Commentary Lifestyle

Event debunked myth that Proton cars are fuel guzzlers

Proton Iriz parked in front of Kellie's castle, one of the checkpoints in the northern leg of Proton 1-tank adventure

Ahirul Ahirudin
Written by Ahirul Ahirudin

OUR reporter who participated in the Proton 1 Tank adventure for the northern region ended a commendable second in the media category and now tells how his wheels, the Proton Persona, managed to travel all the way from Penang to Kuala Kedah, Perlis, Ipoh and finally back to Penang with just a single tank of fuel.


 August 2, 2018

ABOUT two months ago, a relative brought home a new Perodua Myvi. Good choice, I thought. When queried she said her only choices then were the new Myvi or the Kia Picanto.

Was it because she believed the story hat Proton cars guzzled fuel like crazy? Is the story true? Proton was determined to prove the doubters wrong and thus recently organised the Proton 1 tank adventure.

The concept was simple. Participants needed to drive the Proton cars provided on the designated route of about 620 kilometres without refuelling. The top two drivers would get RM2,000 and RM1,500 respectively. Each car had two participants and in all there were 18 cars for the northern region leg.

The adventure started from Proton Autocity Juru to Kuala Kedah, before heading to Perlis and finally south bound to Ipoh to rest for the night before heading out to Juru again the next day.

I would describe the route as a mix of backroad and highway on the first day, about 433km of it. The remaining 187km on the second day was almost all the way highway.

Now, some may say that unrealistic fuel consumption is only achievable through unrealistic driving. Let me clarify that I didn’t join the adventure just for the sake of winning but to also see for myself if our designated car could survive the distance when driven prudently.

By prudently I mean realistic relaxed driving conditions. Light footed, 80 to 100 km/h average speed on the highways and adhering to the national speed limit of about 70 km/h when on the backroads.

Air-conditioning was switched on too at least 90 per cent of the journey because we decided that driving without air-conditioning in our weather was just unrealistic. We only switched it off to enjoy the amazing seaside breeze in Perlis.

It’s worth noting however that we did actually drive at a constant pace of 60km/h in the last 10km because we were afraid that we won’t make it. It turned out that our fears were misplaced. More on that later.

We did at least seven pit stops including checkpoints to emulate realistic driving conditions. I mean, who travels 620km without stopping for refreshments or refreshing oneself?

According to statistics collected by event organiser Driven Team, the average fuel consumption of those driving the Persona was 18.42 km/l and since the Persona holds 40 litres of fuel, theoretically many of us could have gone 736km before running out of fuel.

I only managed to achieve 17.06 km/l which is a more realistic figure with air-conditioning on but I could have driven up to 682km without refuelling.

Perhaps Proton could tweak the fuel gauge to only give the fuel warning sign on the last 50km of estimated distance left instead of the last 100km because some may feel a bit of an anxiety when the fuel low warning pops up early.

If you’re more of a hatchback person, good news is that the six units of Iriz managed an average consumption of 18.12 km/l, which means that it could go up to 724km on a single tank of 40 litres.

The Saga was however the best performing car during this run, thanks to the 1.3L engine, coupled with its sedan body shape. Generally, sedans are more aerodynamic than the hatchback.

The average fuel consumption of five participants using the Saga was 19.46 km/l which means that with a tank of 40 litres, theoretically they could have gone a whooping 778km!

Many Malaysians I know are not as light footed as us when it comes to driving but it is always good to know that your car is efficient enough and could go the distance if you want it to.

I think it is safe to say that Proton models, at least the more recent ones like the Saga, Persona and Iriz, are fuel efficient, contrary to what some might say.



About the author

Ahirul Ahirudin

Ahirul Ahirudin