The Proton Satria Neo was released back in 2006 but didn’t impress much in terms of design and performance. It did offer a serious discount for the Satria, but otherwise that doesn’t count as much next to every other important driving feature. We check to see how the latest Satria performs in terms of being the so-called ultimate hot hatchback that’s aimed at the youthful and sporty market of buyers.
The Satria Neo comes as either the Sport or GSX. Both of which give you the option of a four-speed auto or five-speed manual gearbox. The engine is standard fro all: a 1597cc petrol that packs in 111bhp at 6000rpm. At 106lb ft it goes at 4000 rpm. Manuals sport a fuel economy of 42.8mpg, but if you are particular in this aspect go for the auto’s 39.2 mpg. CO2 emissions go at 177g/km for the auto and at 157g/km rates for the manual.
On typical motorway speeds, the Satria impresses with its firm ride and impressive direction shifts. Potholes and bumps are readily absorbed by the vehicle, assuring a smooth ride on regular road conditions and sudden construction situations. Grip levels are able to handle aggressive corner turns and shifts. Understeer is not felt thanks to the Proton’s ability to handle direction changes and speed limits.
Space wise the Satria disappoints. The roof lining leaves little headroom for both short drivers and tall ones going over 6 feet in height. The view isn’t helpful either: the front area is compromised by the windscreen’s top edge being bisected by the eyeline. The seats aren’t practical or very adjustable either. Although the leather and suede offer support and comfort, the seats themselves can’t be adjusted at lower heights or angles. Once the sun visor is brought down, high positioned seats suffer from a serious lack of visibility.
Journeys are made even more uncomfortable by the cabin’s lack of storage space. The material used in that area doesn’t help either; the brittle grey plastics throw off any attempts for a sleek finish. The gearlever doesn’t use faux leather, but instead cheapens the look with a shiny plastic sheet covering the gear linkages. Apart from the awkward design, the heating dials and electric window buttons in the switchgear area are seen in awkward positions.
Noise is heard from the engine, despite the promise of a 1.6-litre engine at 111bhp and its 1170 kg kerbweight. But even with this much power, its 109lb ft fails to excite the most passionate of drivers. Although the Proton promises 60mph in just 11.8 seconds and the vehicles goes at a speed parallel to its competitors, the noise readily distracts and makes the engine a hard sell. Even more noise from the wind and whining from the engine is heard when the Satria goes on motorway speeds.
Overall the Satria performs below average when it counts. The reduced price is not worth the expense, given how well the Vauxhall, Polo, Corsa, Fiesta fare with their latest upgrades and affordable quality. You'll have to reconsider what you're after if the Satria is an option for you.
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