Proton Satria Neo

The Essentials

  • Price from £8,495
  • What Car? says: 1 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 42.8mpg
  • What is it? The Satria Neo is a smart-handling supermini but with little else going for it

Great

  • Handles alright, without leaning in corners
  • Lots of goodies as standard, including parking sensors
  • Doesn't cost a fortune to buy, but...

Gripes

  • Costs more than it should to run
  • Very cramped in the cabin
  • Safety kit is minimal, with no option to add more
  • Drive

    Lotus influence ensures decent handling, but ride is too firm and it's noisy inside

  • Inside

    Too little adjustment for driver to get comfortable, and front seats don't slide to aid rear access

  • Safety

    Two airbags is your lot, and no deadlocks is a security weakness

  • Reliability

    Everything looks cheap, and dare we say it, a little tacky. The jury is out on reliability

  • Space

    Angle of windscreen ensures anyone in the front will feel cramped. Rear seats and boot are no better

  • Standard and extras

    Good standard kit includes climate control and alloy wheels, while Sport trim adds, you guessed it, sporty touches

  • What's it like to drive?

    The petrol engines need working hard to give their best. Lotus is involved with the tuning of the Satria Neo's handling, and it's pretty good, with sharp steering and very little lean around bends but this is no Lotus Elise. The ride is firm enough for passengers to feel the texture of every speed bump in town. It's a noisy experience too, thanks to a rough-sounding engine and too much road and wind noise reaching the cabin.

  • What's it like inside?

    There's not much seat or steering adjustment, so if you're tall you might find it difficult to get comfortable at the wheel. The windscreen is so streamlined that there's very little headroom in the front whatever your height. It's cosy in the back, too, and getting in and out requires athleticism as the front seats don't slide. The dash is simple enough, but the position of the electric window buttons takes a while to get used to. Pack light as the boot is small.

  • How reliable is it?

    Safety kit isn't impressive: side and curtain airbags and stability control don't even make the options list. An alarm is standard, but deadlocks aren't fitted.

  • Should I buy one?

    While Proton is a budget brand, it's not giving the Satria Neo away, and it costs about as much as the vastly superior Suzuki Swift. Running costs will be higher for the Proton, too, while resale values are not at all impressive. Don't confuse rarity with exclusivity. At least there's plenty of standard equipment, including alloy wheels, MP3-compatible stereo and climate control.