Published on October 17th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair1
5 Key Strengths of the New Proton Saga
Despite sharing about 70% of its parts with the outgoing Saga FLX, the new Saga is a drastic improvement in every aspect. We understand the difficulty in adding REAL value to a car that is made for those with tight budgets, which is why we really appreciate some of the things Proton have done with the new Saga. During our drive to Ipoh with the car, this is what we found.
- Easy Accessibility
This may seem like a trivial thing to point out, but the Saga is extremely easy to get in and out of, even for larger adults. Take a look at the car’s silhouette and you’ll see that the designers have taken measures to ensure the styling had an element of practicality to it. Headroom is adequeate and the doors and their hinges have been reengineered to be much easier to open and shut. They’ve done this without compromising on safety and build quality.
And just look at how wide the rear doors can open. For a car of this size, easy access is a top priority and Proton have succeeded in this realm.
- A Functional, Good-looking and Robust Interior
The Saga may be the most affordable car in Proton’s stable, but it’s in no way cheaply made. The materials used are actually rather solid and feel like they will last the lifetime of the car. You’ll notice stitching running across the dashboard. This is not something we expected in a car of this price.
To achieve this level of detail at a lower cost, Proton cut down the complexity of the process, using 8 layers of film instead of 11. The result is one of Proton’s most cohesive, easy-to-live-with interiors.
- Safer In More Ways than One
The base model Saga may not come with any braking aids or stability control, but it has extremely predictable handling going for it. This is a driver’s first line of defence, and we were thoroughly impressed with the way these cars handled themselves at high speeds. For those looking for a car to drive around town, the Standard model still comes with ISOFIX mounting points, 2 airbags and all-round sensors, which is decent considering the price of RM36,800.
But if you’re prepared to pay a little extra for more safety features, you’ll be glad to hear that the new Saga has the works – including Anti-lock Braking, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control and Hill Start Assist. The last two are hardly found in the A-segment, so kudos to Proton for making sure they made the list at all.
- Unbelievable Refinement
Proton has significantly improved the level of refinement in the new Saga. Additional dampening material is visible in the engine bay so keep harsher noises away from the passenger compartment.
In addition, they’ve moved from 4 engine mounting points to 3, lowering the amount of vibration and harshness that gets transferred to the chassis.
This makes for a ride that is exceptionally smooth for a car of its size. Even when pushing the 1.3-litre VVT engine to its absolute limit, engine, road and wind noise was within acceptable limits, matching and sometimes outperforming many other entries in the segment.
- Updated Equipment List
Consumers these days are used to technology in every product. Proton has been listening to feedback and as a result, the new Saga is filled with small, but practical innovations to keep owners and their families happy. Take the centre console-mounted USB ports, for instance. With these 2, the kids at the rear can charge their devices and keep themselves entertained during long journeys.
The Single-DIN head unit on the base model may look basic, but it can accept input through USB, the Aux jack and even Bluetooth. Audio quality was suprisingly decent too. The full-spec model even comes with a reverse camera on its double DIN head unit.