Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Experience in Proton Saga 1.3 FLX MT

Proton Saga FLX 1.3 MT

            Proton is a carmaker from Malaysia. It has been producing the cars back in 1985. Its started with the first model named Proton Saga. But that time, Proton didn’t really build its own car. The first Saga was actually based on Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore.

            After about 23 years, the second generation of Proton Saga rolled out from production. The new Saga is totally different from the old Saga. It based on stretch Proton Savvy. This Saga was build by collaboration with Lotus and Korea’s LG.

            For a week, I have driven a new Saga. This is FLX version. Proton produces FLX version starting July 2011. FLX version has a better spec compared to the previous version. The handling setting was improved and for AT version Proton equipped it with CVT gearbox for better performance.

            I drove this car for like a week now. Being so used to auto transmission, it felt so strange to drive a manual transmission car. However over time, I managed to get used to it. J.

            It’s a new car. So everything is still shining and the interior still smell good, if you know what I mean. First time I enter this car, I feels the driving position is higher than you can find in Perodua Viva or MyVi. I like it. The windscreens and windows are wide and clear. You’ll get a clearer and wider view than where you found when you’re in Proton Persona. For me, it will be useful when you want to reverse, parking or drive through the tight bend. One thing this car is lack is auto lock function for the doors. I’m not sure whether Proton fitted it in another variant but for the car that I’m driving, I need to lock the door by myself (always forget though).

            Okay, let’s go take a look at the interior. For the dashboard, Proton use plastic for it. It looks sort of like sporty but some how it looks cheap to me. The meter panel and the steering are just so not good to look at. I found the designs are so edgy and the color is totally out. I think maybe it should look like chrome finished but the color is just not there. Here, I think Perodua have much better design. Their dashboards and meter panels are simple, clean and easy on eyes.

            For the functionalities in the cabin there are pro and contra of it. First thing, I found it awkward to have wiper control on the right and signal control on the left. With this design it keeps my left hand occupied much more than the other one. I need to shift the gear and also signaling with left hand. I think it will be better if they placed it on right hand side like a traditional one. The meter panel is on the driver side which I found it better than the other models which placed it in the centre. The headlight is so bright and with the fog lamp it is much better in the dark of the night. To control the audio system, Proton fitted the steering with the audio control button. But some quality issues are bothering me. It is a brand new car. So I expect it to be perfect. But I found some things are not quite good. The gear knob is loose. When I change gear, I realize it can be easily turn. The boot is so spacious. But I found that it hard to close it. You really need to bang hard which you don’t want to do for a brand new car. I also found out that you need to put more effort to shift to reverse gear. There is several time I missed it. The biggest disappointment is the driver side windows makes a vibrate sound when you travel on rough tarmac. Although it makes very small vibration sound, it’s really so disappointing.  Wish Proton will be more details on this.

            Other than that, I must say it is fun to drive this car. I love the ignition sound. It sound’s like a luxury car. Maybe it’s because Proton had changed the ignition to coil-on-plugs instead of the traditional ignition cable system. On top of that, you don’t feel any vibration in the cabin. It sounds so silent and no vibration at all. For me, it is cool for its class. When start driving, at first I found out it’s a little bit tricky to match the rev with the clutch level. I found out it takes time to rev. Like the engine thinks for awhile before execute it. But after awhile, I’m used to it. Acceleration is good. For a small engine’s car like that, I found it satisfied. Engine sound is a little loud, but it’s ok. The best thing is when you drive through a corner. The car handling is superb. I don’t feel much body roll like in Perodua Viva or under steer like I felt in Myvi. It feels so good. I never experienced a standard small sedan handles like that. After all, it is tuned by Lotus. But however it doesn’t feels like in a racing car. The car still feels so comfort and silent. I feel good driving it.

            As a conclusion, I love this car. Although some interior quality issue might be bugging you, I still feel it’s the best car in its class. What are the most important things you want from a car? Comfort, safety, good handling, low fuel consumption, spacious boots and cabin. You know what? You’ve got all this in Proton Saga FLX.

Note: These reviews are solely on my experience with the car that I drive. It is really recommended for you to experience it by yourself. I would love to have you share your experience with me.

See ya in the next post!