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  Proton Inspira 2.0P CVT Test Drive Report  
- Wednesday, February 08, 2012  By KON  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
Proton Inspira 2.0P

We review the top-spec 2.0-litre variant of the Proton Inspira. ...

[+ click to enlarge]
Proton Inspira 2.0P
Proton Inspira 2.0P
Proton's rear bumper treatment actually looks a bit better than the original Lancer's.
Proton's rear bumper treatment actually looks a bit better than the original Lancer's.
Cabin matches the Lancer's both in design and build quality.
Cabin matches the Lancer's both in design and build quality.
2.0-litre 4B11 engine with MIVEC technology.
2.0-litre 4B11 engine with MIVEC technology.

The Proton Inspira has been around the market for over a year now. It was, in fact, the Best Compact Passenger Car in our recent Shell V-Power Autoworld Car of the Year Awards 2011. However, sales figures from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), published periodically by our friends at Motor Trader, show average sales figures of less than 1,000 units a month for most of last year.

There were months that the Inspira was substantially outsold by more expensive Japanese models such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla, and these are not sales figures that we would expect from a model that offers contemporary Japanese engineering at Malaysian prices. As we all know, the Inspira is almost a Xerox copy of the current generation Mitsubishi Lancer save for aesthetic alterations and tweaked suspension settings.




C-segment size at B-segment price. 


Unlike the Lancer, however, Proton also caters for buyers with smaller engine needs by offering two 1.8-litre variants, both of which we tested last year. Topping the range is the 2.0-litre Premium model, which we are reviewing here, and one of these can be yours for RM92,015 with insurance and metallic paint in Peninsula Malaysia.

This new price was introduced effective 20 Jan 2012, and represented a RM16 increase from the launch price of RM91,999. In fact, our checks show all three variants of the Inspira being subject to this slight price revision of RM16 caused by hikes in motor insurance premiums, not that you would feel it in your monthly repayments.




You pay RM7k more compared to the 1.8 CVT, and externally, you get a mild body kit to show for it.


Our latest stint with the 2.0-litre Inspira served to confirm one thing - if you are choosing between the automatic variants, this top dog variant is the one to go for. Not that the 1.8 CVT is poor, but the fact that the 2.0P offers you so much more in terms of features that it makes the extra RM7,000 commanded by this model a truly worthwhile price to pay. Of course, the base-spec 1.8 manual remains the default choice of the enthusiast.

In addition to its bigger engine, your money gets you a mild body kit all round, slightly better trim materials inside, leather seats, auto climate control, cruise control, auto headlights, auto wipers, and paddle shifters. There is also a portable GPS unit bundled into the package, but since it was not in our test car, we are unable to give you a proper assessment of its usefulness, although we can assure you that decent GPS devices from the aftermarket can be yours for a few hundred bucks these days.




Paddle shifters and auto cruise are exclusive on the 2.0P. 


Proton quotes the Inspira 2.0's outputs to be 148hp @ 6,000rpm and 197Nm @ 4,250rpm, curiously lower than the Mitsubishi Lancer's 153hp and 198Nm. It is known to be pretty frugal. A fuel economy challenge held last year for media and owner participants yielded cruising ranges in excess of 900km per tank driven under sedate but realistic conditions. Interestingly, we have yet to hear of any Lancer owners reporting such fantastic figures. If you have, please write in to editor@autoworld.com.my.

We got nowhere near those figures, but that was partly because we were a little busy having fun with the car. Proton's tweaks to the Lancer's chassis gave the Inspira a more pliant and composed character, but made it far from dull. High speed stability was good up to 200kph, and the chassis proved extremely difficult to upset at the corners.




Chrome line is also exclusive to the 2.0P 


The 16" Continental CC5 tyres were nowhere near as grippy as the Lancer's 18" Yokohama rubbers, but what's impressive about the Inspira is how it deals with loss of grip. Throwing the Inspira sideways with the handbrake proved hilariously easy, but where the engineers earned their pay was how naturally the chassis corrected itself. Quite simply, the Inspira's handling is almost unflappable.

The Inspira's driving experience on a whole is generally positive, but it loses a few marks is its engine note that is not only uninspiring but gets increasingly pitched at high revs. It behaves best in the low to mid-range where the inherent smoothness associated with CVTs serves to create a highly refined environment when cruising. On the highways, it is best to exploit the low overall gearing to the benefit of fuel economy.

Overall, the Inspira is a product of good value and definitely worth considering especially for those who value a good driving experience. Even for those who don't, its combination of C-segment body size and current generation engineering from Mitsubishi motors offered prices comparable to Korean makes or Japanese models one size down makes it a seriously worthwhile option. This car should seriously see more takers.




 


     Picture Gallery
[+ click to enlarge]
You pay RM7k more compared to the 1.8 CVT, and externally, you get a mild body kit to show for it.
You pay RM7k more compared to the 1.8 CVT, and externally, you get a mild body kit to show for it.
INVECS-III CVT with 6 virtual ratios and paddle shifters.
INVECS-III CVT with 6 virtual ratios and paddle shifters.
Clarion stereo is one of few truly localized components.
Clarion stereo is one of few truly localized components.
2.0's cabin is decked with slightly more expensive materials.
2.0's cabin is decked with slightly more expensive materials.
C-segment size at B-segment price.
C-segment size at B-segment price.
Paddle shifters and auto cruise are exclusive on the 2.0P.
Paddle shifters and auto cruise are exclusive on the 2.0P.
Instrument panel is from lower-end Lancer models not offered in Malaysia.
Instrument panel is from lower-end Lancer models not offered in Malaysia.
Rear passenger space is decent. ISOFIX mounts standard.
Rear passenger space is decent. ISOFIX mounts standard.
Chrome line is also exclusive to the 2.0P
Chrome line is also exclusive to the 2.0P
Boot is a little shallow.
Boot is a little shallow.
Proton raised the boot floor to accommodate a full-sized spare.
Proton raised the boot floor to accommodate a full-sized spare.


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