One of the cars that Proton has become most known for is the Satria. The Satria first hit the road in the mid-1990’s, and over time it grew from its roots as a re-badged edition of the Mitsubishi Mirage into a vehicle that sported an in-house platform and original Proton styling. This revised edition of the vehicle was labeled the Satria Neo, and it has been available since 2006. The newer Satria Neo is very much a youth-oriented automobile, a hatchback designed to get a new generation of drivers excited about the brand.
The 2009 Proton Satria Neo is an attractive vehicle which bears styling reminiscent of both the Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza, yet does not appear derivative of either of these cars. The Satria Neo is classified as a ‘super mini’, a city car which is smaller than a subcompact and which is designed to fit in well in urban areas where parking is at a premium and where streets are frequently narrow and crowded.
The base Satria Neo is powered by a 1.3 liter, 4-cylinder engine that develops 94 horsepower, but drivers can choose to upgrade to a 110 horsepower 1.6 liter motor that also generates a healthier amount of torque. Both units are well suited to carting around the Satria Neo’s 2,500 lbs of weight. The hatchback comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, but a 4-speed automatic is available as an option.
The 2009 Proton Satria Neo has attained excellent market penetration in foreign markets, particularly England where its combination of peppy performance and pint-sized dimensions appeal to a wide range of drivers. The Neo’s use of a Lotus-designed suspension system ensures that the vehicle responds well to steering inputs, rough road surfaces and twisty country two-lanes. Inside, the car does see some drawbacks as a result of its ultra-tiny platform. Taller drivers will have an issue with head room, but rear leg room has been improved over older models of the car.
Those expecting the Satria Neo to offer them the same level of space as a four-door sedan will be disappointed, but those looking for a practical city runabout will be pleasantly surprised. The Proton’s small size also means that the level of included safety equipment also becomes important. Unfortunately, airbags and anti-lock brakes are not available on entry-level models, making it necessary to spend more in order to get a feeling of safety when slipping behind of the wheel of this tiny car.