Old vs New – Updated 2022 Proton Saga: What has Proton improved on its entry sedan?
Eric · May 12, 2022 11:02 AM
Proton has given its entry-level Proton Saga yet another upgrade, nearly 3 years after this model was introduced in Malaysia.
First things first – Proton has introduced a new 1.3L Premium S AT variant as the new top-of-the-line variant, superseding the Premium variant. The rest of the updated Saga’s line-up remain largely unchanged from before, and the entry-level 5-speed manual variant is retained.
Exterior – Subtle differences that you can notice if you’re paying attention
Unlike the 2019 styling update exercise, this time around, the changes are less apparent.
Up front there’s the new roundel Proton logo for all variants. The red Premium S variant you see here adds front and side skirts, as well as the slick dual-tone alloy wheels. The red trim below the new roundel Proton logo is unique to the Premium S variant; other variants make do with a silver-finished one instead.
Across all variants of the new 2022 Proton Saga, the side mirrors are electrically-adjustable, though only the Premium S’ mirrors can be folded automatically.
Towards the rear, Proton has given the updated 2022 Saga a new black trim piece above the number plate recess, as well as removing the chrome bit on the bumper. This is unique to the top-spec Saga Premium S variant.
Interior – Goodbye old-fashioned climate control knobs
Changes to the inside include a new air-conditioning control panel, now modernized with smaller knobs that look similar to the updated Proton Iriz and Proton Persona. The difference is that the one on the updated Saga is simpler, without the fancy display and blower modes.
The top-spec Premium S variant also adds keyless entry with engine push start button, finally bringing the Saga into the 21st century. This variant also offers leatherette steering wheel with audio control buttons as well as semi leatherette seats.
The head unit on the Saga Premium S variant is also new. In terms of size, the 7-inch screen is the same as before, but it now runs on a completely new operating system, supporting Apple and Android mirroring.
Sorry, no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay here. There’s also a nifty reminder to remind drivers to remove their belongings before they exit their car, similar to what the Bezza does.
Also unique to the Saga Premium S variant is the power window control – the range-topper offers Auto Down control for the driver side.
Safety – Stability control trickles down to the Standard variant
Proton is slowly, but steadily improving the safety kit on its entry-level models.
In this update exercise, even the Standard 1.3L AT variant gets stability control, traction control, and hill hold assist – features that were once exclusive to the top-spec Premium variant.
That said, the manual variant makes do without stability or traction only; there’s only ABS, EBD, and BA here.
Powertrain – Unchanged from before, no smaller engine
Earlier, there were rumours floating around, speculating that the Malaysian-spec Saga could adopt Pakistan’s 34-cc smaller engine, but as the official specification sheet shows, our Malaysian-spec car still get the same 1,332-cc engine.
Thus, power output remains unchanged at 95 PS and 120 Nm.
And as before, transmission choices include a Hyundai-sourced 4-speed torque converter automatic and a 5-speed manual. Both transmissions send power to the front wheels.
Apart from the visible changes, Proton said that the updated Proton Saga range now gets Atlas AS380 tyres. The new tyres, which come in 14- and 15-inch sizes, are said to offer improved grip as well as reduced road noise. The dampers have also been revised to offer better ride comfort and improved handling.
Conclusion – Should you get the Bezza over the Saga?
For buyers looking at entry-level sedans, there are only two choices: the Proton Saga or Perodua Bezza.
Whereas the updated Saga now offers keyless entry and push start button, the Bezza is still marginally ahead, as it bundles LED headlights across the range. The top-spec Bezza even throws in the ASA 2.0 AEB suite into the mix, something Proton struggles to offer even on the Iriz or Persona.
On top of that, the Perodua Bezza is a better option for those who priotizes fuel economy. During our tests with both A-segment sedans, the Bezza returned 6.34-litre/100 km, while the Saga did 7.2-litre/100 km.