The Proton X50 has a tough fight ahead in 2022, against the all-new Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross
Sanjay · Nov 25, 2021 02:39 PM
When the Proton X50 was launched in Malaysia in October 2020, it brought upon a semblance of normalcy to an otherwise bleak, pandemic-laced year.
From a product standpoint it was the most modern in class: no other competitor in the B-segment SUV space offered Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities for RM 103k like the X50 Flagship. Plus it looks great.
Buoyed by intense hype, early customers had to wait six months between their deposit and getting their keys, a fact we understand still holds true.
But come 2022, the X50's fortunes might not be as nigh untouchable as competitors fight back.
A breath of fresh air
Being the freshest challenger on the block worked wonders for Proton. It meant that they could waltz into the arena once dominated by the Honda HR-V and pick a fight it was sure to win.
Its job was made even easier by virtue of the HR-V being an already aging model. It made its debut here in 2015, and was facelifted in 2019.
Like-for-like, the HR-V was pricier, and though its interior is infinitely more practical, Malaysians were swayed by the X50's fancy ADAS and turbocharged engine, things the Pegoh-assembled Honda didn't have.
Toyota had nothing to speak for itself in this space then, so the X50 pretty much shot up and sat pretty all alone under the spotlight for nearly half a year.
2022 will be harder for the X50
Then in March 2021, the Toyota Corolla Cross turned up. With it being a newly-developed product, finally there's a competitor that has the chops to go toe-to-toe against the X50.
ADAS? Check. A modern powertrain? There's a hybrid coming soon. Larger size? You bet.
Dealers branded the Corolla Cross as UMW Toyota's best product in two decades, and Malaysians made a beeline for it: though first allocation for fully-imported units (CBU Thailand) sold out in under a week, it hardly made a dent to the X50 as the Corolla Cross was still in relatively short supply then.
Though Toyota's contender makes a strong case for itself, don't forget too that Honda Malaysia will make this a triple threat when they introduce the all-new Honda HR-V on our shores sometime next year, which will also bring with it active safety and newer powertrains in a much-improved package.
In 2022 the X50 will be two years old, and like most cars any novelty it had upon its launch would've worn off too, especially in the face of equally-equipped competitors.
Of course, it still has its trump card: prices. The Corolla Cross ranges from RM 123k (1.8G) to approximately RM 137k (Hybrid). But remember, supply won't be an issue for the Toyota this time around as the model will be locally-assembled (CKD) in 2022.
For comparison, the X50 is currently priced from RM 79k (Standard) to RM 103k (Flagship).
Though at first glance it seems like the X50 has got nothing to worry about – at least in terms of pricing – keep in mind that branding plays a very integral part too, which has long been the domain of Honda and Toyota.
If you're in the market for a new SUV – 2022 will be a year to look forward to.
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.