Proton Savvy 1.2 Street - PROTON SAVVY Car Review

Review

Added: 14 Dec 2006
Last update:

THOSE in the market for an inexpensive small car can either buy a cheap run-about or go for a relatively new second-hand model.

Personally I would always do the latter although I accept that there are those who would only ever buy new regardless.

There are people who believe that the only good car is a new car and that the second-hand market is a minefield that they would rather avoid at all costs, literally.

I would have no qualms about buying a used car because I like to think that I know what I am doing but even if I didn't there are plenty of decent, honest, reputable, trustworthy dealers who do.

The best small cars are Volkswagen Polos, Nissan Micras, Renault Clios, Vauxhall Corsas and the like.

They range from one-owner cherished models in pristine condition with a low mileage to former fleet or daily rental cars in average condition with high mileages.

In the end you will get what you pay for but at least you can drive safe in the knowledge that they have been engineered to the highest prevailing European standards.

The alternative is something like the Proton Savvy, which is a five-door hatchback costing just £6,000 new.

This is just about as basic as things get and for some people that is part of the attraction.

The Malaysian-made supermini is not exactly awash with safety features or even the sort of standard equipment that we all take for granted on many of its rivals.

Spend £1,000 more and you can upgrade to the Savvy Style, which adds alloy wheels, air conditioning and front electric windows to the standard model's remote central locking, single CD player and folding rear seats.

Power comes from a 1.2-litre petrol engine that generates 75bhp to endow an unladen Savvy with acceleration from rest to 62mph in 13.9 seconds and a top speed nudging 100mph.

Average economy is about 50mpg, which is pretty good and the insurance rating is group three, which could be better.

On the road the Savvy is average in every way, with mediocre performance in practice, a heavily-loaded gear change, fairly vague steering and an also-ran suspension system.

The interior is spacious enough for a car of this size but the standard of the fixtures is behind that of European rivals and it does not feel special in the way that a Polo or Micra do.

Also, there are other Eastern cars that are just as good for similar money such as the Kia Picanto.

For the sort of mainly elderly motorists to whom the Savvy is most likely to appeal the Style version with automatic transmission is the best bet.

However, add the cost of the auto box and the price rises to £7,700, which effectively wipes out the cost advantage over some of its rivals.

In terms of the Proton the best bet is a nearly-new Savvy automatic with one careful owner and a decent discount off the new price.

Better still is a quality European second-hand rival unless you are one of those folk for whom other people's cast-offs simply hold no appeal whatever the size of the saving.

FAST FACTS

Proton Savvy 1.2 Street 5dr

Price: £5,995

Mechanical: 75bhp, 1,149cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 99mph

0-62mph: 13.9 secs

Combined mpg: 49.6

Insurance group: 3

CO2 emissions: 134g/km

BiK rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 6yrs anti-rust

Words: Steve Hughes

Keywords: PROTON, SAVVY