When we road tested the all-new Proton Preve sedan at its introduction early in 2013 we were impressed by its ride and handling, but felt it needed more power to match the chassis dynamics. Late in the year the importers added the option of a turbocharged engine in a new model called Preve GXR Turbo.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
While it still has a capacity of just 1.6 litres, in a class where 2.0 litres is more common, the Proton engine with a turbocharger now develops 103 kilowatts of power and 205 Nm of torque thus putting it into similar output category as the big boys in this size class – Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.
At this stage the Preve GXR engine sits only alongside a CVT automatic transmission with seven preset ratios should the driver wish to take some manual control at times. An optional six-speed manual is in the pipeline for Australian sales.
Our initial test drives out of Sydney when the Preve GXR was introduced to the motoring media late last year, saw us impressed with the way the Malaysian sedan handled on its Lotus tuned suspension. Proton owns the British maker of sports and racing cars and that company assists Proton not only with the suspension, but also engine and transmission design.
We have now lived with the Proton Preve GXR for a week on our base on the Gold Coast, using it not only for the normal road test driving on our favourite roads, but also for the grind of day-to-day living and commuting.
The interior of these Protons have good seating room for four adults, five without too much hip and shoulder rubbing. Rear seat legroom is excellent and we had no trouble carrying four adults for an extended social trip. Three adults in the back is a squeeze, but three kids back there works fine.
The boot is large and has a wide opening and regular interior shape. The rear-seat backrest can be folded down in a 67/33 fashion to further increase carrying capacity and cope with long loads.
The CVT transmission works particularly well with the turbocharged engine as it drops to lower ratios immediately the driver pushes on the accelerator. By doing so it gets the engine through the period of turbo lag, thus producing faster throttle response than in other turbo engines.
Ride comfort is generally good, though some big bumps and dips do catch it out, perhaps the suspension travel is a little short for Australia’s rough and ready back roads.
Handling continues to impress – but don’t expect to get a sports sedan for this sort of money as even the turbocharged model is aimed more at comfort than sharp steering and handling.
The Proton Preve GXR gained a five-star ANCAP rating in Australasian crash testing late last year.
Standard active safety features include Electronic Stability Control with Brake Assist that incorporates Traction Control and ABS with EBD. There are front seatbelt pretensioners, active headrests and hazard lights that automatically turn on when sudden braking is detected from speeds above 90 km/h, and/or when the car is involved in a crash.
Proton Preve GXR sells from $23,990, a pretty good price in this class as the Malaysian maker tries to buy its way into a larger share the Australian market. Something that we feel it should achieve as you get a lot of competent vehicle for a modest outlay.
Further savings come in the form of free services for the first five years or 75,000 kilometres. It also has a five-year warranty and five years free roadside assistance, both with a generous distance limit of 150,000 kilometres.
AT A GLANCE
GXR 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-door sedan: $23,990 (CVT automatic)
Note: This is a limited time driveaway price.
ABS Brakes: Standard
Automatic Transmission: CVT standard
Cruise Control: Standard
Dual Front Airbags: Standard
Front Side Airbags: Standard
Electronic Stability Program: Standard
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard
Reversing Camera: Standard
USB/Auxiliary Audio inputs: Standard
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard
SPECIFICATIONS (Proton Preve GXR 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-door sedan)
Capacity: 1.561 litres
Configuration: Turbocharged, four cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 8.9:1
Bore/Stroke: 76.0 x 86.0 mm
Maximum Power: 103 kW @ 5000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 205 Nm @ 2000-4000 rpm
Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: CVT
Final Drive Ratio: Not supplied
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4543 mm
Wheelbase: 2650 mm
Width: 1786 mm
Height: 1524 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1305 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Towing Ability: Not supplied
Boot Capacity: 508 litres
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: McPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Multilink, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc
Type: Petrol 95RON
Consumption – Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.6 L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: Not tested
Air Pollution Rating: Not tested