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Land Rover
Test Drives
13 Jul 11 17:43
Second Generation New Proton Saga
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PROTON Saga. S-a-g-a what? A four letter word defined by Oxford dictionary: any story telling of heroic deeds. Saga.

It all started decades ago, the Malaysian built passenger car concept implemented by Prime Minister Dr Mahatir. The car that kick-started the Malaysian automotive industry, with a little help from the Japanese auto giant Mitsubishi. Launch on 9th July 1985 and it was given the name Proton which is a Malay acronym: Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (English: National Automobile Enterprise).
The debut was the Mitsubishi/Proton Saga powered by a basic 1.3 or 1.5 liter engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission providing a rough, noisy ride and instability at speeds over 100 kph. However, it was still very economical and because it sold so well, it became the new Malaysia national car, the emblematic Proton.

Flash forward to the 21st century and the Malaysian 'peoples car' Proton and it's line up in Thailand: Proton: Exora, Gen2, Neo, Persona CNG, Savy and Saga. The Protons are seen everyday on the Thai highway and byways.

And latest entry is the new Proton Saga. Here Proton has returned to the fundamentals and produced a solid, safe budget-priced, economical sedan which offers more than you would expect at THB 464,000

How about the styling? OK, much design do you get for six-hundred sixty-thousand THB? The classic compact four-door saloon look or rather the ”three-box design” meaning if the vehicle is viewed in profile three principal volumes are articulated into three separate compartments or boxes: engine, passenger and cargo. The three box utilitarian design. The Saga is available in Solid White, Tranquility Black, Genetic Silver, and Blue Rock solid exterior colors.

And under the the skin you'll get a lot for your hard earned money.

Dual airbags, steering wheel,audio buttons and USB/AUX-iPad ports for the classy Clarion MP3 stereo. New goodies available on both trims are side mirrors with LED signal lamps and rear LED tail lamps. Plus a chunky three, spoke, multifunction steering wheel. So good to grip. And all audio controls at your fingertips. Our demo came with the black fabric upholstery and a well laid out cockpit and cabin notwithstanding (5) cup holders, grab handles (except for the driver) and functional buttons and dials. And a unique safety feature in this price class, the front air bags for both driver and passenger.

The new Proton Saga is now available in four different variants – the Base Line M/T and A/T as well as the higher spec Medium Line M/T and M/T. Our tester was the Medium Line A/T top-of-the-line version in sparkling genetic silver. Powered by a Campro 1,332 cc engine with 94 hp and 120 Nm of torque. A power plant built with Lotus racing know-how.

The preppy engine propels the Saga from 0-100 in 13 seconds. The top speed is 155 kph. On the road in spite of it's smallish and vocal engine with a smooth automatic transmission the Saga performs adequately and the road handling is among the best it it's class. Impressively stable and taut ride that rarely feels uncomfortable. Driving it you'll notice crisp and direct steering and the easy handling. Where the Proton Saga stands out is it's drive train, taut handling and comfy ride. The Lotus racing DNA, again.
And how thirsty is the Saga? Fuel consumption comes to about approximately 16kpl-18 kpl in combined urban and city driving.

Again for THB 464,000 this is the cheapest “three box” design sedan available in the Kingdom of Thailand. And it runs on E20, too. Did I forget the reverse parking sensors:.“Piip, piip,piip” This is no fairy tale – this is the new Proton Saga.

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