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Published on November 28th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Proton Inspira 1.8CVVT Test Driven

In 2007 the Mitsubishi Lancer was introduced in Malaysia as the latest 10th generation Lancer with much success and its sales demand has been steady until recently when Proton took in this popular Lancer as its donor product. Now a new PROTON arrived last month and its initial stock of some 1200 cars were sold within a week. Why? It is a stylish handsome looking car with features to pop the eyes of all the segment players and comes with a price tag from just RM78,999 (1.8-liter manual). Better still it is a Japanese product with Malaysia input on the suspension, exterior styling and Proton adds a 2-year warranty service package on the car purchase to sweeten the deal. Can it get any better? Yes! We test drive it and here is our evaluation. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder MIVEC motor fires up with an enthusiastic hum, and as one of the most powerful units in its class, this engine makes a substantial 141 horses, and is brimming over with enthusiasm as it pushes out 178Nm of torque. It has to push only 1380kg of metal, so performance is not class leading.

Acceleration however is strong from a standstill, even when only using part-throttle and the Inspira moves forward very smartly.

Driving around in city traffic as a result is effortless, even in a higher gear; the Inspira is smooth and responsive right from 1500rpm.

The CVT gearbox rows its way up the range like a sewing machine on heat (we were also disappointed with this same CVT gearbox when it was installed in the Lancer GT) and this is where we prefer to go into semi-manual mode where the drive gets more exciting and the ‘sewing’ machine whine is better managed.

Overtaking on the highway is good but needs better use of a manual gear change from the driver. Expect 0-100kph to come up inside 12secs and this Inspira 1.8-liter will top 190km/h with ease.

Exterior shares the Mitsubishi design DNA with revised headlamps, bumpers and grille.

On the inside it is just like in the Lancer except the new easier to use car audio system, seat trim and paneling that runs along the doors and dash.

For occupant safety, ISOFIX points are included in the rear as well as front airbags.

Many onlookers during my weekend with the Inspira commented on its looks being too close to the Lancer, but we feel no reason to comment on this as everyone is entitled to an opinion. Right?

Proton INSPIRA 1.8-liter CVT Specifications.
Engine: 1798cc MIVEC
Gearbox: INVECS-III with CVT Sports Mode
Max power: 141 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 178Nm @ 4250 rpm
Top Speed: 192km/h
Price: RM84,999.00

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