We had the opportunity to get the 2.4-litre (2,354cc) Premium variant of the Perdana at RM138,888 (on-the-road with GST and insurance), all to ourselves.
This D-segment sedan’s sheet metal and its 5,020mm-long silhouette is somewhat differentiated from the eighth generation Honda Accord it was based on, in terms of look and feel. By the way, that “donor” Accord model’s production ran from 2008 to 2013.
At least there’s plenty of design cues to help tell it apart, for instance the power dome on the hood that maybe pays tribute to the hey-days of the Iswara and Wira and that front splitter that gives the front end a far more extended and aggressive look.
The rear end looks very different too, with the bumper section getting busy with a high-angled boot lip, chrome accents flanked by the LED tail lights, some trapezoidal shapes to mix things up and finally a premature-looking diffuser that hides the real exhaust.
The Perdana’s large and cavernous wheel arches truly need a set of 20-inch wheels to really fill them in and the 17’s with 225/50 series Goodyear EfficientGrip tyres just barely cut it.
But, at least those alloy wheels retain some of that necessary aggressive looks.
Popping the hood gets a familiar sight, nothing out of the ordinary, just where the magic happens to produce 178hp at 6,500rpm and 222Nm of torque at 4,300rpm before the driver dictates how much gets sent to the front wheels via the five-speed automatic.
The Perdana may look every bit sporty with the naughty body kit and alloys, but the interior is more of a polar opposite with its more mature beige-black colour selection and polished wood accents.
With wide-opening doors, the interior looks very inviting, but the eight-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar support (four-way for front passenger) was a bit of a let down having looked more comfortable than they really were.
The stiff seats look large with their squared-off backrests and they could benefit from having memory function too - at least for the driver’s side if there are more than one driver in the household, but they’ll do the job when it’s time to ‘touge’ (art of mountain drifting) with good amounts of support and more than enough bolstering.
Passengers seated on the rear bench will find it extremely plush, but if there are thoughts of cramming a fifth person in for a long haul over the weekend, seat rotation may be necessary.
There’s just plenty of leg, shoulder and head-room for four though, at the front and rear.
While the beige helps to visually ‘open’ up the cabin, the black does well to hide the intrusions and there’s plenty of stowage compartments and cupholders - all of which seem to chant the word “Accord.”
Twist the key, shift it into “D” and everything becomes a smooth transition, from the acceleration to the braking, only the steering wheel felt extremely hefty, which was great for providing a more direct feel at highway speeds when manoeuvring in confined spaces.
Shifting into S (sport mode), gets the engine speed rising higher, getting rid of its restrictions and allowing it to run more freely towards the 6,800rpm red-line, especially with the aid of the paddle-shifters for a more engaging drive.
However, with the automatic being only a five speeder, getting the 2.4-litre to downshift quickly can be challenging, needing to wait till it gets to around 3,500rpm to do so, while a six-speeder would have allowed that to happen around the 4,000rpm mark instead.
Furthermore, gear changes aren’t lightning quick, but they do relatively engage with authority.
The Perdana can and will hold the line well when aggressively pushed through corners, with some understeer happening if it gets over its limits.
But, perhaps due to its length, drivers will need to be cautious when being aggressive, especially when braking around tighter bends, which seems to have a tendency on calling out the tail end if the brakes get applied a little too much.
Reducing the velocity down to more docile levels, the suspension actually does provide quite a bit of travel for some comfort.
There was still quite a significant amount of road surface information coming back to the senses for an informative drive and that can quickly lead to a heavier foot.
With the Perdana Premium being just a tickle over five metres long, having a reverse camera is definitely a necessity, but due to the angle of the display, it incurs quite a bit of visual interruption from the mid-day sun.
There’s a small symbol of a key imprinted on the driver’s door handle to indicate keyless entry, but there wasn’t, nor was there a “PUSH-START” button.
The Perdana also does not have a photochromic (auto dimming) rear view mirror.
If only such items were to be included in the mix of offerings, we’re certain that the ownership experience would have been complete.
Sure it’s got some of the bells and whistles, but the package just doesn’t seem complete with certain aspects of the car, such as the unsophisticated rear view mirror, lack of keyless entry, push-start button, stiff front seats and the protrusion of the hood’s power dome when viewed from within the cabin.
All that seems to mar and prevent that sense of luxury from coming full circle at the last moment.
Although the Perdana does come off as one of the most affordable D-segment sedans currently available with savings of almost RM34,000 versus the new 2.4-litre Accord VTi-L’s RM172,800 price tag, it will obviously emerge the big winner just on price point alone.
A bit more equipment would allow the Perdana to close the gap with its current generation competitors.
SPECIFICATIONS - Proton Perdana 2.4L
Engine: 2,354cc, 16-valve DOHC
Max power: 178hp at 6,500rpm
Max torque: 222Nm at 4,300rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic with paddle-shifters
Kerb weight: 1,535kg
Features: Four airbags, antilock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, automatic HID projector headlights with auto-levelling, LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lamps, LED rear light cluster, shark-fin antenna,full body-kit with rear boot-lid spoiler, leather seats and interior, automatic dual-zone climate controls, 8-way powered driver's seat with lumbar support, 4-way powered passenger seat, automatic cruise control, six-speaker sound system with sub-woofer, 6.2- inch TFT screen with radio, CD ,DVD, integrated DSP, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, AUX-jack, navigation and reverse camera, ISOFIX anchor points, 17-inch dual-tone finished wheels with 225/50 series tyres.
Warranty: Five years unlimited mileage.
Price (metallic):RM138,888 (on-the-road with GST and insurance).