It is one of the hottest new car launches of 2020 and Proton’s long-awaited smaller sibling to the successful X70. But before we get down to business, here’s the definitive guide to get yourself updated with the Proton X50.
Q: So, first thing’s first, how different is the Proton X50 compared to the Chinese Geely Binyue/Coolray?
In terms of exterior looks, the Proton X50 differs only in the Infinite Weave grille design and the round Proton tiger logo. It looks similar to the Geely Binyue Sport, especially in this two-tone colour scheme.
Not much has changed on the inside either with the X50 being in a right-hand drive configuration which took 2 years to develop. At the back, passengers are greeted with rear air vents and 2 USB charging ports, features that are not available in the Geely models.
Those who are hoping the X50 will get Proton’s ride and handling will be excited to know that Proton is involved in the suspension tuning of the X50. Expect it to have the tried, tested, and sometimes praised handling dynamics of a regular Proton.
Q: Is the X50 fully imported or locally assembled?
Unlike the initial units of the X70 which were imported from China, the X50 is locally-assembled at Proton’s newly extended line in Tanjung Malim.
Based on how well-built the CKD unit of the X70 is in our review, it might be safe to say that the locally-assembled X50 is in good hands in terms of quality.
Q: What is the engine available on the X50?
You mean engines, with an ‘s’. The X50 is available with 2 engine options across 4 variants. One is a brand-new 1.5-litre 3-cylinder (EDIT: It wasn't a 4-cylinder as previously reported) turbocharged multi-point injection engine which produces 150 PS and 226 Nm. This is available in 3 variants which are the 1.5T Standard, 1.5T Executive, and 1.5T Premium.
The top-of-the-range 1.5 TGDI Flagship will be powered by, you guessed it, a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged direct-injection engine which produces 177 PS and 255 Nm.
Both engines are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch (DCT) gearbox which is shared with the X70 in terms of hardware including gear ratios. However, Proton claims the software calibration and shifting pattern are different.
Both engines use a 3-cylinder engine which Proton promises better fuel efficiency, performance, and emissions.
Q: Speaking of fuel efficiency, how fuel-efficient is it exactly?
A: According to Proton, the X50 is undergoing EEV certification but it has a claimed fuel consumption of 6.4 L/100 km.
Q: Is it a Volvo XC40 underneath?
Well, no. We bust this myth wide open here but the quick answer is that the XC40 and the X50 both share different platforms. The X50 and the Binyue both run on Geely's B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) platform while the XC40 runs on the C-segment Modular Architecture (CMA) platform.
The same goes for the engine and the gearbox, both of which aren't exactly Volvo's own per se but shared by Volvo and Geely and would be used across various models under the Geely umbrella.
Q: I hope there would be some interesting colours available for the X50, what are they?
A: You’ll be glad to know that there are 6 colours available in total for the X50 which are Snow White, Armour Silver, Jet Grey, Ocean Blue, Citric Orange, and Passion Red.
The aptly-named Flagship variant gets a dual-tone paint job which adds a black-painted roof on top of the aforementioned colours.
Q: How’s the infotainment system and speaking of which, does it come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay?
A: The X50 comes with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen for the 1.5T Standard and 1.5T Executive but in the 1.5T Premium and 1.5TGDi Flagship, both come with a larger 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen.
As for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it looks like you’re just gonna have to put up with Mirror Link instead. The X50’s infotainment unit is powered by Geely’s GKUI software and is using the latest GKUI 19 which promises better and more advanced connectivity.
The “Hi Proton” voice command feature is standard across all variants and like the Proton X70, it allows the user to operate the panoramic sunroof (only in the Flagship variant) and power windows through voice command aside from changing the music or asking about the weather.
Q: Right…But the X50 should come with some safety features like ADAS?
Yes. The X50 comes with a full suite of ADAS including AEB, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor, 360-degree camera, and tyre pressure monitoring system.
However, these features come standard only in the Flagship variant. All variants apart from the Standard variant come with 6 airbags. The Standard variant is only available with 4 airbags.
Q: How does the X50 compare with its rivals like the Honda HR-V?
Based on the table above, it seems that the X50 loses out in terms of boot space. It is a little shorter in terms of length than the HR-V but on one hand, the X50 is taller by 4 mm than the HR-V.
Q: Alright but here’s the million-ringgit question, how che…I mean how much would the X50 cost?
A: Proton has yet to release price info for the X50 but we estimate that it could cost between RM 80,000 to a little over RM 100,000. Bookings will start from 16-September 2020 nationwide.
That being said, this could easily undercut the best-selling compact crossover in the market, the Honda HR-V in terms of price just like how the Proton X70 undercuts the rest of the C-segment SUV in terms of pricing.
There you have it, your guide to the ins and outs of the Proton X50. How will Malaysia’s highly anticipated crossover be like to drive? You’ll have to stay tuned for that. For now, enjoy this walkaround video of Adrian and the X50.