roadtrips

I love going on them. It’s fun to drive and go somewhere for the weekend. It doesn’t really matter where, the point is to get away and go to a different place to chill.

cameron highlands

Cameron Highlands

Fraser’s Hill

Penang

I’ve even driven down to Singapore before. What makes road trips enjoyable is always the company but the car you drive makes a whole lot of difference too. I’ll say it can even make or break a road trip. I’m somewhat experienced in these things and comfort also plays a huge part.

You want to be in a car that can accommodate everyone with enough space to stretch their legs to reduce driving fatigue. Even minor things like heat from the sun can ruin a perfectly good road trip – I’ve even come back sunburned coz of I took off all the tinting on my car when I shipped it from Sarawak to comply with JPJ regulations. A more powerful engine can also make a lot of difference in driver comfort.

cindy

I’ve been looking around for a new car for a while now. I’m planning to get another one after I buy my condo. I love long road trips so I have to factor that in when I purchase my car. I want one with a small turning radius coz I *have* gotten stuck in rural unpaved dirt roads and not being able to turn back while exploring a new area. Cruise control is one of the essential features that I’ll need to have. I’m also looking for more horsepower so it’ll have to be a 2.0 liter engine.

I was talking about all that with Cindy when we passed by a Proton Edar Showroom. I have been thinking about test driving the Inspira 2.0 Premium since it fits all my requirements…now it’s time to see if it lives up to the expectations.

test drive

I’ll be honest – I was pretty impressed. The car performs well on the road. The 2.0 liter engine really makes a difference when I took it for a spin, the Inspira is responsive and energetic – it’ll make road trips so much easier if you’re driving a car with some good ol’ horsepower under the hood.

I also tested the other important feature I was considering – cruise control. I took it on an extended drive down relatively secluded parts of the highway and engaged it. The Inspira 2.0 Premium’s cruise control kicked in perfectly and worked like a charm.

shift paddles

Cruise control really helps with driving comfort during long road trips as you can pretty much maintain the speed you set in steady road conditions – like long distance driving.

I have also verified that the turning radius of the Inspira is indeed just 5 meters. Well, I didn’t go out and measure it, but if you’ve been driving for 14 years, you have a good idea of whether it’s on the mark.

driving inspira

I swear this would get me out of trouble one of these days. Like I mentioned, I have a propensity of going into narrow, unpaved rural roads in search of a shortcut or just to explore during my road trips. smirk

safety glass

The Inspira is tinted not only to provide UV protection but also get rid of excessive solar heat. It doesn’t affect visibility at all – it looks perfectly clear from the inside I noticed that it filters out the sun very well. It was a hot afternoon when I drove the Inspira and with the air-conditioning blowing and the good tinting, it seems positively chilly inside. Perfection. This is just the kind of car conditions you need if you love going for road trips in our tropical climate.

proton inspira

The Inspira 2.0 Premium also comes with fog lamps and rain sensors to trigger the wipers and adjust their speed according to rain conditions – again, useful stuff on road trips, since you don’t have to engage them yourself. I’m telling you, it’s all about automating things man, that way the driver feels more like a passenger. Heh.

features

Proton has definitely outdone themselves with this model. The generous amount of space inside the car allows you to stretch your legs and lean back while driving. Your fellow passengers are apt to thank you for the additional room and space to chuck all their overnight bags too. The Inspira 2.0CVT Premium retails from RM 91,549 (OTR with insurance) for solid colors, while for metallic is RM 91,999 (OTR with insurance). It’s great value for money when you consider all the features it has…and you can get it in the 80k range!

inspira

Proton is currently having a Incredible Deals on Wheels promotion where you can get savings up to RM 5,000 when you book selected models from 15th November to 31st December. Surf over to www.proton-edar.com.my for more information. If you’re looking to purchase a new car, you might as well get it when a good deal is on.

lunch-catchup

I was out for lunch with Ringo when the discussion turned to cars. I drive a conventional automatic so there’s a distinctive effect it makes when it shifts gear. You can hear the loss of power when it up-shifts followed by a drop in the RPM before it revs up again. It’s the bane of most automatic cars.

proton saga flx cvt

There’s a new feature called CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) which allows gear shifting without the classic loss of engine power in traditional auto cars. We headed to the nearest Proton Edar to check out their new Saga FLX. It uses a belt instead of fixed gears so you can have smooth step-less gear shifts. In a nutshell, that’s what CVT is about.

cheesie

It not just provides you with a smoother drive but gives you better fuel economy and reduces wear and tear on your engine.

CVT

I reckon it’s the best feature in the Saga FLX 1.3 CVT. I’m quite impressed by it. Here’s a graph showing how it works for people who likes things like that.

SAT

In addition to this new CVT technology, there’s also a switch labeled SAT beside the gear. The Saga FLX provides you with the best of both worlds – pressing the switch activates the simulation of a 6 speed Standard Automatic Transmission (complete with the stepped transmission).

I don’t know why you would want to use SAT when you have CVT but I guess it’s a nice feature to have. Car purists and those who like the conventional auto transmission shifting can switch back to it by activating SAT.

clarion

There’s also a Clarion audio system with USB, MP3 and auxiliary ports in the center console. It’s a good sound system and the Saga FLX 1.3 Executive model also has audio controls on the steering wheel. It’s not new, but still one of the best ideas for cars since sliced bread. Having the audio controls at the tips of your fingers allows you to keep your eyes on the road instead of fumbling around with the audio system.

driving saga

The Saga FLX has doors that opens wider too. It’s very convenient if you want to load stuff in your car. Proton Ride & Handling features provides you with a comfortable and safe drive with all the interior space you need for everything from a road trip to a short drive to the local hypermarket. There are cup holders for every passenger and as a veteran of road trips, I can tell you that this and the increased cabin space will make you enjoy your trip so much more. :)

The improved structural integrity, reverse sensors, side mirrors with LED indicators, ABS, EBD and dual SRS airbags rounds up all the safety features. Anyway, if you’ve been living in a cave, ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System and just like what you’ll expect, it prevents the brakes from locking (and thus skidding your car out of control) when you have to make an emergency hard brake. EBD or Electronic Brake-force Distribution further enhances your safety by maximizing stopping power and stability by adjusting the force applied to the brakes on each wheel. It makes for a shorter stopping distance too!

elegant brown

I also called ahead to ask if they have the new Elegant Brown color for the Saga FLX coz I wanted to see what it looks like in real life. It’s a nice shade that earns it the “elegant” in “Elegant Brown” and there are a lot of style changes to the car too.

proton saga flx rear

Check out the new front headlights and rear combination lights! It has been spruced up to look modern and stylistic.

dash

The interior of the car looks great too – the dashboard is sweet and the center console is a color they call Tempest Grey. I don’t care what it’s called so long as it looks awesome. Heh.

saga flx cvt

Oh, and while we were there, one of the guys at Proton Edar commented that Ringo’s hair matches the color of the Saga FLX. She was standing beside one of the promotional banners at that time and I thought it was really funny. They’re a friendly bunch, the people at Proton Edar in SEA Park. :)

drive

The newly launched Proton Saga FLX 1.3L starts from RM 38,598 (RM 41,598 for the CVT version). There are lots of user-friendly compartments in the car so expect an abundance of storage space for all your sunglasses, tags and other stuff. You just can’t get a car with all these performance, safety and practical features at this price point. It’s affordable – truly a car for the people. The Saga FLX is perfect for an active urban (or rural for that matter) lifestyle. Take it for a spin at your nearest PROTON showroom or head over to www.epicsaga.com.my to understand more about the Saga FLX!

start

I’ve always been very accident prone. I have run down a pedestrian, crashed into various static road signs, and recently drove my car into a ditch. The repairs on the car alone set me back more than 1k due to the messed up suspension, shock absorbers and miscellaneous stuff down under. Thus, I was left car-less for about three days while it was at the workshop.

go

Thanks to Roslina, I was given the new Proton Satria Neo CPS to commute to work while my car was in the workshop. One interesting anecdote about the origin of the word Satria - it’s Sanskrit for knight. Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Safeguard the helpless. Never lie, even if it leads to your death; that is your oath. :p

keys

I had the Proton Satria Neo CPS on loan until my car got out of the workshop – my eternal gratitude to Roslina and Proton for providing me with a backup car…especially given my less-than-stellar (dubious?) driving safety record. ;)

roslina

Heck, I was surprised Roslina even agreed to lend me the car since she reads my blog and probably have witnessed the multiple accidents I have gotten into. Heh! Well, thankfully, I did not crash the car or give it so much as a scratch, and thus, to show my appreciation for her kind gesture, I shall write about my experience with the Proton Satria Neo CPS.

driving

I drive a Toyota Vios 1.5G which I purchased in late 2006. I chose Toyota for just one primary reason – it’s a family tradition. My dad used to drive a Toyota Corolla before he switched to a Lexus (which is also under Toyota) and my mom drives a Toyota as well. My sister in NZ also drives a Toyota – she owns a Toyota Celica (but then again she’s a cardiologist so she can afford it). Thus, I got a Toyota as well, just not to depart from our family tradition.

satria

There are a lot of people who has misconceptions about our fine local automobile industry. Build quality and performance are some of the most common gripes.

back

I have been doing some research on the topic and found some very interesting facts. The Proton Saga is based on the exact same engine as the Mitsubishi Lancer and Proton has grown by leaps and bounds since then. The acquisition of Lotus (say what you will, but it definitely helped in the aesthetic department of the cars) is another feather in the cap of Proton.

interior

Proton had this huge banner at a prime location on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne when I was doing my university there. I overheard an Aussie couple commenting on it. The conversation was pretty funny – they were debating whether it’s a German or European car manufacturer. I was just beside them, waiting for the pedestrian crossing to turn green and I told them (with no small amount of pride, I must admit) that it’s a MALAYSIAN brand. :)

rims

The Proton Satria Neo CPS looks good – check out the aggressive front grill, the spoiler at the back and the awesome rims. I love the nifty emergency brake, the canggih window winder below the stick shift, and the two-door design. It’s built for speed…and the volume controls on the steering wheel would get you out of a lot of vehicular mishaps too. ;)

montage 1

My fellow coworker (who parks beside me) commented on the aesthetics of the car – his exact words were “Nice car!”.

montage 2

Unfortunately, I had to reply “It’s not mine”. :(

compare

The Proton Satria Neo CPS was launched on February 2009 to replace the top H-line version of the Proton Satria Neo. It has been given a facelift – the aggressive body kit looks much better than the previous versions. Check out the side by side comparison with the old Proton Satria Neo (the new one is on the left at my condo parking lot) – it just so happens that my neighbor drives the older version of the Proton Satria Neo.

jam

The changes for the Proton Satria Neo CPS are not merely cosmetic – it also features a 1.6 liter Campro CPS engine with 125 bhp and 150 Nm of torque. It is zhng-ified for a more aggressive driving style (suits me just fine ;)) – the CPS mechanism in the Proton Satria Neo CPS switches to high cam at 4,400 rpm compared to 3,800 rpm as in the other CPS-equipped models such as the Proton Waja and Proton Gen-2.

debz

I took Deb out for a mamak session the night I got the car.

night

It was fun, she lives about 10 minutes away and I kinda abducted her and forced her to take a video of me test driving the car. LOL!

This is the nighttime driving video on the LDP.

Check out my speed test of the car too – managed to get it up to a decent velocity in a short time, thanks to the excellent acceleration.

tzia

The next day, I met up with Tzia at Kelana Jaya LRT for lunch.

lunch

I managed to drive from SS6 (where I work) to Kelana Jaya LRT, had lunch, and drove back again in less than 45 minutes.

I wanted a daylight video as well as a night video for the test drive of the car and I am pleased to report that any car that can get me to lunch and back within an hour gets the thumbs up from me. ;)

tzia me

The Proton Satria Neo CPS is a dream to drive. It goes up to 160 kmph on 4th gear before redlining and I managed to push it up to 170 kmph on the 5th gear. I probably shouldn’t say this, Roslina will kill me if she knew I was driving that fast. ;)

open

Oh well, in my defense, it was on the PLUS highway and I got very, very lost on Saturday morning while returning the car. I spent over 3 hours (!) on the road and pumped petrol 3 times, but the silver lining about the fiasco is that I managed to give the Proton Satria Neo CPS a proper test drive.

showroom 

Everyone at arms…or is capable of bearing: Kneel! On your knees! Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Safeguard the helpless. Never lie, even if it leads to your death; that is your oath. Rise a knight…rise as knights! Thanks Roslina, for letting me loan the car while my car is in the workshop!

gas

…and like a good citizen, I filled it up with gas before returning it. ;)

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