Last Chance To Buy: Proton Wira

When's it going?

There is a new Proton on sale in Malaysia which will be coming to the UK in the autumn. Proton UK hopes that it will debut in time for the new registration on 1 September. It won't be called Wira, which is good, because that always sounded weird, but the new Wira will be known as the Gen.2 which is even weirder.

What's good about it?

That's difficult. The Wira introduced in 2000 was effectively a re-badged Proton Persona, which itself was nothing to get too excited about. In value terms, though, the Wira has always delivered a reasonable specification. On the Lux models you got air conditioning, central locking, sunroofs, airbags and alarms. So there is plenty of kit with a Proton and a decent warranty, offering three years of coverage and a further six years or 100,000 miles on the engine and gearbox. The second really good thing about the Wira is: under the bonnet beats the heart of a Mitsubishi. The Wira is certainly adequate, although there is a spark of fun with the 1.8-engined model. Handling is courtesy of Lotus.

What's bad about it?

Here is a car which is built to a price and it shows. In many ways you can't argue with that, as most buyers know exactly what they are getting. The interior is generic 1980s Japanese -- which means it is well put together but the materials can seem a bit cheap and nasty. It does most things averagely well and is generally inoffensive, but it does seem dull and dated.

How much?

Not usually a discount favourite outside the Proton network but we did find that www.Broadspeed.com could source cars from within the UK with money off. At the entry level there was a1.3 Li hatchback which is £7,817 that could be had for £7,035, going up to a 1.6 Exi Automatic at £9,195 down from £10,217. However, dealer Ken Brown Motors (01438 742309) had a special offer 1.5Lxi at £7,695, usually £8,799.

Any snags?

No. The Mitsubishi oily bits guarantee that there won't be any breakdowns. The interior is low rent and shows damage, but that's about it.

FACT FILE

Launched: 2000

Engine: 1.3 1.5 1.6 1.8 2.0TD

Performance: 1.6, 0-60mph in 10.9 secs, 112mph

Economy: 1.6 35mpg

NCAP: Never tested. Airbags and ABS on all models.

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