05 October 2011

Proton Persona - used car scenario

Proton Persona was introduced to Malaysian market in July 2007, and subsequently was officially launched in August 2007. The sedan was derived from the Proton Gen2 Hatchback, with a host of improvement to further enhance if effectiveness as family sedan, and to rectify the shortcoming of its Gen2 donor model. Prior to its facelift in March 2010, the car has received in its Campro engine with the introduction of IAFM. With the next generation of Persona looming around, scheduled to arrive in April 2012, it is a good time to buy the Proton Persona, which can be considered as very good value, in terms of bang perbuck, before the model is phased out and considered as buying "an old generation model".

Introduction of Proton Persona
The car was officially launched in August 2007. Persona is very much based on Gen2 model, with thorough engineering work concentrated on the rear end of the car. Side panel has been elongated to accomodate a 430 litres of boot space, and the hatch tailgate has been replaced by multi-link hinged trunk lid. The car is 167mm longer than Gen2 at 4477mm. The revised packaging of the car liberates extra 43mm of headroom and around 40 litres of boot space.

There's more enhancement that the one immediately apparent to the eyes. The multi-link hinge for the boot for example does not impede the boot volume when the trunk is closed, unlike the goose-neck hinge which is used for car like Honda Civic FD. The key cylinder was also thrown in, over the lack of one in Gen2. The interior has been entirely revised with, a tempest grey color scheme for one, and with better looking and greater quality door trim. Glove box was thrown in too for good measure. Read more after the jump.

There's also deep engineering work for the car door, once an achilees heel for Proton Gen2. The Gen2 door is hard to open, but Persona offer a better operation for door opening, with well-oiled lever feeling with no stuck in movement and spring kick-back of the door open unlatching. The power window mechanism has been revamped too. A lot of engineering resources has been put on these items.

Apart from that, the whole acoustic properties of the car is an improvement from Gen2. The placement of sound dampening material and panel stiffness has been optimized for less vibration-induced noise. Clever computer simulation has allow the "noisy" point to be point out and stiffened up.

The increase cabin refinement was further aided by higher profile tyre. 195/60 R15 replaced the 195/55 R15 over Gen2, with the added sidewall height further isolate the road imperfection from the cabin.

All in all, one local magazine (with UK parentage) conclude that Proton finally can compete with its own merit other than pure pricing. With RM30k savings over immediate Japanese rival (admittedly with slightly taxed price), the advantage is very much obvious regardless of the pricing difference. Personally, compared to previous Proton offerings, yours truly felt that this car was thoroughly designed and engineered with much of care and passion in offering a credible solution to family transportation rather than half-baked effort with mixed design objectives.

The facelift model

The facelift model was introduced in March 2010 and it inherit a lot of parts from the facelifted Gen2. The front bumper and grille was lifted straight off the facelifted Gen2, and the darkened headlamp complete the frontal makeover. The car gets new skirting, and for M-Line and above, full bodykit too. The "Wau Bulan" rear combi make way to LED cluster, with much simpler layout. However, the chrome garnish at the trunk lid has been replaced with silver painted item. Elsewhere, the car gets new meter cluster, single DIN audio system, revised rear seat rake angle, better noise insulation and new 32 bit ECU.

Current price
As the Persona is affordable from the day one, the used value can get more tempting as the year goes by. The manual baseline model from the launch year (2007) starts to get closer to RM30,000. You basically can get a 4 year-old car less than the price of new supermini. The M-Line auto for the same year is around RM35,000. Going for H-line (auto only) can cost you RM38,000. According to simple survey in Mudah.my, the car from year 2008 costs around RM2,000 - 3,000 more than the year 2007. For year 2009, going for better -equipped SE variant starts from RM45,000. Further down the range, the manual B-line is an affordable RM35,800.

As the year inching towards its end, admittedly the price will even further, especially considering that the all-new model will bow in next year. Some people is keen to get rid of their car before resale value dipped even lower.

The Proton Persona is relatively better-build compared to previous Proton offerings. Not to say it is zero-defect, but there's no glaring lack of reliability from this car. However, it is very frequent to see Persona running around with black fuel filler door. If you follow some of local forum, they listed down a few items, but not all are consistent. I guess, especially buying used, the buyer should be more selective and more stringent in their choice. Not all cars are lemon, and with the number of unit sold since 2007, the mint unit won't be far away.