Besides having Proton’s trademark ride and handling on the hot crossover, another thing to look forward to would be the brand-new 1.5-litre 3-cylinder port injected engine. Proton labels this engine as a multi-point injected (MPI) engine – perhaps an homage to the Iswara which was badged as an MPI in the UK?
The Proton X50 will be the first model to have this engine. Not even Geely or Volvo feature it, so I guess that is a proud achievement for Proton then?
Just a quick refresher in case you’ve forgotten, the X50 comes with 2 variants of the turbocharged 1.5-litre 3 pot; one with direct injection and the other with port injection. Hans has covered the differences between the 2 here.
But back to the engine, which is contrary to what your salesperson might tell you, isn’t shared with the Volvo XC40. Calling it a Volvo engine seems to be a grey area too. Rather, the 1.5-litre engine which Geely calls 1.5TD is a product of CEVT, a joint venture of Geely and Volvo.
In a press release interview with Dr. Håkan Sandquist, the Director of Powertrain Strategy at CEVT, the move towards lower displacement engines are due to them being more efficient, compact, and lightweight. This could help improve fuel economy and achieve a more balanced weight distribution to improve driving performance.
Obviously, with the use of 3-cylinder engines, one of the biggest concerns is the engine vibration. Geely claims that with the use of sound dampening tools like counterweighted crankshafts, low noise timing belt (sigh), single balancing shaft, on top of the engine compartment and vibration dampener have “effectively eliminated perceivable engine vibrations”.
Geely claims that this is on par or better than some models that are equipped with a 4-cylinder engine.
Now, when it comes to performance, Geely claims that the turbocharged engine would be highly responsive, compact, and powerful. Traditional turbo lag is minimized with the use of a low inertia turbocharger and the engine would provide smooth linear power output similar to larger displacement naturally aspirated engines.
But probably the boldest claim from this is one that might persuade people to buy the X50 and that’s, wait for it, reliability. Geely claims that the new engines are designed to last 15 years or a distance of 350,000 km. Both figures are much higher than the industry standards of 10 years or 200,000 km.
That’s a really bold claim, historically Proton cars aren’t really the definition of engine reliability but they have been improving here and there. Nothing like the old Sagas and Wiras which used good ol' Japanese Mitsubishi engines.
Then again, it still comes down to whether you can maintain your car well enough. These are just claims from the manufacturer, especially from Geely – a company which around 20 years ago was just starting to build their very first car.
Here they are now, owning a Swedish icon and producing an engine that claims to best the industry standards by a long shot. As for the X50, we haven’t driven it but with 4 variants of the X50 available, we'll let Adrian help you to decide the perfect X50 for you.