Proton Exora

After a long long wait, Malaysians finally have a decently sized MPV at a decent price to choose from. The new Proton Exora is here and two variants will be available at launch time – a 1.6 litre automatic high-line and a 1.6 litre automatic medium-line, priced at RM75,998.00 and RM69,998.00 respectively OTR with insurance. Head on after the jump for the full scoop on the Exora.

Proton Exora

Dimensions, Power, Weight – Technical Data

Firstly I think I have to address the actual dimensions of the car, because when you buy an MPV what you are looking for is essentially a big box to fit your family in. There has been some revision to the data that Proton provided us during the prototype test drive (particularly the weight, which is now heavier – 1422kg for M-Line and 1442kg for H-Line). Here are the final specs of the Exora in comparison to its competitors.

  Exora Livina 1.6 Avanza 1.5 Rondo Innova
Kerb Weight 1,422kg 1,245kg 1,120kg 1,563kg 1,575kg
Length 4,592mm 4,420mm 4,150mm 4,545mm 4,580mm
Width 1,809mm 1,690mm 1,630mm 1,800mm 1,770mm
Height 1,691mm 1,590mm 1,695mm 1,650mm 1,755mm
Wheelbase 2,730mm 2,600mm 2,655mm 2,700mm 2,750mm
Track (F) 1,542mm 1,470mm 1,415mm 1,573mm 1,510mm
Track (R) 1,530mm 1,475mm 1,425mm 1,569mm 1,510mm
Fuel Tank 55L 52L 45L 55L 55L
Power (hp) 125hp 104hp 108hp 142hp 134hp
Torque (Nm) 150Nm 150Nm 141Nm 189Nm 182Nm
kg/Nm 9.48 8.3 7.94 8.27 8.65

The power figures above are quoted in horsepower, which has been converted from most of the “PS” measurements that Japanese companies use. As you can see the weight is now heavier, which would throw off all our previous calculations on the Exora’s power to weight ratio.

The Exora’s 125 horsepower has to pull 1422kg of weight now which means 11.376kg per horsepower, which is actually one of the better performing numbers among its competitors unfortunately the amount of weight that each Newton Meter has to pull is one of the worst. It’s the amount of torque and the torque curve that matters when it comes to pulling a lot of weight.

Tech Specs
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Proton Exora

Design is subjective but I personally feel the Proton Exora is quite pleasant to the eyes. I don’t quite like the chrome strip at the rear but it doesn’t hamper the vehicle’s functions as an MPV. The brake lights are LEDs but the signal lamps use conventional bulbs. The radio uses a bee-sting antenna mounted at the front.

The M-Line model lacks foglamps, the chrome on the rear strip and the pieces of trim on the front grille, and it also lacks the black-out stickers on the B-pillar and C-pillar. I feel the Exora looks better with the blackout pillars (though when I did my own little survey one colleague thought the opposite was better and another was neutral about it) but it should be easy for you to place your own stickers.

Both the M-Line and H-Line models use the same 15 inch wheels. These are wrapped with either Goodyear Assurance or Silverstone Kruizer tyres in 195/65R15 size, apparently they are the same for both M-Line or H-Line and which tyres you get depends on luck as different batches will be fitted with either one.

New Proton Exora Platform

Proton Exora
Click for enlarged image

The first sketch for the Exora has been in existence for a long time, even in the 90s. The styling was finally fixed sometime in August/September 2007. After that, it took another 18 months of development after the styling fix to reach mass production, which had been ready since March 2009. Production trial 1 had actually started end last year, while production trial 2 lasted the second half of February. Production started sometime mid-March until now.

The new Proton Exora sits on a platform that was developed by Proton engineers with the help of their engineering consultancy partner LG CNS. LG CNS also assisted Proton with the development of the Savvy platform, which was later revised to become the Saga platform.

It has a MacPherson strut layout at the front and a torsion beam at the rear, with the spare tyre stored underneath the vehicle body. It’s interesting to note that this chassis also has a multi-link variant ready. You know how the Wish had both a multi-link setup and a torsion beam version offered? Well, the Exora has the potential for that too. It will be easy to add a multi-link setup at the rear to make way for all-wheel drive in case it is needed in Eastern European countries or something.

Proton Exora

In terms of ability to fit a wide range of engines, the Proton Exora’s platform was designed to take anything from a 1.3 litre inline-4 to a 60 degree V6 in its engine bay. An engine as big as a 2.5 litre V6 would be no problem for the chassis to fit, but for now the only engine that’s going to be fitted to it in production is the 1.6 litre Campro CPS.

The Campro CPS engine produces 125 horsepower (127 PS) at 6,500rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. The gear ratios are the same as the Waja CPS but the final drive has been modified from 4.406 in the auto and 4.312 in the manual to 4.625 for both the auto and manual. In the auto model, the Exora cruises at 2,400rpm for 80km/h and 3,000rpm for 110km/h (approximation from looking at the meter panel). It has been rated to consume 9.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and 7.2 litres at 90km/h constant. The following are the Exora’s gear ratios:

  A/T M/T
1st 2.842 3.583
2nd 1.529 1.947
3rd 1.000 1.379
4th 0.712 1.03
5th   0.767
Reverse A/T 3.363
Final Drive 4.625 4.625

Because this is their first ever MPV and does not carry over any existing large vehicle platform, Proton has had the luck of being able to develop a monocoque MPV in this segment without having the restrictions of modifying an existing car to do it.

Proton Exora

Proton decided that the development process had to start from the inside out. This is why the MPV manages to be spacious without growing into a large sized behemoth. The seat, hip points, interior height and etc were all determined first, only then are the other parts of the chassis and body designed around it, including the exterior design of the car. The designers had to work within these restrictions and I must commend them on doing a great job in making the MPV look pleasant to the eyes.

Based on CAE data, the Proton Exora has a torsion rigidity of 16,683 Nm/degree based on lab tests, and a bending rigidity of 18,823 Nm/mm based on lab tests. Proton claims the Exora was designed to achieve a 4-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests and it has passed an Euro NCAP equivalent test at a private testing facility in Spain. Actual Euro NCAP testing has not been done yet but as the test specs were the same the Exora should be able to gain a 4 star result in real Euro NCAP testing as well. But for now there is no official test yet so you won’t find the Exora on the Euro NCAP website.

For the first time in a Proton, the Proton Exora uses front impact sensors as part of the airbag activation system. Previously the airbags are only activated via data from an accelerometer. Here are two crash test videos for you to see.

And here are two charts with the international crash tests that the Exora complies with. P0 is an early prototype and P1 is a later prototype that is similar to the production version, so that is why you see some tests that the P0 does not pass but the P1 passes later.

Crash Table
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Crash Table
Click for enlarged image

Proton and LG engineers have added a few new features that while are common practice for car manufacturers these days, are new for Proton cars. First we’ll have a look at the Front End Module. It is essentially a single module for the front end of the car that is made of a combination of composite resin/high grade plastic and metal in certain areas to reinforce it. It serves as the front end structure as well as integrates the heat and fluid system mounts, bumper mounts and lighting system mounts.

The benefits for a front end module according to Proton are weight reduction (it weighs 5kg versus 6.5kg for a regular module), higher control of quality (single supplier), lower cost, ease of assembly (from 40 process down to 2 process), and provides a better finetuning ability for the crumple zone. It only uses 5 parts instead of 12 major parts of a conventional module.

Next is the hydroformed front subframe, which essentially carries the engine. Hydroforming is a process which shapes the front subframe using water pressure. Water pressure shapes tubes by expanding them from the inside in a closed forming die. It improves strength and rigidity, reduces weight (by 12% in this case), consolidates the stamping process, and most importantly involves much less welding points (eliminates weld flanges) for a stronger overall construction. Die costs are down 60%, product costs down 20% and weight down 30%.

Proton Exora Body Control Module

We’ve already covered the Body Control Module based on our findings during the prototype test drive a few weeks ago. The Body Control Module is actually supplied by Continental AG (Siemens VDO unit).
Here is a video I managed to record of Proton’s network training manager describing some of the safety and BCM features of the new Proton Exora.

  • A battery saver for room lamps, luggage and key ring illumination. These turn off after 30 seconds to ensure they do not make your battery flat if for some reason they are left in a situation where they are on all the time.
  • Follow-me-home headlamps stay on for a certain period of time to help light up your walkway when you park and want to enter your house.
  • The battery level for the remote key is indicated on the car’s instrument panel briefly when you turn the ignition on. The remote key has a range of 20 meters.
  • The remote control will not work if your front door is not closed. The vehicle will also remind you if you activate a remote command if the rear door is not closed.
  • There is a door open indicator on the instrument panel that indicates exactly which door, engine bay hood or rear hatch is not closed.
  • There is a door opening warning when you reach a speed of 7km/h if any doors are open.
  • Tap feature for the signal indicator stalk. This is similiar to alot of modern cars – you just have to tap the indicator stalk (not press fully) for the signal to flash 3 times to indicate a lane change and stop automatically, no need to press fully to turn on and reach for it again to deactivate it.
  • Dim-in and dim-out feature for the interior room lamps – Proton says this is better for the eyes at night and it also adds a certain touch of class. The interior room lamps turn off automatically after you lock the car, or they also stay on for 30 seconds and then fade out in 2.8 seconds. When you unlock the car, the room light fade-in in 3.4 seconds.
  • Front and rear wiper washer drip wiping – automatically wipe to remove excess water. What happens is when you operate the front washer, it will wipe 4 times and then pause for 5 seconds and then wipe one more time, to remove all the excess water effectively. This is because some of the washer liquid from the top of the windscreen will slowly drip down after the initial wiping, so the last wipe completely removes the washer water.
  • Programmable front wiper interval. This can be anything from 1 seconds to 25 seconds. The default is 4 seconds. This is how you program it – you put it into INT and then back to off. Then you wait for the duration you want and turn switch it to INT again. The time duration you waited will become the new interval, up to a max of 25 seconds.
  • The rear wiper turns on automatically when you engage reverse gear if your front wipers are on.
  • If in SLOW mode, the front wiper changes mode to INT mode when you bring the MPV to a complete stop, let’s say in a traffic jam in the rain.
  • The remote unlocks the drivers door only if pushed once – probably push twice to unlock all doors. Apparently you are able to configure this to unlock all doors at once by default.
  • There is an alarm activation history kept but I am not sure how to access it, perhaps only at the service center.
  • The doors will lock automatically once you reach a speed of 20km/h.
  • The doors will unlock automatically once you remove the key from the key barrel.
  • All doors unlock automatically upon a crash via a signal coming from the airbag control unit.
  • If you perform any sudden braking at speeds of at least 96km/h, the hazard lights will flash automatically.

M-Line and H-Line Differences

Proton Exora

The basic features of the car itself is the same between the M-Line and H-Line. They are the same even down to the safety features (dual airbags and ABS), alloy wheel design, brake types (front disc rear drum), seat configuration ability, electric wing mirrors, interior trim and even the tyres. Proton has only kept the creature comforts and minor styling differences for the H-Line.

The Proton Exora H-Line adds cruise control, the LCD screen with DVD player, leather seats, and slightly different trim on the outside – chrome for the grille and rear, as well as blacked out B and C pillars using some convincing black stickers. It’s good to know that the Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming functionality of the 2-DIN head unit has been retained in the M-Line. If you notice, the leather seats in the H-Line version have a combination material – there is a suede-like material at the sides, which according to Proton was intentionally left there so that the leather would be allowed to expand and contract in a certain way under the hot Malaysian climate and thus reduce the chances of them cracking.

Proton Exora

There are still no ISOFIX points and there is only a lap belt for the middle seat in the second row instead of a full 3-point seatbelt. The seat and seatbelt anchorage points are said to be 30% better than regulation minimum requirements, and the steering wheel impact energy absorption is 35% better than regulation requirements.

Another feature of the H-Line is a touch screen portable GPS device which according to them uses an Atmel chipset. This is the same one as offered in the Persona SE. Locking speed was pretty fast. You can download new maps from the internet or at Proton Edar, and updates are free, but I didn’t manage to find out how many updates have there been so far and how frequent the updates are. I would have much preferred a Garmin-based solution.

The Exora’s Interior

Proton Exora

The interior quality was typically Proton. There were some uneven gaps between the plastic parts of the dash but hopefully these will be ironed out as the assembly plant gets better at assembling the new model, same goes for the parts suppliers. The gap between the headlining and the front windscreen was quite alarming though, and apparently this was because of the need to wire the DVD player.

The plastics are not soft touch but the designers have picked textures in order to avoid that bare cheap plastic look. The textures were picked based on observations that the designers made while visiting the past few international motorshows. A total of 3 different types of plastic texture are used throughout the car. The upper dash and lower sections (glove box and below) of the dash have a different texture (Organic pattern) than the middle dash are which uses a pattern Proton calls “Orga-Geo”.

Proton Exora

As previously mentioned the air conditioning was superb, thanks to the use of two blowers, one for the front and the other for the rear rows. There are air conditioning vents for all 3 rows, with the vents for the 2nd and 3rd row located above the windows. All three rows are comfortable, and a person of 182cm tall like me can fit into the third row nicely with my knee only barely touching the second row. Of course the second row has to be angled slightly more upright than usual for that to happen. Another point to consider is the third row is quite wide, two big sized guys can actually fit without their shoulders touching each other.

The second row and third row have backseat angle adjustment ability, so while you cannot slide them back and forth to vary space between the rows, if a compromise must be done it can be via the backrest angle. The second row will be able to sit more upright for the back row to have more legroom. The third row also varies in angle to create more luggage space in the rear. Speaking of luggage space, here is a video that Proton produced to train its salesmen on the luggage space of the Exora. Bear in mind what you see is with the third row angled rather straight, not the maximum lean angle.

Proton Exora – Luggage Space comparison with Avanza and Grand Livina

The H-Line models DVD player is a separate unit that is not integrated with the in-car entertainment system. It allows you to stream the audio from the DVD to the head unit installed up front via FM transmission, or the kids up back can actually plug in headphones to the DVD player via the two headphone jacks provided. If you want more I suppose you will have to buy headphone splitters.

A Short Drive Around Cyberjaya

Proton Exora

We had another short drive around Cyberjaya where the media drive was held and this time I noticed that the Exora was a little more bouncy that usual. I asked the engineers whether there were any differences between the prototype specifications and the production car that we drove and they said yes, it is possible that the suspension was softer due to a wider distance of manufacturing tolerance especially during initial production. Our car also only had 5 people in it, and there might also have been tyre pressure issues.

Still, the Exora remained a pleasant vehicle to drive. It was comfortable and the excellent air conditioning continued to perform its duties well. The minor road deformities that you can see around are handled well by the suspension, but as I mentioned earlier the suspension felt a little softer so there was a little extra bounce than normal after negotiating speed bumps.

Proton Exora

The Exora is a big comfortable box for its dimensions and would suit most of the requirements of the Malaysian MPV buyer. If you want to read more about how the Exora drives I suggest you check out my previous test drive story. We will try to get another Exora out ASAP for a proper real life test over a few days, perhaps some of you can join me on the ride?

Anyway here is a full high resolution gallery of the Exora, both inside and outside. Be back soon with even more on the Proton Exora, stay tuned! I am just really glad that finally Malaysians are able to buy a decently sized MPV for under RM70k, even if its just RM2 under RM70K!

Proton Exora 1.6L A/T M-Line Metallic – RM69,998.00
Proton Exora 1.6L A/T M-Line Solid – RM69,548.00
Proton Exora 1.6L A/T H-Line Metallic – RM75,998.00
Proton Exora 1.6L A/T H-Line Solid – RM75,548.00