October 13, 2014 @ 04:37 PM

News: Proton Iriz has caught our attention

The saying is third time's the charm, is Proton's new car going to do well this time? It sure looks like it will from our point of view.


 
All eyes on the Iriz. Report by Arvind Kumar.
 
The Proton Iriz is the company’s third attempt into the local hatchback segment. The previous two forays, namely the Proton Tiara and Savvy had lacklustre sales performance. In the case of the Savvy, it was outdone in a big way by a certain Perodua Myvi. 
 
So under the stewardship of DRB-Hicom and by pledging to build cars with a global perspective yet maintain local presence, does the new car have what it takes to mark a local and international resurgence for the brand? Well judging by the much awaited launch gambit and the near 14,000 pre-launch orders, all signs point to a resounding yes.
 
A thought process that begin in essence four years ago has been realized through a tedious design and engineering process, culminating in some RM520 million spent on research and development of the new product. Extensive consumer surveys and varied benchmarking exercises have also been concluded to create an internationally competitive product that will also entice local taste buds.
 
Central to the development of the car is its new design language. Proton’s new design principle, which reads as ‘emotion in form and function’ and first seen on the Suprima S, now has been further honed in the Iriz.
 
Proton’s Head of Design, En. Azlan Othman, highlights the four pillars of which the Iriz’s design has to conform to. The first being proportion, which creates the initial elements of the car’s design that can be directly identified at the outset. Secondly, the surfacing needs to create a sense of quality and finish. The posture or stance of the vehicle is the third pillar. And finally, the car’s detailing that creates a sense of passion in the design.

 
Highlights of the Iriz include the new Proton wing, a design highlight that connects the two headlamps with the Proton logo in the centre just above the grille. The sides of the car also feature a contour line which flows from the front quarters and rises towards the rear bootlid climaxing just below rear glasshouse. 
 
At the rear, another design feature includes the chamfered edge which rims the rear bootlid, which is designed to create a more premium look and feel for the rear quarters. Another design first for Proton is the door-mounted wing mirrors to increase visibility within the cabin.
 
The inside features supportive and well bolstered seats, which themselves are moulded almost as semi-bucket units. A clear instrument panel with neatly integrated information display relays important telemetry. The dash panel itself features a faux stitched appearance which is crowned with a multimedia unit and angular air-conditioning vents in the centre. Interior detailing and bright work increases across the variants list.
 
The Premium variant includes a 6.2-inch Android touchscreen unit replete with USB, AUX, Blueetooth and SD-card connectivity. A further two charging ports are located in the in the centre console just beside the handbrake lever. Elsewhere six airbags come as standard in the Premium variant as do seatbelt reminders which utilise sensors imbedded within the seats. The Standard Executive variants will receive two airbags respectively.  
 
The biggest improvements have been in the safety features of the vehicle. In additions to passive safety equipment which include hot-formed steel used in the construction of the sills and pillars. The Iriz is also equipped with active safety features such as ABS and EBD, Brake Assist and hill-hold assist. The Iriz also features electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TCS) across the range, otherwise unheard of within this segment. The compilation of the lot has garnered an impressive five-star rating in the Asean NCAP safety assessment program. 

 
Two engine choices have been introduced. The 1.3- and 1.6-litre four-cylinder equipped with variable valve timing. Power figures are rated at 107bhp at 5,750rpm and a healthy 150Nm of torque at 4,000rpm for the 1.6-litre unit. Total output for the 1.3-litre engine reads 94bhp at 5,750rpm and 120Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
 
Increments in horsepower for the new engines have also been achieved via a new piston design, and by integrating the catalytic converter into the exhaust manifold where maximum efficiency gains are achieved. The engines will be mated to Proton’s CVT gearbox while a five-speed manual variant will be also sold alongside. 
 
The Iriz is equipped with MacPherson struts up front and torsion beam the rear. The ABS has been modulated to work with the ventilated discs up front and the drum units at the back. This has been proven by the car’s superior stopping prowess by achieving a 100kph to zero stopping distance in under 40m – a figure most B-Segment competitors are unable to match.
 
There are eight variants across three trim levels. The Iriz starts of at RM41,152 for the 1.3-litre manual in Standard trim all the way up to RM60,602 for the CVT 1.6-litre Premium. Order books are now open.

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