Malaysians are eagerly waiting for Proton’s next SUV, more affectionally known as the Proton X50 – although the national carmaker has neither confirm nor deny this information.
The Proton X50 (based on the Geely Binyue) will sit below the Proton X70 and competes against the likes of the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. The pricing strategy will reflect this model hierarchy, giving customers a more affordable but no less high-tech SUV from Proton.
However, over at arch-rival Perodua’s base, they too are gearing up for their next SUV known internally as the D55L.
A question on most Malaysians minds is which should they save up their money for, the Perodua SUV or the Proton X50? Let us break it down for you.
Raize/Rocky is smaller than the Binyue
The Geely Binyue (Proton X50) is the size of your typical B-segment SUV and is no larger than a Honda HR-V. The Raize/Rocky, on the other hand, measures under 4 meters long with a much shorter wheelbase compared to typical rivals of the class.
Despite the smaller measurement, the Raize/Rocky does not look small at all in person. It carries the SUV look confidently thanks to the 17-inch alloys and rugged body cladding.
Raize/Rocky has larger boot space than the Binyue
Overseas media have expressed that the rear legroom of the Binyue to be sufficient for average-sized adults but it’s nothing to shout about.
We had first-hand experience in the Raize/Rocky and found the rear legroom to be really spacious. Although we would need to experience both cars back to back to draw a more definitive conclusion.
One advantage the Binyue has over the Raize/Rocky is that the latter is not equipped with rear armrests.
What’s more interesting is that the Toyota/Daihatsu SUV has a marginally larger boot space than the Geely at 369 litres vs. 330 litres. This is thanks to clever packaging from the Japanese which uses a false boot floor to increase the boot depth.
The cabin of the Raize/Rocky is functional, Binyue is a fashion statement
The Raize/Rocky is clearly built with a more budget proposition in mind as told by the hardy plastics found throughout the cabin. A little bit like the Perodua Myvi if you will.
However, that’s not to downplay the build quality and aesthetics of the cabin. It’s well built and looks very pleasing to the eyes even if the instrument panels are not lit, especially the 9.0-inch floating touchscreen display unit with Apple CarPlay connectivity (no Android Auto).
The cabin of the Binyue, on the other hand, is like Versace. It serves the same purpose but does it in an over the top manner.
Generous use of high-quality leather, attractive interior trims and high definition displays makes up the cabin of the Chinese made SUV. There are also options for panoramic sunroof, dual-tone upholstery and widescreen infotainment display.
Both cars use turbocharged 3-cylinders
The Toyota/Daihatsu uses a 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine with 98 PS and 140 Nm of torque paired to a CVT automatic. In Japan, the SUV is available as a front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
However, it remains to be seen whether Perodua will launch their first turbocharged engine in their forthcoming SUV or revert to their tried and tested 3SZ-VE 1.5-litre four-cylinder NA and 4-speed automatic as seen on the Perodua Aruz and Myvi.
Thanks to its connections with Volvo, the Binyue uses a more sophisticated and highly potent powertrain.
There are two engine capacities to choose from – 1.0- or 1.5-litre. Both are turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol units with direct injection. The former is paired exclusively to a 6-speed manual pushing 136 PS and 205 Nm of torque while the larger mill gets a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with 177 PS and 255 Nm.
The 1.5-litre TGDi 3-cylinder is co-developed with Volvo and is found in the Volvo XC40 T3. In the Binyue, it can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. This the most likely powertrain the Malaysian market will receive as it’s the only engine option with an automatic transmission.
Latest platform technology
Both the Raize/Rocky and Binyue rides on the latest platform available from their respective marque.
The Toyota/Daihatsu rides on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) platform which is a derivative of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform used in the Toyota Corolla Altis, C-HR and Camry. DNGA is used in a series of Daihatsu-made kei and subcompact cars.
The Binyue uses the B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) platform which is a derivative of the C-segment Modular Architecture (CMA) platform used in the Volvo XC40.
BMA Platform was designed to exceed Euro NCAP 5-Star safety standard and ready for Level 3 autonomous driving.
Both SUVs can be equipped with Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) including adaptive cruise control (ACC) and autonomous emergency braking.
In most aspects, the Binyue has a more sophisticated and complete ADAS with automatic parking assistant, speed limit recognition and lane keep assist to name a few.
However, where the ACC of the Binyue works up to 150 k/h, the Raize/Rocky’s system operates up to its top speed.
How much are they?
Lastly, price. The Raize/Rocky depending on which badge you want to have on the car is priced between 1.68 to 2.42 million Yen (RM 63k to RM92k). Using the Honda HR-V as a benchmark, the Raize/Rocky is priced around 20% lower than the Honda in Japan.
In China, the Binyue is priced between 79k to 129k Yuan (RM 46k to RM 76k) which is roughly 15% cheaper than the Geely Boyue (Proton X70).
This does not in any way reflect the pricing strategy of the Perodua SUV and Proton X50 when the two models are launched in Malaysia. It merely gives us an idea of the value of each car.
Final verdict, which is better?
The two cars offer drastically different value proposition and is unfair to compare them apple to apple. The Raize/Rocky is a basic but practical SUV with advanced features to entice buyers who are looking for good value for money.
The Binyue, on the other hand, is aimed at buyers looking for an upmarket SUV with highly advanced features. Make no mistake, Geely vehicles with its intelligent technologies are high-value cars, only they are not priced as such.
Hence although the two models will compete in the same segment, their product positioning couldn’t be any more different.
If you’re a fan of the latest technologies and the phrase ‘co-developed with Volvo’ appeals to you, the Proton X50 (Geely Binyue) would be worth waiting out for.
But if you prefer something more familiar with tried and tested reliability, the Perodua SUV (Daihatsu Rocky/Toyota Raize) would suit your profile better.
Both the Perodua SUV and Proton X50 have some time to go before they show up in showrooms as the two cars have only just been sighted on Malaysian roads undergoing testing and development recently. But rest assured that they will be well worth the wait.