What is it?
The new Satria – hence the Neo part of the name. It is the fourth model in Proton’s sub-£12k line-up, and a lot of it (as in all of it) was designed by Lotus Engineering.
What's it like?
The last Proton we drove, an Impian, smelt of damp. Rising damp - wet plasterwork, mouldy walls, that sort of thing. It didn’t seem to be wet inside, but the interior had a sharp tang of damp earth. Apparently Proton suffered some problems with “water ingress” in the Impian. In other words, it leaked.
The all-new Satria Neo, does not, symbolically, smell of damp. And that means it's off to a good start.
The Satria Neo is part of Proton’s drive, in the UK at least, to lower the average age of its customers (currently 70) and expand the appeal of its cars. Proton is taking a bit of a risk with this, because its older customers don’t always get the Lotus connection and assume that it’s not necessarily a good thing.
So would it appeal to younger buyers? Well, it’s not bad looking – head-on front is the best angle, with the sharp headlights – and it’s tidily proportioned. It’s just the detailing that lets it down – those untidy alloys and an aluminium-look filler cap cover made of plastic with, inevitably, fake Allen screws.