We at Route Hunters were invited to test the all new Proton Persona and Iriz at the Proton Intelligence drive event that was held at Kuala Terengganu. The 2019 Proton Persona and Proton Iriz received a post X70 update to ensure the entire Proton range sports the similar look and feel as the ground-breaking SUV. And after months of teasing, we finally get to see first-hand on the type of improvements the 2019 Iriz and Persona sports.
DRAGSTRIP – Slalom and Ride Comfort test
Upon arrival at the Kuala Terengganu Airport, we were driven to the dragstrip for a series of tests. We were given the Iriz first, and we started off by driving the car over planks of wood. We barely felt anything for the dampers were spot on. This test proved that the car will provide plenty of comfort and good damper movement over rough surfaces. After that came the slalom test. We threw the car around at a constant 50km/h, it stayed glued making less tyre squeals when compared to the previous model. We would describe its handling as less mechanical yet a more refined feeling. When compared to the Persona, the ride comfort is similar between both cars. However the shorter wheelbase of the Iriz made it perform more effortlessly over the slalom course.
Once we were finished testing the cars out at the dragstrip, we were given the Iriz to see what the car was capable of doing through the town roads of Kuala Terengganu. The journey from the dragstrip back to the hotel was supposed to be about 1 and ½ hours long but we made it back in a much shorter time! The drive was indeed something we could not forget as we were amazed with how nimble the Iriz, especially the 1.6 variant was, easily taking high speed curves with confidence at speeds well above the national speed limits. The EPS (Electric Power Steering) did not feel artificial and it provided plenty of control. The CVT gearbox does a good job at keeping the engine at the right power band without juddering on and off throttle. On day 2, towards our lunch stop in Kuantan, we had time to check out the upgrades the 2019 Iriz has received. We noticed the new infotainment system has improved tremendously. It’s a touchscreen system that has the same voice command system as the Proton X70. And yes, you can activate the system by uttering “Hi Proton” at it. Just don’t expect it to wind down the windows. Adding on, there is a nice mixture of cloth and leather trims on the seats which gave the car a very hot hatch feel.
For the drive back from Kuantan, we took the wheels of the Proton Persona. Straight away we have also noticed that the Persona handles higher speeds better than the Iriz. This mainly due to the longer wheelbase and cleaner airflow leading to better aero properties on the Persona when compared to the Iriz. Of course it did not lose any of the fun factor when we tested it along the B roads of Maran. The interior is similar to the Iriz, with the only difference being the bigger boot space in the Persona.
VALUE FOR MONEY?
The highest spec Iriz 1.6L Premium will cost you about RM51000, followed by 1.6L Executive priced at RM46,700. The 1.3L Iriz Executive CVT starts at RM44,700 followed by a 1.3L Standard CVT for RM39,700, and the 1.3L Standard manual for RM36,700.
The Persona 1.6L Premium CVT starts at RM54,600 followed by the 1.6L Executive CVT for RM49,600. Just like the Iriz, the Standard CVT is priced for RM44,600. Last but not least, we have the 5 speed manual for Persona as well that would cost you RM42,600. The Persona does not come with a 1.3L engine.
The brilliant touchscreen infotainment system is present in both the Premium and Executive versions. The Premium spec Iriz comes with steering audio control, while it’s standard across both Executive and Premium spec Persona. All Premium and Executive spec cars come with keyless entry system. All in all, you are getting premium Continental features on cars costing under RM60,000.
As conclusion, we have to say that you should be paying more given the 303 changes Proton has made, so yes, you are definitely getting more than what you paid for! So what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments section below!
-Deva Hariharan Shanker