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Proton Suprima S 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
6
Derek Ogden road tests and reviews the Proton Suprima S Super Premium with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

It may sound like a pizza but there is more to the Proton Suprima S than rolled-out dough, tomato stuff, cheese, and assorted toppings. It’s a tasty looking small-medium five-door hatchback.

Now, the hatchback served up by the Malaysian automobile maker has a new topping and a fresh name, the Suprima S Super Premium. A name like this holds hopes of great expectations. Alas the Suprima S Super Premium does not entirely deliver.

Proton puts much store in its product quality with five years or 75,000km free scheduled servicing, plus a similar length of time or 150,000km warranty and 150,000km free 24-hour roadside assistance. On top of this there’s a seven-year anti-corrosion warranty.

However, the Suprima S Super Premium joins a heavily congested ultra-price-sensitive, small-car market containing some quality opposition. The going is bound to be tough.

DESIGN

Based on the sporty R3 the Super Premium looks the part with its spiffy 17-inch alloy wheels and R3 body kit including re-designed rear bumper, front spoiler and R3 badged side skirts. It’s a step up from the standard Suprima S.

Backing this up inside are leather upholstered seats, a reversing camera, push-button start, steering wheel mounted paddle shifts, and cruise control as standard.

FEATURES

In-car multimedia is provided by a 7-inch touch screen that gives access to a built-in DVD player, GPS navigation system and reversing camera. Sound is presented through two front tweeters and four speakers.

There is Bluetooth, USB, iPod and WiFi compatibility, with the proviso that the user can only browse the internet, access YouTube, watch DVDs, or play Android-based games - thankfully only with the handbrake on.

A separate information display keeps the driver up to date with trip distance and time, instant fuel consumption and distance to empty. In addition there’s a car and key-fob low battery warning and seatbelt reminder, plus a range of warning lights.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

Powered by Proton’s own 1.6-litre low-boost intercooled turbocharged engine, mated with a ProTronic continuously variable transmission, the maker says the Suprima S delivers 103kW at 5000rpm and 205Nm from 2000 to 4000rpm. That is, power and torque equivalent to a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine.

Driving dynamics of the Suprima S are given a fillip with a Lotus ride-and-handling package, providing a driving experience unique to this vehicle market.

SAFETY

There is certainly no skrimping on safety measures. Occupant protection begins with a bodyshell manufactured using an advanced hot press process, giving it strength to absorb impact forces while at the same time being light enough to aid fuel efficiency.

The Suprima S also has driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, and full length curtain airbags for front and rear seat occupants.

Active safety aids include electronic stability control with brake assist, traction control, ABS anti-skid brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, front active headrests, front seat belt pre-tensioners, auto door locks, rear proximity sensors and active hazard lights that automatically switch on in the event of a collision or when sudden braking is detected at speeds above 90km/h.

In addition to the internal features are front parking sensors and hill-hold assist. It all adds up to the Proton Suprima S being awarded a 5-star safety rating from ANCAP.

DRIVING

Outside the sun was shining, which was good; inside the sun was shining, which was not so good, as the reflection was bright enough to almost obliterate any info on the dash-mounted 7-inch touch screen, not to mention the air-con having to work hard to maintain comfortable surroundings. The latter was a surprise as there’s no shortage of hot, humid weather in Malaysia.

When working hard, the engine produced a harsh guttural sound, over which played a distinctive turbo whistle. The CVT operated smoothly, while driver intervention using the paddle shifts to select from seven preset ratios served up a less-than inspiring experience.

A firm but compliant ride and sharp handling, backed up by 17-inch alloys shod with 215/45 tyres, paid tribute admirably to the Lotus name. Also, there was little wallet wallop on the fuel front, with the test car clocking up consumption of 6.2L/100km on the motorway and a bit under 10L/100km around town.

Pricing Guides

$10,340
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$7,150
Highest Price
$13,530

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GX 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $7,150 – 10,120 2014 Proton Suprima S 2014 GX Pricing and Specs
GXR 1.6L, PULP, CVT AUTO $9,900 – 13,530 2014 Proton Suprima S 2014 GXR Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6