5

This is our first drive of Proton’s seven-seat MPV, the Exora. The car was first introduced in Malaysia in 2009 and from 2012 becomes the fifth model in Proton UK’s line-up.

The car we’re testing here is the Malaysian-spec 1.6-litre petrol version, mated to a four-speed automatic. When it arrives in the UK, however, the engine will be turbocharged and paired with a CVT ’box instead. A diesel variant will follow in 2014.

Priced to sell’ is how Proton describes the Exora. We’d agree. Inside, the quality of the plastics doesn’t inspire but there are a decent number of cubbyholes and the dash looks modern. This top-spec 1.6-litre H-line gets comfortable leather seats, reversing sensors, electric mirrors and windows, wheel-mounted switches and roof-mounted DVD as standard.

Outside, the Exora isn’t much of a looker, but angular front and rear bumpers and a neat front grille at least help to give it road presence.

Although Proton-owned Lotus has been involved in the engineering and dynamic development of this car, it’s hard to see and feel exactly where. The steering feels numb, and should you show it a tight corner, the tall body rolls precariously on its 15-inch alloy wheels. The UK version will get 16-inch wheels as standard, but it would also benefit from a chassis retune to tighten the handling

The archaic four-speed ’box works the engine hard and seems slow to swap ratios, partly because it has only 111lb ft of torque to feed off.

This is a car you’ll have to be patient with; it isn’t a driver’s car. What it is, however, is a simple, inoffensive and comfortable MPV, offering plenty of kit and space for seven. Priced to sell? Most definitely.

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