I suspect literally nobody in the UK left the house this morning with a desire to own a Proton Satria. This is partly because leaving the house isn’t a good idea right now, but also because the Satria has fallen off the radar.
Indeed, at the time of writing, there’s just one Proton Satria for sale on Auto Trader. One. It isn’t even the much-fancied* Satria GTI.
Fortunately, the solitary Proton Satria you could buy is a fine example. It’s described by the seller as a “GOOD Drive”, which should be all the evidence you require that this is a car worthy of your £999.
It’s actually more retro than the X-registration would have you believe. The Satria was a renamed – and in later life, facelifted – version of the Proton Compact, which itself was a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi Colt dating back to 1991.
The Satria was nowhere near as bad as the armchair critics say. It actually handled pretty sweetly, while the 1.6-litre engine was reasonably rapid. It just wasn’t cheap enough to dominate the budget end of the market – the Skoda Fabia was a safer bet. These were the days when Kia and Hyundai were happy to play the budget card, too.
It’s also worth remembering that there was a time when the Skoda Felicia was sold alongside the Fabia. In September 2000, when this Proton Satria was registered, the Felicia range started from £6,200, rising to £8,700 for the 1.9-litre diesel estate.
Meanwhile, a basic Satria cost £6,750, while a top-spec 1.6 Spectrum was priced at a lofty £10,000. With the benefit of hindsight, asking £14,500 for the Satria GTI was a bit ambitious. These aren’t outrageous prices, but Proton was hardly doing a Dacia.
Twenty years later, this Proton Satria offers much better value for money. Perhaps controversially, I’d say it has aged better than the Mk1 Fabia, although it would look better riding on a set of black steelies. Time to whip off those original Proton wheel trims.
Other things you won’t get on a Fabia include side badges that look straight outta the local motoring shop, a comic sans typeface on the dials, and the earlier Proton logo on the grille. Inside it’s as basic as a Belarus bus shelter, complete with keep-fit front windows and a hole in the dashboard that says you don’t care about your passenger’s face.
Sadly, it’s powered by the wheezy 1.3-litre engine, so you can cast aside any thoughts of creating a budget GTI. Still, it does have a roof spoiler – a touch of Malaysian flair to go with your Japanese technology.
This little Proton Satria needs to be preserved for future generations. It represents proper UK budget motoring from two decades ago, in the days before PCP, Dacia and PPI payouts. I find it strangely adorable.
Time is running out if you fancy buying a Proton that hasn’t been driven to the ragged edge of existence. Right now, there are just 23 Protons for sale on Auto Trader, with prices ranging from £350 for a Wira, to £2,995 for a GEN-2. One day I’ll buy one, but it’s most likely to be an Impian or a Satria GTI.
I’d encourage you to buy this Satria, but that would be irresponsible given the current situation. But let’s keep it on the radar for a little while longer. Still want that Fabia?
*Much-fancied by PetrolBlog.