Owner Review: Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT

Liang · Aug 30, 2022 09:00 AM

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Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 01

Basic information of my car:

2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 01

Reasons why I bought this car

Daily and work use.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 02

Car Selection Process

I had a budget of: In a range of RM35,000 until RM45,000

Models that I’ve considered included : Perodua Bezza & Proton Iriz.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 03

Reasons why I chose this car

This car fullfil my budget range and have a sleek design (based on my taste). Proton has a well-known reputation for it's ride and handling experience while considering for a better features that Bezza can offers. As a fresh graduate and a tight budget, A-segment sedan car would be my best choice even though I do have a second thought to go for a B-segment car. Meanwhile, Proton Iriz has a smaller cabin and boot space so because of that I have to put out Iriz as the consideration letting only Saga & Bezza as the primary options.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 04

User experience

  • I have already done 12022km.
  • My average fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km

It is an A-segment car, literally an entry level car, so I didn't put a high expectation upon buying it. I do drive several other A-segment car like Perodua Bezza, Perodua Axia, Kia Picanto and Saga itself right before deciding which car is worth to buy.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 05

Upon purchasing, I do think about the maintenance cost and also the reliability of the car. What's in my mind is, if I purchase this car today, is it still relevant for me to use it after 5-7 years? Most of people do considering it since the installment could take up to 9 years, so if I bought Perodua Axia, is it relevant for me to pay the loan for 9 years meanwhile in 4 years from now I might getting married and have kids. So with a spacious space and it's young looks of Saga, i've made decision to buy it and I do thinks this car still relevant even I if i have 2 or 3 children in the future.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 06

The ride and handling for this car is something that maybe everyone has expected. It can took Karak Highway with a cruise speed of 70km/h up to 110km/h with a minimal brake effort (thanks to the new gearbox mode). I didn't courage people to drive fast and didn't think about others driver safety, but this car really boost my confidence whenever I took sharp corner. The stability it's offers made me quite suprised, which I have tested to drive this car at 165km/h on a straight highway and I felt amazed with the NVH taken by the car and the stability itself.

Even though it only powered with 1.3L VVT engine, it is more than enough for me to cruise in a comfort speed at the highway. The 4AT Hyundai Transmission is much better choice made by the manufacturer considering the older model have used CVT gearbox which raised many complaints by user.

This gearbox has 'S' gear mode which means the gear will be put at the 3rd gear at most and ramping up the RPM for a better output. So far I do not have problem climbing Karak-Gombak route and Genting with this gearmode and quite happy for the response given. Bear in mind, it is 1.3L NA engine, don't expect it can climb like diesel-powered engine.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 07

Pros of my car:

1. The price. Price tag for my car is cheaper than other A-segment car and has a more sleek design (based on my taste). I need to consider about monthly installment need to pay so this car is reasonable to purchase in terms of monthly installment. (I took 5 years installment with 30% deposit and pay less than RM400 monthly. Note: The interest rate and total payable may vary according to banks upon agreement)

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 08

2. Cheaper maintenance. Since it didn't use Proton conventional CVT gearbox, I can expect a cheaper maintenance cost compared to it's nearest competitor. Saga is frankly has cheaper maintenance cost compared to Bezza in term of based on their official website.

3. Ride & Handling. Yes, it is better than other competition at it's class.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 09

4. Infotainment + NVH. The infotainment of Proton Saga is quite good. It has better audio output quality and thanks to it's better NVH improvement, I can still clearly have a conversation in car and listening to music eventhough i'm driving at a higher speed. Compared to Perodua Bezza which i have tested, the NVH inside the cabin changed when I reach over 120km/h and it will worst if I'm driving Bezza in the rain. The audio quality is not at that good in those condition.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 10

Cons of my car:

1. Fuel efficiency. It's not a car that you can enjoy fuel saving like Bezza. The old VVT engines that being used is not efficient like newer Perodua's engine on Bezza that already using VVT-i and EcoIdle mode (for sure the lighter kerb weight contribute less fuel consumption for Bezza). Driving Saga in a city can take a whoopy fuel consumption at 8.5L/100kmh.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 11

2. Marginal quality of default manufacturer components. Things like tyres, Silverstone or A380 Atlas tires is something you must consider to change earlier if you wants a better Ride & Handling from Proton. I personally don't understand why Proton can missed on tyre choice since they're well-known for the R&H. I've changed the tyres on 10,000km to Continental brand and as soon as i changed, the ride & handling improve much better in a rain or dry road condition. Other than that, things like the quality of cabin component felt like 'cheap plastic' but I said it again, it is an A-segment car, cheapest at it's class, so I can't complaint more about the quality. However, if you're thinking back at what have you spent, you're much satisfied despite of the 'cheaper' quality things.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 12

3. Basic feature that has been 'stolen' Yes, manufacturing a cheap A-segment car will make the manufacture to 'delete' some feature due to cost reasons. First, the aircond vent only have single vent choice. It does not offer a vent to foot or to windscreen. I do not bother Saga doesnt have aircond vent for foot because I do not use it much on other car also, but a vent to windscreen really makes me annoyed when I drive at a raining road in night. The fog that appears at the windscreen are difficult to cope as I need to manually wipe with tissue and sometimes it's dangerous. Second, the hydraulic-powered steering. The steering still use the conventional hydraulic which means more effort in a car park and short turn.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 13

4. Long gear ratio I'm a bit confused about this, because it can be good and sometime it is not. When Saga stopped at traffic light and it turns green, the accelaration taken on Gear D will be slower due to long gear ratio, and sometime it already shifted into Gear 4 just on 60km/h accelaration. This is actually good in terms of fuel saving due to low RPM output, but nonetheless it feels like 'less pickup'. Sometime, I put the gear into S mode since it has different ratio tuning then when the speedometer reach 80km/h then i'll change it back to D. I'm not sure this is the safe practice but as I said, sometime it agitate me on slow accelaration.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 14


Total Score: 4

Performance: 4

Quality & Features: 3

Space: 4

Ride Comfort: 5

Fuel Economy: 3

Price & Cost: 3

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 15

Summary :

I am a fresh graduate student and now pursuing as a researcher for my Master. In other words, finding my first car is a must since before this I've been using motorcycle. At home, there are Perodua Bezza 1.3 Advance, Proton Persona 1.6 VVT, Perodua Myvi 1.5 SE and Toyota Estima owned by family members.

My budget range for sure something not exceed RM50,000 because I do targetting a below RM500 monthly installment for my car. As soon as I do some research about best first car, only 2 comes to result which is Proton Saga and Perodua Bezza. Frankly said, I do like Proton Iriz for it's new design but B-segment car maybe not in the right time for me. Talking about A-segment car also, I'm not a fan of hatchback car like (Kia Picanto or Perodua Axia) as I do think about the reliability upon the installment. Just think myself, if I do an installment for 7 years, and after 2 years I've married, and maybe in year 4 having baby, did the hatchback A-segment can do the job? Of course I need to think a spacious A-segment car, at this point, a sedan. As it come to pre-conclusion, Perodua Bezza and Proton Saga is the best options for me at this point.

I've driving Perodua Bezza and I did not enjoy much the driving experience. The car prone to wobbly as soon as it reached over 110km/h. Although it has a bigger boot space and better safety features, but sometimes, for me, the ASA and some other safety assistance makes me annoyed. Driving at the rural area and some city traffic, the safety features on Bezza sometimes blinking and pinging, yes it is good, but for me it is too rigid. I do support the manufacturer to install more safety features in a car as it will make us safer, but for myself, Bezza maybe not for me. However, Bezza do have a new engine, and this means, a better fuel efficiency with a minimal consumption compared to Saga. I would buy Bezza if only my house and workplace located in Klang Valley which prone to traffic jams and stop-go traffic. This can save my pocket. Compared to Proton Saga's old and same engine like previous facelift generation, I didn't think it's something comparable to Bezza. The tuning for latest model didn't change much on fuel consumption.

However, as I living in Pahang and need to travel to my university in Selangor every 2 weeks, I need to consider a car that can offer me a good driving experience. Proton Saga offers more stability and have a good ride and handling. So far when I use Saga for a long distance driving, it can achieve 6.7L/100kmh fuel consumption which I think it is not bad as what people said. I've compared Saga and Bezza for a long distance driving and the result is Bezza only save RM11.20 in terms of fuel price for a distance from Tol Gambang to Tol Gombak. I didn't bothered for that much difference as Saga do have a better long distance journey experience.

My conclusion, if it is for city road journey and your consideration is about fuel consumption and in-need for extra safety features, buy Bezza. If it is for an enjoyable long distance journey, stable at high speed, use Saga. For me, Saga is better at both road type even slight fuel inefficient on city road, afterall the fuel consumption depends on how your foot taking the paddle.

Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 16


This car excel in handling. One of the moment I remembered happened between me and a blue Volkswagen Tiguan on LPT Highway.

It was a slippy road after rain at Bentong Highway heading to Kuala Lumpur. There was one blue Tiguan giving highbeam to me from far, and yes i gave the lane for Tiguan to lead. After passing Karak Toll, there was some climbing and cornering, while most of the car started to use left lane, only me and Tiguan at the right lane. I do drive at a cruise speed of 110-140kmh. My driving habit is if there is a cornering, I will drop my gear to S to use the engine brake instead of paddle brake, and this time it's look like the Saga is 'tailgating' Tiguan at Karak. I don't said the Tiguan is not good, don't misunderstood, Conti cars are are superb stable and best at handling compared to others, just maybe the driver is not optimising enough what Conti car can offered to them. Passing Genting Sempah R&R, I still cruising behind Tiguan and at the time, the Tiguan go to the left lane and let me to go in front. This time the Tiguan began to tailgating after me, starting after the Karak tunnel. After few cornering, Tiguan looks like began to slow down and after some times, at Gombak Toll, the Tiguan once again show up, smiling, waving and showing a thumbs up to me before he exit to Kuala Lumpur.

Disclaimer: I have already installed an extra safety bar for a better handling (since the Proton Saga already provide front strut bar) and changed my tyres to better brands. This must be understood by all drivers that suspension, brakes, tyres and all that must be considered before driving faster especially at the route that have corners.


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Owner Review:  Affordable, but not Cheapo. My 2019 Proton Saga 1.3 VVT 17

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