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hi proton exora why the reduced safety count

Hi Proton Exora, why the reduced safety count?

The family-oriented Exora now packs the “Hi Proton” infotainment but was that at the expense of airbags?

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

29 May 2019

At this point, it appears that Proton isn’t even trying to hide its hunt after Perodua by slashing prices on the updated Exora to place it firmly in Perodua Alza territory but at the expense of safety. It’s a most welcome update for the long-serving model that launched in 2009 and has gained at the most a couple of years more on its tenure with this refresh.

Competing with the Alza is a difficult proposition but Proton has done just that by slashing its prices and increasing the kit count somewhat. The Exora 1.6T Executive now goes for RM59,800 while the Exora 1.6T Premium will cost you RM66,800.

For comparisons sake, the Alza starts at RM54,290 and climbs to RM62,690 so the Exora is right on the money.

The exterior only gains a LED DRLs, shark fin antenna and a gloss black roof. Inside, the cabin gets a bit more love with the 7.0-inch touchscreen head unit with GKUI software and the now instantly recognisable “Hi Proton” voice command system. There’s a new instrument cluster with a LCD multi-info display. Two USB charging ports in the front increase convenience while the seats and door cards get some catchy new upholstery.

Additionally, Proton has also thrown in an Extra Value package for buyers of the new Exora. These comprise five years of free internet data at a quota of 1GB a month, a low interest rate loan, extra insurance coverage and three free labour charges for servicing.

However, if you buy the Exora within 2019, you’ll get five years of free labour during scheduled maintenance. On top of that, the first 1,000 buyers will get free road tax for two years.

That turbocharged 1.6-litre CFE engine remains and puts out 138hp and 203Nm of torque that turns the front wheels via the Punch-sourced CVT transmission.

Amidst its pursuit of Perodua, the Exora’s safety has taken a bit of a hit. The airbags count has gone down from four (front and sides) to just two (front). A move like that is almost unheard of in this day and age where safety should take precedence over any other aspect in a vehicle’s design.

So, both trims now only get dual front airbags but ESC is available only with the Premium trim. ABS and EBD are fortunately still standard on both. It’s one heck of a step back given that the brand prides itself on making available the highest safety standards at affordable prices and the move leaves an even more bitter aftertaste when carried out on a family-oriented vehicle such as the Exora.

Furthermore, there’s still no Isofix mounts for child seats and the middle occupant of the centre row still only gets a lap-belt and not a three-point safety belt.