Proton Iriz

  • 2019 Proton Iriz long-term owner review – two years with the Myvi rival, loves/hates, who should consider

    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

  • REVIEW: 2022 Proton Persona, Iriz facelift – fr RM40k

    The year’s biggest launch is undoubtedly the 2022 Perodua Myvi facelift. But here to give the King a run for its money are the latest Proton Iriz and Persona facelift, both of which were launched in August.

    Prices for the Iriz start from RM40,300 for the base Standard, rising up to RM47,100 for the Executive and topping out at RM54,000 for the Active. The Persona, meanwhile, starts from RM45,800 for the 1.6 Standard, RM50,800 for the 1.6 Executive, to RM55,800 for the 1.6 Premium variant.

    The hatch soldiers on with the same two VVT engines as before. Base models get a 1.3 litre four-pot that 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. A revised Punch CVT is standard – the manual is no longer available, just like the Myvi. The Persona, on the other hand, is only available with the 1.6 litre mill.

    Watch our video to find out what we think of the updated pair. You can also browse to check out their equipment and specifications in greater detail, or even compare them against the Myvi. You may also click here to see the hatch and sedan compared side by side.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz Active

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona Premium

  • 2022 Proton Iriz vs Persona facelifts – new Malaysian hatchback and sedan get compared side by side

    Proton launched the facelifted Iriz and Persona in August this year, and we’re now bringing you a side-by-side gallery of both in their range-topping guises. In the case of the Iriz, it is the Active which is priced at RM54,800, while the Persona is represented in Premium specification that goes for RM55,800 – these are on-the-road prices without insurance and factor in the ongoing 100% sales tax exemption for locally-assembled (CKD) cars.

    Prior to the latest facelift, the Iriz had its own front fascia where a full-width chrome strip plunges downwards to cradle the Proton emblem. This is different from the Persona of the time that has its chrome strip running down the inner edges of the headlamps and across the base of the grille, which also comes with a different inlay compared to the hatchback.

    With the latest models, both now carry a nearly identical front-end that features Proton’s Infinite Weave grille with the latest round badge. There is still a slight difference though, as the Persona has a chrome grille frame, while the Iriz has a black upper and red lower similar to the X50.

    2022 Proton Iriz Active (left), Persona Premium (right)

    Lower down, the bumper has also been redesigned, with a broader lower grille and slimmer corner air intakes that house the LED daytime running light strips. As for the rear, it’s largely the same as per the previous facelift, but the bumper strip is now red instead of chrome on the Iriz – the Persona keeps the chrome.

    The Active variant is exclusive to the hatchback and comes with SUV-style cues for a more rugged vibe. These include black plastic cladding, silver skid plates on the bumpers, silver roof rails, a black roof and side skirts, while the lower intake at the front is treated to a silver surround and a honeycomb mesh.

    As mentioned in our initial launch post, wheel sizes have gone up an inch across the board, so the two cars you see here are wearing 16-inch alloys, with those on the Iriz being unique to the Active with their two-tone, multi-spoke design.

    2022 Proton Iriz Active (left), Persona Premium (right)

    Moving inside, it’s again a case of similar but not identical, as both sport a revamped dashboard with a freestanding touchscreen measuring eight inches. The infotainment system in the range toppers 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 placement of the screen forces the centre air vents, previously on either side of the head unit, downwards, sandwiching the hazard light and door lock buttons in the middle. Further down, there’s the manual air-conditioning controls and three USB ports instead of just one, with another being added near the rear-view mirror to make it easier to fit a dash cam.

    Elsewhere, there’s a new centre console with a cleaner, one-piece design and houses the gear lever, three cupholders as well as switches for the front parking sensors, stability control and a new Eco drive mode. Joining this revision is a much-clamoured armrest, two more USB ports at the back of the console and a redesigned steering wheel airbag boss.

    2022 Proton Iriz Active (left), Persona Premium (right)

    Like the front-ends of both models, the furnishings differ between the two, with the Iriz getting black, part-leather seats (with “Active” embroidered on the headrests), red seat belts, alloy pedals and red accents for some trim pieces. By comparison, the Persona goes for the classy look, receiving brown leatherette upholstery, normal black seat belts and silver trim instead.

    The Iriz and Persona variants pictured here are powered by a 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder VVT petrol engine that delivers 109 PS at 5,750 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The mill drives the front wheels via a Punch CVT, which is the only transmission available – the previous five-speed manual has been dropped.

    While the 1.6 litre engine is the only engine fitted across the Persona range, the base Iriz variant – the Standard – can be had with a 1.3 litre VVT unit that makes 95 PS at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm, also paired with a CVT.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz Active

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona Premium

  • 2022 Proton Iriz, Persona facelift – why still no AEB?

    One of the big questions on people’s minds during the launch of the facelifted 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona was why did they still not come with autonomous emergency braking. After all, even perennial laggard Perodua has bucked up and offered active safety features – including AEB – on its bread-and-butter Myvi, so the once-leading B-segment models are falling further and further behind the curve.

    The discussion surrounding AEB on the Iriz and Persona is nothing new – even during the Iriz’s original launch back in 2014, Proton was already testing a prototype with LG’s Advanced Drive Assistance System (ADAS) camera, showing that there were clear plans to implement the technology. And yet still, seven years after, there’s no sign of it. Eyebrows were already raised when AEB was given a miss during the first facelift in 2019, but the omission is particularly glaring now.

    We posed the question during last week’s roundtable interview with the cars’ vehicle programme executive Adzrai Aziz Ibrahim. He said that with the limited budget available for the project, the team had to prioritise the features that it thought customers would appreciate.

    “We did a benchmark, the Japanese OEMs have all these high-spec ADAS features, and even the other competitor [Perodua] has some ADAS features that it has marketed. But we had a constraint – we didn’t want to increase the cost of the car so that we could maintain the selling price and give more value to the customer; we had to be careful about what we wanted to add to the car,” he said.

    The Iriz was tested with ADAS as early as 2014

    Adzrai added that the safety improvements were focused on improving crash protection, in order for the Iriz and Persona to retain their five-star rating in the ASEAN NCAP 2017-2020 protocol. “Firstly, we had to see if we could meet the latest ASEAN NCAP protocol. So we added side airbags to all variants, seat belt reminders, and this got us to achieve the latest standards – our protection in terms of occupant safety in a crash is good. We didn’t need these additional [ADAS] features to [get a five-star rating].

    “So we [then] had to decide, do we want to put in [ADAS] or do we put other things that customers will eventually use? We balanced out our investments – we met the ASEAN NCAP 2020 [protocols], so we needed to spend our money on more useful things for the customer.”

    Elaborating on the potential cost of adding ADAS features, Adzrai made a distinction between the Perodua’s simpler camera-based system (with collision warning and partial AEB) and a more advanced radar-based package that would add features like adaptive cruise control to the mix. We should point out that Perodua itself offers camera-based adaptive cruise control on the Ativa (as does Honda on the City and new Civic), so a radar isn’t strictly necessary for implementing additional features.

    “There are two ways [to implement ADAS]. We have full ADAS, which is what Toyota and Honda are applying on their cars, and then there’s mid-level ADAS, which only gives you indicators and buzzers with a camera [to detect obstacles] and [offers] limited functionality.

    “I cannot share with you the [total] cost of doing this, but full ADAS will definitely go beyond RM2,000 in terms of the [cost of] components to be added to the car. It also requires an update in the electrical and electronic architecture, because [the system] needs to communicate [with the car]. So that’s a big investment.

    “For [mid-level ADAS] with a camera and warnings, that is doable, just like what Perodua is doing. But currently, we are still in the research phase. We are trying to determine what is the best solution in this segment, with the price that we want to sell and the additional cost we need to add to our cars. If we feel that these features are necessary in the future, we will introduce them.”

    Adzrai said that while other software features like the expanded “Hi Proton” voice control function also required updates to the electrical architecture, they did not require a comprehensive revamp, reducing the cost required. “Things like voice control are independent; they do not require a redevelopment of the entire car, because they only operate in their own unit, so the cost of [upgrading] is not high.

    “We were able to expand the functionality to the [driver’s] window and air-con because the ability to signal to [those components] is available in the unit. So we were able to apply these items without incurring a lot of investment and we could just tap into [the system] accordingly.”

    Later, when asked if Proton will at least consider adding blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, Adzrai said, “We do [have plans]. We are looking at these two functions in particular, and when these items are more cost effective for us to apply to our cars, then we will implement them. Maybe they will be added in a future update; for sure, we will fit them to new models. But yes, we are looking at it – mainly these two functions – if we can apply them in the most cost-effective manner.”

    Of course, you can make up your own mind on whether safety features like AEB are vital at this price range, and it’s true that Proton does not have an infinite amount of money to spend on these ageing vehicles – especially given the Iriz’s relatively low sales volumes.

    There’s also the unavoidable fact that because the Iriz and Persona are homegrown products, Proton would have to develop an ADAS system in-house instead of pilfering from Geely’s parts bin, whereas Perodua can simply take plug-and-play parts directly from Daihatsu. Still, there’s no denying that even basic systems like the one in the Myvi not only save lives but also thousands of ringgit in accident repairs – you can’t put a price on that, no matter how Proton tries to spin it.

    Even the Perodua Myvi 1.3 X, priced under RM47,000, is now available with AEB

    And make no mistake, customers are sitting up and taking notice. You only have to look at Perodua expanding the availability of its Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) suite to even the cheaper 1.3 litre models of the Myvi to know how much buyers value their safety these days. An ASA-equipped Myvi can now be had for under RM47,000, so it’s not like AEB is only for the rich.

    Ironically, Proton updating the Iriz and Persona to pass an ASEAN NCAP protocol that expired last year shows just how far it has lagged behind. It’s telling that the company rushed to crash test its cars a full eight months before actually putting them on sale, because it’s highly unlikely it would have retained a five-star rating under the 2021-2025 protocol (which places a greater emphasis on active safety).

    Meanwhile, the Perodua Ativa – which offers AEB as standard – breezed through its crash test this year, becoming the first five-star car under the new protocol. Again, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but at least in terms of safety, we think Proton has missed the mark with the new Iriz and Persona.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz 1.6 Active

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona 1.6 Premium

  • 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona production quality audit – 87% better since 2017, now close to Geely, Volvo levels

    The improvements on the facelifted 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona have been covered in detail, but it’s not just in terms of performance and features. Under all that veneer are quantifiable gains in quality, measured through Global Customer Product Audit (GCPA) scores, which were last highlighted in 2019.

    These provide a benchmark for the automaker to conduct its product quality audits, in tandem with global standards. The system rates issues encountered on the production line based on their severity, and the lower the demerit score, the better the quality.

    In 2017, the Persona had a GCPA score of 5,460 demerit points, while that for the Iriz stood at 6,590 points. By 2018, this had been reduced to 1,840 points for the Persona and 2,160 points for the Iriz. When last gauged in 2019, the GCPA score for the Persona had been reduced to 1,360 points, while that of the Iriz had closed in to 1,420 points.

    According to vehicle programme executive Adzrai Aziz Ibrahim, who was the project lead for the cars, the company wasn’t satisfied with that and decided to set the bar for both cars to have a score of below 1,000 with the 2022 iterations. This has been achieved with the Persona now having a GCPA score of 900, and notably, the Iriz has overtaken the Persona with just 880 demerit points.

    These scores are a massive improvement over that from 2017 (83.5% lower in the case of the Persona and 87% for the Iriz), and bring Proton right into Geely and Volvo quality standards. The current Persona and Iriz scores actually surpass Geely’s 2019 benchmark level of 1,100 points, and comes very close to matching Volvo’s 850 points from that same period.

    Aside from improvement in quality control are six areas where identified improvements from 2019 to 2022 variants have been made. As previously reported, improvements in fuel consumption have been obtained, while ride and handling comfort has been increased. The level of NVH in terms of air leakage has also been improved on, and both cars now take a shorter distance to stop – where the braking distance of the Iriz was 42.8 metres and the Persona 43.9 metres, both now do it under 40 metres.

  • 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona now with much improved CVT performance, fuel economy, features: project lead

    We’re continuing our deep dive into the improvements made to the facelifted 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona, explained in great detail through a roundtable interview with the cars’ vehicle programme executive Adzrai Aziz Ibrahim, who oversaw the project. Here, we’re taking a closer look at the changes made to the Punch continuously variable transmission that has been a staple of the two models since launch.

    Despite rumours to the contrary, Proton has decided against offering the Saga‘s Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic gearbox, instead sticking with the much-maligned stepless transmission. Still, the company has made several tweaks since 2014 to make the CVT better to live with day-to-day, following customer complaints and reliability issues.

    The Iriz and Persona last received a major hardware refresh for the CVT in 2019 as part of their first facelift, aimed at addressing perceived reliability. The revisions included a redesigned oil pump and hydraulic unit, a new oil seal and bearing, an optimised pinion gear to reduce noise and an improved transmission housing (to minimise oil leaks and porosity) and internal component machining.

    According to Adzrai, these changes have been effective, lowering the number of warranty claims significantly. “We can see that from the launch until today, we have had an 80% reduction in warranty claims,” he said.

    For 2022, Proton has focused on the CVT’s software, adding new functions to improve the performance and refinement of the transmission. The most significant of these is the return of the stepped-ratio SAT feature, which dispenses with the dedicated button and is now activated automatically once the accelerator is pushed beyond a certain threshold.

    As such, the CVT is able to simulate an automatic gearbox’s “kickdown” and hold onto a specific ratio before “shifting up”. Proton says that the new function improves and reduces the noise made under hard acceleration and smoothens out the acceleration itself.

    A Neutral Idle Control (NIC) has also been added, disengaging the clutch at a standstill (while still in D or S) to lower the idle speed, eliminate the shift shock when shifting out of Park and reduce vibrations. Adzrai said that the new features were derived from those of competing models, with the team having tested the new cars back to back against the Toyota Vios and Honda City.

    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.

    As previously reported, 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 its 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.

    Refinement has also been given a step up, with the vibrations at idle measured at 0.041 g at the steering wheel and and 0.029 g on the floor on the Iriz (0.038 g for both on the Persona) – a reduction from the 0.05 g measured on the 2019 models. The buzz, squeak and rattle (BSR) rating for both the Iriz and Persona has also gone up from 5 to 6.5, indicating a quieter cabin.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz 1.6 Active CVT

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona 1.6 Premium CVT

  • 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona – why still Punch CVT?

    With Proton having officially unveiled facelifts for the Iriz and Persona hatchback and sedan models at the beginning of last month, the B-segment duo continues to be improved, most apparently in its infotainment, looks and equipment.

    Less was mentioned about the cars’ mechanical components, and how much has been done to improve them. Some will be wondering – why has Proton retained the Punch continuously variable transmission? Proton vehicle programme executive Adzrai Aziz Ibrahim offered explanations in detail through a virtual briefing.

    Proton arrived at the decision to stay with the Punch CVT gearbox after having conducted plenty of study as well as taking into account market feedback, said Adzrai, in particular benchmarking Japanese B-segment cars for this purpose. The CVT is the transmission that offers the best fuel consumption for the price and segment; this is in fact adopted by most brands in the segment, he added.

    While the latest Iriz and Persona facelifts were rumoured before launch to make the switch to a Hyundai four-speed torque converter automatic transmission, this was not chosen for the recently-launched cars as four forward ratios were deemed insufficient and therefore would be detrimental to fuel consumption.

    This is of greater importance to cars like the Iriz and Persona, rather than outright cost, and in addition to the fact that the B-segment duo sells in far smaller numbers than the Hyundai 4AT-equipped Saga – Proton’s best-seller – of which 4,500 to 5,000 units are sold every month, therefore the cost of engineering the fitment of a new gearbox to the Iriz and Persona could not be justified.

    A six-speed automatic “might be a consideration,” said Adzrai, though it would certainly be more expensive, therefore the decision was made to stick with the CVT. After a lot of discussion, Proton had found that most reservations expressed about the CVT was in terms of perceived quality.

    These had originally been addressed in the 2019 facelifts, however they were not publicised. Since the introduction of the revised transmission, there has been a reduction in warranty claims of over 80%, said Adzrai, and therefore the CVT has proven to be reliable. For this reason, Proton decided to retain the Punch CVT unit, instead of developing a new gearbox which would have brought the risks of introducing new parts.

    Having said that, Proton decided that the CVT should not remain completely untouched, and therefore it has been given updates to be on par with the other CVTs used in cars of this segment, said Adzrai. Of these, Proton had benchmarked the Toyota Vios and the Honda City, which also use stepless transmissions.

    Refinements made to the Punch CVT is the return of the SAT (stepped automatic transmission) mode, after it was previously removed. This now returns in a more integrated form as opposed to its earlier iteration, which featured a separate button to activate its use.

    This earlier version was found to be less than seamless in practice; when the SAT button was pressed, it would simulate stepped ratios and remain that way until the driver deselects it to return to conventional, stepless CVT operation. Proton had found that transmission button modes tend not to be used, and when the simulated AT mode in a stepless CVT is used, it often “does not drive as well,” noted Adzrai.

    What Proton has now, then, is an adaptation of the stepped automatic mode that does away with a separate button activation, and instead uses throttle input. For throttle position of between zero to 60% or 70%, the transmission functions normally as a CVT, beyond which it goes into the ‘stepped’ mode.

    This is to mitigate the “droning” noise when a CVT-equipped vehicle is taken to full throttle, as it selects the ratio to place the engine in the thick of its powerband – around 5,000 rpm to 5,500 rpm – while the rest of the driveline, and therefore vehicle speed, gradually catches up. For this reason, Proton has employed the stepped transmission mode for use during hard acceleration.

    With the prolific work that has gone into improving and refining the transmission in the 2022 Iriz and Persona, why was this not publicised in promotional material at the cars’ launch? As it turns out, Proton has decided that attention was best focused upon the more apparent new features such as the new GKUI with its voice command functions, as well as to promote the advent of the Iriz Active as a new variant.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona 1.6 Premium CVT

  • GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz Active in Malaysia – RM54k

    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.

  • 2022 Proton Iriz, Persona facelift: up to 12% better fuel economy in normal mode, plus another 10% in Eco

    During the launch of the facelifted 2022 Iriz and Persona earlier this month, Proton focused on the headline-grabbing features, including a thoroughly-revised interior, new voice control functions and a crossover-style Active variant for the facelift. But these largely superficial items hide a great deal of much-needed improvements that address some longstanding customer complaints.

    These under-the-skin tweaks were explored in great detail in a roundtable interview with the company’s vehicle programme executive Adzrai Aziz Ibrahim. There were a total of 200 new parts added to both models, including six performance improvements, much of which we will report about over the coming days.

    For now, we will focus on one of the biggest shortcomings of the outgoing model, fuel consumption. Adzrai said that the team has made big strides in the area, and despite there being no fundamental changes in the hardware since the 2019 facelift, the company is making some big claims regarding the cars’ efficiency.

    On the NEDC cycle, the Persona achieves a fuel consumption figure of 6.6 litres per 100 km (15.2 km per litre), while the Iriz does a claimed 6.7 litres per 100 km (14.9 km per litre); the slightly taller and heavier Active is capable of 7.0 litres per 100 km (14.3 km per litre).

    By comparison, the 2019 Iriz and Persona had a fuel consumption figure of 7.5 litres per 100 km (13.3 km per litre), so that’s a seven per cent improvement for the Active and a not-insignificant 11% and 12% reduction for the regular Iriz and Persona respectively.

    The improvements come mostly from software upgrades, which include a stepped-ratio SAT function and a Neutral Idle Control (NIC) which disengages the clutch when the car is at a standstill. Proton has also recalibrated the ECU of the 1.3 and 1.6 litre VVT engines and added a new Eco mode (completely separate from the Eco Driving Assist indicator, which merely lights up when you’re driving efficiently) that disconnects the clutch off-throttle at speeds under 70 km/h, allowing the car to coast.

    The latter, said Adzrai, provides a further seven to ten per cent improvement in fuel consumption in real-world driving, according to in-house testing. Eco mode is not activated upon startup so it cannot be included as part of the NEDC figures, he added, although Proton estimates a one-per-cent reduction on said cycle.

    It should be noted that the Iriz and Persona’s figures are still some way short of the Perodua Myvi‘s claimed 20.1 km per litre (5.0 litres per 100 km), achieved even with the larger 1.5 litre engine. Notably, the two Protons still do not qualify for Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) status and do not receive specific incentives as a result.

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Iriz facelift

    GALLERY: 2022 Proton Persona facelift

  • 2022 Proton Iriz vs Perodua Myvi – we compare the maintenance costs of both over five years/100,000 km

    We recently covered the maintenance cost of the new 2022 Proton Iriz facelift, which has increased compared to the outgoing 2019 model. Over five years or 100,000 km, it will now cost you RM3,583.17 if you keep to Proton’s official service schedule, which is RM531.37 more than before.

    So, how does the new total compare to the other B-segment hatchback that Malaysians are fond of, the Perodua Myvi? Well, we pulled data on the official service schedule of the Myvi and laid out all the figures so you can see the differences for yourself.

    Before proceeding further, it should be noted that the 2019 Iriz was slightly cheaper to maintain compared to the Myvi, costing RM3,051.80 instead of RM3,163.31 over five years. With the new model, this is no longer the case, with the gap between the two now being RM419.86.

    As we discovered previously, the main reasons for the increased maintenance cost of the Iriz are the more frequent N95 cabin filter and radiator coolant changes, along with their respective labour charges, with everything else remaining pretty much unchanged from before.

    The Myvi doesn’t have a N95 cabin filter, and it uses a regular cabin filter that is changed thrice over five years. Moreover, the Perodua hatchback only gets its radiator coolant changed twice compared to the three times needed for the Iriz. The less-frequent service items contribute to the lower maintenance cost, as do a few items that are cheaper in terms of parts.

    On the flipside, the Myvi requires fully-synthetic engine oil and iridium spark plugs for its engine, both of which cost more over five years compared to the Iriz. The Myvi’s four-speed automatic transmission also needs more frequent oil changes when compared to the Iriz’s CVT, which only requires one at 60,000 km.

    2022 Proton Iriz service schedule (top), 2019 Iriz (bottom); click to enlarge

    It should also be noted that while some service items like the engine air filter are changed less frequently with the Myvi, Perodua does recommend replacements to be made every 20,000 km under its optional Pro Care programme.

    Other service items listed in Pro Care include brake fluid changes, tyre servicing (alignment, balancing and rotation), spark plug changes and air-con major service. If you factor in all the Pro Care options on top of the standard scheduled service items, the total is noticeably more.

    As always, overall running costs go beyond more than just what you pay at the service centre. You also need to consider fuel consumption that can differ based on driving style and consumables, with the latter being things like tyres.

    Perodua Myvi service schedule with Pro Care options; click to enlarge

    The round, rubber doughnuts should cost more for the Iriz, as its wheel sizes have gone up gone up from 15 to 16 inches for Executive and Premium variants, while the Myvi maxes out at 15 inches. Other consumables include brake pads, shock absorbers and batteries are also factors in overall running costs.

    So, there you have it. The Myvi is cheaper to maintain over five years compared to the Iriz, but keep in mind that if you spread the difference over five years, it’s only about RM84 more per year for the latter, so it’s not that much more yearly.


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Last Updated 23 Mar 2023