1 Nov 1996
By CHRIS HARRIS
Proton’s 1995 entry into the Australian market tried to emulate the huge success of Daewoo’s with the Wira, but fewer people cared about the Malaysian built ex-Mitsubishi cast-offs.
That car was rebadged and re-specified as the laughably named Persona, but it was still all CC Lancer-era car underneath, save for the five-door extension (called Aeroback) that Proton performed on the Persona four-door sedan.
Space, surprising value and sound quality were the Persona’s calling cards.
Initially the base GLi featured a (Mitsubishi-sourced) 66kW/126Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine offered in either five-speed manual or three-speed automatic guises, while a larger 1.6 version in the XLi boasted 83kW/137Nm tied to a four-speed auto.
From September ’99 an entry-level 55kW/108Nm 1.3-litre Persona GLi Aeroback arrived – it didn’t even have power steering.
In late ’00 a number of revisions saw the introduction of a 64kW/120Nm 1.5 engine in the Persona Aeroback GLi and XLi models.
The sedan and 1.6 had disappeared by then, and by mid-’02 so had the 1.3 and XLi models, to make room for the capable but overpriced Waja small car.
The all-new Proton-developed GEN.2 from late ‘04 augmented the sole Persona Aeroback 1.5 – still available in five-speed manual or three-speed auto guises.