The current generation Proton Persona is a very compelling car for its price range with great functionality and practicality as well as safety. It’s been more than a year since the current generation Proton Persona was launched in Malaysia and I have been driving it for about a year now. Hence I will be writing a full review of my Proton Persona.
In terms of functionality and practicality, it’s an excellent choice with a huge boot space of 510 litre which can fit multiple golf clubs. The 1.6L Premium variant comes with reverse camera, GPS, leather seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, 6 airbags and keyless-entry system with push-start engine button. Rear seats can be folded down to increase boot space as well.
The interior of the Proton Persona is rather pleasant with metallic chrome accent running along various controls such as the knobs for air condition as well as metallic accent that runs along the air conditioning vents which adds a touch of premium feel to complement the hard-plastic dashboard. Hard plastics aren’t exactly a pleasant material to use for dashboard as it feels rough and cheap. But the Proton Persona includes fake stitching across the dashboard in an effort to beautify the interior.
Early models of the Proton Persona are plagued with the infamous rattling noise on the centre console dashboard that occurs when driving under a scorching weather condition as well as driving on roads that are not paved smoothly. Thankfully, this issue can be fixed at an authorised Proton service centre free of charge. Oh, and it has no armrest to rest your tiring arms but it’s not a deal breaker. Overall, the interior looks pretty decent and stylish and I am happy for it.
Lotus’ involvement in the development of Proton cars is a very positive aspect for Proton in improving their car’s handling. Proton cars are known for its rather good handling that is praised by most Malaysians. That is no exception to the Proton Persona as well. The Persona handles well enough with a considerable amount of roll due to its soft suspension setup. It has a good amount of grip and body control when tackling corners spiritedly.
The Persona hugs the road really well even sharp bend corners which gives a very reassuring feeling of the car’s handling. The Persona does a decent job when it comes to soaking up bumps on roads that are poorly paved as well as humps.
On smooth flowing road, you can feel the softness and pliancy of the suspension which is rather comfortable. On the limit driving is not the reason why you buy the Persona, it’s the comfortable ride you get when you are cruising down the highway at reasonable speeds. The leather seats are soft and comfortable too! NVH level is minimal in this car due to its new 3 mounting points for the engine to make it move lesser to reduce vibrations. This is a noticeable improvement from the Proton Iriz which had a loud engine and gearbox sound in the cabin.
The noise and response of the CVT gearbox have also been improved significantly compared to the Proton Iriz due to a full re-calibration of the software systems for the CVT gearbox. At highway speeds, road noise and wind noise do increase slightly but not to a point where it becomes a nuisance. Thus long distance driving is pleasantly comfortable and quiet and I have no complains for it.
The 1.6L 4 Cylinder DOHC 16V VVT engine packs out 107HP and 150NM of torque which is rather sufficient for daily commuting. The Persona can climb to 140 km/h comfortably, after 140 km/h you can feel that the engine is starting to run out of breath. However I rarely drive past 120 km/h and I don’t condone driving over the speed limit because it is dangerous. Driving up steep roads like Genting Highland is not a problem for the Persona, thus there is no reason to worry about it’s performance because this car is nippy!
Stability at high speeds is average because cross winds can be felt noticeably which causes the steering to have sudden minor movement which frankly isn’t a confidence inspiring sensation. The electronic power steering of the Persona is really good with adequate amount of feedback.
The engine is paired with a Punch CVT gearbox which has a double edge sword to it. It is always jerky at speeds below 15 km/h and the jerk is sometimes frustrating and annoying during heavy traffic jams. But at speeds above 15 km/h, the gearbox remains a smooth affair as there are no “gears” to shift through. Hence the RPM will remain constant when accelerating.
The Persona comes with a full fledged driving aids such as traction control, electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake distribution, brake assist and hill-hold assist.
In terms of fuel consumption, the Proton Persona is pretty good. I managed to achieve 6.1 Litres/100KM according to the car’s trip computer which is the same as what Proton advertised. However the car’s trip computer is way too optimistic in their fuel consumption figure to a point where it’s not accurate.
The real world fuel consumption that I calculated using distance travelled divided by fuel used is about 7.2 Litres/100KM which is really good but far fetch from the trip computer’s figure. Hence 400KM of autonomy shouldn’t be a problem with a full tank. In fact I’m always getting about 450-470KM until the fuel warning light pops out due to my conservative driving style
Cost of maintaining the Persona is very economical as it is still under the 5 years warranty which gives a peace of mind. No breakdown or faulty mechanical parts have been experienced by me throughout my ownership of the car. A normal oil change service interval will set you back for less than RM200.
In conclusion, the Persona is a huge improvement compared to previous Proton models and is a great all round package. Definitely worth the price!