Well done, Pro­ton!

> It’s quite dif­fi­cult to find any fault in and on the Pro­ton Per­sona

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

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.

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