Perodua Kenari EZ AERO Review
Feeling hot, hot, hot...

Story and pictures by Jeremy R. Chua
30 Apr 2009

The Kenari's off the wall styling isn't everyone's cup of tea.  But if you're one of those who dares to be different...

Perodua Kenari

Cars are usually engineered to look a certain way and accomplish a specific set of needs by their drivers. But sometimes, despite being engineered for a purpose, a car will demonstrate that it actually has other things on its mind and wants to do something else.

Sort of a like a child who's born into a family of gifted musicians. His family expects him to follow in all their footsteps, and as such, they begin moulding him. They'll send him for piano lessons and encourage him to attend concerts,  but the child - despite his talent for playing instruments - develops an interest in painting, and chooses to focus his efforts in that field instead.

The Kenari is that child. It was intended to be a mini MPV, but at heart, it simply thinks that it's a hot hatch.

Looks & styling

Badge engineered, the Kenari is based on the Daihatsu Move mini. The first thing that strikes you is the two pairs of round headlamps up front and a honeycomb grille between them. If you take a closer look, you'll notice that each pair of headlights actually looks like a figure 8 lying on its side. The bluish tint on them comes standard on this EZ Aero variant.

As you move around to the Kenari's flank, its purpose becomes clear. With that upright boxy shape courtesy of its 1,660mm height, its designers definitely wanted practicality to be this car's strong suit.

Its shape makes the already diminutive 14-inch rims with 165/55 series tyres look even smaller. That's not necessarily a bad thing however, because for some reason, women find the Kenari to be endearing. When I asked Jaclyn, a "working tai-tai" friend how she felt about the Kenari's looks, she simply replied "like a cute little tofu cube with wheels".

The rear has to be the quirkiest bit for me. Tall and slab sided, it looks part of a building - with a pair of vertical tail lights on each side. At 3,460mm long and 1,500mm wide, the Kenari is undoubtedly compact and easy to parallel park, which makes it perfect for beginner drivers. And for added assurance, it even comes with reversing sensors.

A reason why the Kenari feels like a hot hatch is probably due to the go-faster parts found on its body. Front and rear lip spoilers, side skirts, and even a roof spoiler all come together to make the Kenari look more athletic than it actually is. There are even window visors to be found on all four doors!


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