It’s not necessarily the Iriz we need – but is it the one Malaysians want?
You know how you can tell that crossovers and SUVs are starting to become the vehicle of choice? When manufacturers start making crossover-esque versions of their regular model range. We’re not talking about crossovers based on the same platform – there are many successful models that get this done. No, we’re referring to the same model, lifted slightly (or not) with rugged looking cladding.
And yes, we’re talking specifically about the 2021 Proton Iriz Active – which had spy shots leaked on the Chinese language automotive portal, Automachi. From the photos, we can see facelift revisions being adapted for the 2021 Iriz, in addition to thick black overfender-type body cladding and roof rails atop. The wheels seem to be 16-inch units – possibly underneath slightly taller suspension.
The interior also seems to be revised with this model, including what looks like body-coloured inserts – whether this is specifically for the 2021 Iriz Active or across the Iriz range is something we’ll have to see later on. From a powertrain perspective, it’s likely to use the same 1.6-litre VVT engine that Proton uses in the higher-spec Iriz and Persona, paired with a CVT-type automatic transmission. There is also a 1.3-litre VVT unit though that’s reserved for the entry-level models (and paired with a manual transmission if you desire).
Proton isn’t the first manufacturer to do this. From a local standpoint, Perodua was arguably the first with the Axia Style variant – which didn’t actually raise the car at all but had the black body cladding and larger wheels. Even so, there have been many manufacturers that have done the exact same thing – Audi has had their allroad quattro A6 variants since the late 90s, Volkswagen gave us the CrossGolf and CrossPolo from the mid 2000s, and even more recently we see Porsche with their Taycan Cross Turismo.
What’s the point of all this? Well, if the suspension is actually raised it does allow users the ability to go on mildly rough roads – not that the cars are actually used for this purpose. More than that, it’s to capitalize on a growing group of owners in the market for a crossover, even if they may not want to commit to something as large or bulky, or prefer a more budget-friendly option.
Regardless of what you may feel about the 2021 Iriz Active, it’s probably going to sell in huge numbers. We just wish Proton would give us a hotter Iriz R3 again – perhaps with the return of the 1.6 VVT manual variant, and some hopped-up powertrain components in honour of their race-winning racecars.
*Photo credits to Automachi, Irizians
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