A woo­ing game

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Pace Notes -


It’s safe to say that since Geely pur­chased a ma­jor stake in it last year – and the sub­se­quent reshuf­fling of its man­age­ment – Pro­ton hasn’t been out there as much as it used to be. Well, that’s chang­ing as its up­com­ing new SUV launch date looms closer.

Kick­ing off last month was the Pro­ton 1 Tank Ad­ven­ture (#Pro­ton 1 Tank Ad­ven­ture) for the pub­lic and in­vited guests. The cam­paign is meant to re­mind con­sumers about the im­pres­sive fuel ef­fi­ciency of Pro­ton’s cur­rent prod­ucts, mean­ing the new gen­er­a­tion VVT-en­gine sedans like the Saga and Per­sona, and the Iriz hatch­back. The chal­lenge be­gan with Ipoh, Perak, for the cen­tral re­gion, fol­lowed by three other legs in the penin­sula’s north­ern, south­ern and east­ern re­gions, and one in East Malaysia.

We were in­vited to take part in the Ipoh leg, us­ing the Per­sona, and here’s how our 1 Tank Ad­ven­ture panned out…

As you prob­a­bly guessed, the aim of the chal­lenge was to travel as far as pos­si­ble on one full tank. How­ever, un­like other reg­u­lar fuel econ­omy chal­lenges, the Pro­ton chal­lenge re­quired us to take a spe­cially cho­sen route – a scenic one. The se­condary goal was to ex­pe­ri­ence our pic­turesque coun­try and in­dulge in some lo­cal cul­ture and food along the way.

In­vited me­dia mem­bers aside, Saga, Iriz and Per­sona own­ers were se­lected after en­ter­ing Pro­ton’s unique so­cial me­dia-based cam­paign. Among those se­lected were mem­bers from the Pro­ton Per­sona VVT Own­ers Club (PROVOC), sev­eral lo­cal celebrities and so­cial me­dia stars (or Key Opin­ion Lead­ers, as they’re com­monly known).

The or­gan­is­ers set a longer route that took us to Kuala Se­lan­gor land­mark Bukit Melawati, then along back roads to­wards Teluk Intan, fol­lowed by a quick ex­cur­sion

just out­side Taip­ing be­fore mak­ing our way to Ipoh.

Day 2 saw us mak­ing our way back to­wards the Klang Val­ley where we stopped at MAEPS, Ser­dang, to ex­pe­ri­ence an­other no­table as­pect of Pro­ton’s cars: their seg­ment-lead­ing han­dling and safety traits in a closed, con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment.

That done, we headed to Petronas Sec­tion U8 in Bukit Je­lu­tong, where the fi­nal re­sults were tal­lied, and our tanks re­filled. The drive con­cluded with a small yet glitzy soiree at the grounds of dealer Se­tia Gemi­lang Auto Sdn Bhd in Sun­gai Bu­loh, one of the first of Pro­ton’s newly re­branded 4S out­lets.

Through­out, the drive was com­pet­i­tive, es­pe­cially among the Pro­ton own­ers. Some went to great lengths to ‘hy­per­mile’ their cars and with some as­ton­ish­ing re­sults too. Our best ef­fort at this saw us hit over 650km, an av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion of 5.7 litres/100km. We man­aged that on our Per­sona’s 40-litre tank, which is im­pres­sive.

The win­ners of each cat­e­gory were hon­oured in a spe­cial prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony at­tended by Pro­ton CEO Dr Li Chun­rong. Present as a spe­cial guest was Guy Bur­goyne, Geely’s Shanghai De­sign Chief who’s also head­ing the team de­sign­ing Pro­ton’s up­com­ing SUV.

The win­ners of each cat­e­gory (Iriz, Saga and Per­sona) re­ceived cash prizes of RM1,500 to RM2,000. They also qual­i­fied for the fi­nal of the Pro­ton 1

Tank Ad­ven­ture. THORIQ AZMI

Fuel ef­fi­ciency chal­lenge aside, there was also time for some fun with conesPro­ton deputy CEO Datuk Md Razaif (top)and lo­cal TV ac­tress Nur Ris­teena (above)at the flag-off

Perak's Kel­lie's Cas­tle was just one of the many scenic stopsin this tank-stretch­ing drive

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