Owner Review: Even better than the Honda Jazz? - Proton Iriz Owner Review

Owner Review · Sep 11, 2020 05:59 PM

** This article is the personal experience of a 2016 Proton IRIZ 1.6 CVT Executive owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of WapCar.

Mohamad Fazrul Rizman

Car Hunting

My Proton Iriz story started in 2015, as my wife had been complaining about her current car at that time for far too many times. It was a Myvi 1.0 manual. Being a man that supposedly have more knowledge of cars, I thought she just complained because she just wants a new car. So we swap cars. I took her car and she took mine. Just to show her there is no problem. Cut the long story short. Yes, we need a new car. The Myvi was breaking down as it pleases even when I was the one driving it.

So off we go car hunting at the end of 2015. Considering my Gen2 is a manual as her Myvi was. We decided it should be auto. And a bigger engine than 1.0 of course. Forgot to mention my car is a Proton Gen2 cps manual that was a year older than her Myvi. Our first target was 2nd hand cars. She wanted Toyota Vios, so we went looking for Vios 1st gen. After test driving, I have no interest in taking a 2nd hand Vios. We discussed it again so the plan of buying 2nd hand car to replace the Myvi has now changed to hunting for a brand new small car. And Myvi won’t be on the list.

After testing different brand of hatchbacks available at that time, it was down to 2 candidates. Honda Jazz or Proton Iriz. Deliberation was done, the pros and cons of both cars. Proton Iriz has more positive points than Jazz. It was faster, handles bumps better, corners and handles great (note: both Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 hatchback actually corner and handle even better than Proton Iriz). Jazz has better interior space and comfort. That’s just about it. Nothing excites us with the Honda Jazz. Proton Iriz was chosen.

So we placed our booking in January 2016. Our pick was white 1.6 CVT exec. The premium spec for us was too overpriced. Just not worth it and honestly we have no confidence in getting a Proton with a start-stop button. It seemed we made a wise choice.

We got our Proton Iriz middle of February 2016. So happy to receive our car. Who’s not happy getting a brand new car with a brand new car smell. Unfortunately on the first day we already encountered problems. The handbrake switch light was on. The next day had to get it back to the dealer to fix that. All the bashers that advised us not to buy a proton had a field when they know about this. Look your car 1st day already problem. Why choose Proton? Myvi is better choice see I told you don’t buy Proton. You name it. We got it. So many bashed us for choosing Proton. But some of them now drive X70. What irony. Eh X70 not protonlah. Pftttt…

So began our journey with the Proton Iriz. It is now our main car. We carpool to work with it. Go back to hometown. Go holiday all over the peninsular. The Gen2 became the 2nd car. Rarely used. Proton Iriz is the first choice car for work and travel. Unlike nowadays Proton buyers, we were unlucky to only get 3 years warranty or 100k whichever comes first. But for me, the warranty is just having a peace of mind. Everyone just wanted a car that works and doesn’t give its owners problems. Thankfully the Iriz did just that. I never had to claim anything major. The only major thing was brake switch. I claim it twice. Other than that it was just small things like the signal indicator and the roof lining. Claim that lining both left and right. It is now coming to 170k mileage. No major problem to report. But do read on.

There is something I don’t like about the Proton Iriz. The air-cond. Twice need to get it fixed. And then early this year seems like the same air-cond not cold problem is coming back. 3 times in 5 years is a bit too much. Then the Proton Iriz decided to have another problem. My car overheats during a night trip back to Kuantan. So I got it fixed the next day. Servicing the radiator. It was full of rust. No wonder it’s blocked. Problem was, just the day before that when I serviced my car I specifically ask for coolant replacement. Because I fear that my car will overheat if I didn’t replace the coolant. I look at the Proton service schedule and the only coolant replacement was at 90k service. Nothing before that and nothing after that. 5 years without any overheating incident and then it happened true to my fears. I serviced it at Proton SC if anyone is asking. So any Iriz out there, you need to change coolant earlier than 90k. Once the rust inside the radiator develops, changing coolant will not do anything.

What about the CVT problem? 1 time the dreaded CVT durian indicator did come on. It was nearing the 120k service schedule. Proton CVT service schedule is every 60k. The durian symbol didn’t come out again after my 2nd CVT service. I did have a jerking problem after the first CVT at 60k service. Not because of the CVT problem but the SC didn’t service the CVT right. So it is important you know what needs to be done for your service.  

Along the years the Proton Iriz is mostly stock. Apart from a few changes. The colour is no longer white. I just can't take it anymore. It will turn brown so quickly. I pick the proton carnelian brown as the new colour. I adore this new colour. I also changed the halogen bulb to LED. Having a projector headlights means much better forward light projection with led bulb. If you are using Iriz 2019 I don’t recommend you change it to LED for obvious reason.

Driving Experience

If what you look is a car that isn’t boring to drive, then Proton Iriz is a good choice. However the bad things first. The CVT is really not smooth during stop-go traffic. No matter how you try to control your right foot. Having a clutch based CVT that is just the character for it. You can’t escape the jerks. As you come to terms with the CVT character you can minimise the jerks by controlling the throttle pedal but that’s the best you can. It still jerks. No cure for that. The NVH for Proton Iriz of my era is bad. You can hear it all. CVT whining. Engine sound. Wind noise. And the last is very annoying. The exhaust sound is too loud. Who decided Iriz should have this loud exhaust? Was it to cover the other sound you are hearing? Anyway, it is annoyingly loud.

The headunit has a mind of its own. If it decided it won’t go on, it will not go on. You are left with enjoying all the noise. Add another noise to all that noise. The dashboard noise. Great noise package. At least with the headunit on, you can increase the volume to muffled those other noises.

The meter cluster is also not to my liking.  Too small and looks like a fast track design with not enough thinking to its details. The new Proton Iriz meter cluster is really a huge leap in design. Thumbs up for whoever in charge for that change.

Now to the good things. On to CVT first. Although during low speed the clutch based punch CVT just fails horribly. The initial pickup from stop and go is surprisingly good. The lag isn’t that bad. Something to do with new CVT tuning from Proton. Unlike other CVT that feels boring with no soul. Proton punch CVT is certainly not boring at all. You can feel the clutch based CVT has good speed acceleration. It might not be as smooth as Toyota or honda CVT. But the pull in higher speed for me is better with the punch CVT. Low speed is bad. But when you get up to speed it’s no longer feels bad. It feels punchy. Some suggested to service the CVT earlier than the scheduled 60k. I didn’t. I just followed the recommended 60k interval for CVT service.

Handling. You all know proton handling. If you don’t then you’re missing a lot. It is just so good. For the price, there is nothing better. There are better handling cars out there in the market. Still what Proton offer in handling is more than sufficient to give you smile when you take twisty roads and corners.  Just the standard tyres need to go. At the moment I am using Michelin PS3 on the front. And Toyo TR1 on the back. With better tyres, you can get a much better control of your car. But if your car doesn’t have good handling in the first place, just changing tyres won’t make you smile when you take that s corners. With a Proton Iriz, you will smile when you take on corners. No wonder MEM choose Iriz as their new R5 rally car.

Michelin PS3 tyre on the front

Braking is nothing to shout about. Just sufficient to get the job done. The suspension has been tune just nice for Malaysian road. Turning radius is excellent. You can steer around in tight spaces confidently. The EPS system in Proton Iriz gives you really nice feedback on the road. Some cars with electrical steering system just disconnect you with the road. You barely get any feedback. But on the Iriz it gives you input on your steering. Good job on that Proton. Pair it with a good tyre you’ll smile up to your ear when you drive it.

The space inside isn’t that spacious. Not too cramp either. Seats are very comfortable. Mine is just fabric seat no the leather as in the premium spec. It has good padding for thigh on the back seat. While the front seat has very good lumbar support. Your long driving trips will be less tiring due to this seat support design. In fact, the problem for me is I feel so comfortable driving that I will get sleepy. It is just too good to sit and drive for hours.

On to the fuel consumption. For a Proton I consider it to be good. Even adding VVT, campro engine still not that fuel efficient. Strangely I get worse fuel economy in highway driving or even using federal roads for that matter. I found that the CVT on high rpm are punishing the fuel consumption. I can get 400-450km on a full tank in city driving. Will get less when I drive interstate to my hometown. During overtaking manoeuvres, you will use a lot more fuel. The CVT rpm is still high for highway cruising. Around 2900 rpm for 100kmh. So I suffer worse fuel consumption on the highway as well. I usually change the gear to L when overtaking to get more acceleration. Some people say don’t this it can damage the CVT gearbox. My CVT gearbox is still intact after 5 years and 170k km mileage.