Proton Inspira 1.8 CVT Test Driven

By 4 years ago

According to Google, the most searched item in Malaysia for the past few months was ’s Inspira. Not surprising since it was the next big thing after the Saga and Persona. Furthermore, it ruffled some feathers when MD announced that it was based the outgoing Mitsubishi Lancer. Well, it has already been 2 months since the launched, and the bookings have been quite inspiring.

Like the Wira, the outlook difference separating the twin siblings are some minor exterior tweaks. designers wanted to soften the Lancer’s aggressive styling to match the typical family saloon. The nose was replaced by a V-shaped design compared to the Mitsubishi’s “Shark Nose”, with a dash of chrome. Over at the rear, the bumper has been given a “diffuser-like” bottom in black. Despite all this, the muscular body lines are still very noticeable making it one of the best looking saloons available.  Missing on the 1.8 versions are the body kit, a chrome strip at the bottom of the boot lid, and a tiny spoiler. Inside, it receives an aftermarket audio system from Clarion (thankfully it is still controllable via integrated audio controls on the steering), and a silver panel running across the dashboard which feels like some sort of sticker. Apart from the logo embossed on the steering, missing paddle shifters, together with the inverted speedo – tacho meters, everything else is untouched from the original donor. The layout is unexciting but does the job with well laid controls and ergonomics. Even so, the mass usage of hard cold plastics is out of place for a C-segment car. Seating on the 2-tone fabric upholstery is comfortable with adequate leg space for all occupants although it could get a tad claustrophobic.

Mitsubishi did not allow any mechanical modifications under the bonnet. Thus the 4B10 still pushes out 140hp@6000rpm and 177Nm@4250rpm. Mated with a CVT transmission, the 1325kg vehicle still accelerates briskly although it shrieks the top end. Compared to the Lancer, I’m happy to say that the ride quality has been “tamed”. Whereas the Lancer’s sports tuned suspension may twitch or hurt occupants a little, the Inspira is more comfort oriented without major signs of wallowing or bottoming, thanks to some Lotus treatment. The hydraulic assisted power steering though could do with more feedback. Another claimed upgrade from the Lancer is the improved airflow for the CVT gearbox.

Safety wise, dual-airbags, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX mounts and pre-tensioner fitted front seats are standard across the range. There are plenty of storage ideas in the cabin. In the case of ferrying long items, the rear seats fold and the boot lid is mounted by gas struts to minimize intrusion. Space would have been bigger if it wasn’t for the full sized spare wheel.

As a package, there is little reason not to like the Inspira. It looks good. It drives nicely. It’s basically still a Lancer. It’s already mechanically proven. And best of all, the plastiky interior finally matches the selling price.

Displacement 1798cc
Layout Inline-4 16V DOHC MIVEC
Max Power kW/rpm 103/6000
Max Torque Nm/rpm 177/1250
Power Steering Hydraulic
Exterior (mm) 4570 x 1760 x 1490
Interior (mm) 2030 x 1421 x 1190
Wheelbase (mm) 2635
Kerb Weight (kg) 1325
Suspension (F) MacPherson Strut & Stabilizer Bar
Suspension (R) Multilink & Stabilizer Bar
Brakes (F) 15″ Ventilated Disc
Brakes (R) 14″ Solid Disc

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