Last month saw the introduction of the facelifted 2022 Proton Iriz, complete with the new crossover-style Active variant. At the time, we only had official photos to go on (as well as some live phone images from dealer Regal Motors), but with showrooms now open again, we can finally bring you a full gallery of the range-topping B-segment hatchback.

The entire Iriz range is now more expensive than before, although the extra cost is largely offset by increased equipment. Prices start from RM40,300 for the base 1.3 Standard CVT, rising up to RM47,100 for the 1.3 Executive CVT and topping out at RM54,000 for the 1.6 Active CVT.

For the uninitiated, the starting price appears to have gone up quite a bit more, with the Iriz previously starting from RM36,200. However, that figure was for the 1.3 Standard manual, which has been dropped. Compared to the outgoing models, the 1.3 Standard CVT is RM1,200 more expensive, while the 1.6 Executive CVT is RM1,100 costlier. The 1.6 Active CVT takes over from the old Premium and is pricier to the tune of RM4,100. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the 1.3 Executive CVT has also been discontinued.

The figures listed are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of the sales and service tax (SST), valid until December 31. Next year, the prices will go up to RM40,800 for the Standard, RM47,800 for the Executive and RM54,800 for the Active. As usual, the Iriz comes with a five-year/150,000 km warranty, a five-year free data package at one gigabyte a month (Active only) and three times free labour for servicing.

As previously reported, the Iriz has received a comprehensive makeover inside and out, which it shares with the also-facelifted Persona. For the first time, the two models come with the same front end, consisting of a revised grille (the full-width trim strip no longer plunges downwards to wrap the Proton emblem, which is also now round), a broader lower grille and slimmer corner air intakes that house the LED daytime running light strips on the Executive and Active models.

Differentiating the Iriz from the Persona is a gloss black (instead of chrome) grille strip and an X50-aping lower grille surround. The rear bumper and black tailgate garnish from the 2019 facelift has been retained, but the bumper strip is now red instead of the previous chrome. The entire range has also received upsized alloy wheels, with the Standard going up to 15 inches and the Executive now rolling on 16s.

The Active, which derives its name from a concept shown back in 2014, gets a more rugged look with black plastic cladding and silver skid plates on the front and rear bumpers and side skirts, plus a silver surround and a sportier honeycomb mesh cover for the lower grille.

But the most striking features are the chunky fender extensions, replete with Satria GTi-style fake Allen bolt heads. The Active is also the only Iriz model to feature the new LED headlights (in a darkened finish compared to the Persona 1.6 Premium’s), while a black roof, silver roof rails and unique 16-inch two-tone multi-spoke alloys complete the look.

Inside, the changes are far-reaching and include a new freestanding head unit, which on the Executive and Active models incorporates a larger eight-inch touchscreen. The Active is the only model to come with the Geely Key User Interface (GKUI) and an eSIM for online navigation, music streaming, WiFi connectivity and the “Hi Proton” voice control system.

The interface has seen a slight redesign for 2021, with users now being able to control the driver’s side window and air-conditioning with their voice; the controls for the latter have also been moved up to the display. Of course, you can still use the physical knobs down below, and the big change here is the move to a digital air-con system with new knobs, buttons and LCD display. No automatic climate control function here, but you do get an N95 cabin filter as standard, as before.

Further down, you now get three USB ports instead of just the one before, while another has sprouted near the rear-view mirror (no longer frameless, sadly), making it easier for users to fit a dash cam. The central tunnel is also all new, with a cleaner one-piece design and a silver strip running around its perimeter. It also now houses the switches for the front parking sensors, stability control and the new Eco mode (more on that later), along with no less than three cupholders in various sizes.

Those who have been complaining about the lack of an armrest have gotten their prayers answered with a full-sized soft-touch item that hides some storage space down below. The two USB ports for rear passengers have been moved to the back of this console (yes, the Iriz has no less than six ports in total), while up above are new LED map lights taken from the Saga.

The steering wheel airbag boss has also been redesigned, with a crease running across the lower half and the new Proton roundel. The badge can also be found on the alloy wheel centre caps, although the engine cover and the imprints on the windscreens and windows still feature the old badge.

In terms of furnishings, the Iriz retains its black headlining and pillars (rather than the beige items of the Persona), as well as black fabric upholstery on the Standard model and faux leather on the Executive. The Active gets black part-leather seats with a circuit board-like pattern on the cloth portion, together with red stitching and the “Active” script embroidered on the seats and door cards.

Other bits that are exclusive to the Active are the alloy pedals and the red trim on the air vent surrounds, central tunnel, air-con and steering wheel controls and instrument cluster dial rings. You even get red seat belts, just like on a Mercedes-AMG model or a Honda Civic Type R.

As standard, the Iriz comes with a Bluetooth-enabled radio, the aforementioned digital air-con controls and two speakers, the front parking sensors now being exclusive to the 1.6 litre models. The X70-style leather-wrapped gearlever, previously exclusive to the Premium, is now fitted to all models.

The 1.6 Executive adds LED daytime running lights, a tailgate spoiler, keyless entry, push-button start, auto-folding door mirrors, auto headlights, a colour multi-info display, four speakers and a reverse camera. The Active model is the only one with LED headlights, a multifunction steering wheel and the eSIM with voice control functionality, plus all the equipment mentioned earlier.

Safety-wise, the Iriz has been improved somewhat, now available with at least four airbags (the Executive comes with curtain airbags as well, bumping up the count to six). However, the car still isn’t offered with autonomous emergency braking even on the Active, putting it a step behind the Perodua Myvi in this regard.

Other bits of standard kit include stability control, hill start assist and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors, as well as new rear seat belt reminders on the Active. Retested last year under the previous 2017-2020 protocol, the Iriz carries a five-star ASEAN NCAP rating.

Under the bonnet, the Iriz soldiers on with the same VVT four-cylinder engines as before. The 1.3 litre unit makes 95 PS at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm while the 1.6 litre mill continues to serve out 109 PS at 5,750 rpm and 150 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

The big change here is the transmission. Proton hasn’t switched to the Saga‘s four-speed automatic gearbox as previously rumoured, sticking to the Punch CVT used since 2014. However, the stepless unit has received several changes over the years, most recently a thorough hardware refresh for the 2019 facelift.

This time, the changes are mostly software-related, made to improve the car’s drivability and fuel efficiency. Firstly, there’s a new stepped-ratio SAT mode that engages when the throttle is pushed beyond a certain threshold. This enables the transmission to “kickdown” like an automatic gearbox and hold on to a specific ratio before “shifting up”.

Proton says that the new function improves and quietens the noise the engine makes when accelerating and smoothens out the acceleration itself. The company has also added a Neutral Idle Control (NIC) that disconnects the clutch when the car is stationary, lowering the engine’s idle speed, eliminating shift shock when shifting out of Park and reducing overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Last but not least is a proper Eco mode (completely separate from the Eco Driving Assist indicator, which merely lights up when you’re driving efficiently), which disables SAT and disconnects the clutch off-throttle at speeds under 70 km/h, allowing the car to coast. Proton claims a real-world reduction in fuel use of between seven and ten per cent according to in-house testing.

These improvements, plus a retuned ECU, allow the Iriz to deliver an NEDC-rated fuel consumption figure of 6.7 litres per 100 km, with the taller (due to the larger wheels and roof rails) and heavier Active registering 7.0 litres per 100 km. That’s a significant drop of 12% and seven per cent respectively over the 2019 model’s 7.5 litres per 100 km.

The standard Iriz lineup is available in five colours – Snow White, Armour Silver, Jet Grey, Ocean Blue and Ruby Red. The Executive variant is also offered with a Citric Orange option, while the Active drops Ruby Red in favour of the X50’s Passion Red paint.