|Body style(s)||4-door saloon
The Proton Saga is a subcompact car, formerly a compact car manufactured by produced by Malaysian auto manufacturer Proton since September 1985. The name "Saga" was chosen from the winner of the contest which was held to choose the first car's name, Ismail Jaafar, a retired military soldier. This name was derived from "saga" (Abrus precatorius), which is a type of soft, fragile, oily, highly combustible but productive seed commonly found in Malaysia, and incidentally, the Proton Saga 1.3 litre engine "is as strong as the saga seed".
The Saga and its variants contribute to most of Proton's sales and revenues since its introduction. For nearly 22 years, the first-generation Saga is the longest surviving Proton model to date, ahead of its mid size car, the Proton Perdana. The original Saga model was originally based on the 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore to avoid R&D costs, and retained it throughout its production lifespan. In 2008, a long overdue successor designed in-house by Proton was launched to conceal the aging platform. In August of that year, the 3 millionth car produced by Proton was a second generation Proton Saga.
|Also called||Proton MPI (Multi-Point Injected) (United Kingdom)|
|Assembly||Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia|
|Body style(s)||4-door saloon
|Engine(s)||1.3 L 4G13 I4
1.5 L 4G15 I4
|Curb weight||940 kg (2,072 lb)|
|Related||1983 third generation Mitsubishi Lancer|
The Proton Saga was launched in September 1985 by Malaysia's then Prime Minister, Mahathir Bin Mohamed. Before the production of Proton Saga, a contest was held to choose the name of the first national car, and the name Saga was chosen from the winner of the contest, Ismail Jaafar, a retired military soldier. When asked why he chose this particular name, he replied as "saga" (Abrus precatorius) is a type of soft, fragile but productive seed commonly found in Malaysia, and joked that the Proton Saga 1.3 litre engine "is as strong as the saga seed".
The first known Proton Saga to roll off the production line was presented to the Malaysian National Museum as a symbol of the beginning of the Malaysian automotive industry. Tun Dr. Mahathir also drove a prototype Proton Saga fitted with a 4G63 2.0L engine and a Jalur Gemilang across the Penang Bridge and to Penang Airport during the opening ceremony of the bridge on 14 September 1985.
Early Saga models were powered by SOHC 8-valve 4-cylinder petrol engines sourced from Mitsubishi, available in both 1.3- and 1.5-litre displacements. Both engines were available with a 5-speed manual transmission, but a 3-speed Mitsubishi Tri-matic automatic was available with the 1.5-liter engine in 1987.
The Saga was originally offered as a 4-door saloon, followed by the addition of a hatchback variant, introduced in 1988 as the Proton Knight and was later known as Saga Aeroback. The Proton Knight was designed for the European market as the hatchback was more popular in United Kingdom.
In 1989, Proton sold the Saga in the United Kingdom with the slogan Recyled Japanese Technology + Hot Malaysian Style = Proton. Since then, United Kingdom contributes most of Proton's export sales. The Saga name was not used and it was simply known as the Proton 1.3 or 1.5. The UK models reverted to the dashboard used in the Mitsubishi Lancer, complete with HVAC controls not found in the domestic model.
In 1990, the line-up was revised with the introduction of 12-valve Megavalve engines, which increased power ratings to 75 bhp (56 kW) (from the original 70.5 bhp (53 kW) in the former 8-valve (Magma) version) for the 1.3-litre engine, and 90 bhp (67 kW) for the 1.5-litre engine. On domestic models, the Saga also gained the "Megavalve" moniker. Minor exterior modifications included a new grill and wraparound black trim pieces. In addition, rear seat belts and a third brake light were fitted as standard.
A manual, saloon variant of the first facelift Saga.
An automatic, Aeroback variant of the first facelift Saga.
In 1992, the Saga was given a facelift and its name expanded as Proton Saga Iswara (also known in short as Proton Iswara), after a species of butterfly in Sarawak. Modifications included slimmer headlights, plastic bumpers, side mouldings, coloured door handles, grooved taillight clusters and rear number plate repositioned to the bumper. In addition, new colors for automatic transmission models were introduced as well. This particular model is used as taxis in Malaysia and some are converted to NGV. Due to the modification, boot space was reduced by half to accommodate the NGV tank and there are only a few petrol stations by Malaysian oil-giant Petronas in the Klang Valley that sell natural gas, although there are plans underway to increase the number of stations selling it at various locations around Kuala Lumpur.
Models exported to Singapore and the United Kingdom were available with multi-point fuel injection and catalytic converters to meet Euro I emissions standards. This model was known as the Proton MPi in the United Kingdom. The introduction of the Proton Persona in 1993 replaced the corresponding models in the Saga range in the United Kingdom and this continued until the entire range was replaced in 1996.
In 2001, to regain sales and be competitive with Perodua, Proton introduced a special edition of Saga Iswara Sport based on the Aeroback version which included a new bodykit, metallic rear wing, jewel-effect headlights and Altezza lights, among other changes. It was only available in silver, with a manual transmission and a 1.3-litre engine. The original Saga Iswara Aeroback was still available in a 1.5-litre engine.
While the Iswara Aeroback underwent further modifications in the domestic market to become the Saga LMST in 2003, the saloon variant remained on sale unchanged.
The Proton Saga Iswara Aeroback would later serve as the basis of the re-released Proton Sagas in the 2000s.
The Saga Iswara Sport (introduced 2001), which shares a similar trim design as the Iswara Aeroback.
As a loose successor to the Saga Iswara Sport, Proton gave the Iswara a new facelift and renamed it back to Saga (or know as Saga LMST by local car community) in 2003. The interior has an entirely new dashboard, door panels and an instrument panel with a digital display consisting of an odometer, a fuel gauge and a temperature gauge, a very big improvement from the circa 1980 Japanese designs. Meanwhile, the exterior received new headlights and taillights and colour-coded bumpers and wing mirrors. However, the car still looked like it was designed using a ruler and pen. Proton retuned the 1.3-litre carburettor engine, and fitted a new exhaust system and extractors, increasing its power rating to 83 bhp (62 kW). This was very proud accomplishment for Proton, considering they were effectively relying on early 1980s technology to achieve such power. To put this into perspective, the much more expensive and smaller sized Toyota Vitz 1.3, with all its modern Japanese technology, design and electronics put out around the same power and torque as the Malaysian tuned 1980s technology. It is only available with the 5-speed manual transmission.
On March 5, 2007, Proton launched the 50th Merdeka Anniversary Promotion in Malaysia, where they announced new price for the Proton Saga which were sold at RM26,999. Advertising campaigns for the Saga Aeroback used a notable rendition of Justin Timberlake's hit single SexyBack, with the lyrics changed to "AeroBack". The promotion was made as a support to Malaysia's 50th Merdeka Day and also to thank Proton's customers for their support since Proton Saga was first launched, receiving several minor cosmetic changes. The move was also an attempt by Proton to steal potential sales from Perodua's then-forthcoming budget supermini, the Viva. That year, the Proton Saga became the second best selling car behind Perodua MyVi and the best selling saloon car in Malaysia, with over 15,000 orders. This version is quite notably the fastest and the lightest version of the Saga series Proton has ever produced. However, many public complaints have been filed to this version including interior quality problems such as broken power window switches and uncontrollable flow of the air-conditioning system due to Proton's carelessness in skipping strict quality test to ship the car quickly from overwhelming demand during promotion time.
|Also called||Proton Base Line Model (BLM), S16 (Australia)|
|Body style(s)||4-door saloon|
|Platform||Proton Savvy (stretched)|
|Engine(s)||1.3 L Campro I4
1.6 L Campro I4
|Transmission(s)||Aichi Kikai 5-speed manual, Mitsubishi 4-speed automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,465 mm (97.0 in)|
|Length||4,257 mm (167.6 in)|
|Width||1,680 mm (66.1 in)|
|Height||1,502 mm (59.1 in)|
|Curb weight||1,060 kg (2,337 lb)-1,085 kg (2,392 lb)|
|Fuel capacity||40 L (11 US gal; 9 imp gal)|
|Related||Proton Savvy Chery QQ6|
On January 18, 2008, Proton unveiled the successor to the 2007 Saga, which was planned to be phased out in June 2008. Retaining the Saga name, the new car is an indigenous design, designed to outperform and outengineer the old Saga compact sedan and aeroback in every way. It's bodywork is essentially based on a stretched Proton Savvy. The new model is an in-house design developed in collaboration with Korea's LG CNS and Lotus Engineering. This model enables the Malaysian company play to its strength in the home market i.e. the three-box sedan. The Proton Saga is not planned for U.S. launch but will be sold throughout Southeast Asia, in China, India and Australia.
As of February 2008, approximately 23,000 customer bookings had been made for the car since its launch and the corresponding waiting time for delivery during that same period stretched up to 5 months.
On July 16, 2009, an electrical version of the Proton Saga was demonstrated at the University Sains Malaysia, Penang.
The Saga comes in 3 different specifications with the choice of manual or auto transmissions starting from the base specced N model to the fully kitted M model. Aichi Kikai supplies the 5-speed manual while Mitsubishi makes the 4-speed automatic. The basic N model retails from RM31,500 to the RM39,800 high specced M model. The new Saga would be the cheapest Proton once the RM26,999 original is retired. Proton dubs the new Saga as "The People's Car".
The new Saga is powered by the same 1.3-litre Campro engine (which was co-designed with Lotus) that is fitted to entry-level Gen-2s. Besides the 1.3L engine option, the 1.6-liter version is also available as an exclusive engine option for taxi operators. Like other Proton models powered by Proton's own Campro engines, the 1.3-liter engine is rated at 94 hp (70 kW; 95 PS) at 6,000 rpm and 120 N·m (89 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm, while the 1.6-liter version (not including the Campro CPS engine which is not being used in the Saga) produces 114 hp (85 kW; 116 PS) at 6,500 rpm and 148 N·m (109 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm. Both engines feature the new Integrated Air-Fuel Module (IAFM) which varies the airflow into the engine to improve efficiency, smoothening out the problematic dip in the torque curve in the lower and middle rev ranges. Its output matches that of a 1.3-litre in the Satria Neo. Power delivery characteristics in both cars are remarkably different. The torque could be felt after 2,500 rpm as surging sensation through driver's body, all the way to climax at 4,000 rpm, where it drops off rapidly. The acceleration to highway speeds is good. The 5-speed manual from Aichi Kikai is geared towards the ultimate refinement at cruising speeds, but it does offer a good spread of torque everywhere, not to mention good overtaking power anywhere from 80-120 km/h. Suspension setup consists of MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar up front with a torsion beam in the rear. Its Lotus designed torsion beam suspension enables it to turn in sharply, hold its stance sideways through corners, understeering to a sizeable extent. Fuel economy is even better, ranging from approximately 6 L/100 km (47 mpg-imp; 39 mpg-US) for the manual transmission to 6.2 L/100 km (46 mpg-imp; 38 mpg-US) . for the auto and can rival a Toyota Prius when traveling at 80 km/h (50 mph) in fifth. Top speed is around 170 km/h (106 mph) As the Saga is designed as a city car, the air conditioning system has been made even more powerful and efficient, even at engine idling speeds. The ignition system has also been updated with coil-on-plugs instead of the traditional ignition cable system, eliminating power loss.
The new Saga, like its predecessor, is expected to be standard among Malaysian taxicab operators. The car is not designed to accommodate a compressed natural gas tank. A Malaysian Orange Taxi Company, Innovasi Timur Sdn Bhd installed a superior NGV System with a modified NGV Cylinder Bracket, giving larger boot space for luggage. There is ample room for 5 Malaysian adults of average height and bigger than the old Saga. Top-of-the-line versions (currently the M-Line) are fitted with a set of 14-inch rims and 185/65 R14 tyres for added traction, providing the car with strong braking force and better road holding. Only one airbag for the driver is also fitted to the M-line models. There is no traction control, ABS, LSD or Electronic Stability Control available, despite Proton's numerous attempts at designing or licensing such technologies from other carmakers (Citation required).
Since the official launch of the second generation Proton Saga in January 2008, the car has won 3 major automobile awards. Autocar Asean, the Malaysian edition of the longest running car magazine in history has awarded the new Saga "Winner of the Small Sedan/ Hatchback Category" for 2008. Shortly after that, the car was voted as the "Best People's Car" at the Asian Auto - VCA Auto Industry Award 2008. In November the same year, the new Saga won yet another major Malaysian automobile accolade when it was declared the "Winner of the Entry Level Car Category" under the New Straits Times/ Maybank Car of the Year Awards for 2008.
|Proton road car timeline, 1985–present|
|Subcompact||Satria / Compact / 300 series||Satria Neo|
|Saga / MPi / Knight / Aeroback / Saga Iswara||Saga|
|Wira / Persona / 400 series||Persona / Gen-2 Persona|
|Waja / Impian|
|Coupe||Putra / Coupe / M21|
|Pick-up||Arena / Jumbuck|