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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Proton S16 FLX has been launched in Australia, with the Malaysian manufacturer finally introducing a number of fundamental safety features to its entry-level city-sized sedan.

Previously equipped with only a driver’s-side airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioner, the upgraded S16 FLX now adds electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), passenger’s-side front airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioner, front fog lights and reversing sensors as standard.

The significant 2012 upgrade sees the price of each S16 FLX variant rise by $1000. The previous base model 1.3-litre S16 G, which was priced from $11,990 driveaway, has been discontinued, meaning the new S16 FLX range starts $2000 higher with the GX manual at $13,990 driveaway.

The existing 1.6-litre petrol engine carries over into the upgraded range, although with a mildly revised output that is down 2kW, now rated at 80kW and 148Nm. The five-speed manual continues as the standard gearbox while a ‘six-speed’ continuously variable transmission (CVT) has replaced the old model’s four-speed automatic.

Both variants are now marginally more fuel efficient than before, with the manual using 6.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and the CVT 6.5L/100km.

On the outside, the Proton S16 FLX benefits from sharper styling, headlined by a redesigned grille, bonnet, bumper and headlights at the front, side mirrors with LED indicators, and LED tail-lights and a new bumper at the rear. Both models now also get 14-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the S16 FLX GX gets new cloth upholstery, an upgraded four-speaker audio system with AUX and USB ports, and audio controls on the steering wheel.

The S16 FLX GXR adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather seats, rear power windows and a rear spoiler.

The S16 is Proton Australia’s most popular passenger car, although sales of the light sedan have fallen 45 per cent so far this year, down from 229 units to just 127.

2012 Proton S16 FLX driveaway prices:

  • GX manual – $13,990
  • GX CVT – $15,990
  • GXR manual – $14,990
  • GXR CVT – $16,990

Note: Overseas model pictured.