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Proton GEN-2 Saloon engines, drive and performance

2008 - 2012 (change model)
Performance rating: 2.5 out of 52.5

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

With its 110bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, the GEN-2 Persona gets to 62mph in 12 seconds and can reach a top speed of 118mph. Performance in the lower gears is disappointing as the throttle is unresponsive. This, coupled with its cumbersome handling, makes city driving quite tricky. Nonetheless, it can cruise at motorway speeds easily, if a little noisily, for hours on end.

Refinement is an area which lets the GEN-2 range down: the brakes don’t bite sharply enough and the manual five-speed gearbox is notchy and awkward to use. There is a four-speed automatic available but it’s dated and sluggish.

Lotus (which is owned by Proton) was involved in the development of the GEN-2. But instead of inheriting the kind of razor-sharp steering and pin-point accuracy that made cars such as the Lotus Exige a big hit, GEN-2 Persona is rather uninspiring and dull to drive. Drivers aren’t given much feedback from the steering wheel and the cornering is vague.

The GEN-2 is cumbersome at low speeds too, though the rear sensors do make parking easier and safer.