New Proton GEN-2 Review

A family hatchback for city car money

1/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Not terrible looks
  • It’s cheap to buy
  • Decent handling
  • Appalling Interior
  • Severe depreciation
  • Everything else

£9,545 - £12,520 Price range

5 Seats

38 - 40 MPG

Review

If we could do the favour of saving you some time, we recommend heading over to our reviews of the Hyundai i20 and Dacia Sandero before reading this. They are both very agreeable cars that offer excellent value for money in their own way.

If you’re still reading, the Proton GEN-2 is a car built to take on the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra but at a much lower price. It drives well thanks to the engineering input from the Lotus division but that’s its only good point. It has poor refinement, a low-rent interior, not much space inside and thrashy engines.

All of the GEN-2’s rivals are much better.

Quality inside was one of the biggest gripes the reviewers had with the interior. Styling is tidy but there are many nasty plastics dotted around the cabin and the fit and finish is way below par. Most of the buttons and switchgear are flimsy too.

Legroom is good all-round but headroom is tight, especially in the back as even average size adults’ heads will be touching the sloping roofline.

Despite height adjustment for the driver’s seat and rake adjustment for the steering wheel, getting comfortable behind the wheel will be a struggle for most. This is because the steering doesn’t adjust that much and the same goes for the seat height.

Thanks to the Lotus-tuned chassis, the GEN-2 handles well and the suspension strikes a good balance of ride comfort and cornering. The steering is sharp but not as sharp as a Mazda 3 or Ford Focus. On the motorway, the GEN-2 lets in quite a bit of wind noise and a lot of road noise.

The GEN-2 is available with a either 1.3- or 1.6-litre petrol engine. There’s also an ecologic model available which lets you fuel the 1.6 engine with either petrol or LPG to help you save on running costs.

Even though reviewers strongly advise you take a look at the Proton’s rivals, the best of the bunch is the normal 1.6 petrol in GSX trim because it provides decent pace for most and comes with good levels of equipment.

Whichever engine you go for you will encounter a constant engine drone around town and it gets worse at higher speed.

We aggregate and summarise the most helpful Proton GEN-2 1.6 reviews from the best publications.

The 1.6 litre petrol engine in the GEN-2 produces 110bhp and 109lb ft of torque. It propels the car from 0-60mph in 12.6 seconds and up to a top speed of 118mph. It returns up to 39.8mpg and produces 170g/km of CO2.

In reality, experts believe you should definitely look at all the GEN-2’s rivals as they have more refined units. Most rivals also come with a diesel alternative which returns much better MPG than this unit. They believe that this is the best engine for the car but you will have a lot of engine noise entering the cabin which is unpleasant.

The 1.6 unit is available in both GLS and GSX models but experts say the GSX is better equipped with features such as leather seats and side airbags.

This engine comes with a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard with an automatic gearbox being available as an option.

We aggregate and summarise the most helpful Proton GEN-2 1.6 Ecologic reviews from the best publications.

The ecologic model comes with the same 1.6 petrol engine however it comes with an LPG tank in the boot which lets you fuel the car with Liquefied petroleum gas. LPG is priced significantly lower than petrol which means running costs will be reduced. The disadvantage is that you will have to sacrifice the spare wheel but at least it doesn’t take up that much boot space.

Power is the same whatever you fuel the car with at 110bhp and 109lb ft of torque. It propels the car from 0-60mph in 12.6 seconds and up to a top speed of 118mph. It returns up to 39.8mpg and produces 170g/km of CO2.

The ecoLogic is available in both GLS and GSX models but experts say the GSX is better equipped with features such as leather seats and side airbags.

This engine comes with a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard with an automatic gearbox being available as an option.

These are general, non-engine specific reviews. They give a nice overview of what the car is like, without focusing on just one engine/version.

The GEN-2 hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but we wouldn’t be confident of scoring a high rating, thanks to the sparsity of safety equipment.

Two airbags are offered as standard, while an extra two at the sides are available on the GSX model.

The starting price undercuts many rivals and standard equipment includes air conditioning, remote locking, CD player, front electric windows alloy wheels and even rear parking sensors.

The largest expense with the GEN-2 is the depreciation. Many experts report it would lose 75% of its value within three years – that’s a colossal amount of money to throw away.

Conclusion

The UK’s leading car critics all strongly recommend looking at all of the GEN-2’s rivals and suggest there’s a real chance you’d regret buying this car. There are alternatives in this price bracket that are much better – scroll down to see a few examples.