Why did Proton stick with the CVT in the 2022 Persona and Iriz and not equip it with the 4AT transmission from the Saga?
When Proton equipped the facelift Saga with the Hyundai sourced 4AT transmission last year, it was met with some fanfare. The distaste for the previous transmission, the Punch CVT was so strong, Proton buyers celebrated the new transmission even before trying it out.
When buyers finally bought the facelift Saga and experienced the 4AT, it got a mixed bag of reviews. Some said that the new transmission made the Proton sedan better, while others called it a step back in terms of technology.
Generally however the 4AT in the Saga has been received well, with many saying that the car is now much more straightforward to drive and that bit more refined.
So naturally, when there were rumours that a facelifted Persona/Iriz was in the pipeline, many hoped that both the Persona and Iriz too would get this 4AT transmission since it was working well for the Saga. But when Proton launched the 2022 Persona and Iriz last month, many were disappointed that Proton had stuck with the punch CVT transmission as seen on the MC1 cars.
Via an online interview with Proton's Vehicle Program Executive, Adzrai Aziz bin Ibrahim, he said that the CVT transmission remained in the Iriz and Persona because it still offers better fuel consumption and turning back to the 4-speed automatic transmission will not help them achieve the desired fuel consumption target for the Persona/Iriz model.
According to Adzrai Aziz, the suitable replacement for the CVT transmission for the duo would have been a 6-speed automatic transmission, which they looked into, but cost and development time constraints made them stick with the CVT in the end.
The development, testing, and tuning of a new 6-speed transmission will take longer as it is a new transmission and not one readily available in Proton's arsenal of transmissions, and it didn't really make sense to invest in it, primarily because Proton has worked hard to make the CVT better in the 2022 Persona and Iriz.
When the Persona MC1 was introduced in 2019, many innovations were made by the Proton team, especially when it came to the CVT transmission hardware itself. This is evident by the decrease in the rate of complaints from customers regarding the CVT transmission, which now gets 80% fewer warranty claims.
The issue of the rubber band effect when the gas pedal is pressed where the engine RPM jumps up to 5000 RPM and stays there, causing noise that can be heard inside the cabin, has also been resolved by Proton via the SAT feature. This Step Auto Mode or SAT feature is built-in compared to the previous Saga CVT, where the driver had to press a switch to activate it.
When the driver presses the gas pedal up to 70%, the CVT transmission ECU will activate this SAT feature and mimic the same gear shifting behaviour of a regular conventional automatic transmission. Other manufacturers, such as Toyota, have used this trick for a long time.
Proton's improvements regarding the CVT transmission in the Persona and Iriz seem to be well thought out, but since we are still in a pandemic and can't really get our hands on the MC2 cars, for the time being, we look forward to trying it out ourselves and putting Proton's claims to the test.
After all, if you don't like the CVT transmission in the Iriz, you could always get the car in a manual. Oh wait, you can't do that either now as Proton has killed off the manual tranny in the Iriz. Why? Well, Proton has a good reason for that too which you'll read about soon...