Saga FLX CVT test drive – Drive Safe and Fast

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Published on August 6th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Saga FLX CVT test drive

While many established car manufacturers continue to issue simple plastic and painted facelifted models (like what Toyota did recently with the popular Vios) into the Malaysian market, our very own Proton has taken steps to keep give its Saga sedan more features and better engineering. Here comes a CVT driven Saga with a very slightly movement in asking price. Even The Peugeot 207 sedan can’t compete as it uses an ageing 4-speed gearbox.

We took the Saga CVT for a quick run around the Proton test track. First thing you will notice is its new colour choice. Trim levels remain as before with both Standard and Executive versions each being offered with either a manual of the new CVT. With a RM3,000 premium, the Executive model now get dual airbags, ABS and EBD which puts it on par with cars costing RM30k more.

The FLX 1.3 CVT Campro engine now features a more refined version of Proton’s Integrated Air Fuel Module (IAFM) for better driveability. The new CVT gearbox is supplied by Belgian gearbox specialist ‘Punch’. Punch have supplied gearboxes to MINI, Audi, and Volvo. Protons’ 5-speed manual gearbox now comes from Getrag.

Proton engineers at the test drive confirmed to us that the power outputs remain at 94hp @ 5750rpm and 120Nm @ 4000rpm however fuel consumption at a constant 90kph is now rated at an efficient 5.7 liters/100km.

We get into the CVT driven Saga with a Proton engineer sitting besides us and start our drive in full CVT drive mode. As our pace picked up the CVT shifts were smooth and with no hesitation as we made our pace up to 140km/h. On our 1st lap we picked up the pace from rest and the CVT shifts were a little stiff at pickup but after that it was slick and smooth right up to our top speed. We returned and changed cars. This time we drove the previous 4-speed auto driven Saga FLX and from start we immediately noticed the higher engine revolution gear changes as we picked up speed in the same manner as with the CVT. The increased engine revolution at each gear change meant more fuel being sipped and as we got to the top speed the engine was spinning at a higher range. A definite improvement.
Prices of the new Saga FLX have naturally been revised upwards from the equivalent Saga FL variants. The entry-level Standard models get a RM600 increase to sell at RM38,598 for manual transmission, and RM41,598 for CVT. Meanwhile, the Executive variants, with their improved safety gear, have received a RM1,700 price hike to sell at RM42,398 and RM44,998 for manual and CVT respectively.

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