It’s been nearly a decade since the first generation Proton Persona debuted. Back then, it was a relatively popular C-Segment sedan, but Proton has since repositioned the Persona as a B-Segment model. In case you’ve missed the obvious, the Persona is basically a sedan version of the Iriz, but a lot of work have been made to distinguish the two apart.
First things first, the Persona’s footprint is smaller than its predecessor. With an overall length of 4,387mm and a 2,555mm wheelbase (same as the Iriz), this Persona is shorter, narrower but taller (1,554mm) than the old C-Segment model. However, the engineers at Proton claim that the new proportions do not compromise on interior space.
|Name||Proton Persona Standard (MT)||Proton Persona Standard (CVT)||Proton Persona Executive (CVT)||Proton Persona Premium (CVT)|
|Engine||1,597cc; inline-4, DOHC with VVT|
|Max Power||107 hp @ 5,750 rpm|
|Max Torque||150 Nm @ 4,000 rpm|
|0 – 100km/h||10.9 seconds|
On the outside, the Iriz-based sedan shares a number of standard features, such as halogen projector headlamps complete with etched “Proton” lettering, front parking sensors, door-mounted side mirrors, chrome grille, bulb-type tail lamps, rear fog lamp and 15-inch wheels wrapped with 185/55 series tyres.
The Executive and Premium trims will benefit from front fog lamps and a rear spoiler. Exclusive to the Premium trim are automatic headlights, keyless entry and push-start button.
Inside, all Persona variants receive a two-tone beige and black finish. The Standard duo and Executive variants make do with fabric comfort seats, whereas the Premium variant is the only one to get leather upholstered comfort seats. The rear bench has a 60:40 split configuration, but only the Executive and Premium benefit from this feature.
A choice of Single DIN or Double DIN head unit is offered (the former is only offered in Standard trim), but the range topping Premium is the sole recipient of a touchscreen head unit. One key upgrade here is boot space. It’s cavernous, with a volume of 510 litres, up from the old Persona’s 470-litre space.
Like the old Persona, all variants are powered by the sole 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. It’s exactly the same unit from the Iriz, but vibration levels are lower thanks to a three-mount setup compared to the Iriz’s four. The DOHC engine comes with Variable Valve Timing and produces 107 hp at 5,750 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.
Proton says the engine is up to 13 percent more fuel efficient than the old engine, and it consumes 5.6 litres per 100km travelled. This rating isn’t based on any official test cycles, but Proton said the figures reflect that of a real-world result. To achieve this, Proton engineers maintained a driving speed of 90km/h and drove through varying road conditions and angles. Expect the Persona to manage anywhere upwards of 6.0 litres per 100km in real life, though. When flexed, the car sprints from 0 to 100km/h in 10.9 seconds, almost a full second quicker than the old model.
The engine is paired to two transmissions – a five-speed manual or the same Punch-sourced CVT. The Persona’s newly calibrated ECU and TCU improved acceleration and throttle response, but the whine remains audible, albeit slightly less intrusive than the Iriz’s. Drive is sent to the front wheels, and the car is managed by MacPherson Struts up front and a torsion beam setup for the rear axle.
Remember the 5-Star ASEAN crash safety rating that was awarded to the Iriz? The Persona fares just the same because they’re structurally identical. Well, almost. Offered as standard here are two airbags, ABS with EBD and Vehicle Stability Control. The only variant to come fitted with six airbags and a reverse camera is the Premium CVT.
Also standard here are ventilated disc brakes for the front and drum brakes for the rear. Although this setup may seem to be a step backwards, braking performance is actually nearly 10 percent better than the older Persona. Previously, the Persona takes a distance of 44.6 metres to hit dead stop from 100km/h, but the new model takes just 41.4 metres.
A total of six exterior colours are offered across all variants; Fire Red, Midnight Black, Cotton White, Graphite Grey, Sterling Silver and Carnelian Brown. Each purchase comes with a 5-Year or 150,000km warranty package, whichever comes first. Customers who place their orders before the end of September will be rewarded with an additional 3-Year free service package which covers both parts and labour costs.
So, dear readers, liking what you see so far? What do you think of the new Persona? Share with us your thoughts on Proton’s newest model! The next car to roll out of Proton would be the Saga and a new compact MPV. Till then, be sure to give the Persona a quick test drive at a showroom near you.