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the refreshed proton persona is quite conversational as well

The refreshed Proton Persona is quite conversational as well

Yes, you can go “Hi Proton” to the facelifted Persona but that’s not all

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

12 Mar 2019

Proton will be officially launching the facelifted Iriz and Persona within the month so following a preview of the Iriz, it wouldn’t be long before its fraternal twin with a derriere got the same treatment.

Of course, it now gets the iconic “Hi Proton” voice control but let’s delve a little into the variants and other major changes.

Four variants will be available, unchanged from its predecessor. It starts with the entry-level Standard (MT), Standard (AT), Executive (AT) and ends at the top with the Premium (AT). Again, only the 1.6-litre VVT mill is available as the smaller displacement 1.3-litre found in the Iriz wouldn’t be up to the task of lugging the larger body around.

Over 300 changes have been performed in the facelift exercise that encompasses most of that found in the Iriz such as brakes, NVH levels, fuel economy and the GCPA rating.

Cosmetic changes include a similar grille from the Iriz that incorporates the Ethereal Bow weave that started with the X70. A wider front bumper makes do without the fog lights that are replaced with LED DRLs.

The side profile remains identical with only newly designed two-tone wheels in a 15-inch sizing for all variants. At the rear, the taillights are untouched and gone is the Proton badge that’s now replaced with the wording spelt out instead.

All these cosmetic changes are minor even by facelift standards but they do streamline the Persona’s design language with the new direction since Geely came into the picture.

Inside, the seats have been updated with a split design in the middle while the rear-view mirror is frameless. Nonetheless, the most important addition to the interior is the “Hi Proton” voice command infotainment system that operates via a 7.0-inch touchscreen head unit.

Complementing the infotainment system is an internal SIM card reader for 4G connectivity and in-car Wi-Fi; a class first for the Persona. This allows it to stream music from the Tencent library and also navigate online. A reverse camera with dynamic guide lines is part of the package as well.

Under the hood, the 1.6-litre VVT engine has been remapped with response and fuel economy in mind; the latter now reportedly returning up to three per cent in improvements. Power comes in 107hp and 150Nm of torque with the five-speed manual or the Punch CVT transmissions.

Safety hasn’t been upgraded as the previous Asean NCAP five-star rating remains. This comprises six airbags, stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Hot Press Forming body structure, Impact-Sensing door unlock and Isofix anchorage points.

For now, prices haven’t been revealed but its launch is imminent and you can book the car online for just RM9.99, just like the Iriz.