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Proton's new Persona has made its Australian debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show just a few weeks ahead of its launch on the Australian market.
The Persona has been a runaway success in its native Malaysia, where it has helped return Proton to profit and boosted market share for the company.
Driving forward but at the same time going back to basics, the Persona delivers on the requirements and expectations of current car buyers, characteristics that essentially influenced the form and function of the all-new 1.6 litre Proton Persona.
Style, safety, spaciousness, practicality, quality, comfort and performance are the seven key areas that guided Proton designers in putting together a package that meets the requirements and expectations of a wide spectrum of buyers.
Persona is strategically positioned as an entry-level four-door sedan, designed and priced to have universal appeal to the first time car buyer, replacement car buyer or those buying a second car.
According to managing director of Proton Holdings Berhad, Dato Syed Zainel, who was on hand at the Melbourne Show for the unveiling of the new Persona, the new car is the manifestation of the new attitude, new processes and the new approach embraced by the company and its personnel in meeting the expectations of car buyers.
"Persona is a fresh start for Proton, particularly in terms of quality, performance and spaciousness and I believe Australian buyers will embrace the car in the same way buyers in our home market have," said Dato Syed.
Inheriting the Proton GEN.2's sporty DNA the styling of the Persona is refined to portray a simple yet elegant exterior design that aptly defines as a sharp and attractive four-door sedan.
Under the bonnet Persona features Proton's own CAMPRO 1.6 litre twin cam multi-valve engine, however it has been retuned via its engine management system, refining mapping to provide a flatter and more lineal torque curve making a more driveable car.
It is mated to either a five speed manual transmission or a four-speed electronically controlled automatic
Persona produces maximum power of 82 kW at 6000 rpm and 148 Nm of torque at 4000rpm however more importantly its fuel economy is a stunning 4.5ltr/100 km on the highway cycle for the manual transmission car, the equivalent of 62 miles per gallon in the old money.
Safety has been a high priority for Proton designers both in active and passive terms with a number of refinements to make the car more user friendly.
Active safety is projected via improved steering, cornering and handling capabilities, making the new Persona more responsive, predictable, agile and stable to drive, allowing the driver more precision particularly in rapid manoeuvres.
The design philosophy of the Persona was also undertaken in tandem with subsidiary company Lotus, with the aim of maximising safety by constructing a more secure cabin through better structural rigidity.
Australian spec Persona will feature four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD while the cabin will be equipped with both driver and passenger SRS airbags.
Subtle refinements and attention to the front end including a new grille accentuates Persona's clean and elegant styling.
The interior of the Persona boasts a subtle two-tone black and dark grey finish, incorporating several new design features, including new door panels, ergonomically designed handles and lock buttons, as well as newly designed front seats with new fabric and integrated height adjustment.
Persona carries over many of the acclaimed design features of the GEN.2's dash and controls, but most importantly features a glove box, a feature that will also make its return to GEN.2 when it is revised later in the year.
Persona boasts a spacious 430-litre boot compartment with split fold rear seats meaning plenty of luggage space.
Persona will go on sale in early May in Australia and while prices have not been announced, they will be extremely competitive, making the Persona an attractive package, particularly with its high equipment levels.
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