2020 Proton X70 CKD - is it as good as the China-made CBU model?

Shaun · Feb 25, 2020 10:21 AM

2020 Proton X70

By now you’re probably aware that the Proton X70 is locally assembled and Malaysians beings Malaysians, we’re skeptical about the quality, aren’t we?

Having been up close and personal with the 2020 Proton X70 for a good couple of days, we thought we’d share our impressions of the 2020 Proton X70, specifically how it feels against the China-made CBU units.

2020 Proton X70

First impressions are excellent. From what we can tell performing the infamous Malaysian knocking test, touching practically every panel and observing the gaps, there is no discernable difference in quality.

2020 Proton X70 interior

All differences felt in the 2020 Proton X70 are nuances. If you’re familiar with the imported X70, you can tell that something’s changed but can’t quite put a finger on it.

For instance, it seems like there’s a new exhaust system when viewed from the rear, but it’s just the muffler not painted black like the imported units.

2020 Proton X70 rear

Setting off in the 2020 Proton X70 for the first time, the steering feels a tad weightier and with it a sense of improved body control. Making us immediately question if there was work done with the suspension. A quick check with the engineers confirmed that the suspension was tweaked.

Body roll is now less pronounced, which is a plus for passengers, especially if they get motion sickness easily. Again, these are nuances and if you’re not familiar with the imported units, it would be difficult to tell.

Cabin noise is virtually identical so the class-leading sound insulation is unaffected.

2020 Proton X70

Even the change in transmission may not be immediately apparent, as the way it is calibrated feels more akin to a traditional automatic than a dual clutch transmission (DCT).

It creeps from a standstill, slowly moving forwards (or backwards depending on gear selected) in a smooth manner. The only telltale sign is the rpm goes higher than usual, around 1,500 rpm or higher depending on road incline. And it feels like the transmission hasn’t hooked up, like balancing the clutch on a manual transmission, if you still recall those.

On the move there is none of the snappiness of a traditional DCT, just smooth and seamless swaps in cogs. For a DCT, we would even it call it slow. But the additional torque of 15 Nm does help move things along and the DCT improves fuel efficiency. If the leisurely shifts help with durability, we’re not complaining.

Which is another concern for buyers, the reliability of the DCT. For now, we can only take both Geely and Proton’s word for it that they have done extensive testing on the transmission. Remember though, so did Volkswagen and Ford. Only time will tell.

2020 Proton X70 gear lever

Then there are the added features such as front ventilated seats, two-step reclining backseat, and powered tailgate. All great to have and are bonus features as far as we’re concerned. The best part is, prices of all variants have dropped from RM 1,000 to RM 5,000.

So to recap, no discernable differences in quality, improved driving experience, and added features. For all intents and purposes, the 2020 Proton X70 CKD is better than the China-made CBU units, as long as you take their word on the transmission’s durability.