Dec 22 2008 Peter Hayward
Impian is cheeky little runabout
A PERFECT case for buying cheaper Far Eastern cars is the Proton Impian, which shows the strides the company has made in recent years.
Although it retails very reasonably new it comes well equipped, with air conditioning, traction control and power steering.
It is powered by a 1.6-litre engine with comes all the latest mod cons to make sure it is not far from the competition. It boasts 102bhp and that gives decent acceleration and economy.
The one drawback of this engine is that it's not as smooth or quiet as the best from the top makers.
But this is a small penalty to pay for a car that has so many other things going for it. Don't be put off.
The suspension is Lotus-developed and it gives a comfortable ride allied to good body control as well as good handling and road holding.
Protons have a great reputation for reliability and safety is good, with front and side airbags and anti-lock brakes both standard.
Remote locking and an alarm make sure they stay secure and the level of equipment, with electric windows and mirrors, a radio cassette and alloys even on the cheapest, is excellent.
Price : Pay only £1,000 for an '02 52-reg 1.6, £1,900 for an '03 53-reg X or £4,300 for an '06 06-reg GSX
Mechanical : 102bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox
Max speed : 116mph
0-62mph : 11 secs
Combined mpg : 31
Insurance group : 9
Marks : 9/10
Main rival : Vauxhall Astra