Currently reading: Meet Proton's darker side
Proton gives the Gen-2 hatchback a darker interior for the summer

Autocar's first drive of the Proton Gen-2, written in August 2004, opens with a telling paragraph. "If you want a new car desperately – make that pathologically desperately – we would still struggle to recommend a Gen2. It’s that disappointing." Almost three years later though, Proton has got around to updating its Focus-rivalling hatchback. Anyone looking at buying a Proton Gen-2 this spring can expect a darker experience; the cabin has received new dark grey cloth and black leather interior treatments, with darker dashboard and door trim.The car's existing strengths are still there, says Proton (we must have missed them three years ago), including wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning and an optional Bluetooth hands free kit. Unfortunately so are the flaws, among them a woeful driving position, incessant ride, nasty material cabin quality and thrashy engine.Value has always been on the Gen-2's side though and, much as the dark grey cloth may appeal to those who also like flannelette and corduroy, a special Spring deal means you can get the black leather interior free.So would we recommend Proton's Gen-2 now? We'll wait to drive one before making any rash judgements. Just don't expect to be advised to chop in your Golf for one. Or your Polo, for that matter.

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