15 December 2011

Proton Exora Bold and Prime launched

Proton has unveiled their much awaited Exora BOLD and PRIME today. The updated Proton Exora can now be have in 5 versions. The Standard model is essentially the base-line model, which is devoid of the updated styling package (except that it still gets the smoked head and tail lamps) and is manual-geared only. Next-up in the line is the Exora Bold range, which kicks from Executive (5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic). The Exora Bold is the real facelifted model, as it gets the updated styling package consists of new front bumper and full skirting including rear valence. These three models soldiers on with the proven Campro CPS engine as per current Exora. The range starts to get interesting with the Proton Exora Bold Premium, which is powered by the new CFE engine, and drive its new-found power through the now-customary CVT gearbox. The range is topped by Exora Prime, which is a luxuriously-trimmed 6 seater version. 

As for the price, the manual Standard model now costs RM59,998, Bold Executive MT at RM70,998, Bold Executive 4AT at RM74,998, Bold Premium (CFE + CVT) at RM79,998 and finally the Prime at RM88,998. For direct comparison with the current Exora, the Standard model is only RM1,000 dearer. Meanwhile the Bold Executive MT is  RM5,450 more than current M-Line manual, while Bold Executive 4AT is RM4,450 dearer than the M-Line AT it succeeds. It is unfair to draw a comparison between Exora Bold Premium as it gets a host of improvement consisting of new soft-turbo engine, CVT, 4 wheel disc brakes and electrically folding side mirror.
Proton Exora BOLD Premium front end - a complete fascia makeover
The enhanced styling for Bold model onward deserved special mention here. The new front bumper has successfully removed the visual bulk that has long defecting the frontal appearance of the current model. The boxy bumper lines has been punched by the vertical air intakes on the outer edge of the front bumper. The lower radiator grille adopt a wide horizontal opening, which virtually widened the car look. The new grille is more formal looking than the current one, and blends really well with the new front fascia. This new grille is set to be a signature grille for current crops of Proton cars, starting from P3-21A. Smoked headlamp completes the frontal makeover.The Prime model gets a chrome housing for its fog light. 
Proton Exora Prime features additional touch of class over the BOLD model
Since the launch of current Exora, I have always felt that the rear light is overdone. In an effort to signify the presence of LED lighting, and in the midst of creating the so-called character in the constraint of space, the designer was probably fighting among his own ideas and ended up implementing all his ideas! Fortunately, all those tacky detailing has been blurred by the dark smoked effect. The bumper is c/o item, but has been given a new lease of live by the fitment of lower garnish which,due to the contrasting black color, has removed the visual mass from the rear. It appears lighter to the eye.Kudos to Proton for really transforming the look of their MPV in this styling exercise!
Identical rear end for BOLD and Prime. Rear combi drastically better than the overdone item on current Exora

The biggest news that public has eagerly waited all this while is the much lauded turbocharged engine. Dubbed CFE, stands for Charged Fuel Efficiency, the new powertrain started its life some years back as Project Pheonix. The major objective of this project was to create an engine for high-torque application, while at the same time have to be fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The engine is not merely a turbo-charged Campro, as adding a turbocharger results in higher combustion pressure in the cylinder, thus necessity a total revision to the cranktrain systems, coolant and lubricant circuit, as well as stronger cylinder head, block and bedplate. Even the stroke is 2mm shorter at 86mm, resulting in 36cc less in capacity at 1,561cc while maintaining a high (for turbo engine) compression ratio of 10.0. The engine is rated for Euro 4 and 5 too. The results is 138bhp@5000rpm and 205Nm is available between 2000-4000rpm. As can be seen below, there a fat chunk of maximum torque available between the afore-mentioned engine speed, and this range is precisely what the driving rpm is for most drivers. So one can imagine the CFE-equipped Exora can be more move around more swiftly at around town driving.
The new heart gives the Exora Bold Premium the extra pace to accelerate to 100 km/h in 13.3 seconds, much faster than the CPS 4AT Exora which sprint (or crawl?) to the similar speed in pedestrian-like 15.7 seconds. Top speed for this turbo version is 185 km/h, compared to 165 km/h for the auto-geared CPS. Fuel consumption however has suffered a little bit, at a constant 90 km/h, the claimed figure for CFE CVT is 7.8 l/100km compared to 7.4l/100km achieved for non-turbo engine. Complementing the added performance, the Premium version is equipped with rear disc brake. The Premium version rides on larger 205/55 R16 as opposed to 195/65 R15.
Proton Exora Bold Premium interior. More brightwork than current model
There are some variation in the interior trim among the 5 model on offer. There's not much to talk about regarding the Standard Line, which soldiers on its black door inside handle and platingrau color in its centre console. The Bold like gets a liquid silver door inside handle, while the Executive model centre console is finished in same liquid silver replacing the platingrau scheme found on Standard model. The seats are finished in refreshed fabric scheme too. As for entertainment systems, the Executive version is now equipped with the DVD player which was only found on Hi-Line previously. The Premium version of Exora Bold gets all the bells and whistles in the form of leather upholstery for the seat and door trim, electric folding side mirror, rear camera projected in rear view mirror, cubic motif on centre console, auto-cruise, leather wrapped steering and liquid silver finishing on aircond vent surround. The Premium version meanwhile gets individual captain seat for the second row seat, whole occupants can enjoy the DVD integrated in front seat headrest. The liquid silver centre console finishing on the Premium has been replaced with simulated walnut in the Prime, together with different leather finishing on the seats and door trims. All model, bar the Standard, are equipped with ABS and EBD. The Standard model gets driver airbag, while other model are dual-SRS equipped. Read more after the jump.
Proton Exora Prime IP, note different seat and door trim color scheme. Dash gets walnut trim
Touch-screen navi, captain-seat 2nd row with headrest-mounted DVD screen
For a recap, the Exora is 4,592mm long, 1,809mm wide and 1,691mm tall. The spacious cabin is contained within 2,730mm wheelbase. The MPV is suspended by McPherson struts suspension up front, while the rear tracking is taken care by simplistic torsion beam setup. The new Exora is available in 5 color namely Cocoa Grey, Elegant Brown, Plum Red, Genetic Silver and Solid White.

The Proton Exora represent a good value for money with its sizable cabin space and the high level of standard equipment. At this price, the natural rivals are Nissan Grand Livina 1.6 which starts at RM86,800, the ladder-frame new Toyota Avanza 1.5S will cost RM79,590 and if you insist, Cherry Eastar can be yours for RM77,000. Those are dead meat, as the stiffest rival is the much smaller Perodua Alza which has consistently outsold Exora right from its birthday. Hopefully, this will change soon with this introduction of an improved Exora. There are also credible unregistered Japanese MPV king in Malaysia, the used-import Wish, which for 2006 unreg model, low-spec X model now hovering around RM100,000. However, despite the credible Japanese technology, it is an ageing model as the new generation has come out. The base X model has not much of equipment to talk about, read more about my review of Unreg Toyota Wish <HERE>.

The improved range of Proton Exora can now be seen at nationwide Proton dealership. Proton will also run Proton 4U day from 16-18 December where there's a gift awaiting those who test drive the new Exora. So you know what you should do if you like what you are seeing here, head to you nearest Proton dealership. Those in Klang Valley can refer Glenmarie sales agent at http://proton-sales.blogspot.com/ for more information of this new model.