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  1. #1

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    Default Car review: Proton Saga (2008 model)

    Drove this during my recent holiday in Malaysia.

    Well it's more an engine and automatic gearbox review. I think we'd all reject the Saga on looks alone; the car has a design (small saloon) which is intended to appeal to Malaysian taxi drivers in the home market. (But Proton do do other more attractive models, which may have the same parts.)

    Anyway, it was a 1.3 litre four speed automatic, and I thought it was superb. Even with four adults and a boot full of luggage, there was no shortage of performance at anything up to motorway speeds. The key is the automatic gearbox. All other automatics I've ever driven would only change down to accelerate under extreme persuasion. The Proton did it almost whenever you tried to accelerate. Example: coming out of roadworks on motorway, bus gets out of way, to accelerate from 60 to 70, gently push accelerator a short distance, nowhere near flooring it, drops into third gear, rev-counter heads rapidly towards 4000rpm, two or three seconds, later with target speed achieved, it changes back into fourth.

    All gear changes very fast and smooth. On other automatics I've driven a change in demand just as it's changing gear can catch them out and result in a jolt or clumsy gear change. It didn't happen once with the Proton.

    I'm giving a lot of credit to the gearbox, but I'm wondering if the engine should get some as well. I know Lotus had some input into it. (Proton own Lotus now.) I'm not sure if the performance is partially due to the engine punching above it's weight, or totally due to the automatic gear box being willing to work the engine much harder than I used to when I drove 1.3 manuals in the past. (I'm thinking 1980's Mazda 323's, which I remember as very sluggish, and taking forever to get up to motorway speeds, even with only two people in the car.)
    Last edited by IR35 Avoider; 15th July 2008 at 15:36.

  2. #2

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    moorfield is too good to be a permie

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    Default

    I've tried a out few autos now and must say I'm becoming a fan - I'm becoming a lazier driver in my old age - next purchase will probably go for one.

    Tried a new C4 Picasso last weekend with the auto gearbox + shift paddles - gives you the option of forcing the change for accelerating overtaking etc.
    quite handy that. This one also had *no hand brake* - just a button on the dash which is kind of freaky but very cool as you don't need to disengage when you move off it just does it for you.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by moorfield View Post
    I've tried a out few autos now and must say I'm becoming a fan - I'm becoming a lazier driver in my old age - next purchase will probably go for one.

    Tried a new C4 Picasso last weekend with the auto gearbox + shift paddles - gives you the option of forcing the change for accelerating overtaking etc.
    quite handy that. This one also had *no hand brake* - just a button on the dash which is kind of freaky but very cool as you don't need to disengage when you move off it just does it for you.
    Nicole?

  4. #4

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    VectraMan has more data than eek

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    Automatics are for OAPs and fat stupid Americans.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by VectraMan View Post
    Automatics are for OAPs and fat stupid Americans.
    And for 6+ litre V12 Biturbo Mercs.

    Modern autos are fantastic, as long as you have at least 7 speeds and 1000 lb ft of torque.

  6. #6

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    My auto (a ZF 6 speed) has 3 settings, normal automatic (D), move the gear lever over into sport mode (S) and there are 2 buttons behind the steering wheel to go into manual mode (M.) All 3 settings are pretty good, in fact I don't think I've ever driven a smoother automatic before and it accelerates damn well (0-60 in 4.6 seconds.)
    A left-wing idiot is as dangerous as a right-wing idiot.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Foster Kane View Post
    Nicole?
    Renault?

    Quote Originally Posted by VectraMan View Post
    Automatics are for OAPs and fat stupid Americans.
    And 4.2SC Range Rovers

  8. #8

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    Auto gear boxes are great. But make sure it is covered under a waranty, or be sure to sell your car at the first sign of trouble. They cost to fix.

    Also there are different types of auto gear box around these days (e.g. DSG), and they don't tend to be as reliable as the old 'wet' clutch ones.

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