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New models - Proton - S16

Proton heads upstream

Tweaked: Proton Australia is set to introduce a facelifted S16 light-sized sedan range.

Malaysian brand axes cheapest models as facelifted S16 micro arrives from $13,990

19 Mar 2012

PROTON Cars Australia has announced a facelifted S16 line-up that will start at $13,990 drive-away following the axing of the entry-level 1.3-litre version formerly billed as Australia’s cheapest sedan.

Marking a small but calculated move upmarket in the face of an influx of new Chinese city-car competitors, the Malaysian brand has now announced pricing for a facelifted ‘FLX’ S16 range that will open a rejuvenated 2012 Proton model range from May.

Australia’s most affordable new car at $11,990 drive-away before Chery launched its J1 hatch at $10,990 drive-away last February, the 1.3-litre S16 G has now been discontinued – and will not be replaced – as has Proton’s even cheaper 1.2-litre Savvy hatch (previously $12,990 drive-away).

Unlike the S16 it replaces, the upgraded light sedan will come standard with potentially life-saving electronic stability control technology, as well as ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, twin front airbags and front seatbelt pre-tensioners across the range.

However, in contrast with all-new light sedans such as the Holden Barina, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent, the S16 continues to go without side or curtain airbags, and only has drum rear brakes.

43 center imageFrom top: Proton Gen.2, Persona and Exora.

Apart from an extensive front and rear cosmetic facelift that lifts its exterior design considerably, the 2012 S16 GX also receives an upgraded version of Proton’s 1.6-litre Campro four-cylinder petrol engine, matched for the first time with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The latter adds $2000 to the price of both the S16 GX sedan and the ‘premium’ GXR grade, which costs $15,990 drive-away as a manual.

Compared to the previous ‘IAFM’ engine, which continues to produce 82kW and 148Nm in the 2012 Gen.2 hatch and Persona sedan models, the upgraded ‘IAFM+’ engine delivers slightly less power at 80kW (at 5750 instead of 6500rpm) but slightly more torque at 150Nm (at the same 4000rpm).

Fuel consumption also rises slightly, however, to 6.2 litres of 95 RON premium unleaded petrol per 100km (6.5L/100km for the auto).

All MY2012 S16s come standard with 14-inch alloy wheels, power steering, reverse parking sensors, remote central locking, air-conditioning, front power windows/mirrors, driver’s seat-height adjustment and a four-speaker CD/MP3 Clarion sound system with steering wheel controls.

Over the base GX specification, the GXR adds leather seat trim, a rear boot spoiler, leather-clad steering wheel, rear power windows, a passenger vanity mirror and instrument illumination control.

For 2012, the Gen.2 hatch and Persona ‘Elegance’ sedan also receive mild upgrades – but both models continue on sale without side/curtain airbags or ESC, making them unavailable for sale in Victoria.

Proton has axed the entry-level G variant from both of its larger models, with the Gen.2 hatch range now opening at $16,990 drive-away for the GX ($1000 less than the outgoing GX but $1000 more than the discontinued G), with an up-spec GXR version priced at $18,990 drive-away and a four-speed auto adding $2000 to both prices.

Similarly, the 2012 Persona Elegance sedan – which is essentially the sedan version of the small Gen.2 hatch – now also starts at $16,990 drive-away, following the discontinuation of the entry-level 2.6-litre G version, while a four-speed auto version is the only other Persona model, at $18,990 drive-away.

The 2012 Proton line-up is reduced to just three models in the S16, Gen.2 and Persona, following the departure of the smaller Savvy and Satria hatches – some stocks of which remain available – and the ancient Jumbuck ute.

While the 2012 Gen.2 is available now, the first Persona Elegance vehicles are rolling into showrooms before their official release on April 1, while the first S16 FLXs will arrive next month before officially going on sale on May 1.

Further afield, Proton Cars Australia will in August launch the brand’s first seven-seater, the all-new Exora people-mover, while a new Proton sedan – codenamed P3-21A and previewed by the sleek Espire concept – is expected to replace the Persona in September, fitted with ESC and six airbags as standard.

What's coming from Proton:
Exora people-mover - August 2012
New Proton sedan - September 2012
Proton rangedrive-away pricing:
Gen.2 GX$16,990
Gen.2 GX (a) $18,990
Gen.2 GXR $18,990
Gen-2 GXR (a) $20,990
Persona Elegance$16,990 (on sale April 1)
Persona Elegance (a)$18,990 (on sale April 1)
S16 FLX GX$13,990 (on sale May 1)
S16 FLX GX (a)$15,990 (on sale May 1)
S16 FLX GXR$14,990 (on sale May 1)
S16 FLX GXR (a)$16,990 (on sale May 1)

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