Monday, 17 December 2007

Proton Persona: An owner's review

By Peter Lee


Just recently, I drove my company’s brand new Proton Persona for 3 days. This is my personal and very frank views of the car. When PROTON designed the new PERSONA, it was never intended to be a performance car. It is targeted more to the family and therefore my review is focused on the many factors that make a good family car. With those criteria crystal clear, I shall review the car that I bought recently, and not a loaned tester/media unit from some PR company.

The PERSONA is definitely a nice car to drive. It’s comfortable, has very European suspension characteristics/feel, handles well and reasonably accurate to steer. Although I am an owner of the new (E92) 335i, I have no intentions (whatsover!) to compare and contrast the Persona with that BMW. Having said that, the engine is quite refined, with respectable power (for its class) and the automatic gearbox changes smooth enough for daily commute.

I would have given the PERSONA a 9 out of 10 rating if not for the following:

1) The brakes are HOPELESS. There is totally no feeling and the braking effectiveness leaves much to be desired. Are those shiny disc rotors all-around just for show?

2) The reverse sensor beep so softly that you practically have to strain your ears. Isn’t there an internal specification in PROTON for the number of Decibels that the beep has to be before you approve the vendor?

3) Once again, the glove compartment drawer does not sit flush with the rest of dashboard. Just like the good old 'Wira' days? Nevertheless, something is better than nothing (as in the Gen.2)


4) On the 2nd day of ownership, my car developed suspension creaking sound on practically every bump or undulations on the road - bloody irritating!

5) Who was the one who designed the CD/Radio cluster? It’s darn user-UNfriendly and the buttons are all so small, they’re a pain to press and operate. Any after-market audio head-unit would be better, I am sure.


What about these dash buttons? I don’t even know if I have selected rear demister (look at the photos). The illumination is so bad.

The rear view is so poor that I would rate it close to a Lamborghini Gallardo (I once had a ride in one). I found myself always looking at the rear hump of the car. Both rear headrests also blocked out roughly 25% of the driver’s rear view.

Incidentally, I had the opportunity to use the rear demister last night. It was so slow and could not clear the fogging effectively.


The rear seats are totally unsupportive and the backrest so upright for any practical long distance rear passengers comfort. And it looks more like a 2+2, rather than a family 5-seater sedan.

And what is this red paint over the nuts of the alloy wheels? Is this some kind of new automotive trend?

In my few days of owning the new Persona – a saviour Proton model that has chalked up nearly 30,000 units in sales up until now - I can only come to a sad conclusion.
Everyone knows that the suspension of the PERSONA was designed by Lotus Engineering, UK. That is why it’s so darn good in the ride and handling department.



In all honesty, everything else that have been designed in-house by PROTON and/or outsourced to its vendors in Malaysia still sucks…badly! The new Persona’ sore points, shortfalls and bugbears - all seem to be related to local design, sourcing and manufacturing. Pity.

7 comments:

tropical_head said...

the interior quality of the persona isn't the best thats for sure. to me, it still lags a little behind the koreans.

But looking at proton's product history and the overall big picture, it is a huge improvement over the gen.2 on which it shares many of the same items(the radio controls that you so hate). To be fair, I believe you should have mentioned the improvements at least but you seemed to have chosen to ignore all the positive changes present.

For those improvements alone, I would give them credit for it. well done. a step in the right direction for Proton and I sincerely hope for better things to come in the near future.

drlong said...

Thanks for your valid comments tropical_head.

I do hope to see some improvements too, maybe even in the upcoming BLM? Even though it's a through-and-through super-budget model, it will be interesting to see how things move forward in comparison to the Savvy.

BMW.Toyota said...

So what rating do you give the Persona? 1 out of 10?

Bodowee said...

Your review is ok but a bit confusing .It's like commenting on a girl .
hey Girl , you're very nice like 9 out of 10 but seconds later complaints pouring in
1. Your nose is too big and flat
2 .Your buttocks are too big blocking my view
3. your breasts are too firm like plywood .
4 . Your ears are too outward pointing .

A rating of 3-4 out of 10 is more convincing after the myriad complaints

heong said...

I am seriously thinking of getting a Proton Persona. Can someone give me an idea what the fuel consumption is like, ie. km/liter, say for town driving?

Camy said...

I've just tested drive it. Overall the looks is good. Just that when driving it, I don't feel it's a refined car. It's very hard to pick up , the peddle feels hard, and lack of power and quite tiring to drive it on high way. But with Rm49,000, this is what you get, especially if you are a man. Driving a Myvi will make you looks funny, even though it's a easy to drive car.

Camy said...

I've just tested drive it. Overall the looks is good. Just that when driving it, I don't feel it's a refined car. It's very hard to pick up , the peddle feels hard, and lack of power and quite tiring to drive it on high way. But with Rm49,000, this is what you get, especially if you are a man. Driving a Myvi will make you looks funny, even though it's a easy to drive car.