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Proton Saga 2019: How far can you drive with a single tank of fuel?

The Proton Saga is still one of the most affordable sedans can you buy in Malaysia but is it fuel efficient? To find out, we took part in Proton’s 1 Tank Adventure. The challenge involves a drive from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru and then back up to Ayeh Keroh R&R which covers a distance of 650KM on a single tank of fuel.

The Proton Saga 2019 has a fuel tank of 40 litres and it still runs on the same 1.3L 4-cylinder engine that produces 95 PS of power and 120 Nm of torque. For the updated model, Proton has ditched its CVT for a more conventional 4-speed auto transmission.

After getting a full tank of RON95, we began our journey from Shah Alam to Eco Do Bem in Bemban, Melaka. For this adventure, we are told not to hypermile and drive normally without the need to switch off the air conditioning.

In the first part of the journey, we managed to get a smooth ride while maintaining an average speed of 70-80km/h and keeping our RPM needle around 2,000. Averaging at 5.0L per 100KM in the initial stage, the first petrol bar in the instrument cluster dropped after 145 km which is pretty impressive.

From Serkam onwards, we hit the kampung roads as we pass through small towns that have more congestions and traffic lights. That’s when our average fuel consumption starts to suffer and we were getting an average of 6.2L per 100KM. By the time we reached Johor Bahru, we’ve done 440KM with 2/7 petrol bars remaining.

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On the second day, this is where things got a little more exciting. For the final leg, we are told to drive from JB to Ayeh Keroh R&R with our remaining fuel. That’s a distance of 200KM but based on our car’s information cluster, we only have 152KM worth of range left.

It got pretty scary when the petrol indicator stopped showing any petrol bars at all and we have no clue how much range we have left. At that time, we have about 80KM distance to go and we continue to maintain a speed of 70-80km/h. After we heard another participant had run out of fuel before the R&R stop, we decided to switch off our aircon in the last 30 minutes of the journey.

Eventually, we managed to reach the final pitstop without ever needing to refuel halfway. In total, we did a total of 655.6KM in a single 40L tank. That’s quite an impressive feat considering we drove the car normally at a decent speed and kept the aircon running until the last 30 minutes of the challenge.

Overall, the Proton Saga 2019 was much better than expected. The new updated model also comes with upgraded brakes which are now larger and it is the same size as the current Persona and Iriz. In terms of design, the interior looks pretty drab but the Premium variant is well kitted with a touch-screen entertainment system that you can control via the steering, and the speakers are pretty good. On top of that, you also get front parking sensors, traction control, electronic stability control and a two airbags. I do wish it comes with more than just two airbags but then again, for a sub-RM40,000 car, it is still pretty good value.

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Despite being a budget car, it rides well and it is pretty quiet for a budget car. If you compare this with the Perodua Bezza, the Saga is the better car to drive on the highway. For those looking for an affordable car for driving enjoyment, I can say with confidence that this is definitely the best option for less than RM40,000.

Alexander Wong