Prior to the launch of the Proton X70 CKD, the rumour mill was ablaze, stating that the new model would receive a brand-new powertrain in the form of the 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Well, now that the model has been launched, it’s safe to say that the rumour were partly correct – the previous China-made Proton X70's 1.8-litre turbocharged TGDi engine was carried over to the CKD model, albeit with 15 Nm more torque but the 6-speed torque converter automatic has been replaced with a more fuel efficient 7-speed dual-clutch automatic unit.
A quick check with the Malaysian Automotive Association's (MAA) production data indicates that Proton has produced 30 units Proton X70 fitted with a 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, with AWD, as of December 2019.
Now before anyone jumps the gun and say that these will be sold here, we need to point that these are for exports, probably to countries like Thailand or even Australia, countries with stricter CO2 emissions regulations.
Another possible reason to why the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine won't be fitted to Malaysian-market X70 units is because of product differentiation - the upcoming Proton X50 is slated to use this engine, which allows for a clear separation between itself and the larger X70.
Is the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit a better engine? Well it's cleaner and more fuel efficient, but it sounds rough and unrefined. We are not big fans of it. We have driven a Geely Binyue with the same engine and we will gladly pass that engine over to others who want it more.