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Proton Satria Gen 2 2004 review

The car has been a long time in gestation but is a critical model for the Malaysian manufacturer as it moves away from using redundant designs from Mitsubishi for which it paid handsome royalties. The Gen.2 is just about all Proton in terms of body and powertrain. Only the optional four speed automatic transmission is from Mitsubishi.

Gen.2 also marks the appearance of Proton's first in-house engine, the Campro 1.6-litre four cylinder. It is the advance guard for a range of new engines designed and built by Proton with considerable input by Proton-owned Lotus.

Gen.2 itself heralds a complete range of new Proton models due for production in the next 18 months built on four different platforms. Most will come to Australia and the lineup includes a city car with a 1.2-litre engine, a new Satria and a revised Waja.

Proton Australia also disclosed at the Gen.2 launch that it has taken control of national Lotus distribution.

The Gen.2 comes out of a brand new, highly automated factory at Proton City near Kuala Lumpur.

The plant features a raft of high tech facilities including a water-borne paint shop and the largest body press in south east Asia which is capable of stamping the whole side of a car body in one pass.

Gen.2 will be sold here in three grades, L, M and H ranging in price from $17,990 through to $20,990. The base model car lacks nothing in feature terms except alloy wheels and ABS.

Proton will focus on its high standard equipment levels in Gen.2 marketing, the main thrust of which is at young females.

The all alloy Campro engine is a low emission unit with twin cams and 16 valves. It has been designed for smooth economical running and delivers 82kw/148Nm output. Variable valve timing with 100kW makes an appearance early next year.

A five speed manual or optional four speed auto transmission is used.

Weight is around 1200kg but the Gen.2 benefits from Lotus input in terms of ride and handling.

Both are impressive in a car such as this which is comfortable and controlled over most roads.

What makes Gen.2 stand out from the crowd is its styling – a super effort from the Malaysians and Lotus. The body has elements from Europe and Japan and does the trick in terms of "wow factor". Proton offers Gen.2 in a range of fairly staid colours except for a strident sky blue mica and a mica orange.

Inside is just as good as the outside and owes nothing to any other style currently in vogue. It is refreshingly different albeit without a glove box, and comes in a two tone beige instead of boring old grey.

The drive experience is not bad for what is essentially an economy model. It won't rock your socks off for pace but gets going if needed. The seats lack some lateral support cornering hard but plenty of room is available inside for five and the boot is large.

A disappointing space saver spare lives under the boot floor.

Petrol requirement is premium unleaded but we tried it on regular which made no difference. Fuel tank capacity is 50 litres giving the Gen.2 a good range especially with about 6.5l/100km economy easy to achieve.

Proton is currently rebuilding its dealer network after some flew the coop in the past couple of years due in part to Proton's direct marketing activities and little in the way of new models.

The Gen.2 could spark renewed interest in the Malaysian brand which has a reputation for reliability and good value for money in this country.

It certainly deserves a look.

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

GLi 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,400 – 4,070 2004 Proton Satria 2004 GLi Pricing and Specs
GTi 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,600 – 4,400 2004 Proton Satria 2004 GTi Pricing and Specs
XLS 1.5L, ULP, 3 SP AUTO $2,200 – 3,850 2004 Proton Satria 2004 XLS Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.