Here it is today, another product of blood and sweat of our fellow Malaysian has been born. Launched today at Martrade Convention Centre by the man who conceptualized Proton himself, Tun Dr Mahathir, Proton Suprima S is tagged "fully loaded with built-in value" by its maker. Main headlines includes 5-star ANCAP rating, handling tuned by the fame Lotus, turbocharged engine, cutting-edge infotainment with Android OS and blessed with pleasing and athletic styling, all packaged in a reasonably priced for a C-Segment hatchback. What's there not to like then? Sticking truth to the karma on national car, it is always easy to fall in love at the first sight to Suprima S.
Obviously a derivative of Preve sedan launched last year, Proton Suprima sports an all-new structure post the B-pillar. The swooping trunk line of the sedan has been replaced with a more upright hatch. It is easier to imagine the silhouette if you know Honda Civic EP (Euro), there is a lot of similarities in the outline. The profile is not as truncated as you might think, there is enough gradient to make it flowing making the transition seamless as if the hatchback variant has been there right from the beginning (we heard it is). The larger 17 inch alloy wheel lends it a more solid stance too. Cheaper Executive variant will use 16 inch item, but we did not see them during the launch. Sporty description is applicable, from most angle. Not surprising though as Proton clearly stated that they are targeting a younger buyer who don't fancied a sedan bodystyle.
The newly design rear end is fashionable if such word is applicable here. Proton has been experimenting with rear light design for quite sometimes, starting with Proton Exora. Encrusted in LED in pretty much hapzard arrangement, coupled with multi-surface lens appearance, moved on the shrunken but LED-laden rear light on Proton Saga FLX, before stretching the light back on Preve (missing the alignment with trunk lid plinth by the way), Proton Suprima S is the best execution yet. Joining the bandwagon on cathode tube light, there's certain degree of success here as far as aesthetic is concern. The tailgate is muscular, in coherent with the strong shoulder from the side structure. The missing lower bumper garnish on Proton Preve reappeared here, albeit in much higher position. Incorporating rear fog lamp, the garnish is good half-way in height as far as rear bumper is concern. However, despite the sporty intention, the exhaust outlet in nowhere to be seen. Confused designer? You bet.
Taking the advantage of the redesigning activity, Proton also has revised the front end detailing on Proton Suprima S. The upper and lower grille has swapped the insert type between them, as opposed to Proton Preve. The upper grille is now mesh type, instead of louvered in Preve. The lower opening meanwhile, has swapped the Preve's mesh for a louvered type. The fog lamp housing however, is totally new design element, and perfectly in place there. Photos above described all these design change clearly.
While side profile remains unchanged, pre-B-pillar of course, the rear end has seen quite a drastic change. Much more than merely chopping the boot, Proton has designed the C-pillar, rear tailgate and the afore-mentioned rear light cluster accordingly. Resemblance to the older Honda Civic EP is limited to the silhouette (simply because they are both tall hatchback). The tailgate fascia is full with courageous curve, attempting to project the much said muscular image. The rear light cluster has a protruding outer section, and the inner graphic is attractive. Spot on we would say.
The rest of the body and chassis are mostly carried over from Proton Preve, itself still new. This include the 1.6L in-line 4 cylinder engine with force-induction, output a healthy 205Nm of torque from lowly 2,000rpm all the way to 4,000rpm. The horsepower stays 138bhp@5,000rpm. The claimed fuel efficiency in mixed cycle (as opposed to 90km/h) is 9.1L/100km. Performance is sprightly than stellar, with 9.9s (what's up with under 10s claimed if it is just under?) with top speed is 190 km/h. Top speed, century sprint and fuel consumption are all a little worst than the sedan breathen, Preve. Suspected due to extra kerb weight which stands at 1,395kg compared to 1,340kg. Suspension hardware remains McPhersons strut at the front and multi-link at the back, and braking power provided by all around disc setup, with ventilated item at the front. Proton Suprima S Premium rides on 215/45 R17 tyres, while the Executive version uses slimmer 205/55 R16.
In terms of body dimension, Proton Suprima S is 107mm shorter than Preve at 4,436mm, width is same 1,786mm, height 1,524mm and wheelbase is 2,650mm.
To add the touch of variation, the interior has been subtly revise. The changes are mainly trimmings.The simulated wood or gold-ish dashboard insert is now textured silver. It joins the silver beam than run along the front floor console. The silver paint of the steering wheel, gear knob and paddle shift are however gone, and replaced with glossy black item. So it is brighten the cabin certain areas, but add the darkness somewhere else. Why, ask the designer who hide the exhaust? The silver section is illustrated below. We however, still can't accept the vast emptiness of the centre console, which appeared spartan due to the lack of button or trimmings.
The chopped back did nothing to the cabin spaciousness. The head and legroom for both front and rear occupants is massive. The Premium version seen here sports a sumptuous leather upholstery which covers the seat, door trim and steering wheel. The Executive version makes do with fabric though.
If there is a penalty, it is the boot space. Gone is 508L from Preve, reduced to 309L VDA in Suprima S. It is however sufficient for small family use. It is almost similar in volume to the Ford Focus Sport. The volume is however expandable with the folding rear seat which go almost flat.
Proton Suprima S is the most well-equipped Proton ever, particularly the Premium version. In terms of safety, all variant of Suprima S gets 6 airbags, anti-trap power window, ABS, ESC, traction control and all these are on top of the carried over safety features from Preve which is RESS safety cell consist the mixture of hot-formed body reinforcement. This contribute to the crash safety rating of 5-star by ANCAP.
The infotainment system is also as cutting-edge as it can get, with Android Operating System which the capability of GPS, WiFi, DVD player, not to mention the typical use of Bluetooth, USB and iPOD.
The Premium Suprima S is further enhanced with reverse camera, starter button, paddle shifter, auto cruise, auto wiper and 2 tweeter at the A-pillar. 4G WiFi and tinted comes standard. For safety reason, the DVD player and WiFi can only be used when the handbrake is engaged.
By now everyone knows the price already. Proton Suprima S carries small premium over the equivalent Proton Preve. This is due to the additional safety and equipment level, not to mention the tooling cost too for the exclusive equipment to Suprima S, which potentially has lower volume than the Preve itself. The price starts at RM76,388 for Executive version, while the Premium version starts at RM79,638 OTR. Metallic paint cost another RM300. Proton also throw in its 5 Star Program, consists of 5 Year Warranty or 150,000km whichever earlier and 5 year Free Road Assist. Proton Suprima can be had in one of the five colors, which include the new Atlantic Blue together with Fire Red, Genetic Silver, Solid White and Tranquility Black.