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2011 Proton Inspira 1.8M
Reasons why I bought this car
Throughout my university days, I was driving a 2004 Proton Iswara Aeroback Manual. It is a great little car and I know many of our Wapcar readers today are still owning this car and still proudly rocking it. Cheap spare parts, stupidreliable carbureted engine, lightweight little beater car.
You can park it anywhere in town with the windows down and not look back because let's face it, no one wants to go near it anyways. What's there not to love, right? However as I age and life requires me to do a little more travelling around the peninsular, the plucky little thing is starting to become more and more irrelevant. It's essentially a good town car, and that was it. I need a bigger car that can accumulate highway miles effortlessly as I make my 8 hour journeys without breaking my back.
Car selection process
- I had a budget of RM: 30,000
- Models that I have considered include: Toyota Vios, Proton Preve, Proton Waja, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla (E120), Honda Civic (7th Gen)
Reasons why I chose this car
- What I had in mind when selecting my next car was in no particular order sporty, comfortable, customizable and reliable sedan. That means no supercar Myvis. I need a daily car that can run effortlessly over long miles and at the same time take a lot of beating, while looking pretty darn good doing it. My friends and family advised me to do a lot more research first and so I did.
- The used Toyotas and Hondas are just a little too overrated in my opinion. They were all either overpriced, highmileage, old and indifferent so they were the first ones out from my list. Next was the Proton Preve. Cheap, modern and exceptional handling but you literally have to be a car mechanic to own one so nogo, life is a lot more meaningful than having to worry about the next broken part of the car at all times. The Proton Waja was a viable choice, having a solid Volvo chassis, Lotustuned handling and reliable Mitsubishi 4G18 engine but it was getting too old for me.
- The Kia Forte came close to everything that I want, save for the indecisive automatic gearbox and it's twitchy electrical system. I even read a story about a Forte owner who has his pushstart button malfunction, leaving him stranded at home on a Monday morning so another huge nogo for me. It looks good, value for money given it's amount of technology, and just the right size of engine but it doesn't seem to be a sensible choice to make for it for the lack of reliability.
- Finally I chanced upon the Proton Inspira. Build on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo platform, powered by the legendary 4B1 MIVEC engine, reasonable amount of safety features, handling improved by Proton which everyone knows makes the best handling consumer cars. A car designed by the Japanese, improved by the Malaysians, for Malaysians. What could go wrong?
I have already done 60000 km.
When I first bought it, the low-nd torque was horrible and I thought that it is intentionally designed so for fuel efficiency. It was loud, rough and cumbersome to drive in town. Switching to a new set NGK laser iridium spark plugs made a phenomenal difference. Being a 1.8L manual transmission car, I get to choose between a comfortable. civil minded, family sedan and occasionally a adrenaline driven sports saloon. Driving longdistance has been fairly easy thanks to it's multilink suspension and sturdier chassis. Driving through long twisty roads while having just the right amount of power to overtake the pesky sand and timber lorries on a single carriageway is what this car is designed for.
Total Score: 4
Quality & Features: 2
Ride Comfort: 3
Fuel Economy: 2
Price & Cost: 4
Pros & Cons
- Manual transmission. I decide how I want it to be driven.
- Exceptional handling. This car is made for twisty roads of Mersing, Karak highway and Balik Pulau.
- Semi-bucket seat. Comfortable and decent
- High speed stability. You can cruise this thing at 150kmh and still vape effortlessly while listening to Linkin Park.
- Customizability. ECU can be tuned, extra speakers can be fitted for more boomz, center console can be easily replaced for aftermarket, huge aftermarket support thanks to the existence of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
- Manual. Endlessly rowing gears, switching between the 3 pedals everyday can make you mentallyexhausted, no joke.
- Feels cheap. Plasticky interior. Rattling noise from dashboard, B-pillar trims and rear seats when driving over rough roads
- Small boot. I could not fit a wheelchair in it when I needed to take my grandparents out for the weekend to entertain them. Had to fit in a smaller, foldable wheelchair. My brother's Persona CM can fit in one effortlessly, maybe 2!
- Limited rear legroom. Even the Saga VVT is roomier than it.
- Fuel economy. I get 7 ~ 8km/l in town and 12 ~ 14km/l on highway. Is my car fuel economy poor? You decide.
- Wind noises! Is the rubber seal not working? Might be stiff rubbers due to age.
- Big. It's cumbersome to drive this in town when you just want to get to your friendly nearby mamak and get your roti telur banjir with your buddies on a lazy Saturday.
- Stiff suspension. Ride can be jarring when driving through roads with mini potholes and bumps. Not a good car to drive in town.
- Twin exhaust. What in the actual frick, previous owner? Poor installation, incompatible bumpers. I am changing it back to single as soon as I get the funding.
- Notorious clutch pump issue. You need to pay extra attention to it as it is known to break almost every 2 years. All Inspira manual owners know this. When the clutch pump is gone, you cannot feel the clutch engage and disengage when changing gear be prepared to fork at least RM1600 for a brand new clutch set if you have to. I had a faulty upper clutch pump in 2019, a day before Chinese New Year. Had to balik kampung with an old Waja instead. Had to tow it to a workshop and have the upper clutch pump changed for RM700.
Some interesting events
I had my car ECU remapped by a tuner called Tomen. Many Inspira owners should know him by his facebook name Zaemon. My car performance was average at best, getting beaten by Myvis and Vios' at the traffic light most of the time. After having my ECU given a Stage 1 remap by him, the car altogether feels light and pick up becomes effortless, with minimal grunt from engine. I can wholeheartedly recommend him to all Proton Inspira owners. Now, I can occasionally eat Vios for breakfast, but the Myvis are still the one true unbeatable Kings on the road.
I m very pleased with my purchase of the Proton Inspira. Judging from the minor details, one can tell that this car has had an abusive owner in the past. I spent a lot of money to gradually restore this car to shape and it has eventually become a pleasant car to own. While it isn't the fastest nor the most comfortable car out there, it delivers what I expect of it, and I essentially got what I paid for. A trusty, dependable buddy that can bring me to places and put a smile on face when I have my downs in life and needed to go for a night drive alone in the empty roads of Johor Bahru to clear my mind.
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