- Main reason: Electronic Stability Control
- Less important reason: Floating touchscreen
The 2019 Proton Saga facelift recently made its market debut and the company has trimmed the model line up from four to three variants – Standard MT, Standard AT and Premium AT.
By doing so, the company is able to achieve better economies of scale and bring the prices under the magic RM40k mark while improving overall quality and equipment levels. However, if you are deciding between the automatic variants, I would strongly recommend the Premium AT variant.
I am all for losing out on some feel-good features in favour of a lower price tag but if there is one thing I can not compromise on, is safety. The Saga Premium is the only variant in the line up to come with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which acts as a vital safety net when the car detects it’s about to spin out of control.
Many will argue that “I don’t drive fast” and brush off the importance of ESC but no one can ever anticipate an accident, that’s why it’s called an accident. For those who travel long distances often, having ESC will dramatically reduce the risk of the car losing control when making an emergency evasive manoeuvre or simply driving over a slippery patch.
Not only that, but the Premium also comes with Hill Hold Assist which is helpful when you’re at an incline. Other un-important but nice to have features on the Premium variant include the 7.0-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, 4 speakers, premium fabric seats and daytime running lights.
Having said all that, the price difference between the Standard AT (RM35,800) and Premium AT (RM39,800) doesn’t seem too big of a jump. After breaking it down, it doesn't seem like much:
Besides a higher monthly commitment, the Saga Premium does incur a slightly higher running cost due to its larger alloys (15- vs 14-inch) when it comes to replacing the tyres.
However, if the Saga Premium is within your budget, the fact that it comes with ESC should seal the deal for you. Unless you prefer working a good old stick shift with three pedals.