Here’s a big surprise – Proton has revealed its new baby, the 2016 Proton Saga, in all its glory! The fast-paced video the budget sedan appears in is technically a teaser trailer for a longer video that should be coming out after the launch, but it leaves nothing to the imagination.

Despite being based on the current model, the new car looks quite a lot different. The front end has been completely redesigned with new reflector headlights, a dual-bar grille (inspired by the new Perdana) and a large moustache-like lower grille that goes under the fog lights.

Along the sides, there’s a new, deeper shoulder line that carries the door handles, while the C-pillar gets a new BMW-like kink. The rear has also been given a significant redo with trapezoidal tail lights linked together with a horizontal bar, plus a large diffuser-like rear valence. The blue top-spec Premium model also gets intricate 15-inch alloy wheels.

Proton has already revealed the interior in full, which has been completely redesigned with a new centre console, rectangular air vents, a steering wheel from the Exora, Preve and Suprima S (with multifunction buttons on the Premium) and a folding rear bench.

Although it sits on the same 2,465 mm wheelbase as before, the new car is 74 mm longer, 9 mm wider and 11 mm lower. The chassis is also 20% stiffer, while a quicker steering (still hydraulically-assisted), lighter door closing effort and an improved ride and handling package have also been added.

Under the bonnet sits the same 1.3 litre VVT engine as the Iriz (replacing the old IAFM+ unit), although output stays the same at 94 hp at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Transmission options include a CVT, as well as a five-speed manual transmission on the base Standard model.

Despite similar outputs, Proton claims the new Saga is both quicker and more economical than before. The manual version now gets to 100 km/h in 12.2 seconds (from 13.0 secs), and consumes 5.4 l/100 km at 90 km/h (from 6.0 l/100 km). Meanwhile, the CVT does 100 km/h in 13.1 seconds (from 14.5 secs), and 5.6 l/100 km at 90 km/h (from 6.3 l/100 km). Improvements introduced on the Persona (three-point engine mount for better NVH, revised ECU for better response) are present here too.

Kit-wise, the Saga Standard comes with 13-inch steel wheels (with plastic covers), rear fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors, a single-DIN head unit (with Bluetooth) and USB charging ports. It also gets unpainted wing mirrors, door handles and rear garnish, plain black fabric seats, as well as a black-themed interior.


Moving to the mid-range Executive variant, you’ll find the addition of body-coloured wing mirrors (now power-adjustable), door handles and rear garnish, black-painted B-pillars, front fog lamps and a rear bootlid spoiler. Other additions include 14-inch alloy wheels, added gloss grey accents to the interior (outer air-con vents and steering wheel trim) and fabric seats with a mesh pattern.

Finally, the Premium adds the aforementioned 15-inch alloy wheels and a chrome finish for the rear horizontal bar. You’ll also get a reverse camera (with the feed shown in the rear-view mirror, a la Exora), a double-DIN head unit with steering audio controls, fabric seats with a wavy pattern and more gloss grey trim on the gear lever.

In terms of safety, the Saga comes with dual airbags and ISOFIX rear child seat mounts with top tethers – together with the revised crash structure, they provide the car with a four-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating. Additionally, the Premium variant introduces stability control and hill-start assist, meaning that all Proton models now offer at least one variant with the active safety assist system. Unfortunately, only the Executive and Premium models get ABS with EBD and brake assist.

Bookings have already been opened, with the car carrying tentative pricing of between RM37k and RM46k – putting it squarely up against the new Perodua Bezza. The warranty coverage has also been increased from three years to five, and although no mileage limit has been specified, we assume that it is identical to the Preve, Suprima S, Iriz and Persona, which is 150,000 km.

Weve already driven the new 2016 Proton Saga – read our first impressions here.