The new 2020 Perodua Bezza is the natural rival to the Proton Saga in the A-Segment sedan market, but with the highest spec Advance (AV) priced at RM 49,980, there are other options that you should consider in the bigger B-Segment – the Proton Persona 1.6 Executive.
Take a look at the overview:
Evidently, the Premium spec Saga is the cheapest of the lot as compared to both the Bezza 1.3 AV and Persona 1.6 Executive on paper. That being said, let’s compare the specs and equipment levels offered in the three sedans.
Engine & Transmission – Persona for power, Bezza for efficiency, Saga for smoothness
The obvious winner here is the Persona's 1.6-litre VVT S4PH Campro, offering more horsepower and torque than both the Bezza (14 PS and 29 Nm) and Saga (14 PS and 30 Nm).
However, Bezza’s 1NR-VE Dual VVT-i engine tech is newer, which is frugal compared to the Persona. Nothing worth shouting about with Perodua’s 4-speed torque converter automatic though.
Persona’s CVT is still noisy and unrefined, despite being updated to be smoother. The Hyundai-sourced 4-speed torque converter automatic in the Saga is the winner then, as it offers a better refinement level compared to both the Bezza and Persona.
Fuel efficiency – The Bezza is untouchable
Not surprisingly, the Bezza takes this by kilometers ahead, thanks to its lightweight body, fuel-efficient engine and smoother aerodynamics. Its 1.3-litre unit returns 4.5-litre/100 km (22 km/litre).
On the other hand, the Proton Persona is only capable of returning 6.1-litre/100 km (16.3km/litre) while the Saga trails last, returning only 6.7-litre/100 km (14.9 km/litre).
Safety – Bezza moves up the ladder with A.S.A 2.0
The addition of Advance Safety Assist 2.0 (ASA 2.0) on the AV line is certainly impressive at this price point, as these feature are usually reserved on higher-priced cars.
Both the Bezza and Persona scored 5-star in their NCAP crash rating, while Saga scored 4-star.
All three sedans come with similar safety equipment, although in the near future we hope 4 airbags would be made standard.
Audio – Saga gets all the groove
Saga’s floating style headunit looks the business, works like a charm and it sounds better than the one in Persona. There are no 'Hi Proton' voice command as the headunit is Android-based model, not taken from Geely's part bin. However, it is the smoothest headunit by far and the screen quality is great.
Despite the Persona’s fancy-looking Geely based headunit, it is missing the ‘Hi Proton’ voice command like the Saga, online connectivity and 4G & wifi connection. It is also a little clunky to use and slow.
The Bezza headunit comes with navigation and ‘Smart Link’ (for Android only), but the sound quality is sub-par. Somehow, Perodua doesn’t really learn in this department, as models like the Axia and Myvi suffers from similar issues.
Boot space – Persona spruce ahead, but only by a two-tenths
Only 2-litre difference separates the Persona from the Bezza (510 vs 508 litres), with the Saga having the smallest space of the two with a mere 420 litres, thanks to its low, swooping rear end. Both the Bezza and Persona has a higher boot line, contributing to the overall space increase.
Ride & Handling – The Proton duo takes the lead
Proton is known for their great handling and ride comfort, which makes both the Persona and Saga a clear winner here on the highway and bad road condition. Perodua is yet to excel in this area.
Comfort – And the Proton duo moves further up
As the Bezza is Perodua’s first foray into the sedan market, there are certainly improvements made in the facelifted Bezza but it falls short to Proton know-how of making comfortable sedans.
Persona and Saga's dimensions are much wider and longer compared to the Bezza, contributing to better overall spaciousness and comfort.
So, which sedan you should go for?
If you live and drive in urban area, the Bezza is the most suitable for this as the car was designed with this in mind, as proven by the abundance of e-hailing Bezza’s on the road. The addition of ASA 2.0 is certainly a feature worth investing in.
Downsides include jarring ride and handling, uninspiring transmission, no telescopic steering adjustment, sub-par speaker quality, and the awkward-looking body shape that you either come to love it or hate it.
If you like driving and enjoy a long drive, the Persona is the viable option here. The 1.6-litre Campro has more grunt, spacious interior space and the ride is comfortable and smoother, suitable for small family or young executives.
Downsides include the noisy and unrefined Punch-CVT transmission, a slow and clunky headunit despite being taken directly from Geely's part bin, and the infamous Proton build quality issues that continue to plague new models till date.
For something in between of Persona and Bezza, the Saga does it remarkably well. The new Hyundai-sourced 4-speed automatic is buttery smooth, the seat fabrics is the most comfortable out of the two, and new Android-based touchscreen headunit is intuitive to use.
Downsides are the small boot space, fuel consumption drops down in urban driving, and suffered similar build quality issues like the Persona.