And here it is, the 2019 Proton Saga which was officially launched just moments ago at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC). Sure, it’s a facelift to the popular model, but it is an important move to the brand – the original Proton model given a significant change post-Geely investment.
First things first – the car does not answer to ‘Hello Proton’ unlike the facelifted Iriz, Persona, or indeed the latest X70. In fact it does not answer to any voice command as it lacks the GKUI hardware. This is a deliberate move due to the Saga’s positioning as the baseline Proton. This also explains why the new floating screen design – perhaps one of the current trends in interior design – is only present in the Saga and not other models. At 7-inches it is decently sized, and is a major part of the infotainment system which offers Bluetooth connectivity, a 16GB internal storage, and Mirroring (for Android phones).
The latter – including the touchscreen, however – is only featured in the top-spec Premium AT variant. Others in the three variant line-up are the baseline Standard MT and Standard AT.
Prices as follows:
Proton Saga 1.3 Premium AT (4-spd) RM39,800
Proton Saga 1.3 Standard AT (4-spd) RM35,800
Proton Saga 1.3 Standard MT (5-speed) RM32,800
Compared to before, Proton has ditched the Executive variant. In any case, prices has dropped vis-à-vis by roughly RM2,000 for the Premium, RM500 for the Standard AT, and RM800 for the Standard MT.
You must have also noticed that the gearbox has changed from the previous CVT to a 4-speed automatic, as rumoured before. Power comes off a 1,332cc engine that makes 95ps at 5,750rpm and 120Nm at 4,000rpm. This makes peak power and torque arriving at the same engine speeds as when using CVT, so we look forward to feeling the difference when on the road.
The exterior boasts the Proton Infinite Weave motif, new front bumper, LED DRL, new 15-inch alloy wheels, integrated rear spoiler, and new rear bumper. With the exception of the LEDs and 15-inch alloys, all are standard for all variants. The Standard MT gets steel wheels while the Standard AT gets alloys, both in 14-inch size. All variants use halogen headlamps.
Other improvements noted by Proton are lower NVH, better braking performance, and enhanced body control.
For safety all three variants get two front airbags, while the Premium gets the addition of ESC, traction control, Hill Hold Assist, front parking sensors, and reverse camera.