A couple months ago, I saw a blog advertisement from Nuffnang Malaysia on Proton Exora VIP Test Drive 2011, so as a supporting (and loving) wife, I casually signed up our names for this event. Weeks later, my husband actually did get the call to attend the VIP Test Drive in Malacca. We both confirmed our attendance.
My husband was pretty excited in attending this complimentary event plus with this opportunity, he wanted to entertain his wife who often whines about boring weekend. Yep, we both could explore new things and meet people during the event plus have a brief weekend getaway in Malacca afterwards.
We reached Philea Resort and Spa, Malacca where the event was held at about 9am yesterday. When my husband discovered that there was New Proton Inspira VIP Test Drive going on at the same venue, he immediately proposed to the event organizer to move our names from Exora event to the Inspira Event. Young couple like ourselves are more interested in driving saloon cars than MPVs like Exora. In short, the organizers granted our wish to join the half-day Proton Inspira VIP Test Drive 2011!
The Ballroom where the event is held.
The event was about to start.
The organizer gathered all the 41 selected participants in the Philea Ballroom for event introduction, product features' introduction and pre-safety briefing before the actual test drive in Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca. The event briefing was all the way led by Proton's Senior Race and Rally Driver, Mr. Ivan Khong. I didn't know that there's actually a Professional Driver job title in automotive industry whereby few of his daily tasks are to test the cars and review certain cars' performance.
About 30 minutes post the pre-briefing session, the participants were instructed to split into groups of four and pick one of the numbered Proton Inspira cars in the resort's parking lot. Then, each car, led by the Leader Car, was supposed to drive to Hang Jebat Stadium. When heading to the Stadium, the rules of thumb were to drive the car in order (according to the number pasted in the car) and not to overtake the other participant's car, let alone the Leader's Car.
Our leader, Julian, giving instruction to each car through walkie-talkie.
My husband chose a Black Proton Inspira.
Our car was number 6.
Us, inside the Proton's Inspira, ready to move to Hang Jebat Stadium.
Behind us was a participant who actually works in a factory producing
the leather products for the Proton car's interior.
the leather products for the Proton car's interior.
Proton Inspira's interior look.
Walkie-talkie, the leader's one way communication tool, inside each participant's car.
Minutes later, all of us arrived at Hang Jebat Stadium's reserved parking lot and convened for another Test Drive briefing.
Hang Jebat Stadium in Mallaca.
Another briefing by Mr. Ivan Khong of what to do during the Test Drive.
It never came into my mind that all the participants were supposed to test two major things with the cars during this VIP Test Drive. Unlike a usual test drive from a car showroom where the cars are taken to a straight smooth road for test drive, the main agenda of yesterday's test drive was to practice Emergency Brake and Accident Avoidance with Proton's Inspira. Mr. Ivan Khong emphasized many times for each participant to drive hard and brake hard. If we drove the car not fast enough or pressed the brake not hard enough, he wouldn't hesitate to scold us. He said he is not a sales guy but a professional car driver/tester, so it's his job to scold those who didn't test the cars properly. Also, for product comparisons, the participants were supposed to test several competitor cars and Inspira cars on the two things mentioned above.
My husband's next pick for test drive was Honda Civic.
The Honda Civic victim that my husband chose yesterday.
My first ride in the Honda Civic.
Not knowing what would happen next, just yet.
Honda Civic's interior look.
Everything was still pretty much theoretical in my brain until I sat and buckled up in the passenger seat of that Honda Civic, waiting for my husband to practice the Emergency Brake. Only when my husband was about to drive that car at full throttle in the first traffic cone marking and press the brake as hard and sudden as he could in the next traffic cone, about 100m in front of the first marking; I came to realize what was going to happen to me. H.E.L.L. Not an adrenaline junkie, I never liked riding roller coaster nor speeding. Therefore, me experiencing emergency brakes over and over again, on purpose, I must have been insane.
After the first Emergency Brake, I almost died instantly. Apparently, there were some more to go. I demanded my husband in full force to let me get out from the car after two emergency brakes he performed. That's it. I could take any of it no more. He walked me to the resting area to join some of the Proton's crew. When the crew saw me joining them resting they all were bombarding me with questions like "Are you okay?" "Would you like something to drink?" "You look so stressed" "You could not stand the emergency brake, did you?"
Very kind of them! I smiled, nodded then kept mum.
For the next half an hour or so, I just sat there watching my husband and other participants from afar alternately enjoyed the endless emergency brake and accident avoidance practices with various cars. *wondering what's the fun of it* I had no regret being a real bench warmer yesterday. However, deep in my heart, I was really happy to see my husband looking so excited and savoring every moment he had when testing the cars yesterday. He was indeed doing his thing. After yesterday's event, I always think that if my husband ever got the job to do a professional driver like Mr. Ivan Khong and his driver staff, he might never have to work for a day anymore. He'd be just doing his passion day by day whilst earning a living.
That test drives were not the end of the event yet. Before Proton Team concluded the VIP Test Drive event, Mr. Ivan Khong offered some lucky participants (or rather, victims I say) to have a Taxi Ride with one of his professional drivers. I almost raised my hand up so he'd select me. I thought it was a literal taxi ride with one of his drivers for going back to the Philea Resort and Spa, where we parked our car there. After further learning on the Taxi Ride that Mr. Ivan Khong talked about, I felt so fortunate for doing nothing but watching during this Taxi Ride show. Never in my life I witnessed a live driving stunt like yesterday. My husband did queue for the ride though but he didn't get selected.
Enjoy the Taxi Ride video here:
Taxi Ride a.k.a Driving Stunt in Proton's new Inspira Car.
One lucky participant who rode the Taxi Ride remarked that the ride was such an adrenaline rush. He wanted to say something during the ride but his mouth just could not spit any words then.
Now let's talk about the car under the spotlight yesterday, the new Proton Inspira. I have no capacity at all in judging the car after the Test Drive event. Reason being, firstly, it's because I don't really drive (read: cannot drive properly as yet) and secondly, I didn't do the test drive personally. But here are some information I gathered during the briefing on positive features that the new Proton Inspira offers:
- 1.8L and 2.0L engine capacity options
- 7 Gears
- Isofix certified, which means that this car has international standard certification for child safety seats in passenger cars
- Fuel efficiency
- Powerful engine - The 1.8L new Proton Inspira has about 30 horsepower more than Honda City and Vios
The freebies we got from Proton during the event yesterday.
A shirt, towel, pack of tissue and RM 50 worth of Petronas Gift Card.
As a real driver and someone who is well conversant with automotive world, my husband thinks that the new Proton Inspira is really powerful and sporty car. He also deems Proton Inspira's Hari Raya promotion on 5 years of warranty and free service are to die for.
Last but not least, here are the best parts I got to enjoy after attending the fruitful event yesterday. My husband took me to Malacca city center for a walk and we had a spicy lunch at a Nyonya Restaurant.
Our Nyonya Lunch in Malacca.
Taking a brief afternoon stroll at the Jonker Walk, Malacca.
OK, OK. Happening Sunday. Thanks to my husband. :)