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Proton Satria Neo (2007) - the supermini that Lotus built

Published: 19 March 2007

Proton Satria Neo: the lowdown

The new incarnation of Proton’s Satria has made its way into British showrooms. Still keen (and rightly so) to boost its street cred, Proton is making a song and dance about its ownership of Lotus by claiming that the Satria Neo is layered with Hethel know-how, design and inspiration. Those expecting Elise-style handling and Esprit-like power might be touch on the disappointed side, though…

Point taken, it’s no Exige. But how does it fare as a supermini?

There’s no doubt that the Satria Neo is a sharper-looking car than its predecessor. It has a more poised look about it, thanks to the sculpted bonnet, whirlpool alloys and pointy, inset lights. The interior is modern and spartan, highlights being glimmering ultramarine dials, an open-gate gearstick and chunky heater controls. It’s reasonably well kitted out too. The entry-level 1.3 SX gets a Blaupunkt CD player, air-con, electric front windows, ABS, EBD and rear parking sensors. Go upmarket a bit with the GSX models and there’s climate control, Bluetooth hands-free and cruise control on offer. Not bad for 10 grand or less.

Is it worth it?

The 1.3 SX costs £7995 which really isn’t a lot for a new car. The 1.6 GSX starts at £9595 for the manual, or an additional £800 for the automatic. All models average around the 40mpg mark, but the 1.6 would be our pick: it has 111bhp and is marginally more economical than its smaller-engined alternative. We'll be testing the Lotus-developed Proton soon, so come back to CAR Online to see if the hatchback is any good to drive.

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