Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The S16 arrived in Australia in December 2009. It's a relatively handsome design; build quality is good; the Proton S16 GX Automatic grade comes standard with larger and wider 14 inch alloy wheels (G & GX Manual grades must make do with smaller 13 inch steel wheels). GX Automatic also benefits from body coloured exterior mirrors and door handles to add a little more class. The car is manufactured in a top class manufacturing facility in Malaysia.
Not so good Drive the Proton S16 over a gravel road and you can hear and feel the difference between a higher priced SUPERMINI and this vehicle - the car could do with more sound deadening material. (However, we’re being picky as most S16’s would rarely drive on this surface)
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Proton's S16 has a spacious interior, second row head and legroom is very impressive; good levels of storage, an adequate sized glove box and the lack of a passenger airbag (in both the G and GX grades) creates another storage bin on the passenger side of the dash. It has comfortable rear seats that comes standard with two headrests; it also features a large boot for such a compact vehicle. The GX Automatic benefits from higher grade cloth seats, cloth trim inserts on the doors in lieu of plastic and a passenger side vanity mirror over the G and GX Manual variants.
Not so good Hard plastics cover the dash (however we shouldn’t complain at this price point); G and GX Automatic grades comes standard with only 2 speakers (at least the GX Automatic gets 4).
Performance

Performance

Good The Proton S16 range features two engines, the GX grade features a large 1.6L four cylinder engine that has class leading power of 82kW and torque of 148Nm ensuring this grade easily keeps up with traffic in the city or even on the freeway, fuel economy is on par with competitors measuring combined figures of 6.3L/100km for the Manual and 6.6L/100km for the Automatic. The S16 G variant features a smaller and more economical 1.3L engine, however 70kW of power is still adequate for the lightweight S16.
Not so good The 1.6L engine could be more refined, at highway speeds it's a bit noisy in the cabin.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Steering feels natural and well weighted which is sometimes rare in this segment; ride stays relatively composed over a variety of road surfaces; wind noise is kept at a low. Handling is quite good for a vehicle of this size and nature thanks to the influence of Lotus sports cars.
Not so good Ride quality is not as impressive as on the larger Proton Persona. Wider tyres would improve handling even more for more spirited driving.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Thousands of $$$ cheaper than competing SUPERMINI sized sedans; a 3 year unlimited kilometre warranty is better than most; standard full sized spare tyre over a temporary space saver; the GX Automatic grade comes standard with features such as reverse parking sensors, fog lights, 4 speakers and electric exterior mirrors (unfortunately the lower grades even miss on the latter). Since release in Australia, the Proton S16 has made headlines as being the lowest price sedan, Miss Universe Australia winner Rachel Finch appearing in the advertising material can only help this growing brand keep selling these cars.
Not so good G and GX grades do without a front passenger airbag. ABS brakes are optional (a very important safety feature).