The facelifted 2019 Proton Saga was launched just last night, but unfortunately the national carmaker only showcased the top-spec RM39,800 1.3 Premium AT model at the event. However, we then found out that the flagship Centre of Excellence showroom had the mid-range RM35,800 Standard AT on display, so we headed over earlier today to bring you the first proper images of the car.
Of course, we would’ve liked to feature the base Standard MT as well, which kicks off the renewed range at RM32,800. But Proton has yet to produce a single display unit of that particular variant, we were told, and in any case the automatic models are expected to make up the lion’s share of sales.
Back to the car you see here. Firstly, we should point out that while this variant does carry the Standard moniker, the addition of alloy wheels and ABS brings it closer in spec to the previous Executive model, even though there are a couple of omissions that come with the associated price drop.
So, for the RM4,000 you save over the Premium, what exactly do you miss out on? Well, for a start you don’t get LED daytime running lights, and the fog lights on the outgoing Executive has also been removed. The alloys have also shrunk from 15 inches in diameter to 14, and they too come in a new design for 2019. As before, the Standard MT rides on steel wheels, but they’ve been upsized to 14 inches.
Meanwhile, the door mirrors and handles are finished in unpainted black plastic here instead of body colour, and it’s the other way around for the B-pillars. Lastly, front parking sensors are no longer standard equipment – they’re now only fitted to the Premium model.
Inside, the biggest change is that the Premium’s Android-based infotainment system and its accompanying seven-inch touchscreen have given way to a simple radio, still mounted on a freestanding panel. The new design features a flush design with touch-operated buttons instead of physical switches and knobs, and while it still features Bluetooth connectivity, the CD player has been omitted.
Other items that are Premium-only are the multifunction controls on the steering wheel and four speakers – the Standard models only get two speakers. Crucially, these variants still get the new, more legible instrument cluster and the monochrome multi-info display.
The automatic version also receives the plusher tricot headlining, damped grab handles and LED map lights that elude the manual. The seats on the lower-end models are covered in a rougher fabric upholstery compared to the Premium’s more, um, premium-feeling cloth trim.
As for safety, you lose out on the Premium model’s stability control and hill start assist, but all models finally get ABS with EBD and brake assist (previously missing on the Standard models), which is a big plus in my book. Dual airbags and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors continue to be standard fare here.
Mechanically, all models are pretty much identical, retaining the use of a 1.3 litre naturally-aspirated VVT four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 95 PS at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm at 4,000 rpm. One big change introduced on the facelifted Saga is a Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic gearbox to replace the infamous Punch CVT. The Standard MT variant soldiers on with the same Getrag five-speed manual as before.
Browse full specifications and equipment of the facelifted 2019 Proton Saga on CarBase.my.
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