Thursday, 15 March 2012

Saga FLX SE 1.6 [Personal Review]

Finally received my Saga FLX SE 1.6 on the 27th of feb 2012 after waiting for 2.5 weeks. So, goodbye kancil...Hello Saga! I will try to make this review as comprehensive and honest as possible. 

I've driven a Myvi 1.3ezi, Vios G and kancil 660 for quite some years and the new saga feels very different in terms of ride, handling and noise. It took me like 1 week or so to get used to the steering wheel, the car's longer body and the 'awkwardly' positioned signal light switch?


The exterior of the saga flx se looks sportier than the flx. The new 15" rims and skirting with contrasting color does add to the sportiness of the flx se. I personally think it would look nicer if the color of the skirtings were the same as the color of the body, but anyway, one can always repaint it. It's a nice bodykit overall. The front part of the car looks fierce and nice. The headlamps are wide and the smoked tail lights add to overall the sportiness of the car. 


The interior of the flx se looks great. The amount of leather applied is very generous. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and even the handbrake handle has leather wrapping too. The red thread used for stitching the leather wrappings look great; red and black looks like a very good color combination. The red color stitching are not too intense and feels comfortable to look at. The leather seats feels firm; not too soft and not too hard...It feels harder than that of a myvi and toyota vios, but feels nice for me. No more backaches after long distance travelling! The clarion audio head unit with a USB and AUX port is a nice thing to have. Audio quality is excellent for a car in this price range. Its even better than the audio quality in myvi. Sound quality would definitely be better if I were to upgrade to better speakers. If you're not an audiophile, the sound system definitely does a great job. The plastics used on the dashboard looks a little too 'plastic' compared to the myvi. It looks a little bit like a toy car. The interior of a myvi looks more refined and sophisticated. The doors are a letdown. Closing the doors feels almost the same as closing the old version of know, the saga 7 years ago? It lacks the firm thud present in luxury cars. Another thing is, the flx se does not have an autolock feature where the doors automatically lock then the brake pedal is depressed. This too is a letdown. On the positive side, the saga comes with coil mats and the interior is very spacious. The boot size is huge. You can fit a big woofer behind and still have lots of space for luggage and whatever you want to bring back home.The ABS, EBD and dual airbags are included with the package as a bonus.

Sadly there is no soundproofing so the ride will be a bit on the noisier side compared to a myvi. When driving above 100Km/H, road and engine noise is clearly audible, even with music in the backgroud. Perhaps one day I'll invest in some good soundproofing. The suspension is, in my opinion, slightly better than the myvi. It is firm but not too hard and does a good job in absorbing all the shocks and at the same time provide a firm ride. Body roll is greatly reduced. Taking a sharp corner at high speeds is not a problem at all. Ride feels stable up to 140km/h. After that, the car feels like its floating. 

Acceleration and Performance
The flx se comes with a 1.6L campro iafm+ engine and a CVT transmission from Punch powertrain. This is my first time driving a CVT equipped car and honestly, it feels kind of boring. When you depress the gas pedal, the rpm will rise to a point and stop there while the speed of the car gets faster and faster. It feels like the clutch is slipping at first, but its normal for CVT. It is very different from the conventional 4AT where you will see the engine rev increase as speed increases. It does take a little getting used to. Acceleration wise, the 1.6L engine provides a powerful punch. I've had no problems climbing up slopes and i never had to floor the gas pedal when going uphill. It feels like there is still a lot of power waiting to be unleashed. So far, I've never pressed the pedal more than halfway down. Overtaking cars is not a problem. Just step on the gas and the car speeds up quickly but without the loud engine roar we usually hear in the 4AT. Driving in stop and go traffic is ok, but personally i feel that the 4AT does a better job. The CVT is a little sluggish in stop and go traffic. From a total standstill, it takes a longer time for the CVT to pick up speed compared to the 4AT. There will be a very slight jerk the moment I come to a feels like driving a manual transmission but without having to shift gears. So, to others maybe it will feel like I don't know how to drive a car :) The CVT transmission from Punch powertrain comes with a wet clutch. Perhaps this is why its not as smooth as the 4AT which uses a torque convertor. The saga flx se 1.6 is the only 1.6L car with CVT that you can get in malaysia for RM49K. Sounds like a good buy? There is a high pitched whine when decelerating, which is characteristic of the CVT gearbox. The sound is like that of an airplane..well, ain't it good to have a car with an airplane like sound? ...and oh, the flx se comes with a CVT oil cooler which is located in front of the radiator.

Under the hood, it looks very spacious

CVT gearbox from Punch Powertrain Belgium


The 1.6L campro IAFM+ engine is one hell of a monster

Fuel Consumption

So far, I've clocked 1200KM on the odometer and my fc so far is about 12-15km/L on highway. Hope to see fc improvements after a few more oil changes.

Pros and Cons (Myvi vs FLX SE)

This is just my personal view...

Stop and go traffic, parking - myvi
Highway drive - saga
Interior finishing- myvi
Space and legroom - saga
Handling - saga
audio quality - saga
Fuel efficiency - myvi 
Noise insulation - myvi

As for all malaysian made cars, be it proton or perodua, I guess one has to close an eye on some imperfections. After all, most of us can't afford imported cars. So here's the end of my personal experience with the saga flx se. Hope to see it serve me for many years!


  1. great review and add on a comment.. if using SAT(Stepped-Auto)on highway,the FC will be better.From Sg Buloh to Ipoh and back only used 5 bar (running on 120km/h). :D

  2. very useful. but dont go for Proton better. Spare part are so expensive. For those who look for FC cheap and low initial cost should go for axia (basic).