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2001 - 2003 Proton Juara

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The Juara was the first van produced by Proton and was introduce on the market in 2001. The vehicle was based on the Mitsubishi town box MPV and its name was derived from the Malay language and meant “chamption”.

The Proton Juara was powered by a 1094 cc engine which developed a maximum output of 71 PS. Its compact exterior dimensions helped it deal great with tight city roads, but also affected the interior space that was a bit cramped.

Unfortunately, since its launch, the Juara didn’t manage to catch the market’s interest, which led to its premature death in 2003.

Proton however, learned from the mistakes made with the Juara and after seven years has launched a new MPV, named the Exora which was a big improvement over its predecessor. Though, the Juara continues to remain an important milestone in Proton’s history, as it marked its first experience in the Van and MPV segment.

Design

Proton Juara

As most micro vans, the Proton Juara had a boxy look without any fancy design lines to make it stand out from the crowd.

Up front there was a short nose dominated by two massive headlights which gave the vehicle a tonka-toy look. The radiator grille was nicely integrated into the front fascia and was traversed by a horizontal strip which intersected with the company’s badge in its center.

The rounded front bumper enhanced the bulky appearance of the Juara, but it coped well with the rest of the body and we also like the circular fog lamps.

Along the sides, the Juara received body claddings for extra protection and sliding rear doors. Around the back, there was a wide glass area and four circular taillights.

The Proton Juara was surprisingly small measuring only 3670 mm long, 1540 mm wide and 1820 mm tall.

Interior

Proton Juara

As it was expected, the compact exterior dimensions affect the interior space which is rather cramped, with limited leg and head room. The interior design is pretty rudimentary as well and most of the plastics are part of the cheap class.

The build quality wasn’t great either and most of the fittings aren’t as refined as other vehicles found in this class. Overall the cabin feels pretty flimsy and doesn’t inspire too much confidence.

The driving position is pretty high and you are surrounded by a generous glass area which offers a great view of the road ahead. You won’t have any complains about the rearward visibility either and the big door mirrors are doing a great job in keeping blind spots to minimum.

The seats are more on the basic side with poor back support and minimum side bolstering. There are a few adjustments offered, but they won’t be of much help and after a longer journey you might feel the need to stop and stretch your back.

The center stack is laid out in a pretty intuitive way with every control placed within easy reach. The steering wheel isn’t the most ergonomic unit you’ll find around, but it’s not intrusive and offers a decent grab.

Storage space around the cab is pretty good. Proton tried to maximize the use of space as much as possible and fitted the Juara with all sorts of cubbies, consoles and pockets to make your life in board easier.

Engines and performance

Proton Juara

Under the hood, there was a 1.1 liter EFI gasoline engine which delivered a maximum output of 71 hp @ 6000 rpm and 94 Nm of torque available at 4500 rpm.

The engine was far from being sporty, but it delivered decent performances as it had to deal with a relatively low kerb weight of only 1005 kg.

At low and medium speeds the engine felt pretty refined, but as the speedo’s needle goes up it starts to show its raspy voice which enters the cab like it owns the place.

Power is sent to the rear wheels by means of an automatic transmission which came with overdrive function. Luckily, the transmission did its job well and came with proper chose gear ratios.

Proton Juara Engine Specifications

Enginehp @ rpmNm @ rpm
1.1 liter71 @ 600094 @ 4500

Ride and handling

Proton Juara

On road, the Juara felt pretty civilized with a comfortable ride and a decent steering feedback. The Juara was also the only vehicle in the Proton stable equipped with EPS (Electrical Power Steering).

As it was expected the handling was affected by the tall and boxy proportions of the vehicle and body lean was pretty big.

For a micro van, the stopping power was reasonable, so we don’t have any significant complains about the front discs and rear drums.

Verdict

Proton Juara

The Proton Juara was pretty rudimentary, but offered a good mix between practicality and efficiency. It’s true that the cabin was pretty cramped, but the overall ergonomy was well sorted and there was enough load space to keep you satisfied.

The engine was highly efficient and also pretty refined, but was anything but sporty and delivered a sluggish acceleration even if it needed to deal with a pretty light kerb weight.

The ride and handling were at par with what you’d usually found in this class and the price was pretty competitively. Though, the overall build quality wasn’t exactly stellar and the Juara was built using many cheap materials and rock hard plastics.



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