The new Proton Gen-2 CPS was unveiled earlier this year and has attracted a lot of interest from the public as the Malaysian auto maker fitted the new Campro CPS power plant. Proton has also made various revisions on the exterior and interior.
Will it be just another disappointing product of Proton, or is there light at the end of the tunnel? We shall see in our test drive report.
At first glance, you’ll notice that the new Gen-2 is treated with refreshed front and rear bumpers, blacked-out head lights up front and an addition of a rear spoiler. You will also notice the grey-painted 15 inch alloy wheels.
Personally, the Gen-2 isn’t the best looking 4 door hatchback out there but with all those exterior improvements it certainly looks better than the its predecessor as it outlines a more aggressive and sportier characteristic of the car. When you look it, it does make you think ‘”hmmm, I wonder what is under that hood?”, which is a good actually.
Interior wise, it is very much similar to the Proton Persona as the odd-looking clock on the center of the dashboard is removed, and a handier glove compartment is made available. The colour scheme is grey now instead of beige.
The Red-Black sporty schemed interior of Gen-2 CPS is also fitted with leather seats. Another improvement made is relocating the power window switches from the center console of the old Gen-2 to the driver’s door panel. The door panels are also carried over from the Persona and have a much more practical layout now.
Drivers and passengers will also enjoy 4 cupholders as 2 are placed in the center console up front and another 2 are featured at the rear end of console for the rear passengers. The interior feels and looks much better than the old one, but yet again, Proton is still lacking when comes to the quality of the interior.
The dashboard has uneven gaps and lose bits here and there and I cannot help but notice the dodgy steering wheel as the center silver finish isn’t aligned properly, and it worries me that if even a simple alignment such as that cannot be got right, what about the airbag inside? The quality of the sun visors also look pretty shady, pun intended.
The row of buttons above the head unit are also not very functional in terms of human interface design. They offer no tactile response whatsoever to let you know whether you’ve successfully pressed it or not. You can only tell whether some of the buttons are activated or not at night – its colour changes from orange to green but you cannot see the difference during the day.
Lets look at the brighter side of it, the interior is very roomy in terms of leg room for both front and rear passengers, although you would notice that due to the body frame design of the Gen-2, the head clearance for the rear passengers isn’t something Proton can be proud of. This is fixed in the Persona which has a different roofline. The slim center dash area (where the air conditioning controls are) allows for a larger footwell and knee space for the front passenger and driver. The trunk space is rather large for a hatchback, and the rear seats are foldable.
To my surprise, the new 1.6 CPS engine performs really well, definitely the best performing engine fitted in any Proton. Proton claims that the CPS power plant in the refreshed Gen-2 has a total of 125 hp at 6500 rpm, enabling it to offer a 0 to 100km/h acceleration time of 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 190 km/h.
In the first 20 kilometers of my test drive, I found out that it does live up to its expectations. When I drove it hard, I noticed that both the CPS (Camshaft Profile Switching) and the VIM (Variable Intake Manifold) systems worked when they were supposed to at their designated engine speeds. The rev happy engine feels very light.
I definitely felt like pushing the car to its limits whenever I got into the car, plus sounds really good too. It really makes me wonder how it would perform if a 1.8 or 2 litre CPS motor is fitted. The gear change is also smooth and precise.
Fuel consumption is reasonable as well; I’ve learned that when I was driving it around town, it was consuming about 7.2 litres for every 100 kilometers according to the trip meter. The only complain I have is that whenever I drive the car; the A/C compressor sucks up a very noticeable amount of engine power when it’s turned on.
We dyno-ed the Campro CPS engine to find out how much it makes on wheel. The results are as above. With an ambient temperature of 36.5 degrees celcius, we managed to get 109.9 horsepower at 6,422rpm and 129Nm of torque at 4,763rpm.
We checked with Proton’s Race Rally Research division to find out how much of transmission loss should be taken into account with the 5-speed manual gearbox and found out it was about 12%.
109.9hp on the wheel is about 124.89 at the engine, which is very very close to the 125hp figure Proton provided. Torque at the wheel of 129Nm is about 146.6Nm at the engine, a few newton meters lower than the 150Nm figure quoted by Proton. These figures were obtained during a hot afternoon – expect this to get better on a cool night.
Ride and Handling
As we all know, Lotus has put its talent and specialty into the ride and handling of this Gen-2 CPS. There is not much I can say about the ride and handling, other than its balanced quite well. Both on low and high speeds, the car feel composed.
I felt only a slight bit of very composed body roll and under steer when I pushed it. It felt nimble and very responsive. The ride is a bit on the stiff side, but there were no complaints when I had passengers on board and cruising at about 160 km/h on the freeway.
Safety features of the Gen-2 CPS include two SRS airbags, ABS and EBD. Another interesting fact is that Proton offers extended warranty with 150,000 kilometers or 5 years warranty (which ever comes first) and that is fantastic news. I hate to say this, but I actually really like the Gen-2 CPS!
It looks reasonable, packs a punch and you don’t need to work hard to keep it on the road. Its truly a fun car to drive. Although the interior quality is something you can scream at Proton for, but, so what? At RM 57,488.00 it’s worth every cent.
So, the question is, would I buy it? Yes, I would, for its sweet motor and crisp handling.
Story by Harvinder Singh Sidhu, photos by Paul Tan and Leong Tik Tsin
PHOTO Gallery: Proton GEN2 CPS Facelift
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