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Proton Exora 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
6
It's Australia's cheapest people mover and you know what, it isn't half bad.

It's Australia's cheapest people mover and you know what, it isn't half bad. The company seems to have found a new lease of life since severing ties with the Malaysian government. It's also expanding the number of dealers Australia wide and plans to do a lot more marketing.

PRICE / FEATURES

The Exora is available in two grades, GX and GXR, priced from $25,990 and $27,990 driveaway - both with a six-speed CVT style auto as standard. That's $4000 less than its closest competitor the Kia Rondo.

Standard kit includes airconditioning with outlets for all three rows of seats, a roof mounted DVD player, Bluetooth phone and audio, steering wheel phone and audio controls, reversing sensors, alloy wheels, and a USB port playable through the DVD and radio.

GXR adds leather, cruise control, a reversing camera, daytime running lights a vanity mirror on both sunvisors, silver trim highlights and third row roof grab handles. The Proton Exora even comes with a roof mounted DVD player standard to keep the kids entertained in the back.

FIVE YEAR FREE SERVICING

If the safety aspect doesn't worry you then read on because you're also going to like the fact the Exora comes with free servicing for five years or 75,000km. That's right. Buy this car and you won't not have to worry about paying another thing for five years -- apart from registration and insurance of course.

The Malaysian car maker has been around for a few years and needs to be do something to show up on the radar. Free, five-year servicing, five year 150K warranty and five year 150K road side assist is a good place to start, along with some cars that people might actually be interested in buying.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

Proton has been promising its Cam-Pro engine for years and we've yet to see it, at least with the promised camshaft profiling. What we do get is a more interesting 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a decent amount of power and torque to help things along. The Charged Fuel Efficiency (we were wondering what the letters stand for) 1.6 litre, DOHC, 16 valve engine produces 103kW of power at 5000 revs and 205Nm of torque from 2000-4000 revs. 

To accommodate the increase in engine power, it has a slightly shorter stroke and operates at a reduced compression to the standard engine. Variable valve timing has been added for the intake valves.  This is a big and welcome step up from the naturally aspirated engine's 82kW and 148Nm. One transmission is available in the Exora range, a six-speed CVT automatic that uses a belt rather than traditional gears to transmit power to the front wheels.

SAFETY

But the big drawback with Proton's new seven seater is the fact that it scores only four stars for safety when most of its competitors get five. With only four airbags that offer protection for front seat occupants only the Exora misses out on five star crash rating.

We note the third row of seats does not offer headrests either. The car is however fitted with electronic traction and stability control, along with anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and seat belt pre-tensioners in the front.

THE DRIVE

No complaints here, although the transmission is a little noisy at times. It's generally quiet and comfortable and offers excellent value for money if you need to transport a tribe, especially with the free servicing thrown in. Legroom in the third row of seats is surprisingly pretty good and can accommodate adults at least for short trips.

It runs on standard unleaded and with a 55-litre fuel tank, is rated at 8.2 litres/100km, and we were getting 8.4 -- which is far closer than we've come to many carmakers' official fuel figures. If the four-star safety doesn't concern you, this is a capable family vehicle for a very attractive price, particularly with the budget saving five-year deal on free servicing.

VERDICT

This is a much better effort than the Protons we have driven in the past.

Pricing Guides

$12,265
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$9,680
Highest Price
$14,850

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GX 1.6L, PULP, CVT AUTO $9,680 – 13,200 2014 Proton Exora 2014 GX Pricing and Specs
GXR 1.6L, PULP, CVT AUTO $10,890 – 14,850 2014 Proton Exora 2014 GXR Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Pricing Guide

$9,680

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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