2009 Proton Exora H-Line during media preview in Cyberjaya.
The Proton Exora was officially unveiled on 15 April 2009, becoming Malaysia’s first indigenously designed MPV. It was offered in two trim variants upon its initial launch, the M-Line and H-Line respectively. Both variants were powered by the 1.6 litre CamPro CPS engine and limited to a four-speed automatic transmission. The new Exora came standard with twin airbags, an Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and a Back-up EBD (BEBD) system. The M-Line trim offered a built-in radio with CD, MP3, WMA and Bluetooth compatibility, whereas the H-Line trim offered an additional roof-mounted LCD infotainment system with DVD playback, SD/MMC and USB compatibility. The H-Line variant also came with other exclusive kit, namely front fog lamps, a rear lip spoiler, leather seats, cruise control and an Atmel GPS touchscreen unit. The new Exora was priced between RM69,998 and RM75,998 at launch. Prior the launch of the Exora, the budget MPV segment in Malaysia was monopolized by the Toyota Avanza, Toyota Innova and Nissan Grand Livina.
Unlike the Juara, the Exora was a true winner, and has since been consistently positioned among the Top 10 best selling vehicles in Malaysia.
Proton also showcased two concept models by Proton Design during the launch ceremony, the Exora Prime and Exora Prestige. The Exora Prime concept featured mostly cosmetic exterior and interior upgrades over the regular Exora, several of which made it into production two years later in the 2012 Exora Prime. The Exora Prestige variant on the other hand offered far superior levels of luxury and kit in an effort to gauge its potential as a vehicle fit for VIPs. It offered a built-in office working table, fridge and intercom, as well as a 19-inch LCD TV and a seat massaging system among others. Proton later revealed that the Exora Prestige was indeed being made and sold to selected VIPs. On 16 July 2009, Proton showcased the Proton Exora Turbo concept at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang. It housed a CamPro CPS engine fitted with various aftermarket performance parts, offering 270 hp and 350Nm of torque, a massive jump from the stock CamPro CPS engine which could only put out 125 hp and 150Nm of torque.
Following the launch of the Proton Exora in April 2009, Perodua, which had also been developing a MPV since early 2008 previewed the Alza on 6 June 2009, a smaller, less powerful and thus less expensive MPV to counter sales of the Exora. Unlike Proton, which developed the Exora from scratch and kept capital outflow at a minimum, Perodua opted to simply rebadge the (Japanese: Toyota Passo Sette)/(Japanese: Daihatsu Boon Luminas). The Perodua Alza had a planned November 2009 launch, but Proton took advantage of the delay and introduced cheaper variants of the Exora in an effort to entice potential Alza buyers, the first of which was the Exora M-Line MT on 7 July 2009, priced at RM64,548. It became the first Exora variant to be made available with a five-speed manual transmission. A no frills version of the Exora was spotted undergoing testing on 22 June 2009. It later materialized into the Exora B-Line trim, debuting on 19 November 2009, four days before the Alza’s launch. The Exora B-Line started from a relatively low price tag of RM57,548, but came at the expense of safety as it was only offered with a driver’s airbag and without ABS and EBD. Despite Proton’s best efforts, the largely cheaper Alza outsold the Exora by a significant margin, and the former replaced the latter as Malaysia’s best selling MPV from 2010 and onwards.
9 July 2010 marked Proton’s 25th Anniversary since the launch of the company’s first car, the Proton Saga. In view of the occasion, Proton unveiled the Exora 25th Anniversary Edition, alongside a Saga and Persona variant. It featured a unique Pearl White & Black two-tone paint colour with commemorative decals and special eight spoke alloy rims on the exterior. Interior wise, it was offered with premium leather seats, a touchscreen LCD head-unit with SatNav and a reversing camera. The second row featured captain seats and twin built-in touchscreen LCD infotainment consoles on the headrests of the first row seats. Only 25 units were made, and each retailed at RM91,998.