Therein lies the question: for roughly the same amount of money for the top-spec Proton X70, should you, or should you not, add a little bit more money and get the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross instead?
Also Read: Priced from RM 124k, Toyota Corolla Cross launched in Malaysia, full ADAS, 3D 360-deg cam, TNGA
Exterior – Are you team Proton or team Toyota?
Between the two SUVs, it’s not easy trying to pinpoint which is the better-looking one.
Sure, the Proton X70 may be a rebadged Geely Boyue, but the Boyue is a still handsomely-designed SUV. The X70 exudes an air of maturity and elegance, especially when coupled with the 19-inch wheels.
As for the Corolla Cross, one could say that Toyota has taken the Toyota RAV4’s design elements and shrunk it down for the Corolla Cross. It is also easier on the eye compared to the funky-looking Toyota C-HR.
Interior – Plushness versus function
There’s no denying the Proton X70 appeal, especially from the inside. The X70 Premium X gets draped in luxurious Nappa leather, uplifting the cabin atmosphere a few notches above the Toyota.
The Toyota Corolla Cross, on the other hand, does not feel as expensive as the X70. While the Corolla Cross does not get the same Nappa leather as the X70, it does feel very well put-together and looks like it will stand the test of time well. The silver trim does help to break the monotony feel of the interior.
One aspect where the Corolla Cross is better than the Proton X70 is its infotainment system – the Corolla Cross offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.
Also Read: Why your next car should come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
We’ve said it countless times before – Android Auto and Apple CarPlay provide a much more seamless experience between mobile phones and in-car infotainment system, as both systems allow drivers to continue their Spotify / Apple Music tracks from where they left off, as well as navigating around using Google Maps / Waze / Apple Maps.
On top of music and navigation (which the Proton X70 offers), the key standout feature of using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is their ability to read and reply messages via voice command. As sophisticated as Proton tries to portray its voice command system, the inability to reply messages is a massive deal-breaker for a lot of us.
We would gladly trade the in-car 4G LTE connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.
Powertrain – Corolla Cross is no match for the turbocharged X70
Both SUVs here feature a 1.8-litre engine, with the core difference being the way air is fed into the engine.
|Toyota Corolla Cross
In the case of the Proton X70, it gets a forced-induction 1.8-litre engine that does 184 PS and 300 Nm, while the Toyota Corolla Cross gets a more barebones naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre engine (139 PS, 172 Nm).
As powerful as the Proton X70 may be, this SUV from Proton is on the thirstier side. During our time with the X70, a calculated fuel consumption of 10.6-litre/100 km was obtained. We expect the Toyota Corolla Cross to better that figure with ease.
Also Read: 2020 Proton X70 CKD fuel consumption test, 7.6L/100km possible?
But that does not mean that it's game over for the Toyota Corolla Cross. No, far from it. Thanks to its TNGA platform, the Toyota Corolla Cross feels a lot more agile and nimble than the heavy and ageing Proton X70.
Safety – The Corolla Cross nudges ahead, slightly
On the safety front, both the Toyota Corolla Cross and Proton X70 are almost neck-and-neck with their equipment.
Both SUVs offer adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. In fact, both SUVs also offer a 360-degree view camera - an extremely useful feature to have in tight parking spots.
The Toyota Corolla Cross' TSS ADAS suite also offers pedestrian detection and it can also detect small vehicles in low light conditions.
Although both SUVs lack low speed follow, the Proton X70 is a bit worst off as it lacks lane keep assist (LKA).
Also Read: 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross’ TSS 2.0 detailed; better choice than the HR-V?
Pricing – Here’s where it gets tough
With prices starting from the RM 95k mark before topping out at the RM 123k mark, there’s no denying the Proton X70’s value-for-money factor.
On the other hand, thanks to our lopsided tax structure, the smaller Toyota Corolla Cross is priced from RM 124k to RM 134k, a tad bit more than the Proton.
||94,800 to 122,800
|Toyota Corolla Cross
||124,000 to 134,000
If you’re purchasing purely based on the value-for-money factor, then there’s no denying the Proton X70’s appeal, as you’re technically getting more “car” for a similar sum of money.
But, with that being said, the Proton X70 isn’t a new model, as the Geely Boyue it is based on has been on sale since 2016. The next-generation Geely Boyue has been earmarked for a 2022 debut.
Also Read: Geely confirms next gen 2022 Geely Boyue, to use Volvo XC40’s CMA platform
The Corolla Cross, on the other hand, is a much newer model, as it made its global debut in 2020. It is developed on the same TNGA-C platform like the Corolla Altis, albeit with a simpler and cheaper rear torsion beam suspension.
Conclusion – The Proton X70 still puts up a strong fight
Given its price point, it’s actually very hard to fault the Proton X70, as you’re paying B-segment SUV money for a C-segment model. It is also the most comfortable and well-equipped SUV for the money, so it’s no surprise why it became one of the best-selling SUVs in Malaysia.
Granted, the Proton X70 is far from perfect – the “Hi Proton” voice command infotainment system is more gimmicky than useful because it lacks the all-important Android Auto and Apple CarPlay spport. Proton's after-sales is also in a mess right now, so keep that in mind.
Also Read: Fix for Proton’s after-sales parts supply shortage underway, IT problem the cause
However, if you don’t need such a big SUV, then the Toyota Corolla Cross would be a better option. Fuel bills will be less of a pain compared to the turbocharged (but far heavier) Proton, as the Corolla Cross' naturally-aspirated engine is expected to be more frugal.
If you’re contemplating between the two, the Toyota Corolla Cross would be a better choice for those who values a better after-sales experience and the reliability of the Toyota marque.
Also Read: Quick Review: 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross in Malaysia, the Toyota SUV you’ve been waiting for