Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Proton Prevé.
After a number of years in the automotive wilderness Proton is trying to gain both credibility and sales. The Proton Prevé is a turbo-charged four-door sedan that offers reasonable performance and features with prices starting at $22,990.
The GXR is the top-spec version of the Prevé, so it gets all the gear. These features include Bluetooth and audio streaming, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, push-button engine start, touch screen infotainment system, Sat-Nav and electric folding side mirrors.
From the outside, the Prevé strikes a nice profile, with balanced proportions and well-placed lines. It’s in keeping with the safe-sedan silhouette that seems to be today’s norm for designers.
On the inside though the Prevé tends to be a little underwhelming; which is disappointing given the promising exterior and competitive list of features.
Interior design execution is a little mismatched, with a dashboard and console arrangement that looks like an afterthought. There’s no flow or sense of cohesiveness, rather a flat and lifeless arrangement that is all about basic functionality, and little else.
The dials and buttons feel cheap in hand, as does the gearshift. But on the upside, the cabin is fairly spacious and offers reasonable comfort for all five passengers.
Outward visibility was rather good, which helps, considering the acoustic rear-parking sensors could not be trusted, as the late audible warnings gave very little room for error.
On the road, the Prevé’s seven-step continuously variable transmission (CVT) is defined largely by its lethargic tone. From standstill, and under hard acceleration, it makes more noise than motion, which tends to be a little distracting.
Even driven manually – via the gearshift itself or steering wheel-mounted paddles – there was little joy or change in pace. Further, the action of the gearshift itself felt fragile and a touch awkward.
Once it got up to speed, the Prevé wasn’t such a bad sport, driving along well at freeway speeds. While not exactly planted at higher road speeds it cornered with reasonable confidence and presented little in the way of road or wind noise.
The steering was light, but ultimately lacked feedback, while the braking action failed to deliver on initial bite or any sense of engagement.
Minor quirks in the Prevé proved annoying too. These included the use the key fob to unlock the boot. While there is a release button below the driver’s seat, but when you approach the boot with an armful of shopping it tends to prove to be a little less than convenient. A push-button release under the lip like that fitted to most others in this class, would be handy.
A five-star ANCAP safety rating bodes well and the level of standard safety equipment is high. Catering to family needs, the Prevé has three top-tether child-seat anchor points and two ISOFIX mounting points (on the outboard rear seats).
The Proton Prevé GXR has an impressive cargo capacity of 508-litres, but the smaller boot aperture made it a little tricky to load large items. The second-row’s 60/40 split-fold functionality is a welcome feature.
So while it’s no match for the current crop of same-priced competitors, the Prevé GXR isn’t entirely without merit, especially if after-sales and service support are high on your pick list.
The model shows that Proton has improved in some areas but also that it has a ways to go.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 103kW and 205Nm
Transmission: CVT automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: GXR from $22,990