It has been two weeks since Proton Suprima S hits the ground, and Proton itself said Suprima S is about to surpass its target of 750 units sold permonth, so I guess it is quite well received for its niche. I had a go in the car and thinks Suprima S is quite well conceived, albeit still needs some polishing, preferably from the experienced-global hand. There's a lot of likeable points and it represent the best Proton to date.
As an introduction, repeating the launch article (Read all the details of Proton Suprima S HERE) , Proton Suprima S is the hatchback derivative of Proton Preve. It is 107mm shorter while other dimension remain status quo. It comes in two version, all powered the turbocharged 1.6L mill punching 140PS and 205Nm of power and torque and can only be had with CVT gearbox. The cheapest version goes for RM76,388 while the top version won't give much change for your RM80,000.
Now lets unravel Proton Suprima S slowly,start with the styling. Firstly, styling is subjective so there's no correct ugliness or wrong beauty. Personally, since Proton Gen2 and Proton Satria Neo, Proton hardly makes good looking car, as it keeps churning something close to mid 90's Korean design effort from Saga BLM onwards. Things in for a change for Proton Preve, the claim was it was penned by Italdesign Giugiaro although one wonder how dominant that legendary Italdesign was during the process. Fortunately, Suprima S saves Preve element pretty well, as if Preve is the booted version of Suprima S instead of the de-booted of the former. It has to be appreciated under the light reflection of the environment instead of the camera lens. The intricacies of the rear fascia with its intertwined of protruding lights and multi-faceted surfacing actually works well. Trust me, look for one on the road instead of showroom and you'll know it.
|Proton redesign the upper and lower grille insert,as well as fog lamp housing|
It appears solid, somewhat further accentuated by the 17' alloy wheel which gives it a ground hugging stance. The reverse-angled rear door, chunky C-pillar and the tailgate spoiler gives it a sporty pretension. The over-sized rear bumper lower garnish helps in breaking the visual mass and lightened the rear end appearance, but the totally hidden exhaust make it subdued again. It is visually acceptable, although not arresting one like the Korean, or impart tense-solidity like the European. I still think Proton should employ Royal College of Art student which makes up a good statistic of global-level designer instead of sticking to employing people who graduated from the same town all the way.
The interior wears similar clothes to the 2012 Proton Preve. Key differentiation come by playing color palette. I am not a fans of Preve dashboard, as it has a vast emptiness on its fascias. There's so many unfilled voids as Proton is running out of features that have its switch/button on the dashboard. The dark trim on Preve somewhat masked this (although the small screen infotainment is a glaring flaw), but the cubic-motif silver trim on Suprima S makes the emptiness more obvious. The single surfacing for the dashboard fascia further accentuate this. I am sure if the fascia is broken into at least two planes, one for the audio system while the lower one pushed slightly inwards while accommodating the dials for air conditioning will reduce the empty feeling somewhat. However, good quality plastic used throughout the essential surface and the infotainment is now 7' in size so there's plus points to note.
Although Proton stylist has brightened the central fascia by silver insert, the new found light was clawed back by the high gloss black trim used on the gearknob and steering wheel. The paddle shifter is finished in the same dark color. However, all is not lost. Out goes the water repellent fabric upholstery and in comes a soft leather with good quality feeling. It occupies the seats, door trim and handbrake lever (Premium version only).
Practicality is very good. None of Preve cabin spaciousness is lost in the de-booting process. Not un-like many cars in the budget segment, the painted metal can still be seen in the cabin particularly on the untrimmed surface of the door frame, both front and rear. The boot volume has been reduced by massive 200L down to 309L VDA although the swept volume is still significant 427L provided you can pack your things in plastic bag so that it can be squeezed around. The fully-flat rear seat folding mechanism will come handy when needed.
Driving is height adjustable, but I feel it is a tad too high even at its lowest position. The correct combination of seat and steering could be better but this is no deal-breaker. At all. More discussion point after the jump.