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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


New Saga brewing: Proton hints at latest model in new teaser

Although not named outright, the interior clip draws parallels with no other Proton model but the Saga.


Having announced at its official relaunch last year, that it will be growing its current line-up from two to five models by this year, resurgent Malaysian automaker, Proton, has released a new teaser on social media showcasing the next vehicle bound for South Africa.

Despite not naming it outright, the 23 second clip posted on Facebook shows not only the complete interior, but also the design of the alloy wheel, with the post credit headline reading, “Something new is coming”.

Saga once seen

While expected to launch either the Iriz hatchback or the returning Persona at some stage, the provided depictions preview the Saga sedan that laid the building blocks for the brand as Malaysia’s first car maker in 1985.

Proton's next new model expected to be the new Saga
Saga debuted in 2016, but received an extensive update last year. Image: paultan.org.

Currently in its third generation, the internally designated BT Saga debuted in its home market in 2016, but benefitted from an extensive mid-life facelift last year as part of what Proton calls the MC2 upgrade.

What you get

In this instance, the Saga, a nameplate previously offered in South Africa before Proton’s withdrawal from the local market in 2012, receives a restyled grille, a redesigned centre console and a new air-conditioning panel plus switchgear.

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

Although South African market specification is still to be announced, items available in Malaysia, depending on the trim level, comprise a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start, an LCD instrument cluster display, four-speaker sound system, 15-inch alloy wheels, electric windows and folding electric mirrors.

Again depending on the model selected, safety and driver assistance systems include dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors and on automatic models, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Hold Assist and Traction Control.

Proton's next new model expected to be the new Saga
Model pictured is the Malaysian spec Premium S. Image: paultan.org.

Power and models

Up front, the Saga is motivated by  a normally aspirated 1.3-litre petrol engine that delivers 70kW/120Nm to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic gearbox.

Claimed fuel consumption isn’t known at present, though with dimensions of 4 335 mm in overall length, a wheelbase of 2 465 mm, height of 1 515 mm and width of 1 690 mm, the Saga is capable of swallowing 420-litres of luggage in its boot with the rear seats up.

In total, three trim levels are available in Malaysia; Standard, Premium and the sporty Premium S that boasts unique 15-inch alloys, extended door sills, sportier bumpers, different graphics within the infotainment system, a black roofliner, leatherette seats and red detailing around the air vents and on the seats themselves.

Proton starts teasing returning Saga for South Africa
Premium S the only model to receive red accents inside. Image: paultan.org.

When?

Given that the mentioned teaser references the specs of the Premium S, expect this model to possibly feature within the local line-up, but, as indicated, nothing has been confirmed as yet.

Besides the Saga and either the Iriz or Persona, the Exora MPV won’t be coming to South Africa, however, the opposite applies to the Geely Haoyue currently undergoing final testing as the rebadged Proton X90.

Expect Proton South Africa make clearer details of the Saga available soon, including pricing tipped to start at around the R200 000 to R250 000 mark. Teaser clip can be viewed here from Proton’s Facebook page.

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