dates : 19th February 2006
25th February 2006
The immediate attraction of the
new Proton Arena light pick-up is that itís so different. It
seems to have drawn its styling inspiration from the likes of
the Chev Lumina SS. Old school perhaps, but pleasing on the
It has some practical attributes, like heavy rubbing strips
along the flanks, but lacks the step-up slot in the rear
panels employed by its main rivals the Bantam and Corsa.
The top GLX model in the Arena range is fitted with a plastic
load bin liner, something we are in two minds about. Great
when you are loading light stuff like pot plants and
television sets, but when it comes to the heavy grunge and
grime of construction, they can split. And the resultant water
trap could introduce the dreaded rust beetle.
As for the rest of the styling, pleasing on the eye, but there
are some quality glitches. The grill and bonnet were woefully
misaligned, and the tailgate was mounted with very
questionable panel gaps.
Bakkies these days have more of
a living-room interior than the hard plastic no-frills
approach of old. Wrap around center consoles, contrasting
panels, and well-formed bucket seats are part and parcel of
your modern pick up. This top of the range GLX model features
cloth upholstery in a rather nice texture, if slightly gaudy
One of the nicest aspects of the Proton engine is its ability
to rev effortlessly. At 64 kiloWatts itís no firebrand, but
it delivers its power in a vibration-free manor with none of
the industrial application one might expect from a bakkie.
The big question mark is in the torque area. Itís rated at
126 Newton metres at 3000 rpm, but this seems a bit optimistic
to us, at Reef altitude at any rate.
Even pulling off without a load itís sometimes left
flat-footed, and with a heavy load on board Ė itís rated
at 645 kilograms Ė that clutch is going to take strain
Other than that we enjoyed the "pointy" nature of
the Arena. It turns in crisply in car-like fashion and Proton
stresses that Lotus, a company it owns, had at least something
to do with the crispness of the handling.
In short itís a car-like ride, although Proton seem to have
gone overboard on the stiffness rating on the rear springs
which give a lot of un-damped kick-back over bumps when
Performance-wise it rates a claimed 13,7 second 0-100, and a
top speed of 155 km/h.
The load bin measures a total of eight-hundred litres, handy
if you are toting around great gobs of Styrofoam.
And the fuel tank measures 60 litres, which should give a
range of 600 kilometres in normal driving.
As for all the add-on's on the top GLX model, we liked them
with the exception of the roll bar.
But the extra gizmos moves the price into the R113 000 league.
Good on gizmos, but for substance, weíd probably go for one
of the more established competitors.
Proton Arena GLX
Four-cylinder petrol, 1 468 cc
- Power: 64 kW @ 6000
- Torque: 126 Nm @
Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h: 13,7
- Top speed: 155 km/h
- Fuel consumption:
10 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R112 995
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