IT'S a fact - anyone in their right mind is keeping a watchful eye on their finances at the moment and that's just where companies such as Proton come into play.
For when it comes to value for money, few manufacturers can compete with the incredible spec level combined with asking price of the new Proton Gen-2 ecoLogic.
And another incentive is the amazing economy of the vehicle because it not only runs on unleaded fuel, it also operates on the highly economical liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which is widely available at most service stations.
Many companies charge extra for a vehicle with LPG capabilities, but not so at Lotus-inspired Proton, where it is fitted as standard and the vehicle costs exactly the same as the standard unleaded model.
Now it sounds like the Gen-2 ecoLogic is the perfect car and for many motorists it will be. But it's not without its faults. For example, visibility through the rear window is limited due to a spoiler and the cabin noise is rather loud.
But these are minor issues when you consider the asking price of less than £11,000 and for that outlay you get a great looking vehicle packed with quality features such as electric windows, air conditioning, leather seats with a red hot trim throughout, a top notch Blaupunkt CD audio system with MP3 compatibility and plenty more besides.
In and around town, the 1.6 hatchback performed well, although that restricted visibility is a bit irritating when reversing into a tight parking space.
But out on the open road, the Gen-2 certainly held its own with faster moving vehicles and the road holding was excellent as it moved smoothly through the five-speed manual gearbox.
Comfort levels are not brilliant, but they are good enough and there is plenty of room for rear seat passengers. A generously-sized boot and plenty of smaller storage compartments mean there is ample room to meet all luggage requirements.
Proton has kitted the Gen-2 with a comprehensive list of safety specifications such as anti-lock brakes, numerous airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear crumple zones and lots more. And there is an array of security deterrents to keep uninvited attention at bay.