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Proton Gen.2 2005 review: road test

That rude, obnoxious man, for example, will always remain so, even if he is really quite polite and reasonable, and was just having a bad day when you first met him. And so it is with most things, even cars.

My first impression of the new Gen 2 Proton was that I thought the doors were going to fall off.

Awkward, clunky, not easy to open. Not a good start.

But try to put that aside. Take a step back and look at the design.

From the outside, it looks good, not "astonishing" like the publicity promises, but it is sporty and stylish, and I love the Energy Orange paint job. A few people commented that it looked like an Alfa. Even the badging, they said, has similarities. Now check out the inside ... but you have to open those doors again.

The interior is not as impressive. Too much plastic and there's not enough room for your legs.

Even my short limbs were bruised after too many close encounters with the steering wheel height lever.

And, yes, I know you can lift the wheel up and lower the seat, but that didn't help much, either.

There are not enough compartments, just two narrow ones in the doors plus the centre console.

And there is no glove box. None. Just a little ledge.

The stereo controls on the dash are a bit space-age-ish but the sound from the Blauplunkt system is music to your ears and the wheel-mounted buttons are in the perfect spot. Airconditioning and fan speed dials are large and easy to use but look out of place on a central column under the dash.

Even the sporty double veranda over the speedo looks odd, like Mickey Mouse ears.

The handbrake resembles an upside-down stirrup and the one cup holder won't fit a water bottle.

How does the rear section hold up? It's roomy and comfortable enough to keep teens quiet on a long drive (what more could you ask?) but the back doors are just as stiff as the front ones.

Now for the hatch. The boot is huge but there's another door. And unless I've missed something, there is only one lever by the driver's seat to release the hatch, which is heavy to open and close.

Why go further? Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I may just be a weakling when it comes to opening doors.

The Proton Gen 2 is a great size for city driving but it also handles highways beautifully. At higher speeds, it holds the road, hugs corners and the 1.6-litre engine has enough power when you drop back a gear, to overtake with confidence.

The trip computer is a nice extra, calculating fuel consumption and telling you how far you can travel before you have to fill up again.

If only I could handle the doors.

Proton Gen 2 

Plenty of room in the back for growing teens.

Huge boot.

The doors (although that wouldn't be very safe).

Clunky gears.

No glove box ... not even a tiny one.

Almost useless cup holder.

Clock is almost impossible to read while driving.

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
Highest Price

Range and Specs

H-Line 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2005 Proton Gen.2 2005 H-Line Pricing and Specs
L-Line 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,100 – 3,630 2005 Proton Gen.2 2005 L-Line Pricing and Specs
M-Line 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,100 – 3,630 2005 Proton Gen.2 2005 M-Line 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.