When it comes to mass market cars, especially models from national carmakers, there’s plenty of interest from the general public (not just car enthusiasts), and no short of opinion too. Proton recently gave five lucky persons a test drive experience beyond the normal showroom sampling – they got to experience the new Proton Persona at the carmaker’s Shah Alam test facility.

The oval, which is Proton’s proving (and play) ground, regularly hosts media preview sessions, and the selected ones were clearly happy to be there. To make things better, instead of a sales advisor as company, they were chaperoned by the very people who developed the car. I recognise some faces in the video – they are the men responsible for the good ride and handling of the new Persona.

The video shows Proton staff taking the five – Chu Jian Yang, Abdul Muhaimin, Mohd Nazri, Mohd Khairul and Balqis Md Salleh – on a high-speed ride on the banked oval, as well as slalom and ESC tests. All were interviewed later and offered their opinion on the B-segment “Iriz Sedan”.

“It feels very different, I don’t get the scary feeling from the other cars in the same segment. This car feels very stable, as well as quiet and comfortable, Chu said. Mohd Nazri praised the handling and comfort of the Persona, while Balqis liked the car’s comfort and stability. Both Abdul Muhaimin and Mohd Khairul were impressed by the good NVH – “kita orang borak je,” the latter quipped.

Having just driven the new Persona, we concur. Good ride and handling, high-speed stability and improved refinement are points in our notebook as well, along with a more responsive and cultured CVT gearbox. More of our findings – from both the driver’s seat and rear seat – in the full review here.

Launched last month, the Persona has gathered over 8,000 bookings to date. Available solely with a 1.6L engine with a five-speed manual (Standard only) or CVT automatic (Standard, Exec, Premium), it is priced from RM46,350 to RM59,350.

GALLERY: Proton Persona 1.6 Premium CVT