Car review – All new Proton Saga

Posted: 23rd February 2008 by Jacky Yong in Cars

A new saga has begun, and I am confident that Proton will continue its tradition of bringing over that authentic Saga driving experience over to this new baby. You and I know what experience that I am talking about. The rickety door, the faulty power window, and the bumpy suspension ….. even at standstill. Yes, Proton has done it again, and I dare not write about it if I have not driven one. And driven one I have! On the first day of Chinese New Year, my sister Cheng came to my house in her husband’s brand spanking new Proton Saga!

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I’m sure that by now you would have seen it on the streets somewhere, or in showrooms. To be honest it certainly has got good looks. The behind looks like the Mercedes C-Class even, IMHO!

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They bought the automatic model, I don’t know the exact model, but it’s about RM37K, not the most expensive version. The interior is plush, with a lot of plastics. The finishing is way better than the original Saga Iswara, IMHO, and looks alright.

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Somebody mentioned about the inconsistent user experience between the Proton family. What do I mean? In the Persona a button with a dot activates the central locking system, but the same button disarms it in the Saga. Also the position of the signal and wiper stalks mimics the Waja rather than to bring the location from the previous Saga model! This, I personally think, is very unacceptable. Look at the Honda CRV. All its models features gear shift stick that is located on the dashboard. This kind of segmentation of vehicle class by all car makers happen for a reason. So that, for example, a Corolla user will always experience that Corolla feel no matter which model of Corolla he drives. This, unfortunately, is not what Proton’s motto, and it shows in its car design.

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For a sub-RM40K car, I would say that the interior looks very impressive. But then again, this is a brand new car; all brand new cars looks good in the first 6 months of use. We’ll just have to wait and see.

My brother-in-law consented for a spin around the neighbourhood, which I gladly obliged! I took the wheels around my taman, towards one of the bigger roundabouts. With him sitting beside me, I told him to hang tight while I twirled the car around, while keeping the car revved up high. Surprisingly there was very minimal body roll for a car this light. Perhaps I wasn’t pushing the corners hard enough. Hmmm…..

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Although it was already mentioned that the new Campro engine already fixed that sluggish torque at the lower to mid rev, I still find the power lacking somehow. Power comes in late in the 3000 to 5000 rpm range. Not very good for a loaded car or for city driving.

Conclusion: would I recommend it? A short answer would be yes. But that answer really depends on your financial situation, among other things, and your needs. For Rm40,000, you get a very large boot space and larger interior than a Myvi or Viva equivalent. I know of some assholes who compared it against Toyota’s Vios, but they are not comparing apple with an apple. But looking from my current situation now, will I buy it? I already have a 10-year-old Iswara, and my wife drives an equally old Wira, why would I want to change it? These old cars serves me well. And besides, we all Proton consumer has been bitten painfully once before, we all know what Proton quality means. There seems to have improvement in the build and quality, but when I slammed the driver’s door close on the Saga, I notice how the back passenger’s door vibrates! *scared*

So as of now the answer for me is NO, I will NOT buy the new Saga. Better save up some money to get at least a 10-year-old Toyota. More satisfying and safe, that’s what I think.

  1. libelly says:

    i m considering of getting a 2nd hand toyota or honda too… save more

  2. Mano says:

    hey i like this car. but how is the driving experience with new SAGA?