Whichever way you cut it, the engine's 177 PS and 255 Nm power figures are more than enough for day-to-day usage. Power delivery is linear and smooth, and it's always ready when you punch it a little bit.
Putting the car into Sports mode changes the transmission mapping, which makes the car perkier and even more raring to go.
Pros: Ride and Handling
Meanwhile, the Proton Ride and Handling recipe here is a little bit on the softer side. The suspension soaks up bumps very nicely, smoothens out pockmarked roads quite well and generally serves up very comfortable ride.
The X50 also inspires confidence, in terms of road holding. It grips well and the car feels very stable at relatively higher speeds.
Meanwhile, the electric power steering (EPS) is decently weighted - light and easy enough to handle. It's not too light to make it feel vague when driving, and you know exactly where the front wheels are pointing.
Pros - Best-in-class technology
We'll give it to you straight - buyers will not get this much technology in any competitor's offering, especially not at this price. For RM 103,300 (sans-SST, valid until 31-December 2020), buyers will get:
Looking at what one gets for the price - tech notwithstanding, it's a very handsome car, especially in this Citric Orange colour - one may think that Proton may have cut some corners in terms of build quality. We're happy to report that it's not the case with the X50.
Like its bigger brother (Proton X70), build quality is top notch, with fitments in the interior and exterior being impeccable. Nothing feels loose, no odd creaks or squeaks, buttons are satisfying to press and even the doors close with a satisfying 'thunk'.
Cons - Infotainment is miles behind
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first - the lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on the GKUI19 touchscreen infotainment system. Though Proton has included QD Link (essentially MirrorLink), it's a clunky solution that is finicky and can get downright annoying to use.
Sound quality is fairly middling at best. Don't expect thumping bass or crystal clarity from the 6-speaker setup, which we found to also crackle when the volume is turned up.
Cons - Not very practical
Though it's an SUV, praciticality isn't its strongest suit. The X50's 330-litre boot space is the smallest in its class - a figure easily filled up by a baby stroller and some bags.
A few details also break up the otherwise splendidly-designed interior. For one, the gear panel and storage cubby under the centre console aren't illuminated, which can make finding things at night a little more difficult than it needs to be.
Other than that, whatever storage spaces that are there are also relatively small. None of the 8 cupholders pass our big bottle test, and other cubbies can fit small things at most.
Cons - Ergonomics need getting used to
Ergonomics could also be a little bit better. Let's start with the seats. Their bases are a little short, which means taller drivers will find a lack of thigh support.
The lumbar support isn't also very, er, supportive. Combined with the awkward thigh/knee support, long distance driving can get a little bit more tiring than it needs to be.
Other than that is the user interface. Sure, the interior is a looker but it's a car you need to spend some time with to get used to. For example, buttons and switches in the X50 aren't as intuitive to use as you'll get in say, the Honda HR-V.
Cons - Quite the guzzler
There's no doubt about the powertrain's capabilities, but its fuel efficiency figures leave us a little wanting. After going around our usual test route in Kuala Lumpur's traffic and some highway driving, the X50 managed to return 10.2 litres/100 km.
For context, the HR-V - one of the X50's main rivals - returns 7 litres/100 km.
Conclusion - Good value for its price
There may be small annoyances, but the X50 is still great value for the price. You'll turn heads and have a good time driving it in the process.
This is just a short summary of Malaysia's most-hyped car in the meantime. Stay tuned for further articles and videos to follow!
With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.