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This is an amazing car.
I have a Proton Compact GLi 1.3 12v
I have had mine 20 months now, and he hasn't put a foot wrong (touch wood). He is fast - can out accelerate any other 1.3 we have found, and to be honest, can give most 1.6's a run for their money. They look amazing, and come in a nice range of colours (mine is dark metalic blue.)
I had had a Mini based Kit car for 2 years, and a Classic Mini for a year. Sadly, I had to get something bigger, so bought a Corsa B 1.4 LSi (had it for about a year) - nice enough car, but very sluggish, and poor handling, after this, I decided to sell both the Corsa and The Mini (Still keeping the kit car.) I looked around all sorts of cars. I wanted something bigger, faster, better handling, and better looking than the Corsa. I looked at MG- ZR's, Honda Civics, Rover 200's and 25's, Vauxhaul Astras, Mitsubishi Colts and lots of other middle-size hatches Then my dad pointed out an advert in a local news paper. I hadnt really heard much about protons, so called the guy selling it, and asked for the registration and model, had a look on line, and found pictures of Compacts . . . much to my surprise they look just like Colts! YAY - And to make things even better, all the running gear is Mistubishi. I went and had a look, the poor car was in a sorry state, it had been poorly re-sprayed on the back quarter had the left mirror smashed, and a bit of a rip on the seam of the drivers seat (which had been sewn up) and needed a good bath! But on taking it out for a test drive, I had to have it, it was so responsive, nippy and even just tottering around you couldf tell that it would handle well. I went home, and called my Uncle (who is a mechanic) and said what it was, and he said that due to the amount they rely on Mitsubishi they are amazing cars, and the only problem is that the interior can be abit cheep, so check over all trim, and windows etc. I called the seller back, and got him to drop the price down quite a bit- due to it needing a re-spray, new mirror, and not having power steering (which it was advertised as having- though I prefer cars not to have power steering). Dad had come with me to check him over when I went to lookm at him, and said all seemed good and gave him a good drive. So I was pretty confident in there would be no big problems.
I got him home, and gave him a good bath, then got my uncle to have a good look over him... he just couldn't believe I got that much car for my money (he uses him as an example to his customers who are after a new car, and how good of a car you can get). We then re-sprayed the back quarter, and it looks as good as new. The tapits had to be tightened (I believe this is a common problem with Persona's, and I have heard people saying about giving the cars a few oil changes to sort this.) (Verry use-full having family who know what there doing with cars.)
Handling wise... This car may as well be on rails! (Mine had 13" steelies as standard, and it was like a go-cart, I have since swapped to 17" alloys, and it is still really grippy, and still handles amazingly! (Another bonus- you can put 17's on them- without rolling the arches.) Size wise... The bonnet is quite long, but there is still pleanty of space inside... I have easily had 5 people in it, with space to move and breathe (Unlike many hatches.) I think being quite wide helps with interior space. Looks... It looks like a Mitsubishi colt . . . So very good looking! (In my opinion.) This is the reason I like its looks so much. Fuel consumption... Ok, you have to be gentle, or this car will mug you'r wallet for money, however, once you are used to it, it is very fuel efficient. Driving sencibly and gently, it is still flipping fast! In average about 40mpg, and have up to 56.5mpg on normal everyday run arounds. It is extremely good on fuel on motorways (I drove up from Jersey, (so topped up in Jersey) got off the ferry in Plymouth and drove up to mear Worcester on half a tank (about £20) and on the same drove from near Worcester to Cumbria (Penrith) Servicing... Mitsubishi!!! So don't expect dirt cheep parts, however, as they are Mitsi, they will last, and you know they are good quality. For the rear section (silencer and out) my boyfiend paid £75 from my Uncle's Garage (so that was cost price.) Reliability... Amazing; starts 1st time every time, and all electrics are fine. Comfort... The standard seats are very comphy. Modification... All Compacts and Satrias can be swapped around, mine now has the black GTI interior and Recaro seats. They can take up to 17" wheels without rolling the arches, and the body kit from the GTI/ Sports can be swapped to normal Compacts with relative ease.
Would I recomend to others??? Silly question, I have since had 2, both a GTI and a Sprint (as well as my GLI) My boyfriend had driven mine, loved it, so now has the Sprint, and the GTI has been sold on. He loves it, all my family love it, and I love it!!! I got the whole "you drive a grandads car" from friends (didn't bother me- the car is great- I know that - - - and aparently grandad's do to!) , untill they went in it, then suddenly I had the best car! they soon realised how amazing they are, and most friends would hapily swap their much newer fiestas, clios, and corsa's etc for my Compact.
As previously mentioned, my boyfriend also now had a Proton Compact Sprint (1.5 12v). We both drive and love this car, he had been driving mine, so at the chance of this one, he took it without a 2nd thought. I will say that the insurance is quite high on them (he pays about £1900 3rt party, fire and theft as a new male driver - it should be more, but having me on it takes of £600. These smaller engined models are insurence group 8- so quite high for a small car.
Proton sadly have a very poor reputation. However, the cars are amazing- and with the personas you get a Mitsubishi, without the badge- so they have the reliability and bomproof engines you would expect from any Japanese cars.
My only problems; Clutch went at about 76000 miles (but i think my cars previouse owner used to ride it abit). Paintwork on rear bumper seems to craze on them (it was also aparent on the GTi and the Sprint) Sticky windows- but some silica spray sorts this out
main problem- - - I now only ever want Mitsubishi's or protons!!!
There is also an amazingly helpfull, knowledgeable "Proton Owners Club" with members who know everything about these cars. They are a briliant sourse of parts, information and help!
Over all- a brilliant car, I love it! Couldn't recomend highly enough