Different strokes for different folks. It depends on what your priorities are, but what’s good for others might not be the best fit for you. The ‘others’ in this case seems to be everyone else, because the Perodua Myvi is Malaysia’s best selling car and it has been so for well over a decade now.

The Proton Iriz was launched back in 2014 and pundits fell over themselves to call it the “Myvi killer”. Well, no one got injured and the only surprise is that Proton hasn’t killed the Iriz due to slow sales yet – the hatchback is still alive after receiving a facelift and a new (and rather cool-looking) SUV-inspired Active variant last year. Despite that, it ended up tenth in the 2021 sales chart by model.

Who buys the Iriz then? One of us did, and here’s Hafriz Shah’s long-term owner review of the Iriz. His is a rare breed – this silver unit is the 2019 facelift with a manual gearbox (1.3 Standard MT) and our man bought it because of the stick shift, which has since been discontinued. Before you shout why, check your own porch – have you put your verbal support for the manual transmission into action?

In this video review, Hafriz walks us through the 2019 Iriz’s design (this version was a big shift, introducing the “Ethereal Bow” grille and the black strip with Proton script on the hatch), practicality and interior features.

We had the latest 2021 facelift in Active guise alongside, and the new car’s revamped interior made him “such a jealous Iriz owner”. Somehow, Proton came up with a better dashboard in both design/looks and ergonomics despite having had to use the same bones.

A big chunk of the review is on the drive, as that’s the Iriz’s specialty and the only department where it betters the Myvi. Proton’s former tagline was “It’s in the drive” and the Iriz is probably the best current model to embody that motto. I still remember the fun I had test driving the Iriz back in the day, even with the terrible CVT, and that ride and handling brilliance is at our man’s disposal everyday, with the bonus of a stick.

Caveats? The Iriz isn’t his only car. It isn’t even his secondary car. It has just over 11,000 km on the odo over two years and “it’s just a car I drive once in awhile to have a bit of fun,” which is why the focus here is mainly on the driving. As a toy, the Iriz has a specific remit, and that is to deliver satisfaction when the owner needs to lepas gian. I’m guessing that the Proton would fare differently if it had to fulfil daily duties, which cars in this price range are generally bought for. Then, more factors will come into play.

So, the Iriz may not be for all, but clearly, it has its charms, as explained in the video above. Check it out, and while you’re at it, put our review of the latest 2022 Iriz/Persona facelift in the queue.

GALLERY: 2019 Proton Iriz 1.3 Standard MT