Proton unveiled the 2019 Proton Exora RC (RC for running change) earlier this week. The Exora clearly isn’t a fresh face – it has been around for a decade now – and the RC brings little to the exterior other than a new colour and a shark fin antenna. There are quite a number of changes inside though, and value has improved via a combo of reduced OTR price and bonus packages.

The headlining new kit is the seven-inch touchscreen head unit based on Geely’s Global Key User Interface (GKUI), with “Hi Proton” voice commands and 4G internet connection via an embedded eSIM card. A version of the system that made its debut on the X70 SUV, it has functions such as online music streaming, live navigation, smartphone connectivity, mirroring for Android and WiFi hotspot, among other things.

There’s a new instrument cluster (from the 2019 Iriz/Persona) and the centre stack has been redesigned – the dashtop clock is gone and the whole panel is now rendered in piano black with a silver bezel for a classier appearance. Below that, there are now two USB ports in front of the cupholders, and a 12V socket – a big improvement on the previous single USB port.

There’s also a “borderless” rear view mirror, as found on the latest top-tier Iriz/Persona. The seats get new semi-leatherette upholstery with a quilted pattern, which is repeated on the door cards. The SAT (stepped automatic transmission) button for the CVT has been deleted as Proton found that few used it.

Other under-the-skin improvements not listed in the brochure are improved suspension tuning and engine mounts for lower NVH. Proton also worked to reduce cruising wind noise. On the safety kit front, there are two airbags, ABS and EBD. ESC is only for the Premium, though.

Probably the bigger news is the price reduction and packages from Proton. The Exora is available in two variants – the Executive at RM59,800 and the Premium for RM66,800, OTR without insurance. That’s a RM2,208 and RM2,547 reduction in price, respectively, compared to the outgoing Executive/Executive Plus.

Proton is including a service package with three times free labour service, and free 1GB of data for five years. There’s also a special insurance coverage package and low interest rates from 2.76% per annum.

In addition, those buying the Exora this year will get five years (or 11 times) of free labour service. The first 1,000 buyers get a bonus of two years free road tax. Include the value of the freebies and packages, the lower OTR price, and the early bird bonus, and the total value added over the previous Exora is RM4,233 for the Executive and RM5,652 for the Premium, Proton points out.

Now, it’s rather common for a car launch to only feature top spec units with all the bells and whistles, and that was the case here. However, we returned to the showroom to bring you this gallery of the entry level Executive spec.

The Executive, which is priced below RM60k now, does without some of the flashier new features mentioned above. There’s no “Hi Proton” head unit (in its place is a 2DIN touch panel head unit), reverse camera and leatherette seats. The revised centre stack is here (with silver bezel and Proton script) but there’s no piano black trim. The two USB ports/12V socket and new meter panel are across the board.

The other non-available items were there before the RC – the Exec misses out on things such as the LED daytime running lights, rear fog lamp, electric fold wing mirrors, side skirts, rear spoiler, black roof/rear garnish, leather steering, steering buttons, cruise control, driver’s vanity mirror (front passenger only) and fold-down armrests for the front chairs. Also, the Exec’s 16-inch wheels don’t have a two-tone finish.

The Exora Executive does its job as a people carrier, and the lack of kit compared to the Premium doesn’t detract from that. But for a difference of RM7,000 – which translates to around RM100 per month for a seven-year loan, or around RM80 per month over nine years – you do get a fair bit of extra amenities for the money.

While the Exec’s under RM60k price works well for headlines, the Premium’s OTR price reduction is slightly bigger (RM339), and so is the total added value (RM1,419). Overall, what do you think of the 2019 Proton Exora RC’s value proposition?

GALLERY: 2019 Proton Exora RC Executive

GALLERY: 2019 Proton Exora RC Premium