The 2022 Persona and 2022 Iriz get some pretty useful transmission updates which should make it better to drive and make them go the distance but what does the Eco Mode, NIC and SAT do?
When Proton launched the facelift 2022 Iriz and Persona earlier this month, a total of 200 parts were added/ enhanced on both models. Although much of its publicity was directed towards aesthetic upgrades, such as a new-look bumper and grille, a revised interior, voice control functions, and the introduction of an all-new lifestyle variant called the Iriz Active, the changes underneath the body were not covered as thoroughly.
However, at a virtual discussion with Proton's vehicle programme executive, Adzrai Aziz bin Ibrahim, we came to understand these performance improvements a little bit better, which Proton claims makes the current CVT transmission in the 2022 Persona/ Iriz up to par with the competition.
The Iriz and Persona are good at many things, but one of the areas it falls short on compared to its competitors is its fuel consumption. To address this, Proton gave the Iriz/persona some transmission software upgrades, which now provides the duo with new fuel-saving functions, namely the Neutral Idle Control (NIC) and Eco Mode.
The Eco Mode on the MC2 (Minor Change 2) vehicles is not to be confused with the Eco Driving Assist indicator previously seen on its predecessor. The Eco Driving Assist indicator merely informs the driver that they are driving economically, whereas the Eco Mode on the 2022 Iriz/ Persona disengages the CVT clutch off-throttle at speeds under 70 km/h, allowing the car to coast, which saves fuel. It can be operated through a button on the dashboard and is not an automatic function.
The Neutral Idle Control is also another fuel-saving measure that disengages the clutch when the car is at a standstill, even if the driver has left the transmission in the D (drive) position. Idling in gear produces a load on the engine and worsens fuel efficiency, so having the clutch disengage itself when it stops alleviates fuel consumption. According to Adzrai, this feature will not harm the clutch but instead save it from unnecessary use.
According to Proton, the fuel savings over its predecessor is 11% for the Iriz, 12% for the Persona and 7% for the Active which is taller and heavier than the regular Iriz.
The final transmission performance enhancement that Proton has been working hard on is the stepped-ratio SAT function. Whereas a regular CVT would usually stay in high revs perpetually making you feel like you are stuck in a low gear, the stepped-ratio SAT function creates a stepped gear change feel where the revs go up and down just like in a normal automatic gearbox. According to Proton, this improves refinement and gives the illusion that the CVT is shifting, which is something that most of you prefer, according to a survey Proton commissioned.
As you can see, the 2022 Proton Iriz and 2022 Proton Persona are not merely aesthetic upgrades. Instead, improvements to its driveability, fuel consumption and NVH have also been made. So yes, no drivetrain hardware has been changed since the MC1 (2019) cars, but the software updates have given the facelift vehicles key improvements, which should make them more fuel-efficient and refined.
Some of you might say, why not just use the 4AT transmission in the Saga facelift since it has been well received? Well, you'll have to stay tuned for that as an article regarding that exact question is coming soon!