2019 Proton Saga - Variants explained

  • Ogo 13, 2019

The Proton Saga is irrefutably Malaysia’s most iconic and recognisable nameplate, with the first model driving into the scenes way back in 1985. The Saga is also arguably the nation’s first-ever indigenous car and has remained in successful production for well over three decades now. Over these thirty years or so, the Proton Saga has undergone several transformations in the form of facelifts, mechanical updates, and improved design and safety upgrades. Therefore, the all-new third-generation Saga is the most up-to-date model, while it’s built on the Malaysian automaker’s new FLX platform. In the company’s varied line-up, the B-segment Saga is slotted right below the slightly larger and more expensive Persona sedan and is a direct competitor of the Perodua Bezza.

2019 Proton Saga

With budget family transport becoming increasingly popular and lucrative, carmakers around the world (including in Malaysia) are trying to churn out the most satisfactory solution. And that’s exactly what cars such as the Proton Saga and its direct rivals represent - great value-for-money, acceptable design (both in & out), and thoroughly usable interior space that’s equipped with a decent amount of kit. The 2019 Proton Saga is available in three variants in Malaysia: the entry-level Standard MT at RM 32,800, mid-tier Saga Standard AT that retails for RM 35,800, and finally, the fully-loaded Saga Premium AT that costs RM 39,800. While the Proton Saga might be the most affordable car sold by the carmaker, it certainly needs to fill some huge shoes to keep attracting buyers for the foreseeable future. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the 2019 Proton Saga’s three variants…


Saga Standard MT

The most basic variant of the 2019 Proton Saga, the Standard MT is perfect for those who do not wish to spend a dime more than what’s absolutely required, and of course, those who can drive a stick-shift car. Priced at just under 33,000 ringgit, this base model of the 2019 Saga, like all the other variants in the line-up, is powered by a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine. The 1.3-litre motor is assisted by dual overhead cams and variable valve timing but isn’t known for being too gutsy - producing a modest 94 hp at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. As the name suggests, this variant of the 2019 Saga comes equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, which then sends the engine’s grunt to the front wheels. While it’s definitely fast by any stretch of the imagination, the manual gearbox-equipped Standard is the quickest of the bunch -- doing the 0 to 100 kmph run in around 12 seconds, and with a top speed of 175 kmph.

Proton Saga engine

In terms of its primary dimensions, the 2019 Proton Saga remains almost identical to its predecessor, with measurements of 4,331mm in length, 1,689 mm in width and 1,491 mm in height. Meanwhile, its wheelbase of 2,465 mm and a total boot capacity of 420 litres are also identical to the pre-facelift model. As for its features, the Standard MT variant gets halogen headlamps, 14-inch steel wheels, electrically-operated wing mirrors with LED turn signals, rear spoiler, rear parking sensors and keyless entry. Then there’s tilt-adjustment for the steering, power windows, manual air-conditioning, fabric seat upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a two-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Proton has also fitted the Standard MT variant of the Saga with dual front airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and rear seat ISOFIX anchor points.

2019 Proton Saga features

Saga Standard AT

Costing only RM 3,000 over the Standard MT car, this variant of the new Proton Saga comes with a few extra features but most importantly, gets rid of the clutch pedal in the footwell for good. This is because of the inclusion of a new 4-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, which has been borrowed from Hyundai, no less. So if most of your commute happens within city limits, the Standard AT variant makes a lot of sense, though expect it to be a touch slower than its manual sibling. This is because the AT variants of the 2019 Proton Saga takes almost a second longer to hit the tonne-mark when compared to the manual, and their top speed is lower, too, at around 170 kmph.

2019 Proton Saga exterior

While it’s still labelled “Standard”, this trim of the new Saga gets a little extra kit over the Standard MT. For example, gone are the steel wheels, now replaced by fancier 14-inch alloy rims. On the inside, the Standard AT comes with two USB charging ports, upgraded headliner material and grab handles, plus modern LED elements for the map lights. Moreover, when compared to the older model, all variants of the 2019 Proton Saga come with additional noise, vibration and harshness dampeners, and get stronger brakes as well.

Saga Premium AT

2019 Proton Saga interior

Demanding an additional RM 4,000, the Premium AT represents the top variant of the 2019 Proton Saga. To justify its price tag, the Malaysian carmaker has included a few niceties to the Premium trim to lure the more keen customers. On the outside, there are now stylish 15-inch alloy wheels, bumper-integrated LED daytime running lights (DRLs) and front parking sensors, too. Step inside, and you’ll find higher-quality fabric upholstery for the seats, a multi-function steering wheel, upgraded four-speaker sound system, and a 7-inch touch-multimedia head unit with Android smartphone connectivity. On the safety front, the Saga Premium AT adds Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Hold Assist (HHA), and a rear parking camera.

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