The date 16 December 2011 was quite a significant date for Proton, as their latest child, the Exora Bold and Exora Prime is officially launched. To the uninitiated, the Exora Bold and Exora Prime is now power by the new Campro CFE 1.6 turbocharged engine. I managed to have a short drive on The Proton Exora Bold today.
Upon starting the Exora, the first thing I noticed was the new redesigned meter clusters. It looks very much like those Toyota Optitron meter, white and bright. I did notice the gear shifter was a tad bit tall, not sure if it was a defect or just eases gear shifting. Upon letting loose on the highways, the Exora Bold’s 205nm of torque is unleashed from 2000rpm onwards. You can hear the turbo sound if your radio is not turned on. Not exactly a bad thing, as it’s a subtle hint of what lies under the bonnet. Mated with a CVT gearbox from Punch Powertrain, the Exora Bold surprises me with it’s pulling power. Without much ado, the Exora Bold reaches 110km/h and keeps going. I managed somewhere around 120km/h before I ran out of safe roads. Wind noise and tire noise were almost nonexistent.
Stopping power is provided by 4 disc brakes all round, coupled with ABS+EBD for that extra safety. Just so you guys know, the Exora Bold has rubbers from GTRadial. Sure the name is cool, but did you know that GTRadial actually comes from Gajah Tunggal in Indonesia? Thumbs up for that creative name. Besides the stopping power, the Exora Bold’s steering offers much feedback, in comparison to the Nissan Grand Livina’s EPS one. Although the EPS assists a lot in low speed cornering, high speeds on highways can get rather scary and unnerving; due to the lack of feedback the EPS offers (or does not).
Suspension wise, there was no official word from Proton saying that it was retuned or carried over from the Exora, but the (now) Proton Ride and Handling really prevails itself. When driven on bumpy roads, the Exora Bold managed to keep occupants nice and comfy, while high speeds on highways does not get bouncy at all. Thumbs up for the excellent suspension set up. The Inspira has the same feel as the Exora, although the Exora tends to exhibit a bit of body roll when pushed into corners hard.
As for the feature set, now the Exora Bold comes with a rear camera parking assist. It’s a similar system used in the Kia Forte, and really helps parking in tight spots. Leather seats are also available on the Exora Bold. I won’t touch oher features like the driving position, aircon blowers etc as they are carried over from the previous Exora. Spaces are aplenty in the Exora.
Proton sure has a winner in the MPV segment. For a 1.6L MPV, this is one of the most powerful and has the most torque, when comparing against local favourites, including the Perodua Alza, Nissan Grand Livina and the Toyota Innova. There are only 2 setbacks that I foresee. One is Proton’s brand image. Due to Proton’s past, not many people would want to consider a Proton as a new car, but recent offerings from Proton seems to have changed that a lot, and hopefully the Exora Bold can do that. Secondly is that the reliability of the turbo system. I dare not say how reliable the turbo system fitted into the Exora Bold would be, but if their engineers has done their homework properly, it should last up to 150,000km with little fuss. I would give the Exora Bold with the rating of 8.5/10.