The 2021 Proton Persona and Iriz facelifts have been launched today, following leaks and spy images that have offered a gradual trickle of information on the national carmaker’s latest B-segment sedan and hatchback.

Following the first Persona facelift in 2019, Proton’s refreshed B-segment sedan gets a more comprehensive set of updates this time around, now featuring revision to its mechanical specifications in addition to exterior and interior changes.

Here, the Persona is available as 1.6 Standard, 1.6 Executive and 1.6 Premium variants, starting from RM45,800 for the 1.6 Standard, RM50,800 for the 1.6 Executive, to RM55,800 for the 1.6 Premium variant, and pricing is on-the-road without insurance.

The streamlining of variants has dropped the Standard manual transmission variant from the 2019 update, and the Standard, Executive and Premium variants are now RM1,200 dearer than at the launch of the 2019 iteration, though as we’ll see, equipment levels have been raised here.

Powertrain in the 2022 Persona facelift is a 1,597 cc inline-four with VVT, with outputs rated at 109 PS at 5,750 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

This is mated with a continuously variable transmission, instead of the four-speed automatic gearbox that was previously rumoured. We understand that Proton has also improved the internals and driving behaviour of the CVT, though no specifics have been revealed as yet. We’ll know more when we get to talk to the R&D team soon.

The top Premium and Executive variants of the Persona will get 16-inch alloy wheels with the Executive wheels in a plain finish, both shod in tyres measuring 185/55. The 1.6 Standard entry variant gets 15-inch alloys shod in 185/55 tyres. The Premium variant is also identifiable by its black roof.

Inside, the Persona dashboard now does away with the 2019 facelift’s two-tone scheme, the contrast now offered in the Premium trim level by the brown leatherette upholstery, whereas the Executive and Standard trim levels get fabric seat trim.

This covers the seats as well as a section of the interior door cards, and the more unified black scheme for the dashboard is in line with the colour scheme that has been used in the Iriz. Up top, the Persona uses a grey headliner compared to the black used in the Iriz.

The central upper stack brings one of the most prominent changes to the interior of the Persona, where like the 2022 Iriz, the infotainment unit is now a freestanding screen that now sits atop the air-conditioning vents in the new layout, compared to the previous configuration that had the vents vertically oriented on each side of the screen. As on the Iriz, the central locking and hazard light buttons are now stacked vertically.

Infotainment kit in the 2022 Persona starts with a standard audio setup in the 1.6 Standard variant, offering Bluetooth and six USB ports – these are comprised of one data port and five charging ports. Here, audio comes through two speakers.

The Executive variant swaps in an eight-inch touchscreen monitor and adds smartphone connectivity, while the speaker count is increased to a total of four. Finally, adding on from the infotainment kit of the Executive variant, the Premium brings voice command, online functionality for navigation, music streaming, weather forecasts as well as 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Voice command in the Premium variant brings control to aspects of the car such as power windows, air-conditioning, navigation, music streaming. Meanwhile, the six USB ports are comprised of three outlets in the front row and two in the back row, and one behind the rear view mirror in order to power a dash cam.

Further equipment upgrades from Standard to Executive include LED daytime running lights, one-inch upsized wheels to 16-inch alloys and Intelligent entry with push-button start. Additional comfort equipment comes courtesy of a central armrest, which covers some additional storage aft of the parking brake lever. Like in the Iriz, the trio of cupholders in the Persona’s centre console are of different sizes.

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Safety equipment in the 2022 Persona facelift starts with four airbags (front and side), ABS, EBD, brake assist, stability and traction control and hill hold assist. The Standard variant gets two rear parking sensors. Meanwhile, the Executive variant adds a reverse camera, and the Premium brings a total of six airbags, comprised of front, side and curtain units.

The latest facelifts for the Persona as well as Iriz have attained five-star Asean NCAP ratings, based on testing conducted under the 2017-2020 protocol as the car was submitted for testing last year, before the 2021-2025 protocol (as used in testing the Perodua Ativa) came into effect. The latest protocols focus on advanced driver assistance systems, which aren’t incorporated into the latest Persona and Iriz.

Core colours available across all three variants of the 2022 Persona are Armour Silver, Rosewood Maroon and Ruby Red. The 1.6 Standard additionally gets Jet Grey, which is left out of the 1.6 Premium palette, but misses out on Snow White, which is reserved for the Executive and Premium variants. Finally, Space Grey is exclusive to the top Premium variant.

Here’s the spec-by-spec breakdown in detail:

2022 Proton Persona 1.6 Standard CVT – RM45,800
Gets as standard:

Mechanicals

  • 1.6 litre VVT DOHC engine
  • 1,597 cc naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol
  • 109 PS at 5,750 rpm, 150 Nm at 4,000 rpm
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • MacPherson struts (front), torsion beam (rear)
  • Ventilated brake discs (front), drums (rear)

Exterior

  • Halogen reflector headlights
  • 15-inch alloy wheels with 185/55-section tyres
  • Power-adjustable door mirrors, manual folding
  • Shark fin antenna

Interior

  • Urethane steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped gearknob with silver trim
  • LCD multi-info display
  • Power windows
  • Black fabric seats with manual adjustment
  • 60:40 split-folding rear seats
  • Manual air-conditioning with LCD display
  • Radio/MP3 player with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Two speakers
  • Four front USB ports, two rear

Safety

  • Four airbags (front, side)
  • ABS with EBD and brake assist
  • Stability control
  • Traction control
  • Hill start assist
  • Rear ISOFIX child seat anchors
  • Rear parking sensors

2022 Proton Persona 1.6 Executive CVT – RM50,800

Adds on:

Exterior

  • LED daytime running lights
  • 16-inch alloy wheels with 185/55-section tyres
  • Keyless entry
  • Auto fold mirrors

Interior

  • Remote bootlid release
  • Intelligent entry with push-button engine start
  • Push-button start
  • TFT LCD colour multi-info display
  • Driver’s side auto up/down window with anti-pinch
  • Eight-inch touchscreen head unit with smartphone connectivity
  • Four speakers
  • Reverse camera with dynamic guidelines

Safety

  • Front parking sensors

2021 Proton Persona 1.6 Premium CVT – RM55,800

Adds on:

Exterior

  • LED headlights
  • Black roof
  • 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels with 185/55-section tyres

Interior

  • Leatherette steering wheel and seat upholstery
  • Geely Key User Interface (GKUI)
  • Built-in 4G connectivity with WiFi hotspot
  • Voice control (including windows and air-con), music streaming, live navigation data

Safety

  • Six airbags (front, side, curtain)

2022 Proton Persona Premium facelift at showroom – Space Grey

2022 Proton Persona Executive facelift at showroom – Jet Grey