Proton’s already released photos of the Iriz and Persona facelift. The related duo are the first of the existing Proton models to be refreshed since Geely came into the picture. The shots didn’t reveal much aside from the cosmetic changes but the carmaker has since given the media a little time to sample the 367 improvements made to the Iriz.
Yes, 367 upgrades or enhancements that span NVH refinement, fuel consumption, better braking and some nicer-feeling bits at high-contact spots in the cabin. We’re just going to spotlight 10 aspects of the hatch that stood out to us.
1. That all-new logo
Proton redesigned the Iriz logo with an emphasis on the letter “R” by boxing it in and shading it a striking red that contrasts with the chrome of the other letters. When queried about it, the official answer was that it “hints at the model’s future potential.” First they had our curiosity, but now they have our attention.
2. A sharper front end
Sleeker headlights with a chrome strip that flows into the Ethereal Bow lends the impression of a wider front façade. The Infinite Weave pattern on the new grille is subtly teased below the bow. Front fog lights are a thing of the past with the LED DRLs taking their place.
3. New colours
The entire colour swatch from the pre-facelift has been revamped with only the Ruby Red surviving the cull. Geely filled up the remaining four slots with shades from their own library, introducing Snow White, Jet Grey, Armour Silver and Ocean Blue to join the red. It’s a very much more matured palette and our money’s on the blue being a favourite with buyers.
4. Ditched the logo out back
It’s looking like a permanent fixture in the new design language following its application on the X70. Proton has binned the logo on the boot lid, instead spelling out “Proton,” and doing it on a gloss black garnish that sits below the rear windscreen to cover up metal between the taillights.
5. Comfier seats
New fabrics on a redesigned seat promises more comfort and additional support with bolstered sides to keep front occupants in place as you take advantage of the dynamic handling we’ve come to expect from the Iriz. Furthermore, the stripes on the central section of the seats look suspiciously like an inverted take on the classic Martini Racing lines. We approve.
6. Darkened upper interior
The A-pillars and roof lining have been blacked out for a much classier black-on-black theme in the cabin
7. Better tactile feel in the cabin
Proton acknowledges the shabby materials in the cabin and has taken the effort to improve tactile feel at a number of high contact areas inside such as the gear knob on the Premium trim. Disappointingly however, they neglected to upgrade the flimsy plastic-fantastic air-conditioning knobs.
8. Hi Proton
That’s right, the fancy head unit from the X70 makes its way over to the Iriz and brings almost all the key functionalities with it. This includes internet connectivity, voice control, navigation, music streaming, weather forecast and volume control. You can also Mirrorlink your smartphone using the EasyConnection app.
9. Punchier CVT transmission
The Iriz is a nippy little hatch that loves being tossed around corners with some sharp handling; a hallmark of any Proton, but that CVT was its Achilles heel with the typical draggy feel and overly aural. Proton sat down with Punch Transmission to incorporate improvements from the Geely transmission into the Iriz’s CVT. Following some recalibration and retuning, the CVT promises more refinement though the short stint in the hatch wasn’t sufficient to corroborate that claim.
10. No safety upgrades
Granted, the Iriz does retain its five-star ANCAP rating but seeing that the high level of safety kit was a USP, some minor upgrades at the very least to the safety department should have been incorporated, especially with the Perodua Myvi now packing autonomous braking.
Although very much a light facelift exercise by industry standards, it’s the sum of all the minor updates that add up into a major improvement. The Iriz is still very much the car we know from before, albeit with a nicer smartphone, cleaner haircut and less shouty wardrobe colours.
Prices are yet to be confirmed though they shouldn’t stray too far from the pre-facelift numbers. There’ are now five variants to pick from; 1.3-litre Standard (manual), 1.3-litre Standard (CVT), 1.3-litre Executive (CVT), 1.6-litre Executive (CVT) and 1.6-litre Premium (CVT). If you place an order online starting today till 11 March, you’ll even get two years of free road tax.