2016 Proton Saga will be the coming up affordable B-segment car introduced from the national carmaker, Proton. With the hype of Perdana and Persona that launched few months ago, Proton is keeping up with the effort to dominate local car market with Saga. Proton Saga is not a new name, it is a redevelopment from the previous Proton Saga Plus MT 2015 model. Proton has made some ample and solid updates to this vehicle and it is their new Third Generation Saga. The new Saga will be scheduled launch on 28 September at Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam.
The booking of the latest model is now officially open with tentative price between RM37K and RM46K. Here we got a break down with the four variants that will be available at launch. Standard (MT), Standard (AT), Executive (AT) and Premium (AT). All four will be powered by the same engine found in the Iriz – 1.3 litre VVT however replacing the old IAFM+ unit. The car is more powerful now with the new engine, it is now with 94 hp at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Transmission options include a five-speed manual (Standard only) and a CVT (all variants). The CVT unit will perform better compared with VVT as the engine features a retuned ECU to complete the CVT’s response. ESC also known as hill hold assist for Premium variant set to aid driver to tackle slopes and slippery tarmac.
Overview of Saga:
The new Saga is comparatively quicker and more economical than its previous model. The model implemented Persona Three Point Engine Mount for better NVH, as it was revised ECU for better response, which minimizing vibrations. Setting apart from Persona 1.6 litre engine, Proton 1.3 litre VVT engine is set to handles fuel efficient city driving which targets singles and young executives between 20 and 30 years old. The manual model gets to 100 km/h in 12.2 seconds (from 13.0 seconds), and consumes 5.4 litres fuel/100 km at 90 km/h (from 6.0 l/100 km). The CVT model handle 100 km/h in 13.1 seconds (from 14.5 seconds), and 5.6 litres fuel consumption/100 km at 90 km/h (from 6.3 l/100 km).
With the increase of boot space to 420 litres, the overall length of new Saga is lengthened and lowered, set as 74mm longer and 11mm lower. It aims to offers more comfortable driving experience and better storage compatibility. However,with the unbeatable 508 litres boot space offered by Perodua Bezza, Bezza would be your choice if space is a top priority.
The new Saga has a proportionate look for the criterion of a three box sedan, the overall structure of new Saga looks grandeur and bold, setting it apart from other B-segment sedan like Mitsubishi Attrage and Kia Rio Sedan. The rear of Saga looks rather curvy as compared to its previous model, the rear diffuser has changed to a rather sporty design in conjunction with the new diffuser design for Perdana and Persona. The new Saga comes with a new set of halogen headlamp with chrome front grille. Proton had set its boundaries with Iris and Persona, instead of using the same front design, the new Saga retain its recognizable Saga DNA and improved from the previous Saga FL model. There will be total of six colors offered for new Saga, white, silver, black, red, metallic blue and metallic grey.
The new Saga interior had greatly improved, a rearview mirror with integrated display to show video feed from reverse camera, double-DIN head unit with AUX and USB input, fabric seats and rear USB charging port. The overall design of the new Saga is more polished and sturdy. However, we are not very surprise when it comes to in-car multimedia system set –ups, new technology is one of the vital factors for car buyers. As we compare both Saga and Bezza for its highest range model, Saga falls behind with the lack of touch screen multimedia system and navigation functionality.
What we get from the new saga are ABS ( Executive & Premium only), Electronic stability control ( Premium ), Reverse Camera ( Premium only), 1.4A and 2.1A rear USB charging ports, Single piece foldable rear seat, rear fog lights, front and rear parking sensors. These updates set to improve the performance and safety of passenger which eventually earn the new Proton 4 ASEAN NCAP 4 – Star rating. Proton has up its game by installing all new safety features and charging ports, however, new Saga ABS does not comes as a standard as it only offers to Executive and Premium variant, as compared with its rival Bezza, all variants of Bezza has ABS and EBD come as a standard, and keyless entry for its 1.3 litres variant, it would be something that the consumer have to consider about.
Conclusion, Proton strategically arranged the launch of new Saga a few months later apart from its previous Persona, many said that it would be challenging for Proton to undertake the sales for both models. So far, Proton had done well for both models in terms of manufacturing pace. Both models aim for different target buyers, Persona for the family sedan while Saga for the young single executive.
With the similar price range, how Proton will stand out in the midst of rivalry with Perodua first sedan, Bezza? Time will tell if the company able to handle all the necessary preparation in term of sales, dealership and aftersales. Proton is hoping to sell approximately 5,000 Sagas per month following its launch, then export to ASEAN markets later this year.