Proton Savvy

The Essentials

  • Price from £7,995
  • What Car? says: 1 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 49.6mpg
  • What is it? City car is cheap as chips, and about as classy


  • Low low list price
  • Distinctive styling helps it stand out in a crowd
  • Reasonably equipped for the money


  • The engine is loud, lazy and doesn't like doing what it's told
  • Space is in very short supply, so travel light - and alone
  • Resale values are abysmal
  • Drive

    Lotus' input helps it handle well, but it's noisy, sluggish and slow to turn

  • Inside

    Unless you're 5'6 and medium build, forget it - you'll never get comfy

  • Safety

    Drive carefully: all you get to protect you are two airbags and anti-lock brakes

  • Reliability

    Parts of the cabin feel so cheap they could have been bought at Aldi

  • Space

    It's a tiny city car with space for four adults at a pinch

  • Standard and extras

    Pretty good - alloy wheels, air-con and front electric windows are standard

  • What's it like to drive?

    Lotus had a hand in creating the Proton Savvy so it handles and rides pretty well. However it's way behind the best superminis on other fronts - the 1.2-litre engine feels sluggish, the steering is slow to respond and the gearshift feels clumsy. It's also noisy with the engine and wind competing to be heard. A tight turning circle makes parking easy but that's little consolation.

  • What's it like inside?

    Unless you're 5'6 and medium build, you'll find it hard to get comfy behind the wheel of the Proton Savvy. The sensible design of the dashboard is marred by garish yellow dials, so don't forget your sunglasses. It's a tiny city car so four will fit inside at a push. The boot is a sensible shape, if small: fold the back seats down for lots of extra luggage space. All come with a CD player, air-con and electric front windows.

  • How reliable is it?

    Two airbags are fitted to help keep you safe which is a meagre offering by modern city car standards. Security kit includes an alarm and there's a three-year warranty, but owners have experienced reliability issues.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Savvy is one of the cheapest cars you can buy, and claimed economy of nearly 50mpg isn't bad. If you can find someone willing to buy it after three years, expect to recoup little more than a quarter of what you paid.