this is Malaysia. Everything that you want to do to it can be done. The only thing that would limit you is money. The lack of it.
But seriously folks, you could plonk in a Daihatsu Boon X4 turbocharged 1.0liter engine, a YRV 1.3liter turbocharged engine or whatever engine that floats your boat. Or car. Provided that the Road Transport Department agrees with your choice that is.
But if you aren’t interested in going through all the hassle of changing engines or you think that you need a little bit extra and not the full monty, you do things bit by bit and a little at a time. So the question that begs to be asked would be what is the first item, or two, that you need to do to make your Perodua Myvi a little bit better to drive?
It isn’t more power actually. The car is pretty nippy as it is. In my earlier article about the pink coloured Myvi 1.3 EZ automatic I already mentioned that it is a decent performer at the traffic lights, in and about traffic and can easily cruise the Malaysian highways at 120km/h. I have seen a YouTube video of some unlucky sods in a JDM Impreza WRX STI tailing a Myvi at about 180km/h and was then left slightly behind by it. This was because the Myvi did not come with a speedcut like most Japanese Domestic Market cars do. If I was the guys in the STI, I wouldn’t have even uploaded that clip on YouTube. An STI humiliated by a Myvi. Albeit a manual version.
So where was I? Ah, the first items that you could get for your Myvi. Well, the first truly important item you should get for your Myvi are original Perodua aluminium pedal covers. Stock Myvi pedals are really crap. The accelerator pedal is bare metal which is painted black. The brake pedal is rubber pad covered. Why Perodua cannot come up with a non-slip cover for the accelerator pedal is beyond me. It is because of this that you should absolutely get the aluminium pedal covers during your first or second service at the Perodua service center. You could get aftermarket ones, but these are original optional equipment. You cannot go wrong with the size and fit. And it makes the interior look better too.
No. It does not add 5bhp. It just makes the cabin feel a better place to be in. All for a price of RM50-60.00.
The next step is actually the more important bit. One that improves the Myvi a whole lot. You see, the Myvi is rubbish through the bends. It does not like bends a whole lot. This is basically down to the tall and not so rigid body as well as really skinny and tall 175/65/14 tyres.
Some would think that the wheels are the first you should upgrade. You could go and upgrade to 15, 16 or 17 inch wheels and tyres but you would technically add unsprung weight to the car. Unsprung weight and increased rolling resistance do not help a tiny 1.3liter car. Notice that drag cars do not use huge wheels, but small, balloon-like tyres to keep the inertia low and grip high. Yes. The magic isn’t in 20inch wheels for race cars. Also note that race cars are seldom seen in sizes other than 17 or 18 inch even when there are 20,21 inch wheel combos out there. So what does the Myvi need then to improve its handling? You need to fix the chassis first this time around.
The Perodua Myvi of 2005 to mid 2011 is a flimsy car. If you rode it over speed bumps a little faster than usual the whole dashboard would feel like a bomb exploded in it. If you graduated from a Perodua Kancil you’d think all cars did this. They don’t okay? It’s called scuttle shake and not many cars in this era have it. The only reason a car like this would feel like this is the fact that its structure, or monocoque chassis is not rigid. It does not have to be Mercedes Benz rigid but there should be some sense of solidity when a car rides across bumpy surfaces. A car also needs a rigid chassis so that important items like lower arms, shock absorbers have a solid place to sit on and not flex. This flex means that there is slack in the handling, and slack means a terrible handling and even grip.
This is why I did not feel confident when taking a long sweeping corner at 100km/h on a stretch of highway in KL. The car felt like it was floaty and vague through the corner. It also required me to concentrate a tad bit while taking the corner. It does not mean that the Myvi cannot take a corner at speeds higher than 100km/h. It can. But it requires more focus, more concentration and more care to do so than you would in even a Proton Persona. Some people wouldn’t even notice such feedback. Which is the actual reason why you see them beating WRX STIs on the highways. The thing about me is that I do notice little traits that cars like these have and in the Myvi, it unnerves me. If I need to think too much through a corner, this means I am trying too hard. And it this floaty and vague nature of the Myvi that urgently needs correcting before any other mods that need to be done.
The cure is quite simple. A front suspension strut brace/bar. I got the car an Ultra Racing 2 point strut bar in the Myvi and a lot changed. The car felt planted through the same sweeping corner at 100km/h and over speed bumps things felt better. The dashboard didn’t feel like exploding and somehow the whole car felt more planted nearly everywhere. This little mod, costing a bit over RM100.00 actually made the Myvi a whole lot better to drive and allow it to corner about 10km/h faster than before without the driver actually trying too hard. And as such, I have to state that this is the most important mod for a 1st generation Myvi, bar none.
So there you have it. Two basic mods. Both extremely important for the 1st gen Myvi. But I somehow sense that if you did the same to the new Myvi, you’d get the same results. 
Note: This could be the first in a series of articles featuring our long term cars. 

12 thoughts on “Car Mods: 1st Gen Perodua Myvi Mod Tips”

  1. i got a new myvi 2011 sx(not premium… thx to my elder sister) and i wonder shd i adding the strut bar, and so with rear sway bar…
    any comment on those bar?
    or juz the strut bar is enuf?

  2. Hello,

    You could add both.

    The rear ‘sway bar’ helps. It is actually a beam stiffener which works similar to a car that has anti roll bars coupled with an independent rear suspension.

    You should thank your sister for buying you a car…any car. It beats walking or taking the bus. Unless its a Peugeot 207 sedan. I’d take a bus.


  3. Mr. Reza,
    I have just placed an order for a Myvi 1.5SE (A) and I’m wondering about changing the rims and tyres to a 17 inch low profile tyres. Do you think that would be a wise choice or should I go for a 16inch?

    Your wiews on this matter would be highly accepted.

    Thank you


  4. Hello there. I would suggest 16inch or even 15inch as a best acceleration/handling balance sort of upgrade.

    17inch is more for show and the extra weight will be detrimental to acceleration due to the extra inertia. But how much of a show will you be putting since it is a Myvi in the first place? There are thousands of them plying the streets. Save your hard earned cash for something better later on.

    Stick with 15 or 16, the acceleration will not suffer as much as 17inch wheels. Note that with you may have 200cc more over the original 1.3liter but it isn’t something so large an increase.

    Anyway, the ultimate choice is yours.

  5. Hi Reza,
    I have been reading your articles for awhile now. I got myself a 1.5 Myvi awhile ago, I actually have the same goals as you have with this car but with less budget. haha. Which would you recommend if I were to choose one, the front bar or the back anti roll bar?

  6. Yes, it is true. I took the advise from here and installed my car with an Ultra Development 2 point strut bar. It is not round like a pipe as the Ultra Racing. It seems a little bigger than the UR and much solid built. Can really feel the solidness and car less bumpy. Dashboard no longer feel like exploding. So worth it and only spent RM $130 with installation. The install is actually very easy and only takes 10 minutes. 2 nuts on each side. The mechanic also got certificate of appreciation from a MyVi club. In Melaka Malim area. Shop name is Hy Power Exchaust. Can also mod exhaust system, absorber, brake and disc.

  7. Recently upgraded to 15″ OZ rim and Dunlop tires from 14″ stock. Advise was given to me by the tire shop. Don’t go 16″ because the tires are expensive and not worth spending the money. Don’t go 17″ because you have to use thin tire and can easily break the new rim if langgar lubang. No doubt 17″ rims are very attractive but for MyVi, must use thin tire. Cannot use regular tire otherwise sure rub the inner wall and fender. Even with 15″, with full load passengers on the back, it is already rub against the wall. So now I have to consider adjustable absorber to raise it. If less load, then ok la even with the stock absorber.

  8. Replace the stock air filter with metal net type. Can wash and last forever. Can feel improvement in the torque/pick up already once replaced. Only cost RM$100 from Hy Power Exchaust in Melaka Malim center.

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