Published on April 9th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Proton Perdana V6 1999 Used Car Review

Remember this sports sedan? Remember how you wanted one when it was launched? Remember how you looked at ways to ‘soup it up’ to fuel your on road cornering and 0-100km/h dash needs? Well before the all new Perdana arrives in the next few months let’s look at a used Perdana V6…….the only V6 from Proton at the time to challenge the Ford Telstar V6.

The Proton Perdana was released to the Malaysian market to fill the gap occupied by the record holding Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Initially released as a 2-liter 4-cylinder available in either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, it was very well received. With good success in the mid range corporate market the introduction of the most luxurious Proton, the Perdana V6 was done to cater to a growing demand for luxurious and smooth executive cars. This car was aimed at the 30 something professional that were just shy of the funds to get a desirable BMW 3-Series. At almost half the price the Perdana not only looked good, it was also very stylish in and out.

Although it was styled by Mitsubishi, Proton would not have been able to develop this car without the aid of Lotus, the British engineering firm of which it bought 80% in 1996. The Perdana shares its mechanicals and interior engineering with the Mitsubishi Eterna, but there is where it all ends. The revised look and handling comes from Proton owns design department and Lotus Engineering.

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The ingredients were right, but let’s not get carried away. This was not a European car competitor. One glance at the interior tells you that; the fascia mouldings are hard plastic, their textures and finish like a Japanese car of the 1980s. The seats are hard, rather plain and not very well shaped. Wrapped in leather for that luxuries feel, it gives the interior that added touch of class.

A used Perdana V6 is one of the roomiest cars in its class, with a walk-in environment that has a spacious, airy feel. The boot is big enough, with a regular shape largely unencumbered by large suspension turrets, while rear leg and headroom will impress even those Malaysians over 6 feet tall. In terms of aesthetics, the Perdana has a look of sleek solidity about it thanks to the high doorline, and raised tail. It is thoroughly modern, with the corners of the stubby nose defined by large, diamond sleek looking headlights.

At the back, the light clusters wrap around the rear with a smoked effect. There is a clear prestige identity to the styling; with colour coded door handles and side mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, and chrome detailing in the grille and across the rump adding that touch of class. The discreet bodykit that circulates the outer ridges of the car oozes seductively around the car.

The 24-valve, 147bhp V6 engine is smooth and responsive but comes with high maintenance costs, which might shock the average Proton owner looking for an upgrade. Spark plugs and synthetic oil are the major costs. Used Perdana’s are everywhere so take your time to pick one up. Abuse on these cars is common with some owners shoe horning twin turbo engines and four wheel drive options. This reduces value as it immediately means road abuse. Door panels can get loose at their bottoms and power window issues are not as serious as on other Protons. Seats get soft and lose support after time. Panel fit like glove box and sun visors could be bad and need inspection. Try and locate a single owner unit with less that 200K mileage if you are looking at long-term use. Dealer service history not vital as many workshops do a good job and sometimes-even better.  Servicing record should also reflect regular gear oil change, which is a major issue in early Perdana cars.

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With a used Perdana, Proton is offering an attractive, good-value alternative to cars like the Hyundai Sonata, Mitsubishi Galant, Ford Telstar, Mazda 626, Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Looked at another way, if you were considering any of these other cars you could be saving thousands of ringgit. Its closest rival in the used car lot sells for at least RM5K more however the V6 can suffer from some gearbox problems, interior noise after some wear and high maintenance if not properly looked after by its previous owners.  A test drive around a block with a few speed bumps and a quick ‘U’ turns should confirm to you the general condition of the car and a decision to purchase or not. Prices start as low as RM11K for a early used V6 and you will have to keep aside at least RM5k for wear and tear replacements.

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