I chose this Persona Elegance as a replacement for my Proton Saga 1.3 BLM Hi-Line, as I wanted something slightly more powerful and fun to drive. Comfort wasn’t big factor for me to consider (the Saga has a more spacious and comfier cabin) as this is just an extra car for me to hoon and do quick market runs and etc.
About the Persona
Starting with its looks the Persona Elegance looks good in my opinion and definitely better than the all new model released in 2016. Its smooth fluidic body sculpture makes it look aerodynamic and prestigious. Its low to ground stance makes it look more aggressive, and the perfectly sized windows look well proportioned, while providing a decent visibility. The front of the car now has a larger grill compared to the preface-lift model, which makes the car look more conventional. The headlights are finished with matte gray inserts which look sporty and more up to date. Along the side there is a curve which stretches the whole length of the car below the window line that gives the Persona Elegance a more prominent road presence, and ever so slightly muscular look. At the back its simple and elegant. My only complaint is the rear end of the car is a bit high which does affect the rear visibly slightly. The LED combination taillights provide better visibility to other road users, and the boot lid features an integrated spoiler look to it. I replaced the steel wheels with a set of 15-inch aftermarket alloys with a design that looks like to those similar to Vossen CV5’s.
Although the Persona Elegance is basic on the equipment list, it really excels in the driving department. The handling and throttle response is very impressive and sharp. Steering is direct, the feedback is very prominent, and you can really feel the car and the road well when driving. Don't let the small 1.6 litre engine fool you though, even with such a small displacement naturally aspirated engine, the pickup of the Persona Elegance is quick and when combined with the brilliant steering it really makes the Persona Elegance a fun to drive, quick, and peppy car. The suspension department is disappointing though. It doesn’t absorb bumps well, but the body still rolls a lot. It is even more than my 9th gen Honda Accord’s body roll (which says a lot if you have driven that car)
Space and comfort is not the Persona Elegance strong point and in fact it does it pretty poorly. The seats are stiff and uncomfortable all round, and the rear passengers have it worse. Knee room is terrible at the rear quarters and what’s worse, is in order to make rear legroom feel more "spacious", Proton made the rear bench very short making it really painful and discomforting for longer drives. I feel that if the seats had better and thicker padding, as well as a longer rear bench, it would make the car far better. The trunk in contrary, is massive, spanning a stunning 430 litres, which should be more than enough. If you need more space, you will want to opt for the medium or high line variants, as models only from the medium line and up get folding rear seats.
Build quality is acceptable for a car in this price range. Of course, there are no soft touch plastics anywhere to be found. Hard plastics everywhere, but then again, at this price range there is not much to complain about. The simple Blaupunkt head unit is easy to use and connected to 4 speakers. If sound system if important to you, be prepared to spend on upgrading the sound system as to be honest, the sound system is terrible.
In terms of ownership experience, it’s a very simple and basic car with nothing much to go wrong with. It has been reliable and maintenance cost is low. The only issues I have had with the car are the loose air conditioner knobs, which sometimes can be unresponsive. Aside from that everything else is just regular maintenance stuff.
- Total Score: 3
- Performance: 4
- Quality & Features: 1
- Space: 2
- Ride Comfort: 1
- Fuel Economy: 3
- Price & Cost: 5
Would I Recommend It?
If you need 2nd or 3rd car that is fun to drive, cheap, practical, and to just get the job done then I would recommend the Proton Persona Elegance. However, you are looking for something to serve the same purpose as mentioned in my previous sentence for a main, 1st, or only car, I would recommend you to get a Prooon Saga instead, as the Saga provides better comfort and spaciousness for passengers.