The Proton Savvy is the firm’s first attempt at a compact five-foor city car, conceived with the intention of widening brand appeal to attract more dynamic (read ‘younger’) buyers. Proton’s UK market base isn’t generally in the first flush of youth.
It’s not a bad looking car and displays a modicum of aesthetic flair. The stepped window-line may look slightly uncomfortable for a car so stubby, and the ‘sporty’, centrally positioned chrome exhaust should not be interpreted as promising performance. The truth is, you will find yourself yielding on many a green light stampede.
The Savvy’s 1.2-litre unit’s linear power delivery serves up 75bhp at 5500rpm and 77lb ft at 4250rpm, but it’s a harsh, vocal delivery, especially when stretched to its 6100rpm red line. There’s also an intrusive booming noise in the cabin as you approach peak power which encourages you to make the most of a five-speed gearbox that feels both sloppy and stodgy. There’s also a five-speed automatic available, if that’s your preferred option. Claimed economy for both automatic and manual variants is 49.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 134g/km.
The interior is roomy enough for a car of this size (3710mm long, 1643mm wide and 1480mm high overall) but it’s lacking in refinements and creature comforts. There is a confusing use of interior plastic colours and the three-spoke steering wheel, complete with TT-mimicking aluminium ringlet, is similarly low-rent.