Although the price-tag is small, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the new Proton GEN-2 is lacking in quality. This is a lively family hatch with a friendly face that, though will never be a bestseller, comes with sassy exterior looks and a thoroughly original interior that should be enough to tempt families operating on a budget but who still want their hatches to come with quality. Let’s take a closer look at what the new Proton GEN-2 offers.
No Longer Just A Budget Car
Low prices are one thing these days, whereas in the past they were everything to a number of people. Whether people really have got richer, or whether they’re just making use of clever finance and lease deals, cars like the 2015 Proton GEN-2 simply have to be more than just a low price tag if they’re going to sell. Nowadays, you simply can’t undercut the market leaders by slashing a grand off the price. Instead, you’ve got to give the modern family something they really want – namely, value.
Two petrols are available at present for the new Proton GEN-2, though others are on the horizon apparently. The pair you can get your hands on at the moment are a 1.3-litre and a 1.6. Both are pretty handy, with the latter developing a respectable 110bhp, which makes it capable of getting to 60mph from rest in a reasonable, if a little tepid, 12.6 seconds. And because we were talking about consumers wanting more out of their budget hatches these days, Proton have gone to great lengths here to produce a car that drives really well. Steering is alert, the ride is supple, whilst the chassis ensures reduced body roll and understeer. Indeed, the ride and handling is so good that you get the feeling that the brand could have maximised all this by coming up with a bigger engine. Ah well.
Thankfully, this car’s trademark seats are in evidence once again, with the 2015 Proton GEN-2 benefiting from some traditionally idiosyncratic Proton cues and relics. New for this model is some darker plastics on the dash and door trim inserts, whilst drivers can now opt for leather seats if they so wish. The steering wheel has changed, and now looks really sporty, whilst so too does the instrument panel. This is certainly something different for a Proton – and it’s much welcomed!
Indeed, one of the great things about this new Proton GEN-2 is the hubris of nice touches that abound everywhere you look. The new handbrake grip is typically unorthodox – which we love – whilst the door pulls are semi-circular and look effortlessly quirky. The exterior looks classily contemporary and up-to-date, with the design a mix between a coupe and a hatch. No bad thing for drivers wanting their family hatches to look a bit cooler. Space is overall decent, with the boot offering 850-litres of it if you fold the rear seats.
Facts and Figures
The new Proton GEN-2 price range starts out from around £8,975 and rises to about £11,635. Standard equipment across the range includes twin airbags, air conditioning, adjustable steering column, power steering, electric front windows, as well as reverse parking sensors and a four way speaker system. Running costs are best described as competitive, with the 1.6-litre engine returning 39.3 mpg whilst emitting 172g/km of CO2. The 1.3 variant returns 40mpg and emits 166g/km of CO2.
All in all, the new Proton GEN-2 is a satisfying effort from the brand. It’s a car that is no longer just a low-priced vehicle that gets people from A to B, and if people complain, well, what do you expect for under 8 grand? Instead, the Malaysian guys have put some real effort into improving this car and bringing it in line with what people actually want – and deserve – from their family hatch.
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