Proton is a Malaysian car manufacturer which sells its vehicles worldwide. The company designed both passenger and utility vehicles.
The Jumbuck was a compact pickup which had a pretty versatile character, aimed especially at small business owners or farmers.
The pickup’s suspension and body control was tweaked by Lotus Engineering. The Proton Jumbuck uses an innovative ’torquebox’ that connects the passenger car monocoque of the Proton Persona sedan to a ladder type rear chassis. This construction gives the Jumbuck a stronger frame which helps it deal with a maximum payload of 570 kg. The vehicle was offered only with front wheel drive configuration and had a starting price of $15.490.
The Proton Jumbuck had a pretty conventional design with rounded front headlights and clean body panels. The grille was split in two sections by the company’s badge, giving the vehicle a touch of dynamism. The dynamic look of the Jumbuck was also enhanced by its long nose and the sloped windscreen.
Moving on to the spoiler it came with a pretty basic design and was fitted with a trapezoidal air intake flanked by a pair of circular fog lamps.
The load bed measures 1636 x 1349 x 415mm and maximum payload is rated ad 570 kg. Access to the tray is made fairly easy by means of a 90 degree opening tailgate which can support a weight of 300 kg. To save more space the spare wheel is mounted under the vehicle.
There is also a convenient foot step mounted into the rear bumper which helps you during loading and unloading operations.
Proton has a range of customizing packages available that include soft and hard tonneau covers, protective load area mats and liners, and roll-over bars.
The Jumbuck interior features a classical layout and it’s pretty spacious. There is enough legroom, but head room is a bit restricted. We like the dual tone dashboard and we also find the center console pretty ergonomically designed with every control placed within easy reach.
Plastics fit and finish is quite rough, but this was the usual treatment found in the segment, so we won’t complain too much about it.
The driver is met by a set of white faced gauges which are fairly clean and easy to read while driving.
Overall the cabin is pretty functional being fitted with a fair amount of storage places.
The gear knob and the hand brake lever are falling easy into hand and the three spoke steering wheel looks pretty modern and offers a confident grab. For increased comfort, the steering wheel can be adjusted for height, so you won’t have any problems in finding a comfortable driving position.
The base models are fitted with vinyl seats which aren’t anyone’s first choice during summer. Luckily, the superior trim levels come with cloth seats which are fairly comfortable for both short and long journeys.
On the list of standard features you’ll find power steering, remote central locking with alarm, a single CD radio, air conditioning, vinyl seats, floor carpet and tilt adjustable steering. The superior trim level offers alloy wheels, contrasting gold coloured bumpers and body kit, driving lights and side protection strips. Other optional features include velour door and seat trims, a height adjustable driver’s seat and power windows and mirrors.
Engines and performance
Under the hood, there is a 1.5 litre petrol engine, which delivers 85 hp. The unit is pretty unrefined and dated, but its grunt won’t disappoint you and it’s also surpassingly rev-happy. When fully loaded however, it can be felt a lack in performance and as most engines of its time was also pretty thirsty (7.1 litres per 100km). It also struggles with hill starts when fully laden.
Around the city, the engine feels pretty relaxed and copes well with start and go situations. Fortunately, you won’t have any significant complains on the open road either.
The engine is married to a five speed manual gearbox which copes great with the utilitarian nature of the vehicle, but isn’t as refined as other units in the segment.
Proton Jumbuck Engines Specifications
|1.5 liter petrol||85 @ 6000||124 @ 3000|
Ride and handling
The Proton strut front / leaf rear suspension set-up is more on the stiffer side, to be able to support heavy loads without whining. While far from sporty, the suspension won’t hide every surface detail of the road from you. The same cannot be said of the steering, which is reasonable and delivers a proper road feedback letting you know exactly what the wheels are planning.
Overall the truck has pretty decent road manners and the handling is at par with its rivals. The stopping power is also decent and the pedal offers a confident feel, stooping the car in no time.
Safety features are pretty poor with side impact beams, but no airbags or seatbelt pre-tensioners. Although, Proton offers remote central locking and alarm.
The Proton Jumbuck was a pretty reliable vehicle, with durable engines and gearboxes. The interior build quality however, left much to be desired as most of the plastics are cheap and trim won’t last too much without damaging.
The payload was also pretty small compared to other compact pickups, but the engine was at par with competition. It’s also unfortunate that the vehicle wasn’t offered with airbags not even as an option, which is hard to be accepted by today’s safety standards.
The vehicle came with a pretty competitive price, but Proton’s service points are pretty rare these days.