Proton well-equipped

but slow

PROTON'S five-door GEN-2 has impressed me in some ways, but there are a few downsides.

It makes a decent second-hand buy, with high spec and reasonable prices, along with any remaining of the power train warranty of six years or 100,000 miles.

It's a good looking five-door hatch somewhere between supermini and lower medium size, powered by either 1.3-litre 95bhp or a 1.6-litre 110bhp.

Both engines are rather peaky, with main power at higher revs. This is no bad thing in some cars, but these get noisier and harsher as the revs rise, which puts you off and performance is still pretty minimal.

Proton owns British sportscar maker and designer Lotus, so the handling and ride are both very good

There is plenty of grip and a minimum of roll and the power steering is direct and positive, with good feedback.

The cabin is a good place to ride with space for five at a pinch, a decent boot and a split folding back seat.

Standard equipment in the GSX includes front and side airbags, alarm system, four electric windows, remote locking, air conditioning, alloy wheels and electric mirrors.

It has height adjustment for both the driver's seat and steering column, but tall drivers like me might still find it difficult to get completely comfortable.

: Ford Focus





Price: £2,500 for an '06 06-reg GLS LE, or £5,800 for an '09 09-reg GSX

Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 12.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 39

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 172g/km