The Proton 1-Tank Adventure 2019 kicked off with the opening preliminary round over the recent Malaysia Day weekend. A total of 60 participants in 30 cars comprising of the 2019 Proton Iriz, Persona and Saga set off on a route that covered 650 km from Proton’s Centre Of Excellence HQ in Shah Alam to Johor Bahru and back.

The difficult conditions on the first day of the event were beyond the expectations of the organiser and participants. With a combination of the long holiday weekend, haze and wet weather, it was as “real world” as it got for the 30 cars as they battled to get to the checkpoints within the stipulated time.

Participants were treated to a feast of local fruits in Melaka, before heading south to Perigi Batu Pahat and Tanjung Piai National Park, the southernmost point of mainland Asia. After a well-deserved overnight stop in JB, the convoy made their journey back to Shah Alam via the North South Highway.

All cars managed to complete the 650 km fuel economy challenge portion of the event. The best theoretical maximum range achieved, based on the 40 litre fuel tank size of the Protons, was 809 km.

The top FC figures, verified by scrutineers from the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF), were 4.98 litres per 100 km (20.1 km/l) for the Saga, 5.43 litres per 100 km (18.4 km/l) for the Persona and an event best 4.94 litres per 100 km (20.2 km/l) for the Iriz. The organisers said that participants had to keep to a high minimum average speed for safety reasons.

If you were wondering, no, Hafriz Shah didn’t win, but he managed a decent set of figures with the Saga 1.3 Premium – how about 36.7 litres of fuel to cover 651.8 km? That’s 5.6 litres per 100 km (17.76 km/l) or 11.7 sen per km.

Our man said that around 70% of the route was off the highway, and packed with traffic typical of a long weekend. With videographer Kamal in the passenger seat (you would have seen our resident funnyman in Driven’s #KemonCrew videos), he followed the traffic flow (as opposed to crawling along) and had the air con on the entire time. Highway cruising was done at 80-90 km/h.

“Proton has carried this kuat makan minyak reputation for ages now. Having actual Proton owners driving their own cars through the long journey, with all of them not only reaching the destination but also averaging impressive fuel economy figures, goes a long way to set the record straight,” Hafriz said.

“Personally, I’ve already done the 1-Tank Adventure last year, so the fuel consumption part is not new to me. What is a genuine surprise however, is the 2019 Saga’s improved comfort and refinement qualities. It far exceeded my own expectations of what an affordable entry-level car can be,” he added. Hafriz’s full account will be coming at a later date.

“The opening round of this year’s 1-Tank Adventure was very challenging but everyone completed the course safely. More importantly, we gave the participants an opportunity to test their cars in driving conditions that would allow them to experience the safety equipment and dynamic abilities of their cars, proving that our cars offer the best value and driving experience among all vehicles in their class,” said Proton CEO Li Chunrong.