December 23, 2014 @ 05:01 PM

Review: Proton Preve 1.6 CFE CVT

Two years after its debut, does the Proton Preve still have its charm; we review one to find out. By Arvind Kumar

Two years after its debut, does the Proton Preve still have its charm; we review one to find out.
It was all over the web, P3-21A was its World Wide Web alias. Spyshots, leaked snaps and the endless scoops drip-fed by Proton, the Preve was nothing short of a sensation prior to its release. And rightfully so, it was slated to replace the ageing but popular Proton Waja – no pressure there! Two years on, here’s what we think of Proton’s talented sedan.  
Exterior (Score: 3/5)
Having a wider track than all its competitors means that the Preve features a rather wide and squat frontal stance. The headlights are connected by Proton’s ‘Wing’ design line and the front bumper also aids to give the Preve a rather sporty appearance. Down the sides, the well-defined beltline serves to create an athletic appearance while round the back, the elegant tail lamps replete with LED lights sign off on the suave sedan appearance.    

Interior (Score: 4/5) 

This is where the Preve shines, it’s so roomy in here. The nicely padded seats will carry five in great comfort, with head, shoulder and legroom all adequately proportioned. While the material on the dash is soft to the touch and the trim highlight’s glossy finish also helps makes you feel you’re in something special. But sound insulation could have been better there is a substantial amount of tyre roar and drivetrain whine (chiefly from the CVT transmission) that still penetrates the cabin space. In car entertainment is nicely specified with Bluetooth and AUX connectivity, plus the familiar Proton air-conditioning is still capable of giving you frostbite. 
Power and handling (Score: 3/5)
Well I believe the CVT transmission from Punch has got enough flak for now. So I’m going to focus on what it does better. Once the Preve gets up to speed, the CVT is reasonably smooth. At the speed limit, the engine spins at a lowly 2200rpm and even at speeds of 140kph it barely clips past the 3000rpm – so it’s good on the highways and the car returns some great MPG numbers. In traffic though, it feels perplexed, constantly sieving through its endless combinations of forward ratios which will probably disenchant you with jerky responses and clumsy off the line starts. But with practice, I learnt to feed the power more smoothly – perhaps to cajole the CVT auto rather than to compel it.

No complains about the engine though, the CFE unit is more than eager to release its 205Nm of torque at a moment’s notice, 2750rpm is the sweet spot. Once the power is put down, the Preve handles it well; good body rigidity is allied to a comfortable yet poised suspension setup while the steering is direct and well weighted. 
Tech and Safety (Score: 5/5)
The Preve is definitely on the ball here,  loaded with safety features like six-airbags, ABS replete with EBD and stability control. Touch screen multimedia unit is easy to get used to, plus it has even got a Sat Nav. Button press through the multi-information display to reveal key information on the car and your journey, after an 825km drive, the economy meter read 8.9l/100km (which is accurate based on my own calculations) which means that consumption is fair for a turbocharged car. 
The Preve still remains a great value proposition. It drives well, has descent power and frugality, safety kit no other manufacturer will match at this price tag and has cavernous amounts of space for occupants and luggage. If the CVT does not bug you too much, it definitely is a whole lot of car for the sticker price. 
Overall score: 15/20
Proton Preve 1.6L CFE CVT
RM70,731 OTR without insurance
1561cc, 4-cyl, in-line petrol engine turbocharged 138bhp @ 5000rpm, 205Nm @ 2000rpm
CVT automatic with 7-speed stepped-ratios, front wheel drive
9.6sec 0-100kph, 190kph, 6.6l/100km(claimed), N/Ag/km

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