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Proton Savvy (2005 - 2012)

SAVVY SEARCH (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 95

We're guessing that the Proton Savvy probably won't be a used citycar at the top of your shortlist if you're looking for a runabout. In fact we'd be surprised if it's there at all given the wealth of alternatives your money could stretch to, based around urban tots produced in the 2005 to 2012 period. If you're looking for a very cheap example of this breed though and you can find yourself a Savvy (no easy task), the Proton could be worth a look. With engineering input from Lotus, it's even pretty good to drive.

Modelsword count: 8

5 door city car, 1.2 petrol [Street, Style]

Historyword count: 344

That this Malaysian industrial conglomerate works so closely with the Norfolk performance car manufacturer may come as a surprise to many who aren't clued in, but those with a little more savvy will know that Lotus was swallowed up by Proton way back in 1997. It was a smart move in many ways. Lotus were floundering financially but the brand equity would add significant clout to a Proton badge that was desperate for global credibility. The fact that many are still surprised at learning of Proton and Lotus' tie-up is something of an indictment of Proton's presence in this country which has been near to invisible. The first signs of the partnership came in 1999 when Proton launched the Satria GTi. Lotus took the standard Satria 3-door hatchback and added a little Hethel magic. The result was a superb handling 'hot-hatch', capable of humbling some of the more well known brands. The Satria GTi was well received by all who drove it but didn't manage serious sales. It's still one of the smartest used hot hatch buys around if you don't mind a few rough edges. Keen to learn from the GTi experience, Proton was quick to use Lotus in the development of all subsequent car launches. In 2001, the Impian was the first Proton to be built on an in-house platform and the saloon car was graced with ride and handling not normally found on 4-door saloons. Perhaps the most significant car in Proton's history was the GEN-2, launched in the UK in September 2004. The Savvy arrived in August 2005 and was designed to go head to head in its home market with the Perodua Myvi - a rebodied Daihatsu Charade. Over here, the list of competitors was a good deal longer and more illustrious, especially on the used market where you can buy a much bigger, more sophisticated car as long as you're willing to compromise a little on vehicle age. The Savvy left the UK new car arena when the Proton marque faded from our market in the 2012-2013 period.

What You Getword count: 148

The Savvy is a neatly proportioned car, measuring 3710mm in length. This compares with 3456mm for the MK1 Citroen C1 and 3495mm for the MK1 Kia Picanto, so it's a little bigger than the citycar norm, coming half way between these tots and the 3917mm of a supermini like a Ford Fiesta from this era. This means that access to the back through the rear doors isn't as cramped as in certain citycars, helped in no small part by a generously stretched wheel at each corner stance. Where the Savvy isn't quite as good as rivals like that Citroen C1 is in terms of interior width where it breaks the tape at 1345mm. Needless to say, you wouldn't want to sit three adults across the back.Still, there's a reasonable amount of luggage space, with perfectly flat-folding 50:50 rear seats contributing to a 909-litre boot capacity when they're flat.

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Category: Small Runabouts

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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