In the RM 50k range, there are no B-segment sedans other than the Proton Persona. This gives it an edge for those looking for a sedan within that price range, but that edge can be further sharpened if Proton addresses some of the complaints about the Persona.
The inherently flawed CVT
Despite the update in 2019 that saw a few calibration changes in the Punch-sourced CVT, it’s still far from being an unintrusive transmission. It’s noisy and unrefined, whiny at higher revs and jerky in stop-and-go traffic.
A remedy would be the 4-speed automatic transmission found in the updated Proton Saga. But from the recent leaks, we’re not too hopeful about getting the 4-speeder. We can only hope that the CVT is supplied from another manufacturer, or perhaps a different variant that isn’t clutch-based.
ADAS features would be great
As Perodua is fitting more models with the suite of Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) that includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Proton needs to up its game accordingly.
Granted, the Proton Persona Premium does come equipped with all the necessary passive safety features like 6 airbags and stability control, but the game has moved on to active systems such as AEB and lane keep assist.
Currently, none of Proton’s homegrown models feature ADAS, only Geely-based models do. If Proton wants to continue walking the talk of safety, then ADAS is the way forwards.
LED headlights for added wow factor
In the current range of Persona variants, all are equipped with halogen reflector-type headlights. There’s nothing wrong with a well-designed halogen reflector headlight, it’s effective and relatively cheap to replace.
But us being Malaysians, we love our LEDs don’t we? Having LED headlights just multiplies the wow factor of a car. And if executed properly, it should provide increased visibility at night over halogen units without blinding others.
Telecospic adjustment for the steering wheel
For keener drivers, telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel is a must-have. It allows drivers of varying sizes to find an ideal driving position without compromises.
In the B-segment sedan market, only the Toyota Vios misses out on telescopic adjustment. That has long been one of its major drawbacks, and a personal deal breaker to this writer.
However, it should be said that the driving position in the Proton Persona is relatively decent. The steering wheel extends just enough for taller individuals to not compromise their legroom. But having reach adjustment would be ideal.
Setting aside the subjective aspect of looks, the Proton Persona is a great value-for-money buy when you consider what it offers and its price point. Its ride and handling prowess is something to be reckoned with even when compared to much pricier segment rivals.
But if Proton wants to be in the competitive B-segment game, it needs to address some of the Proton Persona’s flaws.