The sub-RM100k B-Segment sedan market is full of choices, but can the supposedly incoming Geely Emgrand a.k.a next-generation Proton Persona challenge the current crop?
The B-Segment is a popular car segment in Malaysia. With various sizes and shapes offered, they tick the box of first or even family vehicle for many Malaysians - from young and fresh graduates to small families or even those looking for a secondary car.
The most prefered B-Segment car is the sedan body shape. They are loved because they present great value, especially when they deliver space, comfort, reliability and a most of all fuss-free ownership experience.
With more and more of them transforming from simple machines into cars with plush and premium interiors, a good amount of safety kit, and advanced drivetrains, it's no surprise that Malaysians continue to buy these models in large numbers.
But what cars are available for those seeking a sub-RM100k B-Segment sedan? Well, in this article, we explore the usual suspects such as the Nissan Almera Turbo, Honda City Sedan, Toyota Vios and Proton Persona but add the 2021 Geely Emgrand into the mix.
The recently launched Emgrand is a vehicle that is touted to be the next generation Proton Persona. So naturally, we just had to put it up against the crowd favourites from Japan. Does it have a chance though? Let's find out!
For the sake of comparing the best possible versions of the model, we will only include the highest spec available from each manufacturer, but for the Honda City, we have decided to go for the 1.5L V, as it is the highest spec City without a hybrid drivetrain, which should make this comparison a level playing field.
|Index||Geely Emgrand||Honda City 1.5L V||Toyota Vios 1.5G AT||Nissan Almera 1.0L Turbo VLT||Proton Persona 1.6L Premium CVT|
|Launched/Last Updated||Malaysia ETA 2023?||2020 (New Model)||2020 (Facelift)||2020 (New Model)||2022 (Facelift)|
|Engine||1.5-litre NA||1.5-litre NA||1.5-litre NA||1.0-litre Turbo||1.6-litre NA|
|4632 x 1789 x 1470||4553 x 1748 x 1467||4420 x 1730 x 1425||4495 x 1740 x 1460||4366 x 1722 x 1564|
|Safety||Passive+Active||Passive+Active+Honda Lane Watch||Passive+Active+Pre-collision warning, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert||Passive+Active+Intelligent Forward Collision Warning with emergency braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert||Passive+Active|
As you can see from the table, they are all pretty closely matched but there are some areas where certain cars excel more than others.
For engine performance, even though the Nissan Almera Turbo has the least amount of horsepower, it has a higher amount of torque, which also kicks in earlier than the rest. This should translate into a better amount of useable torque, as its peak torque can be utilised from 2,000 rpm - 4,000 rpm, unlike the rest which kicks in around 4,000 rpm.
For fuel consumption, the Nissan Almera Turbo and Honda City are tied in first place, with the Toyota Vios not far behind. The Geely Emgrand and the Proton Persona both breach the 6L/100km barrier, which is disappointing especially for the Emgrand as it is a newer car than the Proton Persona.
When it comes to interior space, the borderline C-segment Emgrand should provide the most space as it is the biggest car out of the lot. Even its boot space is considerably more expansive than the rest. However, it's particularly impressive that the Proton Persona which is the smallest car in the pack dimensions wise provides the biggest boot space. We can't discount the Honda City either when it comes to interior space, as Honda has a knack for making tight spots look and feel more spacious than they really are.
When it comes to safety, all the cars come with the usual active safety features such as traction control and anti-lock brake system but if you're looking for a car that provides the most in terms of safety features, there's no denying that the Nissan Almera Turbo with its long list of active safety features will be the car for you. Despite this and considering that it is cheaper in price, we think the Toyota Vios with its seven airbags and a host of active safety features strikes the best balance of safety kit and value for money.
To say one car is better than the other is difficult, as it depends on what you look for in a car. Despite the Proton Persona not having more than one stand out feature it is the most affordable car in the pack, which will be useful to those who have smaller budgets.
For those who have a bit more money to spend, the Nissan Almera Turbo will most likely be the number one choice, but for those who are looking for a middle ground where the car is capable of providing a good balance of features and value, then the Honda City and Vios is probably the go-to vehicle.
While the Emgrand is a bit disappointing in other departments, it does have the biggest footprint, which should translate into a roomier interior. If interior space is your priority, then perhaps the Geely Emgrand is car for you.
But who knows when the Emgrand will arrive on Malaysian shores, perhaps by then, Proton would have figured out how to cram many more features into the car, making it a more desirable prospect.
If none of the above satisfies you, there's always the fantastic Mazda 2 sedan, but that's a car over the RM100k price ceiling that we've used for the purposes of this comparison.