Light facelift hasn't banished any of the Impian's really unforgivable flaws. It's cheap, but in almost every respect, it feels cheap too
14 December 2006
What’s new?
Not a great deal. On the outside, the rear light clusters and nose have been redesigned. Inside, there are now circular air vents on the centre console and some hideous wood-alike trim inserts on the doors and steering wheel.
What’s it like?
As a car that looked dull and dated when it was first launched, time has not been kind to the Impian. The same goes for the cabin. Despite the facelift, it all feels rather cheap and old fashioned.
Equipment levels are generous, but this is spoilt by some shocking material quality and shoddy fit and finish. And the noise emitted by the rear parking sensors is more akin to a nest of hungry sparrow chicks than the sound of a sophisticated safety device.
That said, the Impian is quite a fun drive. With Lotus-tuned suspension and compact dimensions, the Proton feels wieldy in town and can be fun to hustle along a B-road.
What it isn’t is even remotely refined; the same stiff suspension settings that keep it upright through the twists make it infuriatingly incompliant over speed bumps and through pot holes, and that 1.6-litre four really begins to thrash above 3500rpm.
Should I buy one?
Almost definitely not. The Impian lags an awfully long way behind rivals like the Ford Focus in practically every way. Its biggest redeeming feature is that this top spec GSX is a full £4k cheaper than an equivalent spec Focus. If sticker price is truly important to you, that’s something to think about at least.
Matt Rigby

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