Published on July 25th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
The New Proton Perdana: First Impressions
We’re currently testing the 2016 Proton Perdana here in Malacca. We’ve spent most of the day driving the 2.4-litre variant, but sat in the rear of the 2-litre version too. From our brief time with the Perdana, a few things are very apparent.
It’s a no-frills D-segment sedan
Like it or not, the Perdana is a rare vehicle. The Camry now comes with a hybrid system, the Accord is starting to look ubiquitous, the Malibu is too thirsty, the Mazda 6 and Mondeo are way too expensive and the Passat has turbocharging and a dual-clutch transmission.
There is a simplicity that anyone can appreciate here. Analogue dials, naturally-aspirated, linear throttle response, and every button placed where you expect it to be placed. Does it feel a little dated? Yes. But not everyone’s view of progress is to add complexity. The Perdana executes its function well without having to resort to gimmicks or complicated mechanicals.
It is great to drive in every conceivable way
Proton can’t take much credit here, but they did decide on the right platform to build on. The Honda Accord chassis and powertrain is extremely well-sorted.
Both the 2-litre and 2.4-litre seem to plateau at around the same reasonably high, very illegal top speed, but the 2.4 is vastly superior, mostly for the great sounds it makes, when, at all, the great insulation allows those sounds into the cabin
It has and will continue to turn heads
It looked good in the photos, but in the metal it’s drop dead gorgeous. We’re reminded of the Holden VF Commodore SSV concept, but there are plenty of other influences present.
The notchback design really does help distinguish it from the Accord it is based upon and the character of the exterior is so strong it helps the car convey a personality of its own. Just look at the difference between the two:
Very well done indeed. By and large, the design is the best reason to get a new Perdana than to buy a used 8th generation Accord. That, and the warranty.
There are still minor problems
It wouldn’t be a Proton if it was perfect, right? Well, we don’t believe in perfect cars, actually. That being said there are very obvious areas that Proton could easily improve upon. First of all, that lower rear bumper has to go.
We would have forgiven black-plastic that cheapened the look, but body-coloured fake exhaust tips? There is no excuse, especially when customers are going to spend years with the car, and paying for the car. A stop-gap measure, such as an alternative bodykit should be made immediately and offered at cost price.
Besides that, the car is fundamentally sound. For RM113,888 and RM138,888 no D-segment car can rival the package it offers. Korean alternatives are present, but there isn’t anything to match the refinement and power of that 2.4-litre K24 Honda engine.