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Category / Malaysian Make

The first generation Proton Saga that came out in 1985 was also the first ever Malaysian automobile production, based on the 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer. 23 years later, Proton finally came up with an all new second generation Proton Saga, also known as the BLM (base line model).

Proton Saga BLM front shot
The 2008 white Proton Saga BLM

While the first generation saga came with a choice of 1.3 or 1.5 liter engine (the later Iswara face lift model only had 1.3), the BLM come with only one engine choice. The 1.3 liter Campro I4 that churns out a respectable 94 bhp at 6000 rpm. For a car that weigh just over 1 tonne (about 100kg heavier than it’s predecessor), this is a pretty reasonable power to weight ratio for city and highway driving with an occasional trip to Genting.

The new car is also bigger and better than the previous version. More interior space as well as new and improved design in every aspects. It is actually quite surprising that the car is based on the same platform with Proton Savvy.

Rear view, Proton Saga BLM 2008
2008 Proton Saga BLM rear view

Proton Saga comes either with Automatic or Manual transmission. Pricing is from RM31,500 to RM39,800 and they are currently selling like hot cakes. Proton is planning to sell about 50,000 to 60,000 Sagas per year. In fact, together with Proton Persona, the car maker has improved it’s financial stage tremendously, announcing a net income in the three months ended March 31 at 236.4 million ringgit.

Usually we do not take particular notice on where we park our cars, so long as it is a valid spot and we are reasonably sure we won’t get tickets for it. However, there are times where we should be more careful on choosing a parking spot, and here are two instances that illustrate the point very well.

Kancil Squashed by Trailer outside factory
Perodua Kancil reduced to metal sheet

The first collage of pictures shows a Perodua Kancil being reduced to a sheet of metal not higher than 2 feet. Apperantly this happened outside a factory in Penang. A semi-trailer fell over the unsuspecting Kancil that was parked next to it. Luckily no one was hurt, it is not clear if insurance covers such incidents.

Satria hit by fallen tree
Proton Satria hit by fallen tree

Parking under a tree gives you shade, if you can put up with the occasional bird droppings. However, during a thunderstorm, this tree snapped under the strong wind and came down upon the Proton Satria that was parked directly underneath it. Luckily the car only sustained minor damages on the hood and side fender.

So, think again when you park your car, and make sure you pull the handbrake too!

It’s been a number of months now since the launch of the much anticipated Naza Bestari (rebranded Peugeot 206). One of my friends has gotten her order delivered and had been driving the car for the past few months. Naturally, I test drove the car and are ready to give a full review with some of the minor details that might not otherwise be evident when you look at the car at the showroom.

Naza Bestari, Peugeot 206 review
the Naza Bestari (Peugeot 206)

The performance:
The TU3 1.4 liter engine that is the heart of the car generates about 75 horsepower. As far as everyday driving is concern, it is pretty sufficient and have no trouble going uphill. However, due to the relatively heavy weight of european design (1025kg curb weight), this car isn’t exactly a screamer at all.

As a comparison, the Kelisa is around 760kg while producing about 55 horsepower with its 1.0 liter engine. In terms of horsepower over weight ratio, both cars are almost the same (around 0.073 hp/kg). However, the slightly cheaper Proton Waja 1.6 is 1175kg with the campro engine generates 115 horsepower, 0.098 hp/kg.

As far as fuel consumption is concerned, this car isn’t exactly a super saver’s dream. A RM70 full tank only gets you around 400 km in city driving (RM 1.92 per liter). Not terribly cheap to operate for a 1.4 liter car, but it is over one tonne in weight.

Naza Bestari, Peugeot 206 review
the nicely illuminated meter cluster

Transmission:
The 206 comes with the 4 gear automatic transmission with tiptronic. In my opinion though, tiptronic is a feature that ultimately many will never use. While in automatic mode the car performs pretty much up to expectation, however, shifting into tiptronic mode has a noticable, if not slightly annoying lag. That said, it might be that I am spoilt after testing the 2.3 liter Mazda 6.

There are, however, two other features that might be quite useful, the snow and the sports option. The snow option attempt to give the car more grips, while in Malaysia we are not going to expect any snow, it is useful during heavy down pours. Another use of this option might be during long downhill drives if you do not want to shift down to lower gears with the tiptronic.

The sports option delays gear change till higher RPM, thus letting the engine rev longer to give the car more power for overtaking maneuver. Then again, the relative lack of engine horsepower pretty much limits what you can achieve anyway.

The current gear is also shown on the meter cluster if tiptronic is used.

Naza Bestari, Peugeot 206 review
audio control, head lamp height control, tiptronic gear shift, side aircond vent

Other nice features:
There are several very nice features that comes with the Peugeot 206, some of which you can’t find in Japanese cars of similar prices.

  • engine oil indicator – when you switch on the car, the level of engine oil is displayed on the meter console. no more getting your hands dirty checking engine oil level before any long trips
  • head light height adjuster – you can adjust the height of the head light from within the car. On the contrary, to do the same with most other cars will need you to open the hood and have a screw driver.
  • steering stereo controller – while not really located on the steering wheel, the stereo controller is situated on the right of the steering wheel. Very handy for changing volume, switching radio channels and such without having to take your eyes and hand away from the steering.
  • thermometer – there is a reading of outside temperature displayed on the stereo LCD output, something nice to have though not exactly necessary. Unfortunately, in-car temperature is not available.
  • door indicator – when a particular door is opened, it is shown on the stereo display. In most other cars, there is only an indicator light without any information on which door is opened.

Built quality and the missing headrest:
It is reported that over 200 components on the Bestari are locally made in Malaysia, and not surprisingly, this is shown in the overall built quality. My friend has to send the car back to the dealer twice to fix an annoying rattling sound at the left rear of the car. The fittings in the car are less refined, if you notice the lower right picture above, the gap between the door and dashboard is big enough to fit a thumb.

Then there’s the plastic cover of the oh shit handle on the driver side that keeps opening up. That was solved using glue instead. The last annoying thing is the lack of headrests on the rear passenger seats. Instead, there were hard plastic covering the six holes where you would expect the three head rests. Worse still, there seem to be no way to purchase the headrests from Naza. It is very annoying if you are a rear seat passanger going on a long trip and constantly getting your head knocked on the hard plastic covers.

Finally, the spare tyre is mounted under the car instead of inside the rear luggage compartment like most other cars. It means that the spare tyre gets dirty easily and also makes refilling the spare a slightly trickier affair.

Overall conclusion:
Overall, the car still offers decent value for RM 68,888 including roadtax and insurance. Afterall, it is a good price to get the European feel. Especially you are those sort of person who loves the exclusivity of having something that isn’t as common as a MyVi or Waja.

More detailed information on the 206 can be found here.

There is this Perodua Kembara that is always parked nearby my housing area on weekdays. Since the current new number plate is WPH and this car is a WPE, with the average of 3 weeks per new alphabet, by crude calculation this car is at least two months old…. and it still has the plastic wrap covering all of the back seat and the head rests of the front seats.

Perodua Kembara car seat plastic wrapping
the owner must love his “new” car alot

I can only imagine how annoying it is to be a passenger in the car. With our hot and humid condition, getting into this car means having your skin sweat and stick to the plastic, and don’t even get me started on the irritating noise generated by the plastic sheets against your body. I wouldn’t able to stand this for a single ride, let alone for months.

Some people are beyond comprehension. Lets see how long he keeps this up.

Before the days of the Proton Waja limousine and the Proton Perdana limousine conversion service by the likes of Automotive Conversion Engineering, there were the Proton Saga limousine edition. Originally aimed for high ranking government servants and perhaps to encourage politicians to use local cars, this particular Proton never really took off, due to the obvious lack in aesthetics.

Black color Proton Saga Limousine
Black Proton Saga Limousine with rear wheel caps.

This particular car is pretty rare, so far I have only spotted them less than half a dozen times on the road. I wonder what kind of reception the owners get when showing up at the front door with such a perculiar car?

Silver color Proton Saga Limousine
Silver Proton Saga Limousine