2016 Proton Saga launched, priced from RM36,800

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The Proton Saga nameplate has a long history, dating back to the early Eighties as Proton’s first ever model. The second generation Proton Saga was launched in 2008 and was well received. For 2016 and beyond, Proton has refreshed the Saga with the third generation model.

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For the third generation Proton Saga, our national car maker is offering three variants of the new Saga, with prices starting from an affordable RM36,800 for the Standard variant with a manual, RM39,800 for the CVT-equipped model, while the Executive variant will retail for RM42,800. The range-topping Premium trim will set buyers back for RM45,800.

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Unlike its predecessor, the third generation Proton Saga is powered exclusively by a 1.3-litre Campro VVT four-cylinder petrol engine that pushes out 94 hp at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm at 4,000 rpm, driving the front wheels via a Punch CVT or a five-speed Getrag manual ‘box. Proton says that the manual-equipped Saga can hit 100 km/h from a dead stop in 12.2 seconds, whilst the CVT variant takes 13.1 seconds, an improvement of 0.8 seconds and 1.4 respectively.

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In terms of dimensions, the updated Saga is now 4,331 mm in length, 1,689 mm width and a 1,491 mm height. The Saga actually grew 74 mm in length, 9 mm wider and 11 mm lower, although wheelbase remains the same at 2,465 mm. Despite being an A-segment sedan, the Saga is larger than the Perodua Bezza, its key rival.

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Compared to the outgoing model, the third generation Proton Saga features more standard equipment, with all variants featuring all round parking sensors, dual SRS airbags up front, rear fog light, ISOFIX child seat mounts with top tether, rear folding bench, Eco Drive assist indicator, Bluetooth connectivity and USB charging ports integrated into the centre console. Boot space on the Saga is now 420-litres, an increase of 7-litres over the older model.

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First up is the Saga 1.3 Standard. Similar to the Saga SV, the Standard is externally distinguished by unpainted door handles and side mirrors, 13-inch steel wheels and a black rear number plate garnish. The interior is largely black inside, with a lone single DIN head unit with Bluetooth connectivity in charge of audio duties. Only the Standard variant is available with the choice of a CVT or a five-speed manual.

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Moving above the Standard trim is the Saga 1.3 Executive. Here, the Saga gets nicer fabric seats (as opposed to regular fabric seats on the Standard) with the same single DIN head unit. Outside, the Executive trim Saga gets 14-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured side mirrors, door handles and rear number plate garnish. Apart from that, this variant also gets front fog lights, blacked out B-pillars and a rear bootlid spoiler.

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Sitting on top of the Saga range is the Saga 1.3 Premium. The range-topping variant gets 15-inch alloy wheels all round plus a chrome rear number plate garnish. The Premium variant also adds a reverse camera, with the reverse display integrated into the rear view mirror and a 2-DIN head unit with steering-mounted audio controls. Most importantly, the Saga 1.3 Premium adds Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS) and Hill Hold Assist, on top of the ABS, EBD and Brake Assist on the Executive trim.

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Proton is offering buyers the choice of six body colours, namely Cotton White, Fire Red, Sterling Silver, Midnight Black, Topaz Blue and Dark Grey. The latter two are new colours for the Saga. Buyers are backed by Proton’s 3+2 year/150,000 km warranty.