There is a growing concurrence among Pakistanis on how cars are gradually becoming out of the reach of the common man because the average price of a car is between Rs. 2.5 million and Rs. 2.8 million, which is a huge amount for a brand new subcompact car. The Pakistani market has also been getting the same old products without significant improvements in terms of features over the past decade or more.
It was not until the arrival of the new Toyota Yaris that Pakistan got a completely fresh product that has been selling by the boatload ever since. However, this year, Toyota, Honda, and Suzuki seem to be in for a relatively tough time owing to the arrival of two new alternatives in the subcompact sedan segment of the Pakistan car market — the Changan Alsvin and the Proton Saga.
Although the Alsvin was revealed in December 2020, it was formally launched in Pakistan in January 2021 to a warm welcome. On the other hand, the Saga was debuted in Pakistan on 4 April 2020 to a decent response. Still, the question of which car would offer better value for money remains.
Here is a comparison of the Proton Saga and the Changan Alsvin to find out:
Although the Proton Saga is by no means ugly, its design comes off as a bit too plain. However, its cosmetic features like the aggressive headlight design, alloy rims, a modern front bumper, a unique front grille, and the mirror-mounted turn signals manage to flare up the design just a bit.
It has some more attractive design elements around the rear, such as decorative vents and a diffuser, sharp taillights, and a decklid spoiler that perk up its looks, but in terms of overall design and silhouette, the Proton Saga looks to be a generation old car, despite being new.
Initially, there will be a ‘limited edition’ R3 variant, which is a special trim-level inspired by Proton’s ‘R3’ motorsports division to feature additional styling cues like the color black as the standard, complemented by the yellow vinyl stickers and trim pieces that add oomph to the design.
The Alsvin wins a few points for its better looks. It is a decent-looking car with a stylish front fascia, a large and imposing front grille, a sharp pair of headlights, cutting-edge LED DRLs, and a smooth front design.
The side profile resembles that of any other compact family sedan with a few sharp lines, an average-looking set of 15-inch alloy wheels, and body-colored door handles for a clean look.
The theme of simplicity continues at the rear, with the design of the taillights, bumper, and reflectors giving the car a nice, clean, and elegant look. Overall, the Alsvin is a fairly clean and good-looking family sedan.
On the inside, things do not get better for the Proton Saga. Although it has a fair amount of safety and tech equipment, the interior looks quite old, especially compared to its competition.
Plus, the interior seems to be made almost completely out of cheap, hard, and shiny plastic, which, despite being durable, does not do the Saga any favours. This is where the Saga falls short because there are a lot of better-looking interiors out in the market in the same car segment.
In terms of room, the Saga is reported to have decent cabin space for either a family of five, or four fully-grown adults. The beltline is quite low, which means that the drivers and passengers get a clear view of the outside, and the cabin feels nice and airy.
The Alsvin has a better interior in terms of aesthetics, and although the design is not too cutting edge, it is on the better side of simple interiors with a modern cockpit and a cheerful ivory-beige interior that complements the black dashboard and door panels.
It also has a sporty-looking, flat-bottomed, steering wheel with control switches, a 7-inch touch-sensitive infotainment screen, dual airbags, leather seats, and numerous other features.
In terms of room, based on the reviews of the car in the international market and considering that it is a subcompact sedan, the Alsvin can comfortably seat either a family of five, or four adults. However, like its competitors, people taller than six feet may struggle in the backseat during long rides.
Weight and Dimensions
Although both the Proton Saga and the Changan Alsvin are classified as B-segment sedans, there are quite a few differences in their measurements. Here is what is known about their proportions:
|Measurements||Proton Saga||Changan Alsvin|
|Wheel Base||2,465 mm||2,610 mm|
|Overall Width||1,689 mm||1,745 mm|
|Overall Length||4,331 mm||4,390 mm|
|Overall Height||1,491 mm||1,468 mm|
|Kerb Weight (Top Trim Level)||1,065 kg||1,240 kg|
The Saga can be had in three main trim levels — the Standard Manual, the Standard Auto, and the Ace Auto. All the variants will be offered with only one engine option — a 1299 cc, naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 94 hp and 120 Nm of torque. The engine will be paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission depending on the variant.
There will also be a ‘limited edition’ R3 variant, which is a special trim-level inspired by Proton’s R3 motorsports division that will feature additional styling cues and a slightly larger 1332 cc engine that is offered as the standard in Malaysia. The engine makes the same power but slightly more low-end torque than the Pakistani 1299 cc engine. The R3 variants will also be offered with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox options.
The car’s suspension setup consists of MacPherson struts in the front and a Torsion Bar Coil-Spring suspension at the back, allowing for a soft and smooth ride. It also has ventilated disc brakes with an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) technology in the front and conventional drum brakes in the back.
The fuel economy of the Proton Saga is 12 km/liter to 16 km/liter as claimed by several international car reviewers, although figures may vary with respect to each driver in Pakistan.
The Alsvin is available with two powertrain options. The base trim has a 1.37-litre, 4-cylinder Blue Core engine with Dual-Variable Valve Timing Technology (DVVT ) that delivers 95 hp and 135 Nm of torque, and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The mid and the top trim levels both have a 1.5 litre, 4-cylinder Blue Core engine with DVVT that makes a weak 105 hp, but a good 145 Nm of torque, and is mated to a 5-speed DCT automatic gearbox in either of the trim levels.
For the suspension setup, the Alsvin has MacPherson Struts in the front and a torsion bar coil-spring setup at the back. It also has ventilated disc brakes in the front with ABS Technology and conventional drum brakes at the back.
Although there are no local figures for the fuel economy available yet, the data from the international market suggests that the vehicle provides a fuel average upwards of 13.7 km/litre.
Specs and Features
The comparison of the specs and features of the two cars is between the top variants only to determine the complete range of features that they offer. The following are the specs and features of both the cars:
|Specs and Features||Proton Saga ACE||Changan Alsvin Lumiere|
|Central Power Door Locks||Yes||Yes|
|Immobilizer System and Burglar Alarm||Yes||Yes|
|Daytime Running Lights||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced Gauge Cluster with a Digital Screen||Yes||Yes|
|12 Volt Socket||Yes||Yes|
|Outside Rear View Mirror Electric Folding||Yes||Yes|
|Outside Rear View Mirror Heated||No||Yes|
|Push Start Button||No||Yes|
|Steering Wheel Multimedia-Control Switches||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable Steering Wheel||Yes||Yes|
|ISO Fix Child Seat Anchors||Yes||Yes|
It has to be said that the Proton Saga is indeed the cheapest sedan in Pakistan. Considering Changan’s recent price-hike announced for the Alsvin, the gap between the mid and top-tier variants of both the cars has increased drastically. The following are the prices of all of their variants:
- 1.3 Standard Manual: Rs. 1,975,000
- 1.3 Standard Auto: Rs. 2,125,000
- 1.3 Ace Auto: Rs. 2,225,000
- 1.3 R3 Manual: Rs. 2,175,000
- 1.3 R3 Auto: Rs. 2,425,000
- 1.37 Comfort M/T: Rs. 2,199,000
- 1.5 Comfort DCT: Rs. 2,449,000
- 1.5 Lumiere DCT: Rs. 2,650,000
As can be seen from the details above, both the newcomers are quite evenly matched in terms of conveniences and features. However, the Alsvin offers a choice of two engines, is larger and better in terms of aesthetics, and has a nicer interior.
Nonetheless, the Saga is much cheaper than the Alsvin, and if you are looking for a car that gets you comfortably from point A to B and fulfill your basic needs, the Proton Saga would be a better option, but if you want to do the same with a bit more style and convenience, the Alsvin is the car for you.
However, it is advisable to test drive both the cars at least once and have a feel of them before making a decision of buying a new car.