Proton GEN-2 1.6 GLS 5dr Car Review - February 2012

REVIEW
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List Price: £10,195
Tax Band: H
Insurance Group: 16
MPG: 39.8
CO2: 170
0-62 Mph: 12.6 secs
BHP: 110 BHP
Range: 438 miles

CarSite Verdict:

 1.75/5

The GEN-2 is the replacement for the old Wira, but even when it was first launched it felt and looked dated next to similar Kias or Hyundais. It does offer plenty of practical space in the boot and cabin space for passengers is decent too. However despite the involvement of Lotus in its development its ride is poor and bumpy and the engine runs out of steam when taken out of the city.

PROS:  Bargain as a used buy, low running costs, good level of equipment.

CONS:  Poor quality and dated interior, dull driving experience, high depreciation, lacklustre performance, rough engine.

Behind the Wheel Looks & Equipment Practicality, Safety & Reliability Value for Money

Behind the Wheel

On entering the cabin you may think you should have paid less than you did. The cloth upholstery and the cheap looking plastics feel dated and of low quality. Rear visibility is hampered a bit by the small door mirrors. The steering-wheel-mounted audio controls are a nice touch, but the layout of the dash is not the easiest to use while driving and the overall impression is of a budget car.

This GEN-2 comes powered by a 110bhp, 1.6-litre, 4 cylinder, 16 valve petrol unit. Capable of producing 109lb-ft of torque, a top speed of 118mph and 0-62mph in 12.6 seconds - but it lacks high end power and feels rough and old fashioned despite the involvement of Lotus in the engine’s development. Average fuel economy of 39.8mpg is decent but not impressive for its
class.

The GEN-2 is a dull and uninspiring drive. Cornering feels vague and the steering doesn’t give the driver much feedback. It also feels bulky and awkward at low speeds and the ride is bumpy.
Unlike the noise from the engine – which is constant – road noise and wind noise are nicely suppressed in the cabin. In fact, it’s one of the best things about this Proton.

Looks & Equipment

While the Proton GEN-2 is not unpleasing to the eye – it does look at least a generation behind its rivals in terms of styling – both externally and internally. Competitors such as Kia and Hyundai offer more up to date styling and better quality interiors for less money.

GL trim comes with power steering, front electric windows, driver and passenger airbags, adjustable steering column, air conditioning, alarm, immobilizer, remote central locking and CD with steering wheel mounted controls.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The Gen-2 has enough space for adults in the front and rear, and has a good sized boot offering 460-litres of space with the rear seats in position and 850-litres with the rear seats folded away.

This is considerably more than the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra offer.

As yet Euro NCAP has not crash tested the Proton GEN-2. All models come fitted with driver and passenger airbags; ABS anti-lock braking system, front and rear crumple zones; side-impact bars, and rollover protection. An alarm, immobiliser and remote central locking also come as standard to deter theft.

Interior trim plastics are cheap and do not feel hard wearing. Proton is not known for its build quality and it’s obvious that the car is built to a budget. Protons have had a good track record on the mechanical side of things, so you shouldn’t have much to worry about on that score. The GEN-2 comes with Proton’s three-year, 60,000 mile warranty and 9,000 mile regular service intervals.

Value for Money

From a purely engineering point of view, the GEN-2 just doesn’t match up to its small hatch competitors. The GLS 1.6-litre gives you lots of goodies for a reasonable price of £10,195, but beware: Protons do not keep their value well so its best to get as much equipment as you can in it (the GSX version) or the best discount you can get. There are plenty of other more accomplished small hatches which will give you better all round performance and not lose their value so quickly.

Running costs are on a par with other in its class, with average fuel economy of 39.8mpg, CO2 emissions of 170g/km putting it into VED band H for Road Tax, and group 16 for insurance.

Proton GEN-2 1.6 GLS 5dr Car Review - by 

All Proton Gen-2 Reviews

Proton GEN-2 1.3 GLS 5dr - March 2012
If a car badge is not the first consideration you look for in a car, then the Proton GEN-2 should interest you. It is not powerful enough to top the medium family car category, but sound engineerin...
Proton GEN-2 1.6 GLS 5dr - February 2012
The GEN-2 is the replacement for the old Wira, but even when it was first launched it felt and looked dated next to similar Kias or Hyundais. It does offer plenty of practical space in the boot and...
Proton GEN-2 1.6 GSX 5dr - March 2012
The Proton GEN-2 1.6 GSX 5 door is relatively good to drive thanks to its Lotus-developed chassis. However, the whole car feels dreadfully cheap and nasty and the noise from the engine at higher re...
Proton GEN-2 1.6 GSX Auto 5dr - March 2012
The Proton GEN-2 is an affordable alternative to cars such as the VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Skoda Octavia. The drive is acceptable and handling is decent but it is not particularly e...
Proton GEN-2 1.6 GSX ecoLogic Auto 5dr - March 2008
Oh dear. Whilst Hyundai are Kia are raising the bar for cars from the Far East, Proton are still in the doldrums. The GEN-2 drives well thanks to a chassis developed by Lotus, but the rest of the c...

Alternatives

Medium Family

You might want to read reviews for other Medium Family cars that you can then compare to the Proton Gen-2. Here are some popular Proton Gen-2 alternatives:

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