Proton Satria Gti Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

12 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Proton Satria Gti Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services
Proton Satria

Proton Satria

GTi Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 1 April 2000

Proton has engaged the expertise of its subsidiary company Lotus Engineering, to come up with a rather sporty GTi version of its Satria hatchback.

The Proton M21 coupe previously carried the mantle as the sporty member of the Satria line-up, but it now looks rather bland up against the GTi.

Transforming the Satria into a sports hatch worthy of GTi badging has involved comprehensive modifications to most of the car’s technical specifications, plus an extensive change in appearance through the use of body spoilers, skirts, mouldings and different bumpers.

On the mechanical side, the GTi is powered by the tried and proven Mitsubishi-designed 1.8 litre DOHC 16 valve engine, with a few tweaks to squeeze a little more power than produced by what is basically the same engine in the M21.

Improved handling was a major part of the GTi design brief and Proton engaged Lotus Engineering to analyse and assess every suspension and chassis component to come up with a finely tuned system that would give the desired handling characteristics without unduly compromising ride comfort.

The right wheel and tyre package is obviously very important when sports handling is required and so the GTi features six and a half inch wide by 16 inch diameter alloy wheels shod with high performance 205/45 Pirelli tyres.

Sports coupes deserve good brakes and the GTi gets four wheel discs equipped with the latest generation four channel anti-lock system.

Reduced NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) was another prime target for the GTi design team, according to Proton, however the engine remains a bit coarse when revved hard.

Priced at $26,450 plus delivery and statutory charges, the one-model-only manual Satria GTi comes with an impressive of standard equipment.

The list includes a driver’s airbag, factory-fitted air conditioning, power windows, power steering, electrically-adjustable exterior mirrors, central locking, an immobiliser and an alarm system, tilt-adjustable leather-covered steering wheel and a 50/50 split fold rear seat.

The exterior has had a pretty thorough workover, with ‘bolt-on’ wheel arch flares complementing the sporty alloy wheels, and the liberal use of body skirts, spoilers and air dams all add to the sporty flavour.

The inside has undergone a similar transformation, with Recaro seats, aluminium pedals and gear knob, stainless steel scuff plates and a carbon fibre and titanium look for the centre console and instrument cluster.

The overall look is sporty, but the test car showed there could still be some nagging doubts about the quality of fit and finish. Its centre console was insecure, the left side internal sunvisor slipped out of its bracket when lowered, the gear knob had a sharp-edged groove where the driver’s hand rests, and the load area carpet and seat back trims were untidily finished off.

As you would expect in a sports hatch, the driver and front passenger are well looked after, with plenty of legroom and excellent support from the Recaro sports seats.

Proton Satria

Rear occupants aren’t so well off as they are provided with only limited leg and head space. The rear side windows are fixed, so rear cabin conditions could prove uncomfortably stuffy in warmer weather, and particularly as the air conditioning didn’t seem to be all that effective.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Satria GTi driving experience is the car’s handling. The work by Lotus has certainly paid off, as the GTi has that proverbial ‘cornering on rails’ feel of a good quality sports car.

Thanks to its ultra low profile tyres, the GTi also turns in sharply and steers precisely. The only negative aspect is a slight tendency for the steering to follow ruts at low speeds, but that’s not unusual with this type of set-up.

As far as engine performance is concerned, the GTi goes quite well, but it falls just a little short of what might be expected from a car with such an overtly sports image.

To put the GTi’s performance in perspective, acceleration times recorded during our test of the car were just a little slower than a SSS Nissan Pulsar, a Mazda MX-5 and a Hyundai FX coupe. Not surprisingly, the Satria GTi is very close in performance to the Proton M21 and Lancer MR coupes.


Though its ‘heart’ isn’t quite as strong as might have been expected, the Satria GTi is rewarding to drive, thanks to its excellent handling abilities, its precise steering and its powerful brakes.

Perhaps just as importantly, the GTi really ‘looks the part’ with its big wheels, lower ride height and liberal use of spoilers and body skirts.

Complementing the GTi package is a comprehensive array of luxury, safety and security equipment.

Proton Satria
Proton Satria
Proton Satria
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