Well done, Proton!
> It’s quite difficult to find any fault in and on the Proton Persona
Persona’s suspension and handling took all the bumps, lateral forces, sharp bends and undulations very well. Those roads, which represented Malaysia’s typical road conditions, also revealed that, like the Iriz, the Persona has similar noise, harshness and vibration (NVH) levels as some of its segment rivals.
Next on the agenda was an “eco-run challenge”, for the Persona to demonstrate how good its ECO Drive Assist feature is. Prizes were to be awarded to the tag team (two journalists per car) with the best average fuel consumption. The drive was 117 kilometres long and once again, took all cars through the inner roads between Jengka and Kuantan. The fuel tank lid and bonnet were sealed, and so was the air-conditioner, where all cars’ blowers were set at speed number three and the thermostat at about three-quarters cold. Also, the button to reset the average fuel consumption was sealed too.
The Persona’s sales brochure claims that it can do 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres (manual transmission) and 6.1 litres for the same distance with the auto variant. Surprisingly, the eco-run challenge winner achieved 5.6l/km in an auto variant! And those who lost to them were so close, achieving between 5.6 and 5.7 litres per 100km in auto Personas too. Impressive.
As I was in a hurry on the next day, which saw us journalists trying out the ESC during a similar event held at the Kuantan stadium parking lot, the 250 kilometres-or-so drive to Kuala Lumpur (via ECE) became a speed test, where the Persona tops at about 180km/h while revving at 5,500rpm. Traffic was light and the weather was beautiful. This time, the Persona showed that it could comfortably handle such speeds, without much stress conveyed to my hands, foot and bum. It was quite an enjoyable drive.
Arriving back at the Proton HQ, I looked at the Persona again. It is quite eye-catching from every angle, with its bold and attractive face with smart headlamps and refreshingly modern rear dominated by trendy rear lamps and aggressive looking lower diffuser, which looks even nicer on the Premium variant.
With its value-for-money features, advanced technology (especially the ESCequipped Premium variant – other variants come without), a much more refined design, build quality, ride and handling as well as reduced NVH, it is really a pleasure to drive. The interior feels sufficiently luxurious. The fit-and-finish among the best in a Proton car that I can remember. It looks good from the front, back and inside the cabin. Other than the lack of centre storage box between the front seats and absence of cruise control, there’s really not much for me to complain. My fellow motoring journalists too felt the same, where we congratulated Proton’s officials on such a fine car, during the Q&A session at the hotel.
I hope Proton doesn’t mind me repeating its words here, but I highly recommend the Persona to the young and trendy out there, as it would appeal to those who are looking for a car which is stylish with many attractive features to provide pleasurable drive but at the same time affordable and highly rated in terms of safety.
The only thing I and my counterparts couldn’t tell you are the airbags’ performance and how the Persona fares – its polymer parts, wear-and-tear of switches, knobs, buttons, interior finishing, upholstery, etc – over time but the twoyear-old Iriz looks all right.
Good show, Proton. We all wish for the next Proton model to maintain or even exceed the sort of quality the Persona has.