Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Proton Wira 1992 to 2006 Used Car Review
The ageing Proton Wira has seen a lot of good and reliable service for thousands of Malaysians. The Wira was sold in various versions from its launch to keep its appeal fresh. The last version ‘Sports Edition’ was shod with 16-in alloys and some sporty intentions and it sold well despite being a 18-year-old product. Values have already started showing negative forms and we look at buying it used for those looking for rather cheap family motoring with minimal ownership headaches.
In the used car market you can find the Wira in 4-door sedan and 5-door body styles with a range of engines to suit almost all needs and they all come with either 5-speed manual gearboxes or a 3-speed automatic that needs a little bit more urgency in shift action. Starting from a simple 1.3 to a spirited 1.8 twin cam version, which is surprisingly fuel efficient while being quite spirited in its performance it is the 1.5 automatic that should be avoided with its lethargic gear shift action and disappointing consumption. The most popular is the 1.6 middle child, which can be claimed to be the best compromise for the average Malaysian family. The 5-door hatch takes first place in my books as it comes interior versatility and rather attractive profile. When looking for a used unit you can take your time and be ready to walk away from a dealer if he is stubborn in allowing you to test drive or to have the car examined by your mechanic if need be as there are too many units for sale at any one time.
Unlike a number of other saloons in its class in recent years, namely the City and Vios in particular, the Wira isn’t a tall design.
On the inside the Wira will offer decent leg, hip and shoulder room. The front seats are large and supportive; you will sit comparatively lower than on any of the competing cars and surprisingly, comfort levels are as good. You do have to crouch down more when getting in and out, but that is to be expected as this car has a lower stance. However, the last version came equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, which raised the car a little, and make getting in and out easier. The back seats have generous legroom, in the league of the Corolla SEG, but the ‘hip-point’ is quite low and hence you sit more crouched. The front windscreen is steeply raked, the roof is considerably lower than either of these cars and passengers sit lower inside. The luggage area at the back however seems larger than it is. The looks of the Wira in recent years have been given a sporty outlook starting with a tailgate spoiler and a mild spoiler or lip of sorts under the front bumper.
While there was never any particular pleasure in driving a Wira sedan it got the job done. It was never better built or sturdy as its competitors but it was cheap, simple and reliable. It never pretended to be more. These cars sold mostly to people looking for a bargain and many have had a hard life, through such people trying to get them to go even harder. Quite a few were bought by young owners who modified them, some heavily. Modified cars are the province of enthusiasts only and should be avoided if you’re seeking reliability and economy.
Their owners frequently ask a higher price to reflect the work they have done but your chances of getting this back when they re-sell are slim. Stay away unless you have a need for a fast and less reliable car. Watch for modifications to engine or exhaust. Build quality is good on the earlier cars from 1992 to 1996 but the car used economy-class upholstery and plastics that tended to mark and deteriorate with age from 1996 onwards. Prices sit in a huge range starting at just RM6,000 for a 1.3 1993 manual to RM12,000 for a 2004 1.6-liter automatic. In between its life there were interesting version introduced. One good version was the ‘Thomas Cup’ sedan with a nice dark blue color and gray interior. This should sell for just RM9,000 and try and find one with original paint with the showroom stickers to confirm it is accident free. Try and also look for the European export version, which was surprisingly tagged as Persona and had quite decent build and equipment. There is also a 2-liter diesel version which is best avoided as pace and consumption is disappointing to say the least.