We’re fast approaching the fourth quarter of the year, which is the period where Proton plans to introduce the locally-assembled X70 SUV. Our reader Wan Yoi spotted a test mule with all four of its wheel caps covered in camouflage tape, and the front Proton badge is also taped up as well.
Does this mean it will be launched together with the new Proton logo? Only time will tell. What we do know so far is that the X70 CKD is on track for launch this year – the Tanjung Malim plant has already produced its first body-in-white on April 10 this year, said company CEO Dr Li Chunrong.
Li also said the localisation content for the X70 CKD will be gradually increased to meet Proton’s commitment to its vendors, and the company has spent nearly 20 months laying the groundwork in preparation for localising the SUV.
Parked right next to the X70 prototype is the Geely Binyue, or informally coined as the Proton X50. Next to each other, the size difference between the B-segment X50 and C-segment X70 is obvious. The former clearly rides lower to the ground, which means entering and exiting the car feels more natural and convenient, if you will.
As siblings go, the rear end is quite distinctly different between the two, but even under all the heavy masking the X50 still manages to flaunt its strong shoulder line. It’s also fitted with the sportier, taller rear spoiler that’s featured in our walk-around video, which differs from another prototype mule that was spotted on the East Coast Expressway (LPT) last week.
Another key feature that can be picked out is that this camouflaged X50, presumably the range-topping sporty variant, rides on dual-tone 18-inch turbine-style wheels shod with 215/55 profile tyres, which is identical to the model here. This is not the same set of wheels that was featured on our digital rendering (pictured below), although those are also 18-inch items with the same tyre profile.
Now, the X50 is quite possibly the most anticipated SUV in the market right now, so that alone necessitates a brief recap. It’s built on Geely’s B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA), measuring 4,330 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,609 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,600 mm. Two engines are available in China, starting with the base 1.0 litre three-cylinder making 134 hp and 205 Nm, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The one that we’ll most likely be getting is the 1.5 litre unit that was co-developed with Volvo, which outputs 174 hp and 255 Nm. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission drives the front wheels. There’s also the Binyue PHEV, which uses the same 1.5 litre block but comes with an electric motor and battery pack. The total system output is 255 hp and 415 Nm, with a pure electric range of 60 km.
For equipment, the Binyue boasts Level 2 autonomous driving, which bundles features such as adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB). Other features include the famed GKUI system comprising a seven-inch LCD instrument panel and a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, among others. Expect the “Hi Proton” voice command functions to be featured as well.
If you’re interested to know all about Proton’s upcoming star, click here to find out everything on the X50 that we know thus far. Also, watch the walk-around video below to see exactly how it looks like on camera, as well as an early impression on cabin build quality and spaciousness.