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Proton GEN-2 (2004 - 2012)

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Introductionword count: 124

Proton was a company that had one or two tricks up its sleeve, working in the early years of this century with Lotus to evelop budget models that proved to be surprisingly good to drive. The Impian was the first Proton to really raise eyebrows with its crisp road manners but it was always too conservative on the inside and a little dated on the outside to appeal to a wide audience. The Malaysian company fixed that in 2004 when it launched the GEN-2 hatchback. With modern styling and a chassis carried over from the Impian, this was a car that needed no excuses. Or not many anyway. Inexpensive to begin with, a used GEN-2 nets you a lot of car for your money.

Modelsword count: 10

5 door family hatchback and saloon 1.3, 1.6 petrol [GL,GLS,SX,GSX].

Historyword count: 234

Before the GEN-2 was launched in 2004, previous Proton models had bought in design and engineering expertise from other companies. This family hatch though, was developed as a proper in-house project, with a chassis that was shared with the Impian saloon - a good start. Back at the turn of the century, the Impian was one of the better handling compact saloons of the period and that model's dimensions, when translated to the GEN-2, gave this hatch a squatly purposeful, wheel-at-each-corner stance. Its exterior detailing showed a number of well-judged contemporary features - from the sculpted headlamp units to the bold design of the hatch and the coupe-like window line. First arriving in dealers in May September 2004, the GEN-2 received quite a lot of critical acclaim, many commentators observing that this was the car that would punt Proton onto the shortlists of a new cadre of car buyers. As it turned out, quite a lot of residual badge resistance remained and sales were slow as a result. Buyers were offered this five-door hatch with the choice of 1.3 or 1.6-litre petrol engines, both available with manual or automatic transmission. In 2008, a more fugal 'Ecologic' version of the 1.6 was introduced at the same time as 1.6-litre buyers were also offered a four-door model, the GEN-2 Persona saloon. The GEN-2 vanished from the price lists when Proton left the UK market in 2012.

What You Getword count: 228

The cabin is a bit of a treat if you're used to acres of dull grey plastic and boring details. It was styled by the Lotus Design Studio and features a set of vertical air-conditioning knobs on the centre console support and a nice metallic finish; the result is a feel that's a cut above the class standard for this era in terms of aesthetics. If only the quality of the plastic was a little better. The steering wheel is also massively more sporting looking than the apologetic tillers seen in most cars of the Proton's ilk, as is the instrument panel with its twin cowled binnacle and metallic look to the dials themselves. Everywhere you look there are neat design touches, from the unorthodox handbrake grip to the semi-circular door pulls. All models got twin airbags and if you can find yourself an example featuring plusher 'GSX' trim, you'll get yourself side airbags, a tailgate spoiler and body coloured door mirrors and door handles and (in automatic form) cruise control. Virtually all models were fitted with air conditioning, an adjustable steering column, electric front windows, power steering, a CD stereo, reverse parking sensors and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel. One grouse is that anti lock brakes weren't featured across the range, with only the top 'GSX' model getting ABS as standard. Work that one out.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

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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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