Warning: A slower version of the Inspira

Published on February 13th, 2011

Inspira, Inspira, Inspira…

Well, we asked Proton for the Proton Inspira for, ahem, further evaluation of the car’s true performance. We were humbled when they told us to take home both the 1.8 CVT and 1.8 Manual. Of course, we weren’t exactly thrilled of the idea having had to refuel two cars while we whack it mercilessly, but it comes with the job, I suppose.

We took the cars on a day we were literally on the road for the whole freaking day, going to an event, to a meeting, to another meeting, to the mamak near our office, to another meeting… you get the idea. So, we had plenty of opportunity on the day itself to test out the car’s fuel efficiency, power, handling and most importantly how well the car prevent us from sleeping on the steering wheel.

Our first impression towards the Inspira was already riddled with compliments, and we had literally no complaints.

Driving the 1.8 manual around (I’ll start with the stickplay, then we’ll move on to the autohumping CVT) made me feel young, unlike these old dudes I’m hanging around with. The car felt powerful, and the power is immediate. Clutch felt really light, and the gearshifting felt really smooth. Maybe a little too smooth for my hands, being a direct consequence of driving a hard-ass manual tranny since I started driving and all.

The pedals are really smooth and soft, like my hair, and a tad sensitive. If you’re used to utilising the heel-n-toe technique, you may require a little sensitivity doing it to the manual Inspira. One thing I immediately noticed was that when I slammed the pedal (after releasing the clutch on 1st gear), the whole weight shifted to the back and I had a sudden lift-off experience. Pressing the clutch again when the needle was pointing near redline made the whole car’s weight shift abruptly.

The car’s suspension felt a little too soft, unlike the one I remember back in Janda Baik. Do keep in mind that this was the first day’s impression and it was my first time driving the manual version.

Anyway, driving the car around for the next few days reassured my expectations of the Inspira. When you throw the car around on corners, expect the car to stay its course and d.o. n.o.t. p.a.n.i.c. The car may feel a little wobbly, but the car sticks to the road like a freaking elephant glue. Drivers may feel a little scary throwing around the car on corners, but it’ll wear off as you get used to the car’s real handling. It is also important to note that we did try hard to make the car over/understeer, but we couldn’t, and we tried hard. There’s no way you’ll be utilising the way we drive on a normal driving habit, unless you’re as insane as we are.

Taking the 1.8 CVT for a spin was another story. The 1.8 CVT feel more refine than the manual version, but with a tad wobbly feeling still attached to the car. Powerwise, it beats the hell out of the 1.8 manual. Gearshifting is almost immediate, and that is its biggest advantage. While the other guy is pressing the clutch, you’ll already be on the way to another gearshifting.

Taking the CVT through corners may be a little scary if you’re used to downshifting and engine braking as the electronics will not allow you to over-rev the engine and downshift to beyond redline. An annoying two-beep sound will inform you that you can’t downshift, yet, and you just have to press the brake pedal a little harder to slow down the car. As an avid manual freak, I’ll be honest that I did have my scare, so I pulled the steering and hung on to my dear life.

The car held! We had some serious fun with the car’s handling (once we’ve gotten used to the ticklish dampening, of course), and won’t hesitate to give it a good review.

The dampening can be a little scary, and if I’m buying the Inspira 1.8 (CVT or manual), I’ll be sure to tune the dampening down a little.

Of course, you can rely on the safety features fitted to the Inspira. The Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is definitely huge help in maintaining control as well as the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). SRS Airbags are also included, just in case, along with Child Restraint System (ISOFIX) and Child Lock at rear doors. Seatbelt reminders are also included for the hard-headed drivers and the reminder will not shut itself up until the driver fixes his seatbelt.

Other than that, there are features of the car that made it easier to like. One of them is the Bluetooth support on the standard Clarion head unit. Phone connectivity is easy, and we could even play our iPod movies and use the sound system to hear the sound. Nothing new in the wonderful world of technology of course, but it’s good to see such implementation to our national cars. Another feature we like is the multi-function steering wheel with audio buttons.

We did hear some complaints regarding the interior, but truth be told, you can’t really expect more than 30k of reduction in term of cost to get the exact carbon copy of the Lancer. The interior is not at all bad, unless you’re expecting a chandelier in the car.

The 2.0 CVT however, is also another story. The bodykit, the extra juicy leather in the interior, the pedal shifters, and the extra oomph that comes with the 2.0 INVECS III 4B11 engine is a sheer pleasure to drive. The suspension works and the dampening feel a lot better than the lower variants. There are no wobbly feelings, and the car feels even better than the 1.8 CVT, but that goes without saying.

If you’re still looking for more stability, we recommend TEIN adjustables and a pair of bucket seats. Probably a good idea to throw in a rollcage as well, and maybe a set of 19s with 35-series tyres to compliment the TEIN. Might as well slam the car while you’re at it.

The 1.8 manual is priced at RM78,999.00 for the metallic paint and RM78,549.00 for the solid paint while the 1.8 CVT is priced at RM84,999.00 for the metallic paint and RM84,549.00 for the solid paint. The 2.0 CVT is priced at RM91,999.00 for the metallic and 91,549.00 for the solid. The cars specifications are included below this article.

1.8 Manual Specification (Standard)

INVECS III 4B10 4-cylinder DOHC 16V
138hp at 6,000rpm
177Nm of torque at 4,250rpm
59liter fuel tank capacity
0-100 in 10s
202km/h max speed

1.8 CVT Specification (Executive)

INVECS III 4B10 4-cylinder DOHC 16V
138hp at 6,000rpm
177Nm of torque at 4,250rpm
59liter fuel tank capacity
0-100 in 11.4s
191km/h max speed

2.0 CVT Specification (Premium)

INVECS III 4B11 4-cylinder DOHC 16V
148hp at 6,000rpm
197Nm of torque at 4,250rpm
59liter fuel tank capacity
0-100 in 10.5s
198km/h max speed

words & pix: Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad


  1. Posted by Taka Taka on February 18th, 2011, 16:35

    Proton.. can i borrow 2.0 cvt for just 3 hours :p


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