A recent update about the Proton Saga has revealed that it will be launched in Pakistan soon and that the Pakistani market will get the limited edition ‘R3’ variant of the vehicle as well.
This variant had been released in the Malaysian market as a ‘limited edition’ vehicle that featured the same black-and-yellow exterior and interior. The special edition models had been developed as a tribute to Proton’s R3 motorsports division, with ‘R3’ standing for ‘Race, Rally, Research’.
The tribute was designed to celebrate Proton’s victory in the latest Sepang 1000 km endurance race in which cars 82 and 83 had bagged the top two spots. Additionally, the Proton has won six of the last eight circuit races. The numbers 82 and 83 are also mentioned on the sides of the limited edition R3 Saga variants.
Let’s take a look at the features and specifications of the Saga R3 that is being offered in Malaysia to determine how this model will differ from the rest of the Saga variants.
The R3 edition Proton Saga is pretty much the same vehicle on the outside, except for subtle changes to the body. Upfront is an attractive bumper extension that features a sleek yellow stripe. There is another yellow stripe right below the front grille, and a yellow ‘R3’ decal on the front windshield that makes the front of the car pop.
A sporty yellow-and-grey pinstripe sticker runs along the side of the vehicle and the extended side skirts, and the yellow side mirrors and matte grey alloy rims all lend a sporty look to the side of the car.
The back has a sporty diffuser with a yellow stripe, a yellow decal on the top of the rear windshield, a decklid spoiler on the trunk lid, and limited edition R3 badging at the back to serve as a reminder that this variant of the Proton Saga is more unique and valuable.
The interior also features the black-and-yellow theme of the Proton R3 variant. Overall, the black interior is surrounded with yellow accents like yellow piping around the floor mats, yellow stitching and R3 logos on the seats, yellow stitching on the steering wheel, and a few yellow trim pieces in various other spots in addition to the R3 limited edition badge on the dashboard.
In terms of features, the car is similar to the premium A/T variant as it has all the basic tech and safety features that are available in any good compact family sedan.
When the words ‘rally’ and ‘race’ are associated with a car, one expects it to have some sort of performance pedigree. However, as the ‘TRD Sportivo’ in the Malaysian market and as the ‘X’ trim in Pakistan, the R3 is just an appearance package. It is offered with the same 1.3-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine and a 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission that the Premium A/T model has.
This is not to say that it is a bad powerplant, as Proton had won the Sepang race with this very car and engine but with a manual transmission. Given that it is yet to be launched in Pakistan, Proton may surprise the local enthusiasts with some radical features that will increase the car’s desirability.
As a limited-run variant, the R3 is priced above the normal variants of the Proton Saga. In Malaysia, the Proton Saga Premium A/T variant costs 39,900 Ringgit, which is just over Rs. 1.5 million.
However, it commands a premium of 3000 Ringgit on the standard MSRP of the Premium A/T variant of the Proton Saga, meaning that the R3 variant of Proton in Pakistan may cost quite a bit more than the Premium A/T variant of the vehicle.
Given that Proton emphasizes keeping the price of the vehicle affordable, it is unlikely that the car will cost more than Rs. 2.2 million. Interested enthusiasts will just have to wait for details until its launch.