The development of the new Proton Savvy has received a helping hand from iconic British sports car manufacturer Lotus, with Proton Group’s Chief Executive proudly asserting that this car is a vehicle the Malaysian brand like to “think of as my first Lotus.” The grammar might be askew, but their new Proton Savvy certainly isn’t. It’s – if you can forgive me for this one – a savvy city car that boasts unorthodox (but in a good way) looks, quality interior and a sprightly driving experience. Let’s take a closer look at what the Proton Savvy offers.
Proton actually swallowed up Lotus almost twenty years ago, when Lotus were losing cash quicker than their legendary Elite could accelerate from 0-60. Proton, on the other hand, were sinking in another way altogether – their brand credibility was just dire, with few really putting any faith in their unusual – and pretty poor – creations. Yet, despite the linkup between Proton and Lotus now coming into its eighteenth year, the Malaysian brand’s cars are still almost non-existent on these shores. Is the new Proton Savvy going to change all that?
Well, the handling is certainly up to scratch, and no doubt indebted to the Lotus’ competent engineering work. The gear change is swift and rewarding, whilst the chassis helps the car to avoid body roll pretty well. Buyers only get the choice between a single engine (so it isn’t really a choice, sorry), which is a 1.2-litre power plant that develops 74bhp. This isn’t a bad little engine for a city car to be fair, and the new Proton Savvy can get to 60mph from rest in 13.9 seconds en route to a max speed of 98mph. Okay, it’s no Lotus Elite, but what did we really expect?
The new Proton Savvy is actually fairly sizeable for a city car, with its dimensions making it longer than, say, the Kia Picanto and the Citroen C1. Indeed, it isn’t too far off the Ford Fiesta. The advantages of this mean a bit more space, with rear access probably among the best in this car, no doubt aided to a stretched wheel posture. Interior width though, is actually smaller than its rivals – including the C1 – which means squeezing three adults into the rear is not just a squeeze, but a mighty one. Probably impossible to be honest. Still, with rear seats folded, boot space is a reasonable 909-litres.
Okay, we all know that a Proton has never been adorned in high-quality material inside, which has always been one of the Proton Savvy problems, and the new Proton Savvy is only a little bit better than usual. This means a neater centre console, a more stylish dash and steering wheel. Outside, the design is cute if a little different and daring, friendly, if a little sharp. But definitely better than this brand’s previous outings – and actually pretty cool to be honest. Anyone who thinks they can’t be trendy whilst driving a Proton in the city should think again. The front lamp clusters are worth mentioning as an example of how far Proton have come.
Facts and Figures
Proton Savvy price deals start out from around £7,995. There are two variants available: Street and Style, whilst standard specs across the range include air conditioning and alloys. Also included in Proton Savvy deals is a 3-year warranty. Running costs are, as you might expect for a car this cheap, pretty good. This means fuel figures of 49mph, whilst emissions are 134g/km of CO2.
Not everyone is going to be tempted to buy a new Proton Savvy. The reason? Simply because it’s a Proton, with people still assuming that Proton problems continue. Nope, we’re not going to disagree that Proton has never been seen as cool in any way, but if you have the time to seriously take a look and a sample of this city car, there’s really no reason why it can’t be as cool and as trendy to drive around the city as any other city car. It’s fun, offers good handling, and moreover comes with a fantastic price tag. Plus it’s super cute to look at. Just look at its face. You’re telling me that’s not cute?
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