Sunday, June 14, 2009

Behind the wheel of the Exora

Went for TT session with Satria GTi folks as usual last Friday and in an odd fashion of me, I was rather late! Just I was minding my own business finding parking slot, there was Sharil safely parked his company’s test car, the Proton Exora. The key has been placed on the table for joy run, and knowing me, I as always just happy to oblige :)

Dimensionally, it’s a midsized MPV just like Toyota Wish and way bigger than Chevrolet Nabira which both are benchmark cars during its development stage. And this one is high-line version, so expect it comes with leather seats, sporty rims, dvd player and navigation system.

Getting inside, you’re immediately greeted with a cozy environment headed by the seating position, very MPV-ish. Interior design is very practical in every sense with ample storage compartments and my favourite front hook to place nasi lemak bungkus. Fit and finishing seem to be further improved with Proton these days and so are the materials only a big let down is colour theme! Just spoil the quality impression!

Cranking up the engine, immediately lighted up with interesting control panel’s illumination and slotting through the ‘gate’ shifter and off to our usual test route (Mutiara Damansara-Pencala Link-TTDI turn off-Mutiara Damansara) with 5 of us on board.

Just like the 308 turbo the other day, the throttle feel is very snappy which made I wonder does Proton want to give a glimpse of ‘energy’ impression of Campro 1.6 CPS? Going through 25m roundabout and Penchala Link left-right-left entry doesn’t upset the stability, roll is very much control with reasonable feel steering I would say. Not like Nabira level but for a vehicle this size and sub RM100k price, I was stunned.

The real Exora’s achilles heel got to be the engine. Even with 4.6 final drive mated to automatic gearbox, the low end and midrange punch to move this goliath is almost non existence. Absolutely no feel it can propel with full load after climbing slight uphill from TTDI turn-off towards Mutiara Damansara. It badly needs at least 1.8 with low boost turbo or 2.0 NA to give just right energy to drive comfortably.

Still, it’s a common sense effort by Proton to provide spacey solutions for Malaysia’s families with sensible price. Just wish it’s got more energetic heart.

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