As you all know, Proton has just launched its most promising car yet, the Proton Iriz. A small 1.3/1/6 litre car, it is targeted to take on B segment cars such as For Fiesta, VW Polo and especially Produa Myvi.
Proton has just launched its most promising car yet, the Proton Iriz and to showcase the car and the technology behind the development of the car, the company held a 2 day event aimed at luring potential customers to purchase the car. The “Alami Proton” carnival was held at the Proton Centre of Excellence in Shah Alam.
The event takes the visitors on a tour through the Proton manufacturing, R&D and testing facilities. Most of those areas do not allow pictures to be taken, so sorry for the absences of pictures.
Visitors were brought through different segments of the facility in to give the visitors a clearer picture of the painstaking development process required to bring the Proton Iris to life. The tour was quite informative and gives one a new perspective ton Proton and their commitment to improve their cars.
The picture below, for example is one of the engineers explaining the structural design of the car which ensures it a 5 star rating in the Asean NCAP car safety certification.
Obviously, the highlight of the event is the test drive section where visitors were driven in the Proton Iriz, Suprima S and Preve on the Proton test track, which by the way has 45 degree banking corners.
As I’m not a car freak myself, this review will be purely done in layman terms. For more technical talk about the car, Paultan.org is a better site. I’ll try to make my comments as simple and understandable as possible to the layman.
First of all, what a beautiful car it is. A farcry from the Proton Savvy, which was the last small car Proton built, but failed quite miserably. This B segment comes in a 2 type of engines, the new 1.3 and 1.6 VVT engines, which basically produces the same power as the Campro IAFM engines, but with more fuel efficiency. Despite being heavier than the Saga, performance is better on the 0-100km/h part in both 1.3 and 1.6 models.
Trim levels range from standard and executive 1.3 to executive and premium 1.6. Prices range from RM42,888 for the base model to RM62,888 for the premium model. All models come with ABS, EBD, at least 2 airbag, ESC and Traction Control, making it the safest care in the price range.
Inside the cabin, Proton has done a very good job with the quality of the interior. While not quite on par with Honda, it can give Toyota a run for their money and it is definitely better than if not equal to the new MyVi built quality. The back can fit 3 comfortably even big sized people.
On the entertainment side, the 1.3 models come with a 2 Din Radio CD / MP3 Player, USB & AUX Port, Bluetooth, while the 1.6 models come with a 6′ LCD Screen with DVD Player, Integrated DSP, USB & AUX Port, Bluetooth, WiFi Enabled with GPS navigation and reverse camera.
If you are a music lover, stay away from the 1.3 models because it only has 2 speakers as opposed to 4 speakers in executive and premium models. 1.3 models also lack the 1 and 2 amp USB charging ports (there are 2 ports) that are quite useful and also audio controls on the steering wheel.
The top 1.6 premium model is the most well equipped than the rest with 6 airbags and, key-less entry and push start button.
Iriz 1.3 standard
Iriz 1.6 Premium
For more specifications on the Iriz, you can go to the Proton Website. Now to talk about the test drive. We had a couple of laps around the Proton test track with a total of 5 people in the care. We were not that fortunate and got the 1.3 manual model to be driven in.
The cabin was surprisingly quiet, much quieter than the Saga and also the Myvi, I could say, even at speeds up to 160km/h. In the 1.3 model, the engine was a bit revvy, but the noise was nothing near annoying. Seems like Proton has not been stingy with the noise insulation across all models of the Proton Iriz.
For the handling and ride quality, as opposed to the MyVi, which I have driven before, the Iriz was firmly planted on the ground especially at high speeds. You can really feel the solidness of the ride and handling even when you’re not the one driving. Have a look at the test drive and see for yourself. Compare the sound of the walkie talkie and the cabin noise. Keep in mind at one point we were traveling at 160km/h (although it doesn’t seem that fast).
Well, if you not short on cash, go for the premium 1.6 model. But at that price you can already also consider an entry level Preve if interior space is one consideration. If you are on a budget, the base model is a far better deal than the Perodua Axia Advance, well at least for me.
Between the 1.3 executive and 1.6 executive, the most significant difference is the entertainment system where the 1.6 model has an Android system, GPS, reverse camera and 15 inch rims as opposed to 14 inch rims. Between them is an RM 7,000 difference.
If you are concerned about the entertainment system, don’t worry, I’m sure there will be after market accessories on sale later on that you can buy. Same goes for the rims. So, your real concern is the engine.
The 1.3 manual has a 0-100kmh acceleration time of 12.2 seconds and a top speed of 165kmh while the 1.6 manual has an acceleration time of 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 175kmh. So if you are a Speedy Gonzalez, the 1.6 might be your best bet to tackle the winding roads of Genting Highlands or driving up to Kelantan. Else, you can save RM7k on the 1.3 model if your daily commute is within the city.
For me, the introduction of the Proton Iriz has somewhat made the choice of B segment cars a bit easier. The built quality of Proton cars has steadily increased since the introduction of the Preve and with the Iriz, Proton has seemed to nailed it. If before I was dreaming of a owning a RM100K VW Polo or a RM70K Ford Fiesta, now, not anymore. Yes, it’s that good.
And at this price, it might sway many of the would be Polo and Fiesta, as well as MyVi buyers if they are open minded enough to test drive the car, given the bad reputation of Proton cars in the past.
iMyn is the Co-Founder and some say Chief Content Officer of RinggitKini.com. Has a craze in travel, writing and current issues.