Old vs New: Here are the changes in the new 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2)

CY Foong · Aug 6, 2021 01:00 PM

Old vs New: Here are the changes in the new 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) 01

Proton recently gave the Persona an update much like its hatchback twin, the Iriz. While the Iriz saw a new variant added in the form of the crossover-like Active, the 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) didn’t see a faux-crossover of its own but there are some impressive-looking changes.

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The second-gen Persona was launched in 2016

The first facelift was launched in 2019, 3 years after the second-gen (or third, if you count the UK-spec Wira) was introduced.

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The first Persona facelift debuted in 2019

While the Iriz struggled against its rivals, the Persona thrived and grew in popularity. It constantly ranks on top of the B-segment sedan category and is Proton’s second best-selling model of 2020 behind the Saga.

Also read: Proton wants the No.1 spot, but this is how big their models' gap from Perodua is

Without further ado, let’s check out what’s new on the latest update to one of the best-selling sedans in Malaysia.

Price and variants - So long, manual

Old vs New: Here are the changes in the new 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) 01

We’ll start things off with the price and variants. Much like the Iriz, Proton has decided to drop the manual transmission for the Persona. That sees the number of variants reduced from 4 to 3.

Also read: Priced from RM 45k, CVT-only 2021 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) launched, MT dropped

Old vs New: Here are the changes in the new 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) 02

#savethemanuals

Fans seeking a brand-new car with a manual transmission will now see their choices losing a couple more models. Reportedly, MT variants of the pre-facelift Persona contributed a very tiny percentage compared to the CVT variants.

Proton Persona price comparison
Variants Pre-facelift (MC1) Facelift (MC2)*
1.6 Standard RM 44,600 RM 45,200
1.6 Executive RM 49,600 RM 50,100
1.6 Premium RM 54,600 RM 54,900

*Prices shown exclude SST, valid until 31-December 2021

Across the board, the updated Persona sees a price hike albeit only slightly with the range-topping Premium variant seeing only a RM 300 difference from the pre-facelift. That being said, the prices shown are exempted from SST, which is only valid until 31-December 2021.

Exterior - Classy, almost

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For the first time, the Persona facelift gets the new roundel-shape Thundercats logo that made its debut on the Proton X70 CKD. The logo is placed on the middle of the front grille which sports Proton’s trademark Infinite Weave design.

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Compared to the pre-facelift, the front looks cleaner and gives the B-segment sedan a classier and more streamlined feel.

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The Persona facelift also sports a new front bumper which is shared with the Iriz. The daytime running lights (DRLs) are no longer enclosed in its own housing unlike the pre-facelift.

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Premium variants receive a few more extras like LED headlamps, a black roof finish, and an all-new 16-inch wheel design. The latter is also available with the Executive variant while the base Standard only comes with 15-inch wheels.

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Unlike the front, the Persona’s rear design is largely carried over into the facelift with the exception of the rear foglight being absent. It’s in the name after all, so there’s no “buttlift” to see here.

This angle remains one of the most controversial in terms of the Persona’s overall design but buyers who wanted the “hanging” rear to go away will have to wait longer.

Also read: Next-gen Proton Persona imagined, no more ugly boot?

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On the plus side, the boot space for the Persona remains at a cavernous 510 litres. It’s not the biggest in its class (The Honda City has 519 litres of boot space) but at this price range, there’s nothing that can match it.

Interior - Plushier, like its SUV siblings

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Stepping inside, the first thing you would notice is the redesigned dashboard, or to be precise, the redesigned centre console. A floating 8-inch touchscreen occupies the centre of the dashboard, much like the Saga and the Iriz.

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Standard variant shown

Just like the base Saga and Iriz, the Standard variant of the Persona comes with a "floating" radio unit with Bluetooth connectivity instead of the touchscreen unit.

Old vs New: Here are the changes in the new 2022 Proton Persona facelift (MC2) 11

Below that floating unit are the air-con vents which used to be flanked on either side of the 7-inch infotainment display on the pre-facelift. The buttons for the hazard lights and door locks are also repositioned in the facelift.

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Standard on all variants of the new Persona is a digital A/C. Though there is no automatic climate control as it is still manually adjusted, the digital display does add an air of premium. The A/C also comes with an N95 filter.

Also read: Attention all Proton owners, you can now replace your cabin filters to N95 filters!

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Adding on to the premium tag on the Persona facelift are the brown leatherette seats that are only available for the Premium variant. The Standard and Executive variants come with black fabric upholstery instead.

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The leatherette material also continues on the steering wheel and the door panels. Perhaps the interior designers have taken a playbook out of the X50 and X70 in giving its sedan a premium feel.

Also read: Pros and Cons: Love the 2020 Proton X50's comfortable suspension, hate the seats

The dual-tone black and grey dashboard and door trims of the pre-facelift Persona has also been removed in the latest update.

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Speaking of the steering wheel, all variants now sport the roundel emblem instead of the older colourless Thundercats logo that was on the pre-facelift Persona.

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Finally, some good news for those who wish they could rest their arm after shifting from P to D. The new Persona comes with a front armrest with console which is a godsend for those who wished for better ergonomics in the interior.

Features and convenience - Still no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

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Though the Persona has a new, larger infotainment display, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is still absent. Ditto Spotify with music streaming needs still only supported by Joox, for now.

Also read: Proton’s GKUI could get Spotify soon, but still no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay

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Even if the system still can’t support more mainstream connectivity services, there are some improvements on the Persona’s voice command. Aside from playing songs and setting up navigation, owners can now say “Hi, Proton!” to control the Persona’s A/C and power windows.

Also read: With 70k users saying “Hi Proton”, meet the Malaysian team behind Proton’s GKUI system

It's quite nifty to see features once introduced on the pricier X50 and X70 trickle down to Proton’s more affordable models.

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Besides, occupants wouldn’t be fighting for charging ports either as the Persona is equipped with 6 USB ports – 3 in the front, 2 in the rear, and one specially made for dashcams mounted near the rear-view mirror.

Powertrains - Same familiar unit, no 4AT

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The 1.6-litre mill seen in the pre-facelift Persona

Just like the pre-facelift, all variants of the Persona are powered by a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine (109 PS/150 Nm). With the 5-speed manual transmission dropped, that leaves buyers with only one transmission: the Punch-sourced CVT gearbox.

Also read: Pros and Cons: Proton Persona – Punchy handling, punched out CVT

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Lower gears are swapped for sport mode in the facelift

Some folks would be disappointed at Proton for sticking with the much-maligned transmission but it claims that this has been tweaked slightly. The “improved” transmission now offers 5 virtual gears and a drive mode selector that can be switched to either Eco or Sport modes.

Also read: 4AT vs CVT: Two steps forward, one step back?

Safety - 5-star rating but no ADAS

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Just like its hatchback twin, the Persona scored a 5-star rating according to ASEAN NCAP. It retains the same high score but, this latest assessment was based on the safety rating agency's methodology for 2017-20.

Also read: 2021 Proton Iriz and Persona get 5-star ASEAN NCAP rating, with ADAS?

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Had it been rated under the new 2021-25 methodology, the Persona wouldn’t keep its 5-star rating as ADAS is notably absent in all variants. Rivals like the Honda City, Nissan Almera, and Toyota Vios all feature ADAS in at least one variant.

Also read: Next Perodua Myvi needs BSM to retain 5-star ASEAN NCAP rating

2021 Proton Persona safety equipment
Variant Standard Executive Premium

ESC

Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes
Airbags 4 4 6
Reverse
camera
No Yes Yes
ISOFIX Yes Yes Yes

Still, the Persona is adequately equipped with the minimum number of airbags bumped to 4 from 2 in the pre-facelift. The Standard and Executive variants see an extra pair of side airbags as standard while the Premium variant keeps its airbag count at 6 with front, side, and curtain airbags.

Conclusion

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Compared to the pre-facelift, the facelifted Persona sees a lot of improvements being added to one of the country’s best-selling sedans.

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The rear still remains hanging and the absence of a manual transmission would bring a tear to the diminishing fans of gear-rowing, but we think these other improvements give the frankly ageing sedan a new lease of life.

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

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2019 Proton Persona 1.6 Standard MT

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