Perodua Kenari Reviews from UK and Ireland

2005 Perodua Kenari GX 1.0 petrol

Year of manufacture2005
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 1.0 petrol Manual
Distance when acquired31 miles
Most recent distance83000 miles
Previous carProton Wira

Summary:

Ideal for me - suitability and pricewise

Faults:

Battery replacement at 40,000 miles.

Exhaust system replaced at 60,000 miles.

Gradual increase in oil usage.

Sensor replaced in manifold at 50,000?

General Comments:

Ideal for an 87 year old arthritic - easy to get in and out of as opposed to the majority of modern cars.

Never failed to start on the first turn of the key.

55 MPG is easily achievable.

Cruises happily at 65 mph on motorways - quite fast enough for me!

Fantastic turning circle, easiest car I have ever had for parking in tight spaces.

Carries four in relative comfort.

Was devastated when read that model was no longer available, as I intended to replace it with same model, and have been unable to find anything similar.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 23rd August, 2013

2003 Perodua Kenari GXi 1.0 12v DOHC

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 1.0 12v DOHC Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired27000 miles
Most recent distance28000 miles
Previous carPerodua Myvi

Summary:

Sadly lacking the well designed feel of the Kelisa

General Comments:

This is the seventh Perodua I have owned of 93 cars, and my first Kenari.

We sold our 2007 Myvi for an excellent price and bought this as it was available, local and cheap enough. We retain our other 2006 Myvi (see report “Great Japanese…”) and our Parents run a 2010 Myvi, which I drive (see report “Toyota Passo…”).

See my 2002 Kelisa report (“Proven Japanese….”) and 2004 Kelisa (“As cheap as….”)

So, we are big Perodua fans and know a fair bit about the brand, and chose this as a cheap runabout with the same engine and mechanicals as our excellent Kelisas. However, it has not been the best choice so far. This car had 27,000 miles, and was a two owner, fairly tidy car, but had been doctored with an oil treatment to mask the oil leak and slight loss of power, plus smoky exhaust. These engines usually last OK, so would be interested to know the cause of this huge fault.

To cut a long story very short, the engine had to be replaced due to piston ring issues on cylinders 1 and 3, but now runs fine with a 2006 engine fitted at reasonable cost.

Regardless of this, the car itself is reasonable, but is the weak link in the 2000-now Perodua model line up, as it is not the best designed or engineered car. Whereas the Myvi is well engineered and modern, and the Kelisa uses the same mechanicals as the Kenari, but they come together far better as a more rounded package; the Kenari feels like most of the parts are not designed specifically for this application.

The engine, while fine in the Kelisa, struggles in the Kenari with the added weight and wind resistance, and constantly feels underpowered, especially with the long gear ratios and very high fifth gear, which can only really be used over 70mph, long after the stability levels have been reached. Second is far too high and baulks out of town junctions, which the Kelisa would have breezed, and the general feeling on the road is that the car is always out of its depth. At 70mph+ the car wanders and is hugely noisy.

Where the Kelisa is perfectly balanced and fluid, with a good degree of body control and the right amount of weighting and feel, the Kenari soon finds the limit if the suspension and floats, wallow and crashes at 50+mph on B-roads. It does turn in fairly well and grips better on corners than it rightly should, but it is very tiring with the lack of power, poorly spaced gear ratios, lack of insulation, and the enormous wind roar around the mirrors and front windows, which means you are deafened above 60mph (68mph on speedo is true 60mph).

The cabin is very similar to the Kelisa, but is actually more cramped due to the seat not going back far enough, and the electric window controls and centre console being in the way of your knees, so at 5’10”, I JUST fit in, but have 5 inches of excess headroom over my head, which unless you want to wear an enormous hat, it's totally pointless as this excess height ruins the handling. The car is also narrow, and two sizeable adults will constantly nudge each other in the front - which strangely does not happen in the Kelisa due to seat layout and more legroom, however there is more footroom in the rear, and the rear seats recline and have headrests, unlike the Kelisa. The boot is larger, but has no load cover, and has only a small advantage on floor space. Generally, the packaging is bad, as most of the space gained over the Kelisa is in the useless huge air-space in the roof.

Other than the poor design, the car is fairly well made, and I do like the side opening boot and nice seat fabrics. Compared to the Kelisa, which is so well developed and fine tuned, the Kenari feels like someone has built a kit car out of Kelisa bits, and did not allow for the specifics of the taller and wieldier body shell, as the car does not feel happy in any circumstance, even though it is running absolutely perfectly.

There are many odd bits, one being the double-din stereo, which automatically jumps back the start of the CD track when switched off and on; crazy when listening to a long album track and getting in and out of the car on a short journey! This CD player looks smart, but has no RDS, which is infuriating in our hilly area.

There are no front cup-holders like the Kelisa, and the mirrors are basic ball mounted things, which are very tall, but not wide - ideal for narrow gaps but have huge side blind-spots, but the whole thing moves if knocked - not just the casing.

The rear screen is curved, so even a new blade skips and misses the top arc of the screen - even if it did, it still would not wipe the 3rd brakelight, which is an over-sight by the designers.

When buying Perodua, you know are buying a very cheap budget car, but both the Kelisa and Myvi do not feel like a hardship, as they are thoroughly engineered, well set up and great value.

The Nippa felt cheap and basic; it was, but the Kenari is more expensive and was supposed to be a move up from a Kelisa for young families in Malaysia. What is very striking about the Kenari, is that it is nowhere near as good as the Kelisa in so many areas such as cabin quality, appearance, front legroom, handling, balance, performance, economy and overall enjoyment. There are no rattles or squeaks though!

I would not buy another Kenari, but would unreservedly recommend the Kelisa for those on a budget wanting a fun, enjoyable cheap to run small car, or the Myvi for those who want a comfortable and capable small family car.

The Kenari is not an enjoyable little fun car, and too compromised in the cabin, dynamics and safety for a small family. It is therefore the weak link in the model range.

After spending out on the engine, I will have to cover 10,000 miles before I sell it to recoup the cost. In this time, I may come to see the charms of it, and I will update on further issues or notes as time goes on.

In a sentence; it is tough going from a Myvi to Kenari, but from a Myvi to a Kelisa would have been fine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th July, 2010

1st Aug 2010, 15:04

Update.

Another 1000 miles done, really enforcing my dislike of this model, as follows:

My own car's specific faults:

Engine still has tiny miss occasionally when pulling away after decelerating; although has had engine, spark plugs, MAF sensor, throttle sensor, air sensor, spark plugs, oil filter, air filter. Poor power delivery in second out of junctions and when trying to maintain any speed.

The general Kenari faults:

Lack of development of the design; nothing seems to work together, and the car is hard work to drive and irritating in day-to-day use.

Poor window seals move about when doors open and shut, leaving whistling air gaps, plus door catches not adjustable and panel fit not perfect; these factors together with the boxy shape result in huge wind roar over 50mph.

The doors are very tall and not strong enough to resist the air pressure pulling out the top of the door slightly outwards over 60mph; worst on the door on the opposite side to which you are turning.

The fresh air ventilation is poor, and there is no pull of air out of the back of the car, so you need to either:

Open any window and be deafened

Put on the fan, which routes the air past somewhere hot and therefore always gives tepid air

The driving position is most uncomfortable with poor seats, odd alignment and lack of runner travel, plus the console and electric window switches catch your knees - would be better if seat went back 5cm further. Seat fabric, although attractive, sticks fast to your clothes, so when you move, your clothes do not...

The stereo looks attractive, but is hopeless - poor radio reception even with the old fashioned long aerial at its highest and catching car park signs, there is no RDS, the clock loses 4 hours per day, and the CD returns back to the start of whatever track you are listening to every time the unit is switched off.

Ride and handling is poor as is to be expected, but it does grip OK around tight turns, however it crashes and bangs and has a jarring ride, which transfers every minute imperfection direct to your teeth.

The controls for front and rear fogs, demister and rear wash-wipe are all on the dash hidden from view and follow no logic, the rear wash wipe is hopeless as it misses the top of the screen and third brake light, and there is no intermittent setting.

The boot door is good, but means there is no parcel shelf, leaving the necessary tools on view - and the old fashioned security would take about four seconds to by-pass and get it.

Rear seatbelts do not have the child seat AELR type mechanisms, and our seat just flops about; of course no Isofix.

Corrosion; our waxoyled from new 28,000 mile car has seam corrosion underneath, and both rear arches have bubbled, plus various bits under the bonnet.

So to sum up; if you want a cheap car, buy a Kelisa; if you want a "special" box on wheels, buy a Wagon R if you must; if you want a decent car on a budget, buy a Myvi.

I have tried hard to like this car; even trying to like it for its ugliness and rarity, but the fact is that it is simply a poorly designed, poorly manufactured old-tech car with a huge number of irritating design faults, no security or safety, and is very tiring to drive with the lack of power, huge noise, poor handling and ride, and even an infuriating stereo.

It will be gone soon at this rate. I'll just take the loss.

10th Aug 2010, 03:45

Noticed on the interweb Kent Dealer John Childs still selling new Kelisas £4599 plus road tax. Must be very old stock?

Engine very tight on Myvi, but averaging 43.7 mpg, very pleased. Long journey coming up next weekend.

10th Aug 2010, 11:28

I get 45-50 mpg. Get it to 10,000 miles and give it a good "italian tune up", and it will loosen and improve the mpg.

Tried John Childs before, no Kelisa stock - this is an outdated ad.

Balkwells had a few Kelisa GX SE at £5750, but told me they sold the last one when I rang.

None left now as far as I know. Crazy spending this kind of money when a Myvi is c£6000 OTR now; if buying one, I would spend £2000 max for a late GX; just waiting for the right car to cross my path.

13th Aug 2010, 11:52

Update.

Got this Kenari into 100% perfect order, but just could not get along with it at all.

Surprised, as I loved my Kelisas, Myvis and even our old Nippa, but I stand by my earlier comments about it being a poor design, and not at all well thought out.

Sold it to a lovely old chap who loves it, which is nice. It should run for many years without trouble after all the works!

I would never have another.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 2 reviews