Monday, June 4, 2012

Proton Exora Bold (MT)

It is the first 7 seater wagon from Proton, our first nation car manufacturer. It was first introduced into the market in the year of 2009. At first glance when I saw it in the show room, I assumed it's just another rebadge model from Mitsubishi, which is what Proton used to do. Proton had been rebadging car models from Mitsubishi since it was formed in 1985.   But I was wrong: this Exora model is in fact a local design one.

Exora Bold is the 1st facelift of Exora that introduced in early 2012. Some changes been done on the outlook of the car, as well as the engine. I will come to the engine later, but let's look at the outlook first.

There is a significant "facelifting" of the front bumper of the car. The bumper look "bold" and sporty with the additional side grill air vent when compare to the original front bumper.

There is not much change of the real except the additional rubber body kit at the real bumper and smoked real lights instead the clear one. Apart of that, nothing major changes for this "facelift" model.

Power wise, Exora houses a 1.6 cc CPS engine. But for Exora Bold, there is another variant that houses a turbo charged 1.6cc CPS engine which is called a CFE engine. With turbo charged, one claim that the engine would pump out the power that is similar to a 2.0cc engine. However, the one I am driving one is a Exora Bold 1.6cc manual transmission, which it's not a CFE engine.

I've tested both the 1.6cc A/T and 1.6cc CFE models. I was really disappointed by the performance of the A/T but I am impressed by the CFE one. I could feel the power of the CFE, but not the CPS A/T. Hence, to compensate the "power lost" of the CPS A/T, I choose the CPS M/T instead. To my surprise, the car respond quite well and I could feel the push, which I don't when I was test driving the A/T one.

 Gear shift for the M/T is difficult when compare to my ex-lover, Nissan Sentra N16 M/T. The Sentra M/T gear shift was smooth and easy and soft, but Exora's is hard and "tight". "It's probably because it's new, hence you feel the hardness." is the reply from Proton Service when I sounded this problem to him. What the.....

The desk-board is simple and clean. Everything is placed in the middle: the radio, centre air vent, emergency light switch, real heater switch, three air-condition knobs, interior air circulation switch and cooling switch. Very typical for a Proton mid-range car which there is no much complicated switches/electronics monitors placed in a small place.

There is radio control on the steering wheel, and two air bags provided (driver side and front passenger side).

Simple and yet all necessary control is there.

I have no complaint for the size of this car. This is a HUGE car that offer HUGE interior volume. There are 3 rows of seats which legally could carry 7 adults passengers. The last row of the seat could be folded to clear a huge boot space. As you can see in the photo above, both of my kids where sitting while we fed them in a rest area along NSHW where the 3rd car seat been folded down.

The ICE (In Car Entertainment) is rather standard for a family car. The radio-CD front unit is of Blaupunkt and comes with car there is another 9" screen DVD player unit which is mounted on the ceiling of the car. To operate this DVD player is a struggle in my opinion where instead direct connect to in car speakers, this DVD player uses FM radio transmission to transmit audio signal. In order to watch any movie or listen to songs, one would required tune into the certain FM frequency from the car's radio set that this DVD is transmitted. Hence,  there is no guarantee smooth transmission of sound if the frequency channel been tuned in isn't used by any radio station.

So, how about fuel consumption ? This car has a curb weight of 1,900kg. With a puny engine of 1.6cc, I would expect to see a huge expenses on fuel if compare to my ex-car Nissan Sentra 1.6cc M/T. I've travelled long distance with this Exora from Pg - KL which clocked at 17 sen/km, and normal daily commute from house to work with moderate traffic jams, worse at 18.5 sen/km. Not bad to my standard  I would say.

I find it hard to master the programmable wiper speed as describe in the user manual. I would prefer a simpler knob turning mechanism instead of turning off the wiper before it comes to rest position and start counting how many seconds you wish it to interval and turn it on again. So troublesome and so confusing !

It's heavy and sturdy when driving along heavy rained highway, it offers great space, it has the best air condition (one of the best from Proton) and it has great suspension system (I believe it's a Lotus tuned, but the brochure says it's a Proton tuned). However, with such a puny engine, I still feel lack of power when climbing up hills, very cheap looking plastic interior desk-board and seats, quite poor workmanship though. As conclusion, after driving it for almost 2 months, and total travel of about 2,800 km, I would say for a car which is cost at RM 67,000.00 (OTR) I am satisfy with it. So far so good !