Used Proton GEN-2 Hatchback 2004 - 2007 review

Category: Family car

The Proton Gen-2 handles well, but too many faults in other areas to be recommended

Proton GEN-2 Hatchback (04 - 07)
  • Proton GEN-2 Hatchback (04 - 07)
  • Proton GEN-2 Hatchback (04 - 07)
Used Proton GEN-2 Hatchback 2004 - 2007 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Proton GEN-2 hatchback like?

The Proton Gen-2 is a five-door hatchback designed to compete in the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf class. And, to its credit, it looks smart and handles quite well. Proton owns Lotus and got the sports car company to develop a sharp, yet subtle-handling chassis for the Gen-2.

The trouble is, Proton could do with help in a lot of other areas, too. Engine noise plagues the Gen-2's cabin, and it doesn't seem to matter how gently you apply the throttle. Road and wind noise are also only too obvious.


The Proton Gen-2 handles well, but too many faults in other areas to be recommended

  • Looks good, rides and handles reasonably well
  • Build quality, performance
  • safety and refinement lag well behind rivals'

Inside, although both the driver's seat and the steering column are height-adjustable, it's still hard to find a good driving position. There's reasonable room up front, but space is poor in the back.

The Gen-2 gets a good-sized boot, but doesn't have a glovebox. And, while the cabin looks smart enough, the build quality and levels of safety equipment are poor.

Ownership cost

What used Proton GEN-2 hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Proton GEN-2 hatchback?

When it was new, the Gen-2 could be bought for very little money and in the time it has taken to reach the used market it has got an awful lot cheaper - chronic depreciation means low prices.

Servicing costs are not particularly cheap, though. This is due in part to the Gen-2's relatively short maintenance intervals. It needs a major service every year, or 9000 miles, whichever comes first, whereas rivals like the Chevrolet Lacetti can run to 10,000 miles and the Ford Focus 12,500. So, over three years, the Gen-2 will work out more expensive to service than the Ford or the Chevrolet.

Fuel economy, at 40.4mpg for the 1.3 and 39.3mpg for the 1.6 is reasonable.

Our recommendations

Which used Proton GEN-2 hatchback should I buy?

There's a choice of two engines and two trim levels, but we don't rate the 1.3-litre petrol unit much. It has 74bhp and 80lb ft of pulling power, which is okay when you're driving it on your own, but not great with a full load of passengers on board.

The 1.3-litre car is available in basic GLS trim only, but that comes with more equipment than you might think. Air-con, remote central locking, alloy wheels and a CD player are all standard fit, as are twin airbags and anti-lock brakes. On top of that, the 1.6 GSX adds side airbags.

Although it could hardly be described as rapid, we recommend the 110bhp 1.6. It provides reasonable response right through the rev range. Along with enhanced safety and climate control, rear electric windows are also fitted to GSX cars, plus there is a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

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