UPDATE 3: I’m officially jealous of new Inspira owners. For the same price I’m for my car you’ll get tyres 17 inch with new sport rim design, touchscreen with GPS and reverse camera head unit from Blaupunkt (mine was Clarion), and a larger boot (since it’s using the space saver tyre and removed all the extra padding.). Lucky you!!!!
After getting married and expecting a baby, my trusty ol’ Myvi starts to feel insufficient. The light body and stiff seat makes the 1000km balik kampung round trip a chore, and the boot space starts to become a trouble. Not that its a bad car, far from it. It’s the best car in Perodua’s stable to date, winning Kelisa by a small margin. I know what many would think, but ask the owners. Many loves them, for their slickness in city driving, and practicality. I know I did.
I was initially eyeing the gorgeous Kia Forte. Being a fan of Audi, this is the nearest I could get to owning one, since the Forte is designed by an (ex) Audi designer. At that time, Kia Forte was offering the 2.0 version for almost RM 100k (RM 99,xxx.xx), with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse camera, 6 speed CVT transmission, Push-start button, but no body kit. it was only after a couple months afterwards did they throw the body kit into the package, but then it’s too late, since I was already happily driving the Inspira at that time.
A colleague actually bought the Inspira and let me drive it one day, and boy, was I impressed. I know, coming from a Myvi owner, any bigger car drives better on the highway and when cornering, but I have also driven larger cars like the 2009 Accord and 2010 Mercedes C200. While I’m not that knowledgeable, but I know comfort when I’m in one.
When the Lancer (9th generation) first came out, I prefer the Civic (also 9th generation), since the Civic looks wider and seems more spacious. But when I hopped into Inspira (which was basically a Lancer at heart), I got the same feeling of spaciousness that I got from the Civic. And since Civic (even Lancer) has a 6 digit price tag (around 120k onwards), Inspira starts to seem like a good buy.
My car is a Proton Inspira 2.0P (P stands for Premium, the new trim level system adopted by Proton), so it comes standard with 2 airbags, auto wiper, auto headlight, Clarion bluetooth audio system with steering control, ABS with EBD, Paddle shifter, leather seat, auto-cruise, 6 speed CVT, and the typical Lokatoo GPS unit, among others. I added a reverse camera with a rear-view mounted monitor like Forte, but to add the R3 push-start button, it would void my car’s wiring warranty. That might also void the Proton’s lifetime warranty for the power window.
When first sitting in the car, the first thing I noticed was that the car actually feels wider than it looks. The seats are leather seats, and quite soft and comfy for a Proton. The inner walls are covered with a rubbery material, which makes it feel less plasticky (as with other Proton cars), and it helps insulate sound from outside. The same or similar materials are used for the steering wheel, gear knob and the handbrake handle. The cabin is lit by 2 sets of cabin lights, one is the center one, and another pair right behind the rear view mirror. Both these lights have dimmers, so they will light up or shut off by dimming in/out. The steering wheel has basic audio control (next/previous, volume up/down, mode) and the cruise control.
The meter cluster is illuminated in white, red and amber, with analog tachometer and speedometer. In between them are a multi-display that shows off the mileage, fuel consumption, service interval, individual door ajar warning, trip meter, and others. The radio display is also illuminated in red, while the center console are using the red/amber combo. While the radio unit supports WMA, MP3 and bluetooth stereo, it does not have any external port (USB, micro SD) except for a line-in 3.5mm audio jack.
Note that when I connect my Galaxy SII with the radio, my phone automatically launches the audio app, and sometime plays it. But since the radio does not change to Bluetooth mode this way, it will still play the radio (if that’s what I’m listening at the time) and the Bluetooth audio will just play in silence. But if the app is not running, and the mode is set to Bluetooth Audio, the app will launch itself and play. And if you fancy using the Bluetooth connection for calls, note that the microphone is on the driver’s side (which is good), but the answer/reject button is only on the head unit, not on the steering wheel (which is bad).
Starting the car, at first I was surprised at how silent it was from the inside. Compared to my Myvi, which was quite loud, especially with the air conditioner on. My Inspira has a climate control, so you just need to set the temperature you want and set the blower speed to Auto and it will do the rest. In fact, when I was on Cameron Highlands, and the outside temperature is lower than inside the car, the air conditioner seems to blow heated air. But maybe it’s just that it was cold that morning. However I was peeved at the auto settings that likes to switch to external air intake. It’s okay if the air is fresh, but once you’re behind another vehicle, the exhaust fumes will definitely remind you to switch back to internal air cycle.
The air conditioner, is powerful. Powerful enough to have a 35 degrees heat cool down to 25 degrees in under 5 minutes. I think coming from a Proton car, that does not come as a surprise. I used to think that the saying “Proton Aircond(itioner) is power(ful)!” was a sarcastic remark, but now I stand corrected. Although if there’s a passenger in the rear seat, the auto settings were at times slow to cool down the rear area.
I remembered the shock when I first fill the tank in full. when driving Myvi, I can fill the tank from empty (the indicator is blinking) to full in just RM60. but now it’s around RM98 on average. As for consumption, however, I shouldn’t be comparing with Myvi, since it’s just have a 1.3L engine, and Inspira has a 2.0L engine. With full tank, Inspira can travel about 460km in the city, while on the highway, the numbers can go up to around 550km to 600km. I don’t travel that far that much, so this number may change.
UPDATE 1: I traveled to Kedah over the weekend. I traveled from Port Klang after topping up (let’s presume about 51 liters), and reaches Pendang with a little (a bar) above the half-tank bar. I travelled around for a day and return back from half tank. I reached Sungai Perak R&R when the fuel indicator blinked. I was travelling for about 110 km/h (I mainly used the auto-cruise, there were a lot of police activities it seems). Total was about 702 km (or was it 720km, I forgot, but let’s use the lower number ), that translates to 13.7 KM per liter.
One gripe I have with Inspira is the boot space. Myvi had a 225L boot space that can be converted to the whole rear seat area due to the capability to be folded flat. I have transported a lot of stuff with the Myvi, including a 42in tv, and washing machine, and numerous boxes. Inspira, on the other hand, have a paltry 350L boot space. compare this to Persona and the new Proton P321-A (rumoured to be named Prevé) has about 500L boot space. Inpira’s boot lid can be opened by either the release lever by the driver’s seat, or by the release button on the key.
UPDATE 2: It’s worth to note that the boot lid is using a hydraulic/pneumatic damper to hold up the boot, unlike other Proton cars (and also Forte and mazda 3) that uses the metal arm that juts into the boot space.
UPDATE 2: The new Inspira 2.0E has a space saver spare tyre in the boot, so that expands the bootspace. I’m not sure if 2.0P cars can opt for this tyre instead of a full sized one, but if boot space is an issue, one can always swap the full-sized with the space saver and remove the padding Proton added to the boot.
Inspira is equipped with keyless entry and immobilizer. Both these features are related on the key. The key have 3 buttons: Lock, Unlock, and open boot. The boot can be opened and closed using the button on the key, without the need to unlock the whole car. Note that the car do not have any buzzer, so it locks and unlocks silently. Only the indicators blink (once for lock, twice for unlock).
The indicators are Japanese styled, with the lever situated on the right side of the steering wheel (the wiper lever is on the left). None of the trims on Inspira has the side mirror indicators. The side mirrors are also incapable of folding in themselves, most probably to keep the cost low. The lever, if pushed just a bit (not locking), will blink the indicators 3 times, Probably for switching lanes. I would prefer it to blink 5 or 6 times, so I can have it blink before and during the lane change.
If you’re thinking of changing the ICE unit, do choose a good one, not some cheap version. For one, I have used a cheap unit before, and the main reason: the current unit is quite good, and it comes with VAPS. VAPS is a system that makes the audio seems to come from the center, instead of making it sound like it’s coming from the 4 individual speakers, which are positioned on the doors. I’ve tried switching off that system, and believe me, it makes a lot of difference. It has a nice base, but somehow Proton thought of not using the tweeter that’s available in the original Lancer. I’m not an audiophile, but comparing from my old Myvi, this one is way better. Just that to upgrade, one needs to consider a good system on the whole.
Driving the car, the CVT shows it’s smoothness from the get-go. When driving the Myvi, the car immediately wants to go once you lift the brake pedal. This sometimes result in some jolting when the car starts to move. Inspira, however, does not have the urgent need to move forward, but goes about it in smooth and steady. Since I’m driving the CVT transmission as opposed to the manual transmission, and since I’m not a lead-foot driver, this is a welcome feeling, and the weight of the accelerator gives the impression of driving a big car.
Moving from stand-still, maneuverability is not Inspira’s strong point. This coming from an ex-Myvi driver where the car behaves exactly like a city car, getting out fro
m tight spots with ease, and from experience driving an Estima, which light steering makes the huge car seems smaller than Myvi. The steering is quite heavy, and stays that way throughout the drive. I’m not sure if it has the capability to be lighter when parked and heavier when speeding, but when I’m driving it out of the garage, the steering always reminds me that the car is bigger than Myvi.
Once on the road, however, all that changes. Inspira is a highway friendly car. But it also handles tight curves nicely, with not so much body roll, but just enough to give the driver the feedback from the wheels. Inspira comes equipped with a set of Continental Confort Contact tyres, with a full spare tyre. I heard that this version (CC5) was designed specifically for Inspira, but I’m not entirely sure. As of now, the grip is good, although I haven’t tried any hard braking or cornering yet. Tyre noise are quite audible in the cabin in highway speeds, but even travelling to up to 180 km/h (the fastest I’ve gone so far), I still can converse with my wife without the need to shout. Try talking in a Myvi at >140 km/h 🙂 . I could do with a bigger, more aggressive sets of wheels, but for now, this is good enough, and then more.
At 180 km/h, the car is still stable, and while I can force it to go faster, I don’t go faster than I need to. Till the time comes, then. Cruising at the legal highway speed limit (110km/h) is quite a challenge, since the car manages to mask its speed nicely. Luckily the car comes with cruise control, so that can be used to keep the speed in check. Once I over sped the limit to 140 km/h, and was slowing down to 110 km/h, my wife thought that we’re stopping by the road, since she herself didn’t feel the speed.
The brakes were equipped with EBD and ABS, and I only get to see them in action once. I had to slow down from close to 180 km/h to around 90 when a slow car changed into my lane. No emergency brakes, for now, but the disc brakes (all 4 cars) and the drum brake (for parking brakes) works okay when the car is moving. Only when stationary, the parking brakes will always move a bit when you release the brake pedal. I’ve also experienced the car moving when the hand brake is only pulled 90% up. So make sure the handbrake lever is pulled all the way up, before fully releasing the brakes.
When I bought the car, it comes with a set of tools for towing, a first aid kit, a GPS unit (Lokatoo), RM300 rebate for tinting, RM5000 discount, and depending on the agent you’re buying it from, you can get extra stuffs like umbrella, t-shirt and stuff. For all this, the car is priced at RM 91, 999, and at the time I bought it, I got a RM 5000 discount, bringing it down to RM 86, 999. It has a 5,000 km or 10,000 km service interval, depending if you chose to use semi synthetic or fully synthetic oil during service. My first service costs me around RM200 (including car wash), and for normal services, it’s around that. I haven’t gotten the exact quotation for the major services, but get ready for anything around RM 1,000. I got a 2.8 percent for
Proton Inspira is a value for money, especially since other foreign brands are highly taxed. For a Proton, it’s the best money can buy at the moment. Of course, many had commented on the loose QA that Proton cars are famous for, but for the moment I found none of those. But then again, my car’s still new and I can’t say the definitive word on owning an Inspira, but having driven it, and knowing the high fuel consumption issue that’s effecting Forte users, I have no regrets for the moment.
But putting in a push-start button and reverse camera wouldn’t hurt much, won’t it?