New Proton Savvy Review

A small city car that's cheap to buy

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • The ride isn't awful
  • Has five doors
  • Reasonably spacious
  • Poor build quality
  • Old-fashioned engines
  • Shocking depreciation

£8,085 - £8,785 Price range

4 Seats

49 MPG


Just like all the other Protons, reviewers aren’t too keen on the Savvy city car. It’s cheaper to buy and is more practical than the bigger yet sporty Satira Neo but it does suffer similar problems with build quality and comfort. The engine is weak too.

It doesn’t look good for the Savvy, but let’s put it under the carwow microscope all the same!

For a city car, space inside isn’t too bad but there are rivals out there that are better. Four adults can get reasonably comfortable unless they are rather tall as headroom in the back is tight.

Boot space may be small but it is a useable shape plus you can fold the 50/50 split folding rear seats if you need more room.

The interior design is bland though, and the quality isn’t great with nasty plastics all round and flimsy controls.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel will be a challenge for most because you can only tilt the base of the seat and the steering wheel can’t be adjusted either.

The only positive? The ride is okay. Unfortunately, the rest of the driving experience is less positive; it rolls too much around corners, the steering is numb and not confidence inspiring in the slightest.

Road noise is not too much of an issue but wind noise is at motorway speeds. Most of the Proton’s rivals are more refined.

Unlike some of its rivals, the Savvy comes with a bigger 1.2-litre petrol which produces 75bhp and 77lb/ft of torque. You would expect a 1.2 to have better performance than the smaller 1.0-litre units most of its rivals have. With a 0-60mph time of 13.9 seconds and a top speed of 98.7mph, reviewers complained that it didn’t feel any faster.

They also complained about how sluggish and wheezy it gets when trying to get it up to higher speeds. It’s loud on the motorway too whereas some rivals with smaller engines are more refined.

Economy isn’t brilliant either. It returns 49.6mpg and produces 134g/km of CO2 out of the tailpipe. Some of the Savvy’s rivals are either cheaper to tax and are London congestion charge exempt.

You can get the car with a manual or automatic gearbox but reviewers found the gearshift in the manual car awkward.

The Savvy comes equipped with two airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution.

It hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but judging by the quality of the rest of the car the Savvy’s rivals will be safer.

The Savvy is better equipped than some of its rivals. Every car gets remote locking, air-conditioning, a CD Player, electric front windows and alloy wheels. Even rivals such as the Citroen C1 and Volkswagen Up! make you pay extra for some of those features.

While the low price is tempting, the depreciation might put you off.  Security is better than the other Protons with an alarm fitted as standard plus etched windows.


The Savvy does look tempting if all you are after is a car that will take you plus three passengers from A to B. However, the critics are unanimous: it’s not a good car.

If you must have a new car, take a look at the Dacia Sandero; it is more pleasant in just about every objective and subjective measure, and significantly cheaper in base spec.

Even if the Dacia isn’t your thing, we recommend testing all of the Proton’s rivals before going for the Savvy.