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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

What to expect: South Africa-bound Proton Saga updated in Malaysia

Returning small sedan will take up station below the X50 and X70 SUVs when the marque returns to South Africa in September.

Malaysia’s biggest automaker, Proton, has detailed one of the three models that will spearhead its return to South Africa from September this year.

Along with the X50 and X70 SUVs, the Saga, a nameplate used since 1985, will serve as Proton’s sole sedan option with its likely aim being the Nissan Almera, Kia Rio, outgoing Volkswagen Polo Sedan, Honda Ballade and possibly entry-level versions of the Toyota Corolla Quest.

Marketed in South Africa before Proton’s exit some seven years ago, the current third generation Saga debuted in its home market in 2016 as the first completely new model since the unveiling of its predecessor eight years before.

ALSO READ: Proton returning to South Africa via CMH

Now facelifted for the first time, the internally named MC2 Saga receives a mildly restyled grille, complete with Proton’s redesigned corporate badge, a new centre console housing a smartphone-sized storage area, redesigned air-conditioning panel and switchgear, plus red accents on higher-end models.

In Malaysia, three trim levels are offered – Standard, Premium and Premium S – all powered by a normally aspirated 1.3-litre petrol engine that delivers 70kW/120Nm.

A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the former with the option, of a four-speed automatic, the sole choice on the latter pair.

Dimensionally, the Saga has an overall length of 4 335 mm, wheelbase of 2 465 mm, height of 1 515 mm and width of 1 690 mm. Claimed boot space with the rear seats up is 420-litres.

Incoming Proton Saga updated in Malaysia
Flagship Premium S gets more specific bumpers, extended door sills and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Equipment-wise, the Standard rides on 14-runs steel wheels with plastic covers, though alloys of the same size are offered on the automatic.

It however gets electric mirrors, an LCD instrument cluster display, keyless entry and a two-speaker sound system, together with the following:

  • electric windows;
  • freestanding LCD audio display;
  • dual front airbags;
  • air-conditioning;
  • ABS with EBD and Brake Assist;
  • rear parking sensors

Reserved for the Standard automatic, bar the mentioned alloys, is a second USB port, Hill Hold Assist, Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control.

Moving one up, the Premium scores a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multi-function steering wheel, two additional speakers and LED daytime running lights, plus:

  • 15-inch alloy wheels;
  • bootlid spoiler;
  • reverse camera;
  • quilted patterned fabric seats
Incoming Proton Saga updated in Malaysia
Red accents plus unique graphics for the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system are all bespoke to the Premium S.

Sans a model specific bodykit made up of sportier bumpers and extended doors sills, the Premium S boasts 15-inch alloy wheels, folding electric mirrors and push-button start as well as the following:

  • leatherette seats with red stitching;
  • black roofliner and interior door pillars;
  • one-touch up/down function for the driver’s electric window;
  • different graphics for the infotainment system

On the colour front, five hues are available; Snow White (not available on the Premium S), Jet Grey, Armour Silver, Rosewood Maroon (not available on the Premium S) and Ruby Red reserved for the Premium and Premium S.

As for pricing, the Saga Standard manual kicks off at RM34 400 (R124 813) with the automatic retailing at RM38 300 (R138 964). The Premium carries a sticker of RM41 300 (R149 849) and the Premium S RM44 300 (R160 734).

For South Africa though, and depending on how importer, Combined Motor Holdings, structures the range, expect pricing for the Saga to potentially start around the R150 000 to R170 000 mark when sales kick-off in four months’ time.

Additional information from paultan.org and wapcar.my

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