Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE Test Drive Story
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, while I was designing a website for one of my customers, I suddenly received a call from one of my old friends to meet up. He had bought a new car recently. Well, new in the sense that the car is less than a year old. So I consider it new. Guess what car it is. It is none other than the new and popular Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE
We proceeded for a test drive after our casual chit chat at U-Soya Cafe, Sungai Dua, Penang. Exterior wise, the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is refined, with original dark brown colour bodykit and 15′ inch 8 spoke alloy rims, which transforms the Saga from normal to sporty. Both headlamps and rear lamps are smoked to enhance the outlook of this sporty Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE.
The moment I started up the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE engine, I can feel the racing spirit in the car as the engine roars in a similar way to a racing car engine. Do not expect Saga FLX 1.6 SE to give us a quiet cabin and peaceful driving environment as the car is not built in that way. The Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is meant to give the driver a racing spirit.
The Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE interior still looks dull as with other Proton cars, except for the Proton Preve. However, the Saga FLX 1.6 SE does have luxury leather seats with red stitch lines that lifts the dull interior, making it appear more sporty. The Saga FLX 1.6 SE comes with a 4-speaker audio system and there are AUX and USB slots. The audio player can be controlled from the steering too, allowing the driver to concentrate on the road all the time. The Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE comes with a few bottle holders and a few slots to put our accessories but there is no armrest for driver! Without the armrest, driving wasn’t much fun.
Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE comes with spacious leg room for rear seats too, capable of sitting 4 medium sized adults comfortably. The Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is equipped with electronic adjusters for the side mirrors but without the folding function. Again, another drawback from Proton. Even a Myvi has the side mirror folding function.
After exploring the interior of the car, I finally started to drive the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE. The car moved effortlessly as soon as I stepped on the gas pedal. The gas pedal and the brake pedal are heavier compared to it’s closest rival, Perodua Myvi. Even though it is heavier, the pedal gave me a precise control on the acceleration. Acceleration was smooth, thanks to the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that gave smooth and jerk-less gear shifting. CVT transmission is being widely used in many high end vehicles such as Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Altis due to infinity gear ratio and less power loss which gives the car better acceleration with less fuel wastage. Saga FLX 1.6 SE is equipped with CVT that gives us 2 modes for driving, normal Drive mode and (Stepped Auto)SAT mode. I tested both modes. Drive mode gave me a smooth gear changing experience and I am satisfied with it. SAT mode on the other hand, gives us 5-speed automatic transmission and more powerful acceleration. SAT mode mimics a 5-speed automatic transmission which delays the gear changing time, thus gives the car high revving RPM before changing to the next gear.
I managed to push the car to the max by flooring the gas pedal with Drive mode and SAT mode. SAT mode gives me the better acceleration but with jerking gear feeling as we can feel very clearly the gear changing. The power of the engine, a CamPro IAFM, 4 Cylinder, DOHC 16V that offers 108 Hp @ 5750RPM and 150Nm@ 4000RPM gave me an impressive acceleration experience. We started to feel the pick up better once the RPM hit above 4000RPM. Unlike Vios which gives an impulse acceleration at the beginning of 1000RPM to 3000RPM then the car loses it’s torque. At above 4000RPM, the Saga FLX 1.6 SE’s CamPro engine was roaring but at acceptable noise level. The engine noise doesn’t sound harsh. Instead, it sounded like a turbo car’s engine
Saga FLX 1.6 SE gives a very firm and solid steering feeling. The steering is heavier compared to Perodua Myvi and Toyota Vios but we can sense the stability and feel confident when driving at high speed. My friend told me that the car doesn’t handle very well at sharp corners at fast speeds. I didn’t get to try that out because there are no sharp and fast corners around that area where I was trying out the car. I proceeded to drive the car into USM compound to test out the suspension and slow corner turn
The MacPherson Strut with Stabiliser bar on Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE was as rigid as Myvi’s, the car feels bumpy when I drove over bumps. Sudden cornering with slow speed (30km/h) didn’t create much body roll to the car and the car is still on to the road confidently. Thanks to Proton Ride & Handling feature, handling of Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is great and gives us confidence.
Overall, the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is great in performance, has solid handling and a refined sporty appearance. Price for the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE is around RM49,000. If you are looking for a vehicle that is value for money, then consider the Proton Saga FLX 1.6 SE. Moreover, the car is equipped with CVT transmission similar to that in luxury cars. The drawback of this car is the dull interior and the SAT mode which does not have sequential shifting.
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