Is Proton Saga Better Than the Honda City and Toyota Yaris? [Comparison]

The subcompact sedan segment has recently had the addition of the Proton Saga, which looks fairly promising. However, the car has a lot of ground to cover before grabbing a lion’s share in the market, and standing in its way are two quite formidable contenders with footholds in the market — the Honda City and the Toyota Yaris.

The 5th generation Honda City has been in the Pakistani market for over a decade and has been sold in huge numbers over the years. However, its appeal has been fading because it is the same old car that is being sold at a huge premium without the new features that its competitors offer.

The Toyota Yaris was launched last year and has quickly cemented itself as one of the top sellers in the entire Pakistani car market for being a fresh addition after a long time, and quickly grabbed the attention of Pakistani buyers.

However, both these cars cost a fortune and are out of the reach of the majority of the buyers, but the newcomers that are relatively low-priced do not have enough recognition to be considered the top choices for the buyers just yet.

Let us put the old players side-by-side with the most recent entrant — the Proton Saga — to find out if it has what it takes to create a favorable place for itself in the market:

Design

Honda City

Despite being an old car, the fifth-generation Honda City looks decent owing to the sharp lines, an aggressive front facia, and Honda’s trademark hunkered-down stance that makes it look sporty with a sleek side profile.


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While the front of the car looks sharp and aggressive, its rear is quite pedestrian in design. This is not to say that it is ugly. In fact, the similar sharp lines at the back, the slightly controversial pentagonal taillights, and a unique rear bumper design complement the overall silhouette of the car and add to its understated beauty.

Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris was debuted in Pakistan last year to a lukewarm reception that was mostly due to its asymmetrical design.

At the front, the Yaris has a rounded-off look that clashes slightly with the sharp highlight design which covers a rather large portion of the front. The tiny grille between the headlights, the huge bumper grille below, and the unconventional height of the hood make the front look slightly disproportionate.

The same characteristics can be observed on the side as the bulky side profile and small tyre size also seem to clash with each other.

The rear seems to have been designed by a different person altogether. Interestingly, the slightly longer and straightened-out tail of the vehicle along with the elongated taillights and the smooth lines makes the back look like a baby Corolla.

Additionally, the short and noisy front facia versus a smooth and rather subdued rear makes the overall design of the Yaris look unbalanced.

Proton Saga

Although the Proton Saga is a bit of a plain jane in terms of design, it has certain cosmetic features like the sharp headlight design, alloy rims (ace trim level only), a modern front bumper, and a unique front grille in addition to mirror-mounted turn signals manage to jazz up the design a little bit.

Around the back are some more cosmetic features like decorative vents and a diffuser, modern-looking taillights, and a decklid spoiler that perk up its looks. In terms of the overall design and silhouette, the Proton Saga looks like a generation-old car, despite being new.

The ‘limited edition’ R3 variant 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, a yellow R3 decal on the windshield, a front bumper extension, extended side-skirts and a few trim pieces that add oomph to the design.

Interior

Honda City

The Honda City being sold in Pakistan has a reasonably well-laid-out interior regardless of the fact that it is two generations old. Although its dashboard has a clean look, the quality leaves a little to be desired as it is made entirely out of hard plastics.

The seats are lined with soft cotton fabric and the front ones provide for good posture and ample space. The rear seats also have a decent amount of legroom and headroom, although a person over 6 feet tall might struggle in the back during a long journey.

Toyota Yaris

The interior of the Yaris is quite similar to that of the City in terms of general aesthetics. Although it is clean and nicely laid out, it is also largely composed of scratchy plastics. The silver trim pieces around the vents and the center control stack, and on the steering make the interior appear slightly more stylish.

The seats are also lined with a soft cotton fabric but their sitting position is slightly higher than that of the City. The cabin is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate either a young family of five (two adults and three children), or four adults, but people over six feet tall are likely to struggle in the backseat.

Proton Saga

The interior of the Proton Saga is a major letdown. Despite having a fair amount of safety and tech equipment, the interior looks at least a couple of generations older, even when compared to the Honda City which is a decade-old car.

Plus, like the other two cars in this comparison, the interior of the Saga also seems to be made almost completely out of cheap, hard, and shiny plastic, which, despite being durable, does not do the Saga any favours.

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.

Weight and Dimensions

Following are the proportions of all three cars:

Measurements Honda City Toyota Yaris Proton Saga
Wheel Base 2,550 mm 2,250 mm 2,465 mm
 Overall Width 1,695 mm 1,730 mm 1,689 mm
Overall Length 4,395 mm 4,425 mm 4,331 mm
Overall Height 1,480 mm 1,475 mm 1,491 mm
Kerb Weight (Top Trim Level) 1,155 kg 1,100 kg 1,065 kg

Performance

Honda City

The 5th generation of the Honda City in Pakistan comes with a choice of two engines — one is a 1.3 litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 100 hp and 128 Nm of torque; and the other is a 1.5 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 120 hp and 145 Nm of torque. Both can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic transmission, depending on the variant. Note that with both engine choices, the Honda City has the most power and torque in its segment.

The car’s suspension setup consists of a MacPherson Strut in the front and a Torsion Bar Coil-Spring suspension at the back. It is also has ventilated disc brakes with Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) technology in the front and conventional drum brakes in the back. However, almost all Honda City owners have reported the ride of the car to be unpleasantly stiff.

The 1.3 variants are known to provide a fuel average of 13 to 16 km/litre, while the 1.5 variants return about 10 to 14 km/litre.

Toyota Yaris

The Yaris also comes with two engine options – the base 1.3 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 98 hp, and 123 Nm of torque, and a bigger 1.5 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 106 hp, and 14o Nm of torque depending on the variant. Both engines can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 7-speed CVT automatic transmission

The car’s suspension setup consists of MacPherson Struts in the front and a Torsion Bar Coil-Spring suspension at the back. It is also has ventilated disc brakes with Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) technology in the front and conventional drum brakes in the back.

Although Toyota claims that both the powertrains return a fuel average of 14 to 16 km to the litre, the actual figures may differ.

Proton Saga

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 which 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.

Specs and Features

The following comparison is between the top variants to determine the complete range of features that they offer.

Specs and Features Honda City 1.5 Aspire A/T Toyota Yaris 1.5 ATIV X CVT Proton Saga 1.3 Ace A/T
Safety 
Central Power Door Locks Yes Yes Yes
Immobilizer System and Burglar Alarm Yes Yes Yes
Parking Sensors No No Yes
Backup Camera Yes Yes Yes
Fog Lights Yes Yes No
Daytime Running Lights No Yes Yes
ABS Brakes Yes Yes Yes
Hill-start Assist No Yes Yes
Airbags 0 2 2
Convenience
Infotainment System Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Gauge Cluster with a Digital Screen No Yes Yes
12 Volt Socket Yes Yes Yes
USB Connectivity Yes Yes Yes
Outside Rear View Mirror Electric Folding No No Yes
Keyless Entry No Yes Yes
Push Start No Yes No
Steering Wheel Multimedia-Control Switches No Yes Yes
Adjustable Steering Wheel Yes Yes Yes
ISO Fix Child Seat Anchors No Yes Yes


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Price

This is where the Proton Saga cements itself as a credible threat to the Japanese competition. Following are the prices of all the trim-levels of the three cars:

  • Honda City
    • 1.3 i-VTEC M/T: Rs. 2,449,000
    • 1.5 i-VTEC M/T: Rs. 2,529,000
    • 1.3 i-VTEC Prosmatec: Rs. 2,639,000
    • 1.5 i-VTEC Prosmatec: Rs. 2,699,000
    • 1.5  Aspire M/T: Rs. 2,699,000
    • 1.5 Aspire Prosmatec: Rs. 2,859,000
  • Toyota Yaris
    • 1.3 GLI M/T: Rs. 2,509,000
    • 1.3 GLI CVT: Rs. 2,689,000
    • 1.3 ATIV M/T: Rs. 2,619,000
    • 1.3 ATIV CVT: Rs. 2,769,000
    • 1.5 ATIV X M/T: Rs. 2,829,000
    • 1.5 ATIV X CVT: Rs. 2,999,000
  • Proton Saga
    • 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

Conclusion

In the previous article, Proton Saga had been compared to the Changan Alsvin which is also a new player in the market. Although the Saga is a little bit cheaper than the Alsvin, and the Alsvin is a lot better looking than the Saga,  both cars were not far apart in terms of value for money.

However, this comparison is different. Compared to the City, the Saga, seems to be a more sensible purchase decision because it offers more safety and convenience features for a lesser price. Plus, the City is a 10-year old car while the Saga is brand new for the Pakistani market.

On the other hand, the Yaris is also a fresh product and has features similar to those of the Saga, but is the most expensive car in the segment. The price difference between the two cars is immense, which is why it makes more sense for the buyers to opt for the cheaper and similarly equipped Proton Saga.

The B-segment cars are usually intended for a young family of 5 that can help them go about their day-to-day vehicular activities in relative comfort and economical fashion. Therefore, despite being slightly in the interior and exterior design sections, the Proton Saga fits the bill of a compact and relatively cheap everyday family hauler perfectly.


  • Aik aapne ziadti ki hai. City and Yaris k INTERIOR ki photoshopped pictures hain laikin Proton ki original flash light k saath li hui image hai. Woh waise hi daikh k faarigh lagta hai…. Images sab same quality k lagae plz

    • my point is, saga can not be compared with yaris and honda. Yaris & Honda are B categroy compact sedan, while saga is c category compact sedan. is ki comparison cultus or picanto se bnti hy

      • Aapki baat theek hai. Magar in companies nay kitna loota hai Pakistanio ko, aaj tak koi relief diya hai? Ab new companies ko try karein log.

      • City ok…. But is tarah aap daikhain to Yaris bhi C mai hi fall kare agr aap built quality etc daikhain ko

        • kehne pa tu ap kahi b dal de, but yaris falls under B categroy. the width and length of yaris is larger then saga. :)

          • honda city bhi phir tou c category mei aayi. Uss ki length aur width saga k barabar hee hain

            • Honda City Saga
              Wheel Base 2,550 mm 2,465 mm
              Overall Width 1,695 mm 1,689 mm
              Overall Length 4,395 mm 4,331 mm

              Ya tu apni math thek kro, ya phr saga ki marketing position chor do areeb sb

  • Very baised review, no mention of Yaris Safety Features like keyless entry, Yaris 1.5 gives enormous fuel efficiency of upto 20 kmpl, no mention of Climate Control and 7 speed CVT transmission

    Seedha seedh likho Alsvin aur Saga lou, they pay me alot better than Toyota!

    • My frnd owns a Yaris. According to him 11 to 12 km/l se uper nai jaati iski mileage… Agar aapka ta’aluq Toyota Motors se hai to filhaal bs taaliya bajae baith kr, bohat kha chuke hain awaam ko

    • How come 20,kmpl? Not more than 14,., Yaris Is very poor car. Pethatic interior. If saga is inferior to yaris in interior, we must say khuda hafiz.

    • Yaris 20kmpl?! Bhai pagal wagal tou nahi hou gaya?
      Keyless entry proton saga mei bhi hai aur article mei bhi mentioned hai.
      7 speed cvt transmission bhi article mei mentioned hai
      Climate control koi itna bara feature nahi.

    • Alsvin has DCT transmission which is more latest than CVT and also has sun roof as well as euro 5 engine which gives better fuel efficiency.

  • good Article. but its always a dissapointment to see that some decision making specs/features are never brought under highlight like overall ranking, safety ranking , durability ranking, realiability. performance on road etc…

  • We have been looted by the 3 car manufacturers…Suzuki, Toyota and Honda… Not value for money compared to global market options…poor quality, limited options and high price….now we have better options and hopefully market demand supply will drop the prices

  • Everyone try to explain different points. And share their point of view but my point is… Old companies having the goodwill market value of their products, resale value, spare parts, etc. So don’t fight. Who have common sense they can understand that what is good and what is…

  • Yar agar Saga ke ek generation peche hai just like Hyundai Elantra to SAGA would be my choice otherwise if its born latest in 2021 & we got the odd shape then i would go for Alsvin besides SAGA is much better in terms of features with City & Yasir

  • Good article but several other factors come into play while making such a high brand involvement decision. Like after sales capability, spare parrs availability, resale value, durability, reliability check, endurance testing standards. Now bringing these non tangible aspects into picture lets revisit the value of vehicle by price and value of vehicle by specs. 😊

  • PLEASE GUYS DONT UNDER ESTIMATE HUGE DIFRENCE OF PRICE HRE IS ALMOST 6 LAKH OF DIFRENCE BETWEEN SAGA OR YARIS OBVIOUSLY YARIS HAVE MORE FEATURE THEN SAGA

  • An impressive review/comparison by Waleed. Opinions may differ but article was written with lot of research. I appreciate it. The good thing is that he pointed out pluses and minuses of all three cars but made his conclusion based on price. For purcahsing a sedan, if a person has budget of 25 Lac, he can consider buying Yaris/City. For lesser budget to buy a new sedan, one can think of buying Saga.

  • The Toyota Yaris was launched last year and has quickly cemented itself as one of the top sellers in the entire Pakistani car market for being a fresh addition after a long time, and quickly grabbed the attention of Pakistani buyers.


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