BRING OUT THE IMP! (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 67
To many buyers in the budget family saloon sector, the Proton Impian is still something of a mystery. The name, which allegedly means 'dream come true' in Malaysian hardly endears it to those bred on Vectras and 406s. Still, it could have been worse. It was originally slated to be a Waja. As a used prospect, the Impian is a gem. Tracking one down is another matter.
Modelsword count: 11
Models Covered: 4 door saloon 1.6 petrol [base, X, GLS, GSX]
Historyword count: 176
The Impian was a hugely significant milestone for Proton insofar as it represented them shaking off the shackles of their origins. Protons up until this point had been based around recycled Mitsubishi models, much as Daewoo started out with warmed over obsolete GM models. The Impian, though still powered by a Mitsubishi-sourced 1.6-litre engine benefited from Proton's ownership of Lotus in offering a sweet handling compact saloon at giveaway pricing. Launched to surprised critical approval in July 2001 it then sold like hot cakes in the Kalahari. In late 2004 the two trim levels were renamed GLS and GSX. A facelift in late 2006 altered the Impian's appearance both inside and out. The front grille was redesigned as were the rear light clusters. The cabin was also spruced-up, Proton clearly feeling that the 2005 tinkering didn't go far enough. This time the entire fascia was altered although the wood trim on the GSX still seemed about as appropriate as a rendition of "Burning Love" in a crematorium. The chrome ringed dials are a neat touch though.
What You Getword count: 193
In the here and now, the gap between a £12,000 budget family saloon and something like a Mondeo or a Vectra is most evident in terms of interior design. Whilst being workmanlike and ergonomically sound, from a design perspective, the South-East Asians have never quite hit the bullseye. Perhaps this is being overly charitable. Never quite hit the dartboard may well be a truer assertion. Certainly the Impian isn't going to appeal to those with an eye for a classy cabin, although the LX model packs in a fair amount of buttons to press. For a flagship model, some of the fittings are unacceptably poor, but for the most part the quality and build integrity is way ahead of anything the company has yet produced. Rendered in some fairly unappetising hues, the Impian features seats that need to be reappraised to fit the British frame and a stereo system so loud you'll be envy of every Nova-driving teenager in the neighbourhood. With traction control, ABS and four airbags as standard, the Impian won't lack showroom appeal. Couple that with a tidily styled body and the Proton has a fair bit to recommend it.
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Category: Spacious Family Cars
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