September 28, 2016 @ 09:44 PM

One giant leap forward for the Saga

Four launches in a year can make or break any automotive giant but Proton are gunning it with their third of 2016 and the Saga could just be their best yet.


Following the earlier private media preview of the all-new 2016 Proton Saga, the official launch has finally revealed the exact pricing and specifications for the kereta rakyat with prices beginning at RM36,800.
 
Much like its Persona sibling that was launched not long ago, the Saga can be had in three variants; starting with the Standard that has a manual and CVT option followed by an Executive and Premium trim that are strictly CVT-only.


 
The Saga Standard manual goes for RM36,800 and upgrading to a CVT will raise the price to RM39,800. Step up to the Executive CVT and it will set you back RM42,800 while the full bells and whistles Premium CVT will take RM45,800 of your money. All prices are on-the-road with insurance.
 
Apart from the pricing, nothing much else has been revealed that was not disclosed during the pre-launch media preview.


 
To recap, the all-new Saga still rides on the outgoing model’s platform but with significant improvements to justify labelling it an all-new model and not merely a facelift.
 
The wheelbase remains unchanged at 2465mm but the front and rear overhangs have been stretched to make it longer by 74mm. Furthermore the width has been pulled wider by 9mm and it now rides 11mm lower as well. A longer rear has also resulted in a slight increase in boot space by  seven litres to 420-litres and a single-piece folding rear seat allows long objects to be placed in the boot.


 
Unlike its predecessor, the Saga will now only be powered by a 1.3-litre engine; the very same mill that can be had in the Proton Iriz. The Campro with VVT inline-four outputs a modest 94bhp and 120Nm of torque that makes itself know fairly high up in the powerband at 4000rpm. As previously mentioned, the engine is now mounted to the chassis at three points as opposed to the previous four for better NVH levels.
 
Proton quotes an official fuel consumption figure of 5.6l/100km for the CVT while the manual does a smidgen better at 5.4l/100km. An Eco Drive Assist is standard and helps keep track of your throttle input to save fuel on the go.


 
Carried over from the Persona are software improvements to the CVT that undermined it in the Iriz with excessive droning and lethargic response. All those issues have been addressed impressively in the Persona and Proton reassures us the same can be said for the Saga as well.
 
While the Iriz and Persona cut some parasitic losses with electric power steering, the Saga maintains a hydraulic power steering system, likely due to costs.


 
The front end rides on MacPherson struts and the rear on a torsion beam axle with ventilated discs on the driven wheels and basic drums on the rear.
 
For an entry-level trim, the Saga Standard packs quite an admirable list of kit that includes wing mirrors with indicators, rear fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors, twin rear USB chargers, central locking and connectivity for MP3, USB, Bluetooth and iPhone playback. It rides on 13-inch wheels. One glaring omission is safety with only dual front airbags available and not even the bare minimum ABS.


 
Stepping up to the Executive will see the inclusion of front fog lamps, a four-speaker sound system, rear spoiler, body-coloured exterior trimmings, seat pockets, electric wing mirror adjustment and finally some active safety with ABS, EBD and BA. Tyre sizes jumps up to 14-inches too.
 
Splurge for the Premium and you’ll see some of the bells and whistles. A double-DIN audio system and steering mounted controls come into play as does a reverse camera with the display integrated in the rear-view mirror. Even the interior trim gets some plusher fabric for the seats and faux chrome colours light up the cabin. Electronic stability control is thrown into the mix together with traction control and hill-hold assist. Filling the wheel wells are 15-inch alloys.
 
With 10,000 bookings so far, the all-new Saga looks set to be a popular sight on our roads and with some wide smiles on those behind the wheel as well.

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