Gettin’ a feel of the Neo R3

Published on March 15th, 2011

We were just driving through the border when I received a phone call from one of Proton’s official to attend a test drive in two days time. (that was last Wednesday). It was such a hectic week ever since last week, not that I’m complaining but there were too many things happening all at once. We made our way a ‘lil bit late and for the first time I managed to arrive late to a test drive, event or anything else that matters. Believe me when I say I just hate being late!

To keep things short, after a number of other media personnel of various publications got a taste of the new Neo R3 (it does rhyme a bit ain’t it?),  I stepped into the R3 Neo, I was taken aback as I seat since I have more headroom compared to the previous Neo. I was told that since there were a number of complaints of limited headroom, R3 made an altercations to the seats to provide more headroom for passengers and the driver even for those 6-footer… That’s how dedicated the R3 teams to accommodate the needs of their potential buyers. (nope! i didn’t get any commission by saying that).

That was not the only improvement you can find in the cabin of the Neo R3, there’s more such as a push-start button, way much better materials used called Trivel Fiber that is similar to Alcantara for the seats, steering, interior and… a double Din headunit, a huge improvement in the entertainment department. Apart from churning music and news from the double Din headunit of MP3, DVD and WMA compatible, it’s also a touch screen GPS system in which, when being switched on, will take over the front speakers while the rear speakers play your favourite music. Dashboard is in red but more to reddish pink matte finish, claimed by R3 to be scratch-proof. Do remember it’s scratch-proof not bullet or even stab-proof. Attention is given to the smallest details.

The exterior sports R3 kits giving it a more aggressive looks. The trimmings over the fenders would remind you to the previous Satria GTi and from what I understand, the Neo R3 can be looked at as the replacement of the popular GTi. A lower stance by 20mm gives the Neo R3 not just a great outlook but it also improves the handling and braking with the combination of the R3 16-inch lightweight rims wrapped in 205/45 Bridgestone RE001 tyres. You might be a bit disappointed with the lack of AP Racing rotors and discs along with the Ohlins suspension in the Lotus Neo, but once I got my hands on the steering, I can actually felt the difference from the Lotus Neo compared to the Neo R3. I would say overall the Neo R3 is at par or even better compared to Lotus Neo due to the amount of time given to its making.

As it’s a hatch, I’d say that the Neo R3 would entice the young uns’ and for those who are into a bit of spirited driving once in a while and doesn’t mind getting a number of summonses issued by both the police and the JPJ. The short shift gearbox would give other hatches a run for their money. Shifting through gears in the Neo R3 compared to its predecessors is harmoniously easy it would be a sin not to shift through all the gears while you drive. There are other performance parts thrown in the package along with the aesthetic value. The Neo R3 is not about that but more towards a spirited driving. In the engine bay, R3’s camshafts of 272 degree of lift on the intake and 264 degrees on the exhaust camshafts optimized by a ‘Clubsport Performance ECU maximizes the performance to [email protected],000rpm and 168Nm of torque @5,000rpm. I can feel the surge of power at 4500rpm and 5500rpm when I gunned the Neo R3 at the oval track at the COE (Centre of Excellence).

All this performance parts in the engine bay manages a century sprint of 9.2-seconds and a top speed of 205km/h. I’m not gonna say more and let the Neo R3 surprise you while you go for a test drive. With a package like this and selling at RM79,797.00, I’d say this is one of the cheapest hatch you can get here in Malaysia and it’s an understatement to say it’s value for money. It’s one of the car that can be considered for those who looks for performance and yet have the safety and comfort in mind. R3 also offers a number of R3 packages for those who are looking for a bit of performance from R3. For more information, do check out their website here at R3.

words: Hage’  pix: Syafril Ismail & Syawal Ahmad


  1. Posted by MiTec-i on March 15th, 2011, 17:04

    where can i get a test drive? Proton Platinum showroom at mutiara damansara no test drive unit only show unit

  2. Posted by Traffic Mag on March 15th, 2011, 20:12

    i’m pretty sure proton will announce it once they’re ready to give the public the neo r3’s test drive bro. 😛

  3. Posted by MoTeC on September 29th, 2011, 15:12

    nice n good performance..congrats to PROTON..but why does the steering..i mean all satria neo’s steering looks very ugly?like the Saga model..many prefer Gen 2 or Persona steering pattern…seriously..the Neo’s steering looks sucks and ugly..please..the people from PROTON R&D..please do something…

  4. Posted by MoTeC on September 29th, 2011, 15:16

    where can i buy those R3 rims?they looks hot…hehe

  5. Posted by Traffic Mag on October 1st, 2011, 00:02

    if im not mistaken, you can go straight to Proton Centre of Excellence to get it.

  6. Posted by Traffic Mag on October 1st, 2011, 00:03

    sad to say but i have to agree with you on dat… a MOMO steering would look good id say.


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