The 2011 Proton Inspira is the best Proton model to date, as any Proton owners can tell you after a quick test drive. The Mitsubishi Lancer-based Inspira, the creation of a technical agreement between Proton and Mitsubishi, offers the kind of interior refinement and quality that would have taken Proton many years to be able to mass produce.
Bring into consideration the Inspira's good looks, well-judged ride-and-handling, ergonomical, spacious interior, and, lastly, the value-for-money proposition, and Malaysians are looking at a desirable Proton, one that we would highly recommend to anyone shopping for a C-segment, mid-size car.
Proton's inputs on the Inspira were restricted to visual differentiation and suspension tweaking, with no changes to the powertrain, though that has not stopped Proton from claiming that they have added “value” to the Lancer base in the 17 months taken to create the Inspira.
It may be difficult to ascertain if the Inspira has a higher-quality interior than the Lancer, as Proton claims, and no easier to determine if the visual updates to the grille, bumpers and alloy wheels will appeal to a wider audience. But Proton's tweaking of the suspension, conducted in-house by a 15-personnel team, has indeed given the Inspira a noticeable edge over the Lancer in terms of ride-and-handling.
Despite the assertions from certain quarters that Proton has gone back to the old days of merely rebadging Mitsubishi models, the Inspira makes financial and business sense, requiring RM 250 million instead of RM 700 million to build and cutting seven months off the normal two-year development cycle.
Going forward, Proton assures that all of its limited resources will be spent on developing core models like the next-generation Proton Persona and Proton Saga, while OEM collaboration, a term preferred by Proton over rebadging, will only be conducted for non-core models like the Inspira.