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  Proton Preve Proves Itself  
- Tuesday, May 01, 2012  By YS Khong  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
The Preve is a C-segment sized car with a B-segment price

With all the attention the Proton Preve has been getting since its launch, I am sure many of our readers and members would like to have as much information as possible on this new entry that is so competitively priced. We are one of the fortunate med...

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The Preve is a C-segment sized car with a B-segment price
The Preve is a C-segment sized car with a B-segment price
Available in manual, CVT, and CVt with turbo
Available in manual, CVT, and CVt with turbo
Preve is good-looking!
Preve is good-looking!
Interior of Preve manual model
Interior of Preve manual model

With all the attention the Proton Preve has been getting since its launch, I am sure many of our readers and members would like to have as much information as possible on this new entry that is so competitively priced. We are one of the fortunate media to have been invited to be part of a media test drive from Kuala Lumpur to Cherating and back last week.
It was a Drive-Fly / Fly-Drive type of arrangement, in which 20 media would drive 10 Preve from the Proton Centre of Excellence (COE) in Shah Alam to Cherating and fly back, while another 20 would fly from KLIA to Kuantan, coached to Cherating to join the first group, and drive the cars back to COE after a stay there.
The route up and down covered a total of approximately 680 kilometres, with roughly equal distances up and down. With two media in a car, each media member gets approximately 170 kilometres of driving. This time, it was a mixture of the CVT3 (turbo-charged 1.6 litre with CVT), and the Preve manual 1.6 litre with a 5-speed manual transmission.
We have driven the CVT3 previously, and found that it could hit 210 kph top speed, and also found that it handled very well. This time, our drive served to reinforce the above, as we got to drive a much longer distance, and over a more mixed terrain.
What I personally gleaned from this drive experience is that the Preve, be it manual or CVT, is an extremely comfortable and quiet car. The body of the Preve is built from high-strength steel, and is very rigid. I note the A-pillar is exceptionally thick for a car of this size; similarly, the B-pillar is also thick, especially at the base. Speaking to one of the chassis engineers, I got to know that Proton has one of the most advanced stamping plants in the region, with a hot-stamping process capable of building very strong body parts. Sitting in the Preve, the benefit of a strong and rigid body is the way the chassis handles all the bumps and undulations without any flexing and vibrations getting through. As a driver, I appreciate how the strong monococque chassis helps the handling of the car. With knowledge gained from its association with Lotus, the design engineers have done a great job where ride and handling is concerned, helped no doubt by the stiff chassis. The overall effect is a great handling car that I thoroughly enjoyed through a 30 kilometre stretch of undulating and winding road near Kemaman, Terengganu.
I sneaked a short drive in the Preve Manual while taking it out for photography, and although the drive was short, it was quite enjoyable. The gear ratios are well matched to the engine and wheel size; it is of course not the fastest car I have driven, but in the context of a 1.6 litre engine, the Campro IAFM engine is known to excel at high revolutions, and if you like driving on the boil most of the time, the Preve 1.6 manual will appeal to you.
Knowing that some of our audience also want a day-to-day car, I also tried driving in a ‘sane’ manner, and I actually find it quite pleasant too. The IAFM part helps in low-end torque, and you can actually cruise around in the 80 – 100 kph range; at these speeds, the Preve is very quiet and sedate, and pleasant, without any engine lugging to worry about. In short, if you are currently driving any of the current Proton models, and are looking at an upgrade, the Preve will fit to a T, unless of course, you are looking at something that cost more.

The turbo-charged CVT3 is another animal altogether; handling is already a given, and the same characteristics you find in the manual in terms of handling and quietness is all there too. The difference is the engine power, which is rated at 138 PS. This may not sound much, but it is the 205Nm of torque that is available in full from 2,000 rpm all the way to 4,000 rpm that does the trick. The CVT delivers the power smoothly, which makes the acceleration feel slower than it really is. It is only when you leave others behind that you realize that the Preve is quite a powerful car.
I was a passenger as well as a driver in the Preve, and I will not put my foot in it by saying who actually was driving at the time, but I can assure you that the Preve is still very stable at 210 kph. I am usually a very nervous passenger, but in the Preve, there is a secure feeling, knowing that the car is very stable – the quiet interior also helps. Just in case you think that there is a huge speedometer error, the GPS indicated a speed of 202 kph, indicating a speedometer error of only 4 percent. For the record, the mooted top speed in the product brochure is only 190 kph. Straight line stability at high speed is extremely good, with very little pitch and yaw.
The Preve comes with the larger brake discs and larger callipers from the Exora. With a correspondingly larger contact area, and on a lighter car, the Preve brakes are excellent, providing safe and reassuring braking all the time.
For the passengers there is really plenty of legroom. I drive a more expensive car, and as a rear passenger in my car, I get a knee clearance of about 70mm to the back of the front seat; in the Preve, my knees are a good 130mm away from the back of the front seat. The cabin is large; you will see what I mean when you get a chance to put the Preve next to a Persona. Another thoughtful feature is the clearance between the bottom of the front seat and the floor – you can slip your feet into the slot, effectively giving you more legroom, if you happen to be very tall.
Overall, both the driving experiences in the Preve were good, and in terms of the build quality, performance, ride and handling, it passes with high points. This is the best car ever built by Proton to date, and of course its competitive price makes it one of the best buys in the market.
Finally, if I had to choose between the manual and the CVT, it would be a difficult decision. My heart goes out to the manual, because with it, I can have fun on the road, and it will probably be more economical than the turbocharged version. My head tells me to go for the CVT, as it will be most useful when I get into the Kuala Lumpur city crawls. My heart again tells me that the turbo will provide me more power, and get me to places faster. What I really need is a Proton Preve with a turbocharged engine and a manual transmission – I heard that it is coming!


     Picture Gallery
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Arriving at our destination in Cherating
Arriving at our destination in Cherating
Rear View, Preve
Rear View, Preve
2000 rpm @ 80kph
2000 rpm @ 80kph
Heaps of legroom. Preve is a big car!
Heaps of legroom. Preve is a big car!
Space saver spare tyre
Space saver spare tyre
16-inch wheels - Preve
16-inch wheels - Preve
Very few cars in this class have independent rear suspension like the Preve
Very few cars in this class have independent rear suspension like the Preve
Preve turbocharger
Preve turbocharger


 
 
 
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