Proton Iriz 1.6L – Improved to keep Malaysians wondering why they did not test drive it

Proton Iriz 1.6L Test Driven
Improved to keep Malaysians wondering why they did not test drive it
Review and Pictures by DSF

Many Malaysians have forgotten about visiting a Proton showroom when they are in the market for a small compact car. The default choice for most buyers is the Perodua Myvi or Perodua Axia. If they want to seek a slightly more premium brand, the head over to KIA to test drive the RIO which is priced at RM79,888 (before discount) or a VW showroom to look at the heavily discounted Polo range (official selling price at RM72,888) which can be yours for about a RM5-8k discount.

So…..the Proton showroom is commonly forgotten and ignored. Well just think about it….this revised Iriz sells for RM58,000, for a little bit more money you can have a KIA RIO or a VW Polo (after discount negotiations). Despite all the stigma surrounding the Proton badge and the Iriz, we think it deserves a test drive at least before dismissing it completely.

NEW Iriz Features

The engineers at Proton knew they had to make some refinements and so they improved the ‘Noise, Vibration and Harshness’ (NVH). They also added the Eco-Drive Assist Indicator as well as refinement in the ECU calibration that provided a more linear throttle response and an improved drive feel. This 1.6L Iriz interior now comes with red stitching to the leather wrap steering and seats making this Iriz looks, a little more upmarket.

NEW Iriz Safety

This Iriz also has a 5-Star ASEAN NCAP rating for all the available variants and is equipped with comprehensive active and passive safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Hill-Hold Assist, ISOFIX and top tether, as well as 6 airbags for this ‘Premium’ variant we are test driving to ensure optimal protection for both the driver and passengers. For its class, this new Iriz is the most affordable 5-star ASEAN NCAP car in the region.

NEW Iriz Cabin

At the Proton showroom when you are about to test drive this new Iriz, take note of how easy it is getting in and out through the Iriz’s large door openings. You will appreciate this in tight shopping mall and supermarket car parks. Once inside, the cabin is spacious and airy. Fit and finish is decent enough with a multifunction steering wheel included. The nicely trimmed cloth seats are supportive and keep you comfortable (particularly your shoulders and upper back) and there is enough headroom. Everything a driver needs to know is shown in the clear dials in the instrument binnacle.

Air-conditioning and audio controls are all easily to hand on the centre stack, made better by good-sized, easy-to-use buttons and knobs. The door pockets and glovebox are big enough to be really useful. There are plenty of compartments and cubbyholes around, plus a decent sized glovebox and cupholders.

Back seat passengers also enjoy good headroom. A 6-foot adult can sit happily behind another in the front. Three headrests and three belts are provided and three can travel side-by-side on the comfy rear bench and the one in the middle enjoys the same amount of headroom as his or her outer companions. The well-insulated cabin makes long highway trips quiet and relaxing.

NEW Iriz Drive

The 1.6L four-cylinder DOHC VVT petrol engine under the hood is eager from ignition, the 1st generation Iriz had some weakness in its 1st gear pickup as the reaction time of the gearbox was a tad slow. Now the reaction is on par with the segment competitors and it returns a spirited drive where the auto gearbox is now more willing and quicker in its response. The easy to drive nature of this Iriz always feels light and wieldy courtesy of its willing engine, tight turning circle and decent grip plus, of course, the all-seeing behind-the-wheel experience. Even at speed on major roads it always feels stable and safely planted and long trips can be undertaken with no worries. When it comes to slowing down as opposed to accelerating the brakes are strong and reassuring. Now comes the decision to buy or not…..only you can decide after you weigh in the options.

PROTON Iriz 1.6L Premium Specifications
Engine: 1.6-litre DOHC VVT
Displacement: 1597cc
Transmission: CVT Auto
Fuel Consumption: 8.2 L/100km/h
0-100km/h: 11.1seconds
Top Speed: 180km/h as tested
Price: RM58,800.00 as tested

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