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Proton Satria hatchback 2004 review

The Malaysian hatchback, five-doors in a compact package, has some perky style, a peaky 1.6-litre engine and well-behaved chassis.

Prices start at $17,990, top of the tree is the H-Line version with auto and a $22,990 tag.

There are some good parts and some ordinary parts to the Proton Gen 2. The style is neat and clean; there's a cool, straightforward stance to the front end and a little rise in the profile to that high rump. Inside, it has a fresh and simple, uncluttered approach to dashboard style and layout. The stereo (with tiny controls) is integrated into the dash, the airconditioning controls sit below.

There is a deal of plastic here. Some is acceptable, some bits such as those inside door handles are tacky and feel a tad fragile.

While on doors, this M-Line version of the Gen 2 Proton had sticking doors all round. All shut with a decent sound but all were reluctant to open clean.

The design, inside and out, is good but loses something in the execution. Taller drivers will find the cute sports steering wheel set too low and the seat too high; some of the materials and some of the fit and finish could do with extra polish.

The Gen 2 Proton arrives in three trim levels, all with a fair amount of gear.

An entry level L-Line, from $17,990, is packed with airconditioning, power windows and mirrors, driver and passenger side SRS airbags, remote keyless entry, CD player and trip computer.

The M-Line Proton at $19,500 adds ABS brakes, alloy wheels plus cruise control on the auto. The H-Line from $20,990 adds side SRS airbags, climate-control airconditioning, electronic reversing sensor, front and rear fog lights, rear spoiler and mobile phone holder.

Out and about the 1.6 litres and its 82kW is adequate. There is enough power for most drivers, although it can struggle down low in the rev range and others in this class have more refinement.

There is little argument with the five-speed manual gearbox, the ride or the handling of the front-drive Gen 2.

Perhaps the steering could be sharper but the Proton is quite willing to be pushed along without too much front-wheel fight or understeer. It follows through with suppleness and a decent amount of grip.

This Gen 2 shows some promise as a handsome and handy hatchback.

The road manners are good, the style is cute. There remains room for improvement in build quality (check it against a Honda Jazz or Mitsubishi Colt) and in some of the cabin's ergonomics, particularly the driver's seat-steering wheel relationship.

But if the Gen 2 is evidence of future Proton products, the brand is steadily moving on.

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.