From £8,975
Low running costs and sticker price appeal. The car itself does not

Our Verdict

Proton Gen-2 2004-2012
The Proton Gen-2 offers a C-segment hatchback for the price of a supermini

The Proton Gen-2 is a hugely disappointing effort, despite its low price

What is it?

A proton Gen-2 saloon with an LPG tank fitted in the boot. Proton will do this for no extra charge over the standard car. So for the price of a high-spec Ford Fiesta, you get a Focus-sized hatch with a 1.6-litre 108bhp engine and half-price fuel.

LPG fell out of favour with other mainstream manufacturers when the government subisidies for LPG conversions dried up in 2005, but with fuel prices currently so high LPG could be about to make a comeback. With aftermarket conversions forecast to double this year to 28,000 units, the timing of the dual-fuel Proton could be bang on.

What’s it like?

The platform for Proton’s ecological money saver is less sound. The Gen-2 has just undergone its third facelift. There are impressive levels of kit and there’s now a proper glovebox, but the overall execution still has a distinctly budget feel.

The Gen-2 still feels low-rent on the road, too. The driving position is awkward, the steering feels cumbersome and though the suspension provides reasonable body control, it runs out of ideas pretty quickly. The 1.6-litre engine also feels rather strained.

Fortunately the LPG part of the equation balances things out somewhat. The extra fuel tank fits neatly in the spare wheel well, losing you just three inches of boot depth. On the road there is a smidgen less throttle response, but if you’re in the market for a Proton this is unlikely to trouble you.

More important is the fact that your 55p per litre car also drops the Gen-2 down a VED tax band. This is because although LPG is a less efficient fuel (and so will give you marginally fewer miles to the gallon), its carbon content is lower than petrol, giving you an approximate 10-15 per cent saving in CO2 emissions.

Should I buy one?

A Focus-sized car for supermini money that you can run for peanuts is a compelling financial package. It’s just a shame that the car itself isn’t better.

Matt Rigby

Join the debate

Comments
4

23 July 2010

I chose to buy one new last year, (after trying various family-sized £10-£13K rivals) and the way my car is dos'nt relate much to this article.

I'm not sure what they're trying to convey with the suspension 'runs out of ideas pretty quickly' line - I certainly hav'nt come close to running out of grip yet and it's control/composure feels a darn sight better than all but one of it's rivals I tried, (Clio SportTourer since you asked) - and even that impressive-handling car had inferior steering 'feel' to the Proton, (or what passes for feel in these PAS days.)

I was'nt keen on the idea of driving a Proton, but had to admit they have come a long way from their Mitsubishi cast-off roots and the specs/driving experience added-up that this new Persona was easily one of the best options available upto our £13K limit.

The fact AC have put-up images of a GEN-2 hatchback and it's interior, (rather than the Persona saloon they claim to have tested) means that either the subs are lazy, (could be, as some figures quoted are incorrect also) or, more likely, they did'nt actualy drive it at all and just relied on earlier GEN-2 tests and memory for reference...

24 July 2010

I simply couldn't buy a car whose suspension readily ran out of ideas. I have so many interesting discussions with my car's suspension, on topics as diverse as quantum mechanics and the resurgence of the Scots Language that I'd feel it was as retrograde a step as returning to a four speed gearbox.

On the other hand, I've always liked the look of the outside of the Gen-2, and am quite willing to believe Autostrada and other posters who have previously praised the way it drives. My one worry is that there are so few Protons on the road that I wonder if the marque is dying in the UK?

"There's a fine line between wrong and visionary. Unfortunately, you have to be a visionary to see it." - Dr Sheldon Cooper

11 August 2010

[quote gregor60]I've always liked the look of the outside of the Gen-2, and am quite willing to believe Autostrada and other posters who have previously praised the way it drives. My one worry is that there are so few Protons on the road that I wonder if the marque is dying in the UK?
[/quote]

If you believe AC magazine, Proton UK already appear to be dead, as they are missing from the new car price list section - and have been for months now.

Maybe Proton have upset them somehow - or it's just lazy production/ sub-editing again?

My local dealer has regular new stock and is still selling new Protons happily enough -unlike the Daihatsu side of his showroom - which is empty, with no new cars available.

Daihatsu UK quietly admitted earlier this year that no new cars were being imported - although AC are still listing them in the mag...

12 August 2010

[quote gregor60]On the other hand, I've always liked the look of the outside of the Gen-2, and am quite willing to believe Autostrada and other posters who have previously praised the way it drives. My one worry is that there are so few Protons on the road that I wonder if the marque is dying in the UK?
[/quote]

Yes that is a pity as in Australia where I was recently Proton are very popular and the Gen2 is a fine looking car they even have hot versions off it there and they were popular too I think the problem this side off the world is a name and badge status issue as that many people want a car named Proton they need a new name here or to get some status and do a lot off advertising they need to do something to attract people like Kia and Hyandai have with there cheap but usefull MPV,s and built there way up and now offer very good warrentys . I have never seen any new Protons in Ireland only some old ones like 10 or more years old and that was a few years back .

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