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.
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.