Brand image is important when buying a car, especially when the time comes to sell it on but do buyers sometimes choose a car because of the badge and reputation it has over a better car from an inferior brand name? Proton launched their all-new Suprima S a few months ago and though they’re making encouraging noises about sales volume, the days of a new Proton immediately heading the national sales charts are long gone. In contrast, Toyota just launched the brand-new Vios last month. The car is so popular that it chalked up 8,000 orders…before it was even officially launched! But is the Suprima S so much less of a good buy than the Vios or is it a case of ‘great car, shame about who makes it’? We go spec-sheet surfing and point out 5 areas where Proton’s Suprima S Premium is clearly superior to the more expensive Toyota Vios G. The Proton Suprima S. The all-new Toyota Vios. 1. Size No surprise here as the Suprima S is a full-sized C-segment hatchback while the Toyota Vios is a B-segment car. The Proton’s length x width x height measurements of 4536mm x 1786mm x 1524mm easily trumps its rival which has figures of 4410mm x 1700mm x 1475mm. The Suprima S also has a 100mm longer wheelbase at 2650mm, which translates to more interior space. However, there is a penalty to pay as the Suprima S tips the scales at 1395kg. Toyota’s claimed kerb weight for the Vios G is a featherweight 1090kg but the difference is made up with… The Suprima S gets a Charged Fuel-Efficient (CFE) turbocharged engine. The 1NZ-FE soldiers on with the new Toyota Vios. 2. Power The turbocharged 1.6-litre CFE engine Proton uses in the Suprima S is a familiar unit as it’s also found in the Exora Bold and Prevé Executive. It develops 140hp at 5000rpm and 205Nm from 2000-4000rpm and Proton has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 9.1L/100km. The Vios uses Toyota’s 1.5-litre 1NZ-FE engine, and though it’s efficient and reliable, it’s been used since the very first Vios in 2003. It produces 109hp at 6000rpm and 141Nm at 4200rpm, which means it not only trails the Suprima S for power and torque, it also falls behind most of its class rivals. Toyota doesn’t quote a claimed fuel consumption figure on its corporate site but it’s safe to assume it’s more efficient than the Suprima S. However, it won’t be as relaxed a long distance cruiser because… A CVT with 7-speed mode shift is available in the Suprima S. A traditional 4-speed automatic is the transmission for the Vios. 3. Gearbox While there is something to be said about not deviating from a tried and tested formula, it seems almost inexplicable that the Vios G is paired to a 4-speed automatic that was also used in the very first car. There is also no manual mode (either a sequential gate or paddle shifters) so when you want to get sporty, you’ll have to manually shift it to 3,2 and L. The Proton Suprima S Premium uses a Protronic CVT gearbox and while every CVT requires some getting used to, it also gets steering mounted paddles to allow access to seven virtual gear ratios. That means you can achieve a highway cruise at ridiculously low revs. Ah, but perhaps a Vios G would perhaps have a longer spec sheet? Think again… The Proton Suprima S interior. The all-new interior of the Toyota Vios. 4. Standard specs After years of poorly specified cars Proton is throwing everything into their car including the kitchen sink. The Suprima S Premium gets six airbags, ABS, EBD and BA brakes, Traction Control and ESC. It also boasts of ISOFIX and top tether mounts, leather on the seats, door trims and steering wheel, DRLs, 7-inch LCD screen with built in sat-nav, auto lights and auto wipers. The standard spec on the Vios G has the leather and ISOFIX mounts as well as the brakes but it makes do with just two airbags and has neither TC nor ESC with manual lights and wipers. The air conditioning is manual too and while you can specify a touch screen infotainment system, it’s an optional extra that costs RM2,990. And then there is always… The Suprima S has proven to be an entertaining car to drive. The Vios focuses more on ride comfort and refinement. 5. Handling While a spec sheet cannot tell you how a car feels when being driven you can delve into the specs to guess which would be more fun. The Toyota Vios G essentially uses the same chassis as the original car from 2003. The only update is the move to an electric power steering rack but the suspension hardware of MacPherson struts and torsion beams is unchanged. The Suprima S Premium uses a less efficient hydraulic power steering rack (but it offers better feel) and it uses MacPherson struts at the front with a multilink set up at the rear. With wider 205/45 R17 tyres (183/60 R15 on the Vios G) on the Suprima S Premium and knowing that Proton puts a premium on handling, we can safely conclude that it would run circles around the Vios G. Ultimately, it’s fairly easy to point out the parts where a Proton Suprima S is superior to the Toyota Vios G. It’s a car aimed at a class above its rival but that shouldn’t stop buyers from putting it on their shopping list. Yes, admittedly, there’re are other clear and very compelling reasons to choose the Vios over the Suprima but on pure objective terms, it’s also very clear that the Proton is the superior car.
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