Today I have been mostly driving....

Introduction

A Proton Satria Neo...now before everyone laughs their heads off, its actually really excellent to drive. I believe its the only small car you can buy brand new new with hydraulic PAS, and I think thats what makes the difference...I was ready to laugh at the 'Handling by Lotus' badge on the back but you really can tell its something a bit special. It has fully independant suspension, with some of the most perfect damping ive ever experienced, whatever the surface however deep the pothole, the suspension remained firm, compliant and refined with precise well weighted steering. When I got back in the GPS I was appauled, honestly.

It handles really well with very little roll, albeit let down by Continental SC 1s which were pretty pants. The only problem was the brakes, they work well enough normally but give them a workout and the pedal got very long and very soft. The one I drove was an 07 but with just 12.5k miles on so probably in need of a brake fluid change.

The engine is a 1.6 CamPro, which makes a very strange but not unpleasant noise at the redline, and most importantly can hit 60mph in 2nd gear, which makes it feel faster than it really is. Also 5th gear gave the same sort of revs at motorway speeds as 6th in the Punto.

The interior is pretty good too, it looks a bit cheap but no worse than say a Yaris or Mazda 2 and of course its a damn site cheaper than them all. The seats are very comfortable though. Coupled with the fact it comes with Climate, Reverse Sensors, Bluetooth, Alloys, MP3 Blaupunkt Stereo and much more, combined with a 7 year powertrain warranty, and its a fantastic little package. It has some nice touches, blue instruments etc to liven it up too.

Downsides, depreciation is bad, and it needs servicing every 9k miles (£99 a shot) back seat space is very very tight and the boot is only average, but who cares I dont have kids lol!

I was really really impressed, a great car and if it wasnt a Proton im sure it would fly out of the showrooms. If the Grande Punto 'Sporting' drove as well as this, I would be over the moon.

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