Turbo and hybrid powertrains aside, what are the differences between the subscription-only Perodua Ativa Hybrid and the regular Perodua Ativa in showrooms? We’ve already detailed the Ativa Hybrid – a CBU Japan rebadged Daihatsu Rocky e-Smart Hybrid – and the points where it differs from the Rawang-made Ativa, but here are both white cars side-by-side, thanks to reader Ackhmed A.

If you’re wondering about the rebadging process, it’s done in Japan by Daihatsu – the Perodua emblems (front, rear, steering wheel) and the Ativa wordmark are fitted on Malaysia-bound cars by DMC, and there’s no ‘T’ badge (for turbo) on the tailgate. The number plate cutouts are also smaller JDM squares.

The JDM Rocky e-Smart Hybrid is very similar to the the ICE-powered Ativa from the outside, save for a Rocky-specific grille and more vertical front/rear bumpers (which makes overall length marginally shorter), JDM side mirrors (body coloured, smaller, left side has extra curb-view mirror), 17-inch two-tone wheels in a different (and more dynamic) design plus eco tyres (Dunlop Enasave).

By the way, the wheels on these two cars cannot be swapped. The Hybrid’s rims have five lugs (Ativa has four, P2 says that more lugs are better for heavier cars) and the tyres are narrower – 195/60 vs Ativa’s 205/60. As is typical for hybrids, there’s no full size spare here, just a tyre repair kit in the boot.

Also, the Rocky’s tailgate is plastic. This is not unusual for cars in Japan, but car companies typically change the hatch to metal for the Malaysian market. Another example of this is the T32 Nissan X-Trail.

Inside the familiar dashboard, the Daihatsu features its own AC control panel (with auto function but without P2’s two memory buttons), a blue push start button and an electronic parking brake switch with auto brake hold – the latter recently made its Perodua debut on the Alza AV.

But unlike in the top Alza, this high centre console incorporates two cupholders between the EPB and armrest. The original Japanese head unit has been swapped for a local Ativa unit, and there are no audio steering buttons or reverse camera.

Launched in its home market in November 2021, the Rocky e-Smart Hybrid is powered by a 106 PS/170 Nm electric motor (Ativa 1.0T has 98 PS/140 Nm), with a 1.2 litre WA-VEX Atkinson-cycle three-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with 82 PS/105 Nm acting purely acts as a generator for the hybrid battery. The e-motor powers the wheels via an HEV transaxle, which means that this series hybrid model works somewhat like a range extender electric vehicle, like Nissan’s e-Power system.

The hybrid also features an available Smart Pedal function for one-pedal driving (S-PDL button is below the driver’s AC vent, where the ADAS buttons are), with regeneration and “engine braking” in place of stepping on the brakes. Lastly, the JDM suspension is 15 mm lower than the regular Ativa’s, and should be softer sprung as well.

The Rocky’s claimed fuel consumption is 3.6 litres per 100 km on the WLTP cycle, which is 27.8 km/l. Perodua says that the Ativa Hybrid is capable of 31.3 km/l in the Malaysian Driving Cycle, which is supposed to reflect local driving conditions. They add that at the current RON 95 price, a journey from KL to Penang (358 km) can cost as low as RM23 in fuel.

The Ativa Hybrid subscription programme is described by Perodua as an ‘electric vehicle study’ as well as a ‘long-term mobility as a service market study’ involving 300 subscribers. There are two things P2 is studying here. The first is to understand group driving behaviour of a hybrid vehicle in populated locations (Klang Valley, Penang and JB). The other is to understand consumer acceptance of a subscription service, which Perodua is already offering to corporate clients under its EZ MOBi fleet arm.

Participants need to pay an upfront payment of RM2,150 (includes refundable three months safety deposit, the first month fee and stamp duty) followed by a monthly subscription fee of RM500 for the next five years. Maintenance (including wear and tear items), insurance and road tax will be covered by Perodua.

It is a five-year commitment and the mileage cap over the period is 100,000 km, which averages to 20,000 km a year or 1,666 km a month. At the end of the tenure, the total amount paid to Perodua would be RM30,150 and participants will have to return the car. By the way, all 300 units are in Pearl White without the black roof – there’s no other colour option.

What do you think of the Ativa Hybrid deal? Here’s a review by a subscriber. Also, which look do you prefer – Rocky or Ativa?

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