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by George Skentzos

Proton have unveiled their newest addition to their line-up in Malaysia, the Proton Persona.

The new Persona is Proton’s fifth internally designed and engineered model since the Waja was released in 2000. Previous models were essentially re badged imports such as the Satria which was based on a Mitsubishi Mirage.

The Malaysian market will have three model variants to choose from, all powered by a 1.6 litre Campro engine with the choice of either five-speed manual or electronically controlled automatic transmissions.


The Proton Persona will be available in Australia from March 2008 and in keeping with Proton’s cheap and cheerful image will be the most competitively-priced model in the 1,600cc category of the Malaysian market, with prices starting from the equivalent of approximately $AUD 15,990.


Proton posted the greatest improvement of any marque in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey. Although when we drove the Proton Savvy, we were very unimpressed.

  • Graeme

    Oh my gosh! This looks like a cross between a Mazda and Hyundai from 10 years ago. No wonder this company is broke.

  • arsenalroc

    give them a chance graeme.. they have many issues but they are a small company unlike the great holdens and ford who spend millions on r&D and end up with just as many flaws and bad designs…

  • Reckless1

    Why give them a chance?

    If you are a 60kg weakling, don’t get into the WWF ring and expect to be treated kindly.

    These cares are overpriced rubbish, their marketing people are hopeless – remember when they tried to sell a small car for $27000 when the competition were at $19000.

  • http://ezralimm.blogspot.com ezra

    I suggest that we wait till march 08 before passing judgment on this car. Though i understand that some people have clairvoyance (an extra sensory perception) that allows them to see into the future.

    Feedback from owners and reviewers in Malaysia has been good with the Persona despite bad public sentiment towards proton. It’s a more refined car than it’s predecessors. From more solid doors to better sound insulation.

    It goes for AUD15.3k OTR in Malaysia. So it shouldnt be too expensive in Australia. Remember, it’s a ~1200kg car. About the same size as a corolla or a civic. For about AUD16,000, it’s very competitively priced.

  • sexythang

    go ahead and buy one. regret for life

  • Watah

    needs editing….

    “The Persona will be available in Australia from March 2008 and in keeping with Proton’s cheap and cheerful image will be the most competitively-priced model in the 1,600cc category of the Malaysian market”

    it is only priced because almost all its competitors are Taxed out of the equation. import duty/excise duty. virtually no competition.

    so… the phrase ‘competitively priced’ is not appropriate

  • http://ezralimm.blogspot.com ezra

    ? Malaysia does not have any special tax breaks with australia. Malaysian imports are taxed just the same as imports from other countries. What are you talking about?

    Yes, in Malaysia, proton is protected by tariffs. Even IF those tariffs DID NOT EXIST (N.A.P. non-existant) and all car manafacturers are taxed equally, a civic or corolla will be around RM75k (AUD25k) OTR. Thus, the AUD16k persona is quite competitively priced. With or without tariffs.

  • Reckless1

    Good one Ezra – you suggest sarcastically that some have clairvoyance, then you go on to predict what the AU price will be – great clairvoyance there.

    Or do you work for Proton? That’s the only reason anyone would go in to bat for them.

    But I suppose it will be “Lotus Tuned” like the others. A great help – not.

  • Allan

    “Feedback from owners and reviewers in Malaysia has been good with the Persona despite bad public sentiment towards proton. It’s a more refined car than it’s predecessors. From more solid doors to better sound insulation.”

    Its a more refined car than it’s predecessors because the predecessor was utter rubbish. This new Persona is just a lousy Gen2 with a boot slapped on. Has anyone here sat in a Gen2 or the newer Satria Neo? With an interior made like that, quality control is probably non existent in their manufacturing process. And yet many malaysians are still proud of these cars. Heck, they even say the Savvy is a good car. What are they smoking? If it sold for AUD$16k, i would rather add another couple of grand and get a base model yaris sedan.

  • http://www.4driversonly.com/50226711/2008_nissan_skyline_gtr.php 2008 nissan skyline

    The features and re-engineering has a bit of improvement and even the price, but I think, they should focus on improving the overall performance of the car to keep them in the competitive edge.

  • http://ezralimm.blogspot.com ezra

    The AUD16k price was taken from the article above by caradvice.com.au. I wasnt making up figures. It more or less matches malaysian OTR prices just like previous models so it is believable.

    A baseline yaris sedan is effectively 25% more expensive assuming the price is AUD20k. but in reality it’s more like AUD22.5k OTR. AUD7.5k is a fair bit of money.

    From what i read in malaysian forums, the ride and handling has been softened to suit it’s role as a small family sedan. It’s not as hard as the neo or gen2.

    Allan said
    August 24 2007 @ 11:33 am
    Its a more refined car than it’s predecessors because the predecessor was utter rubbish. This new Persona is just a lousy Gen2 with a boot slapped on. Has anyone here sat in a Gen2 or the newer Satria Neo? With an interior made like that, quality control is probably non existent in their manufacturing process. And yet many malaysians are still proud of these cars. Heck, they even say the Savvy is a good car. What are they smoking?
    Have you sat in one? Or a similarly price car of another brand? It’s a budget car. QC has been VERY VERY BAD in some year’s models (the waja’s built before the savvy was introduced, for example), but since a management shakeup and a new director, the QC for current protons have been improving. Thus, there are many satisfied savvy and neo users in malaysia. Most of the people you hear complaining havent even rode in one. The savvy is a cheap small car which sips fuel at 5.7L/100km. There is a market for that kind of cars. I understand that many australians are used to fuel guzzling ~1600kg full sized sedans, but there is simply no comparison. You cant compare a car that is AUD13000 OTR with a AUD35000 sedan. Quality and build will definitely not be the same. When you are talking about budget cars, priced under AUD20k, you simply cannot expect the same level of quality as a Falcon or Accord.

    Even my car, costing just over AUD20k, has a slight rattling dash. It’s a Honda Jazz, yet the interior build is nothing to shout about. cheap plastics aplenty. COMPARE LIKE WITH LIKE. The next time you are in a swift, getz, jazz, or even a yaris, try knocking on the side panels and lo-and-behold: hard plastic.

    Proton can and does make cars of better build quality. For example, the police fleet in Birmingham, UK, uses protons. Of course, they cost closer to AUD30k. Unlike the persona that will likely cost under AUD20k OTR.

    TCO and reliability is also decent. Asides from Malaysia, there are also proton taxi fleets in indonesia and the middle east for that reason. So i guess the bottom line is you’re paying a cheap price for a cheap car that has decent reliability and low TCO. It’s a cheap car…so expect cheap trims.

  • watah

    there is problably alot of satisfied neo and savvy drivers in malaysia because they have not bought and lived with other makes of cars as they can not afford any other car which has been taxed out of competition. for these people, proton is all they know. give them a new car and they will say its nice.

    if u like proton so much why the hell you bought a jazz for. sell it off and buy a persona when it comes here or a savvy.

    a test of a cars reliability is not guaranteed just because it is used by fleet taxis or that sort. it is problably there only because its priced cheaply for the fleet. whether at loss or not.

    nobody is comparing a 35k aud car to a 13k aud car. savvy is a coffin on wheels that sips fuel at 5.7litres/100km.

    by the way, i am pretty sure majority of malaysians are not proud of proton anymore. its hard when u dont have much choice to try out others cars to compare for yourself.

  • watah

    if you haven’t noticed. reviews on proton cars in malaysia have always been positive and rarely negative while foreign journalist say the opposite. that tells you something.
    Savvy is a good example.

    to get an unbiased view, read up all reviews from over the world and make up your own decision. that goes for any car.

  • http://andymervingeorge.com Ndmervin

    Malaysia’s 2nd car-maker, Perodua, has been very smart in affiliating with Toyota in producing their mini compact cars. Technology exchange and the right designs has been the forefront of Perodua who makes best-selling cars. To have Perodua over-taking it’s big brother today are all due to their management culture. Proton should not be cocky but learn from other competitors.

    We wont know how the Persona will fair in the coming months. Usually Proton cars would show its tail after 3 months, as the same with the Neo and Savvy. It is the cheapest sedan in town but does it also mean ‘cheap’ in quality as well? I hope the Proton guys are really ‘polished’ this time around.

  • proton nai des

    i once had a proton and it was the worst car id ever driven. after the 2nd yr that car had more 2nd hand spare parts than original parts. my current 1992 ford laser runs better than that piece of junk…id never buy a proton again…ever. i remember when proton said that they wanted the waja to b up there with the likes of bmw…who r they trying to bullshit? poor malaysians, please forgive they mustve knocked their heads when they got out of bed…oh wait a minute they never got outta bed their still asleep and dreaming

  • stingbee

    Most of you guys never sat or drive one the latest proton (persona,savvy or gen2) and could give negative comment on it. I am owner of 2005 gen2 manual for 2 years already. my mileage 100k already. My car have no problem so far. persona is based on gen2. from my point of view persona is an upgraded version of gen2 where all the weakness of gen2 are adressed and rectified. I have no problem with ergonomics of gen2 but lot of people like to complain.

  • Personafication

    reserve ur judgement if u have not even step into the new persona yet. yes, proton do have some reliability issue in the past but the new persona is a clear example that they’ve learned their mistakes.

    im not going into extend to compare this new persona with the new vios. its a matter of u get what u pay for. considering the buying capabilities of the majority of malaysian, this sedan does looks like a very good bargain.

    let just say, if u think u wanna buy it, go ahead and do it. but, if the thought of buying this car is out of ur equation, than u better shut ur mouth, rather than criticizing other people’s effort.

  • NothingPersona L

    I hated Proton cars so much before. But i’ve drove the new persona recently in malaysia. To tell you all, Proton has improved. and I loved that car better than New VIOS.

  • pekida30

    frankly speaking…i’m just not confident driving proton cars..thats y i’m sold 2 proton cars (wira and perdana) and buy new cars which more worth my money…there come my volvo..

    but what i’m curios about is…doesnt proton ever plan before “buying” lotus?…they should plan and fully utilized the technology, design and everything they could used and implement it into proton itself…hope proton do something to gain malaysian trust with our “beloved” malaysian cars

  • jali

    I have a Honda Accord and a Persona. The Persona is not bad at all. I dont have problems at all with it. People are just bias. Of course the ride on my accord is better.

  • baga

    Proton Nai Des, do not over-generalise. Never ever group Malaysians as a whole when what you need to refer to is just a car-maker. As a native English speaker, you really must be ashamed of your language.

    And to pass judgment on a car you have never sat in before, let alone drive is testimony to the fact your view is biased and simply unsubstantiated. Purely based on a past experience that is almost irrelevant in the present. It’s like saying I won’t buy Kelly Clarkson because I hated The Beatles – simply absurd.

    I have a Savvy and in my 2 years of ownership, it has been absolutely 100% trouble-free. Plus, it sips fuel. Dont even get me started on your Ford and its horrendous consumption.

  • http://solleh.ourstreamyx.com Alson Pang

    At first impression, the Proton Persona is a worthy successor to the Proton Wira. It is improved in almost all areas compared to the Wira and even the GEN2. However there were still some build issues here and there, for example some wiring was left exposed, like the lock for the rear boot as well as some wiring in the footwells of the dashboard. The steering boss assembly in one of the cars I drove was also not up to standards.

    These are normal quality issues with the early production batches of any car from any manufacturer. The true test of whether Proton has changed or not will be the test of time, and whether it’s service networks have been improved or not. It will be up to early adopters of this car to tell us of their experiences.

    Anyway, for those who have the intention of buying this car and want to do something to it aesthetically to keep it a little different from the rest of the Persona crowd.

  • http://solleh.ourstreamyx.com Alson Pang

    The high line version has the Proton Campro CPS engine, which also comes in 1.6 liter displacement. This engine made its Malaysian debut with the Proton Waja(Impian in UK) Premium CPS recently. It produces 125 horsepower at 6,500rpm, and 150Nm of torque at 4,500rpm, while also making at least 139Nm from 3,000rpm onwards.

  • http://solleh.ourstreamyx.com Alson Pang

    As previously explained, the new CPS engine uses two technologies to achieve the new higher output and torque levels. One is CPS, a camshaft profile switching system which changes over at 3,800rpm and enables a higher valve lift. The other is VIM, which stands for Variable Intake Manifold. A longer intake manifold is used at low RPMs to achieve slower air flow; this promotes better mixing with fuel. The short intake manifold allows more air in faster, which is beneficial at high RPMs

  • http://solleh.ourstreamyx.com Alson Pang

    With the extra power and torque, its only natural that the engine would produce more heat, so Proton has installed an additional water-cooled oil cooler. This can be seen installed next to the oil filter. You can see a cylindrical object with heat sink fins.

  • http://solleh.ourstreamyx.com Alson Pang

    The Proton Campro 1.6 IAFM engine produces the same peak torque and horsepower as the barebones Campro, but also has had its low to mid range torque boosted to eliminate the torque dip. The IAFM engine has a variable intake manifold system that produces similiar results to the Campro CPS’s VIM system, using a long runner and a short runner. It also has a coil on plug ignition system which eliminates spark plug cable losses, something that even the CPS engine does not have.

  • azam sani

    4 those who complained 2 much just buy a ferrari if u dun like cheap cars! stupid

  • zack

    proton have learn lot of thing before produce persona..All complaint and weak in previos car was solve with a new PERSONA..Handling with lotus technology give me a suitable driving on the road…Proud to be malaysian boy…

  • Kenny

    no comments no improve, I’m a Malaysian, I hope the comments from oversea can wake proton up and getting more improve than ever. Just like those Japanese car been sooo famous now, til many drivers accept them around the world . Because their improvement and upgrade impressed evry drivers nowadays.(i remember my grandpa told me the Japanese cars is the worst car in the world when i was young 18 years ago). Proton plz take people comment and improve urself,else u be making the low budget and lousy car forever and ever. I hope proton may upgrade their standard to bmw or merZ .I’ll be proud of u proton.

  • Hudson

    Go Proton….. go proton…. prove the world that you have improve….. now Persona with IAFM (Intake Air-Fuel Modulation).

  • Zool

    I have a Waja Campro (2 years), a Gen 2 1.3 Auto (Almost 3 years) and a New Proton Saga IAFM (3 weeks), all trouble free.

  • JietZ

    i’m a malaysian, proton has been a difficult topic for anyone, anywhere, especially in malaysia. i hate to say this but i drive an iswara (not in production anymore). ever since my dad bought that, it was a good car until i’ve sat in civics, citys, vioss, rx8, and many cars similiar to it. it’s a sad thing that proton is gettng more and more ridiculous rubbish ideas from (u name it). however, we should give them a few more years, since there’s a new management and we might see something different – worse or better. toyota, lotus, nissan and fiat didn’t do well in their first 4 decades of their business. and proton is only 23 years old. no doubt they had long enough to develope, think of their chances with today’s competitive market, which is around 120 years old.
    to be still in the business is already an achievement, looking at who they are selling their cars to. but to achieve better results, proton really do need more work.


  • Lynsay

    I own a wira 1.5auto for the past 14 yrs, no problem.
    I am planning to buy Persona Highline asap bcos of budget,stylish and safety. Can anyone tell me is the IAFM engine good? Another question is where is the Navigator (global system) fixed, in the dashboard itself?

  • Rosli

    I already used 4 proton cars, 2 toyotas,1 mazda, 1 ford,1 opel and 2 daihatsus. When comparing those cars, all of them had strong points and weaknesses. My latest car, a toyota – engine/ engine compartment rattles when travels above 70 km/h. Do you expect that from no one car maker ?

  • Alvin AA

    It’s a dream come true 4 me 2 own a Proton Persona 1.6 Medium line recently. Beautiful car and also perform beautiful. Quality is great. I can’t wait to own the New Proton Perdana 2008, I heard is very beautiful. I don’t mind someone give it 2 me.



  • Joseph Leong

    I have driven 2 Nissan, 1 Mazda, 1 Daihatsu, 2 Protons (Saga 1.5 & Wira 1.5) before. Repair cost for Mazda & Nissans cars really kills you. Daihatsu car is excellent and cost saving with low maintenance. Finally, I’ve decided to purchase Wira 1.5 in 2003 and this is my 5th year driving the car with over 150K Km mileage and with no problem and very low maintenance. I regret for not buying earlier and now I’ve just bought a Persona and awaiting for the new car arrival.

  • jimmy

    Dun get cheat by proton persona…if you are looking for persona then I advise you to check out the toyota vios J series. RM64K vs RM75K..top up slightly and drive safely.

    I am telling you the truth that proton quality is sucks till today……proton think buyer is so free to visit their workshop every month.

    Driving proton is like sitting inside a plan…super light super fast………

    Maintenance is cheaper for proton of course but compare to the time u need to bring ur car to workshop …proton probably the worst car ever…..

    I’m telling you this cause I’m driving the new persona.

    Hahhaah lucky me only have 3 of the listed problem from above

  • bulg

    proton car was pool design…very soft body…very cheaper car…quality not too good..and maybe not reasonable for rich people…pool car for poor people.

    • jack

      idiot please refer real meaning for poor???? stupidd everrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..u should born in bosnia

  • Jay

    Has anyone checked out the new Proton Journey yet? Simply stunning. It may dissuade anyone from Grand Lavina or Innova.

  • Maurice

    I think this is very unfair to a lot of Malaysians because the government wants to protect the brand of our nation cars. Originally the car isn’t consider cheap. For instance, a proton would probably be around RM 50-60K, Around 10-15 EUR, but in European countries, you could easily get a Ford Fiesta or maybe a Fiat which the built quality is so much better then Protons and they are the same price. It is very unfair for us to pay so much more while getting less then expected. That is why I always ell my friends to get a Honda City or a second hand one, you wouldn’t want to risk your life under recycled scrap metal on the road.

  • Norman the rider

    1st thing 1st,I’ve owned several cars including Toyota Starlet,Corolla,Ford Focus,Hyundai before switching to Proton currently,So far Proton have improve drastically except for minor items like no airbags/ABS on entry and base line(Only high line got this goodies).So far i’m satisfied with the car although it’s not as good as Japs or continental makes.From my point of view its cheap and reliable over Chinese makes in my honest opinion.Proton can consider cheap even though for Singapore market.Maybe it the past Proton which got quality issued with its bodywerk,Power windows that certain peeps stereotype it for.C’mon eeven makes like Subarus and Hyundais got their flaws when they first started

  • Mat Jang

    I have own 2 proton (Saga 1.5 – Knight and Wira 1.5 Manual – Export Version) . The Knight still the best ever car for me. Unfortunately got stolen recently after 16 years of ownership. Thief also like that car I guest. Lucky him.

    You buy proton, maintain it properly.. it will be the best for u. Just Try buy BMW and do some low maintenance.. You got it..still be the worst car u ever own.. It’s is your own money.. If I am rich.. I rather buy a plane and forget about complaining about cars.. but being so stupid owning a plane bcoz u just cannot park it in front of your house…

    Waiting for my Persona to arrived. It’s my money.. not yours… Buy One and You can Make some comments about it.. Cheers..

  • J

    Yeah, sorry, despite regular maintenance, the Persona isn’t a great car in terms of quality, it’s really no comparison to everything else out there on the market. Obviously, in Malaysia, there is a different perception of the word “quality”.

    And for some odd reason, don’t think you can quite compare a passenger car to an airplane either.

  • Grinch

    Let me tell you guys something, You guys are all arguing here and for some of you I don’t even know why you guys even argue when hard proved facts are there.
    Proton cars are known to be very very very bad cars. Come on who are you guys kidding???
    They have been bad and they will always be, why? for simple reasons as Malaysians rule to tax out all foreign cars and making sure that proton cars survive, but how would they ever improve if there is no competition. They have bought over LOTUS has really made any difference? NO I believe.
    So many good designs all around and the Proton cars are known to have more ugly cars then the pretty ones. Savyy? That mini van that looks like a toaster, The new Saga and exora are also not spared. I remember seeing the sketch version of the Exora on the internet a year back and it looked marvelous but when the time came, the car is made into BIG TV box. It is gonna be tough should Malaysian cars reduce the tax on foreign made cars but it would definitely teach a lesson to Proton.
    No creativity at all when it comes to design. Services provided are horrible.
    Lets leave patriotism aside my hommies and look into reality. But our cars SUCK.

  • Dominic

    Though Proton is not the best car in the market but it sure beat buying a car only to be in heavy debt. Why? Because others condemned the car and I was not sure whether it is true or not. Though I am a Malaysian and not really proud of Proton’s car, I do own a Persona. Why? Becuase it is the cheapest 1.6L car on the road. It is cheaper to maintain and its performance is acceptable base on the price I paid. Honestly, not all foreign cars from Japan or continental cars are PERFECT. Toyota has rattling problems with the Vios and Honda’s City engine can be noisy after 2 years of use. There is no perfect car but we can make the car sounds good or bad through our regular attention to service and upkeep. Like someone said here already, try to run a BMW with no or very low proper maintenance and see if you pay through your wallet. It has a lot to do with the drive or owner of the car. If I am a family man and don’t ram my car, the Persona is a perfect family car. However, if I am a young chap who likes to ram my car in drag race, it is not going to give you the performance as expected. Let’s be fair, we are comparing a veteran car producer like Toyota, Ford and others to a young producer like Proton.

  • Dominic

    I own a Persona M-Line. Acutally, car is ok except for these small issues.
    1. Don’t like the flapping sound from the IAFM. Anyone can share how to reduce this sound?
    2. Petrol consumption seems high. A full tank can only last me about 5 days and my average travelling per day is about 40km/day.
    3. Body paint is thin and britlle. Paint chips off easily.
    4. Pick up is a bit slow especially when in 2nd and 3rd gear.

    Other than that, it is ok. Like the car. Any comments?

    • Chan Hoo

      Hi, i have read your inquiry about Proton Persona fuel consumption, maybe i can share some information with you regarding the car fuel comsumption issue.

      I owe Persona Manual on August 2009. Just about 2 months oledi 3800km oledi. Iam use to travel extensively as my job require me to do so. What i have been calculated cost/km is about 13cents/km for highway/ long distance travelling. That is about RM 60.00 for 450-480km

      City drive is more fuel consuming that can reach about 17 cents/km.That about RM 60.00 for 350km oli. I dun like that!!!!

      If you are talking full tank that about RM 80.00 for 200km oli, might be very very heavy consumption oledi. Fuel additive can affect the car consumption on fuel. Try to use caltex petrol. What you can do to know what is ur car fuel comsuption are:
      1. pump full tank
      2.reset the travel odometer to zero
      3. travel to half tank then refill the tank to full again.
      4. check the travel odometer on how many KM have you travel. eg. half tank have travelled 200km.
      5. take the distance that you have travelled eg. 200km divide by the amount of money you have pay to refill the fuel tank into full, then you will can your cents/km.

      Hope the information is useful for you.

  • Norman

    If you think the new Vios and City is good,Think again.I’m the parts supplier for both models and several other makes too.Made in Thailand body,engine only licensed by Japan.In 3 years time they will be the same like Proton which most of you call junk..Think again some BMW parts are also made in China/Taiwan.So if you think your BMW is 100% continental think again.New Generation cars aren’t like last time where quality is the most priority.In order to save cost and sell it at competitive prices,Several conti and Jap makes opt for Taiwan and China parts

  • aki


  • Man

    Plasic parts of the City and Vios looks the same as the plastic parts in the old and new Saga. Probably supplied by the same Malaysian parts supplier.

  • fakhrulrz

    hai aki.. i also got the same problem with u.. but i was report to the sc and they can solve the problem with replace new one! but wait until couple of week to replace it.. my bearing water pump also damaged but i don’t know it until i go to sc. they found the problem with unusually sound.. hehe! save my money with warranty.. go to sc la k… iafm 1st and 2nd edition with a mechanical / technical problem.. 3nd edition proton solve the iafm problem…. iafm price now about rm300 at outside.. 2007 iafm price rm 1000.. hehe!

  • aussie

    Proton are always useless….Malaysia corrupted government rules by the so called Malas-yu (Malay) who only wait to be fed. How proton can be proud of. Only Malas-yu will be proud of because they cannot prove anything but their Proton that use to buy 2nd had model from the Mitsubishi. Go die la Melayu. Go back Indonesia and let the Indian and Chinese develop the country alone. At least it would be as civilize as Singapore or maybe Bangolore.