You’ve been waiting years for this moment to come, and now it’s finally here! The new Proton X50 SUV has at last been launched, marking the national carmaker’s entry into the lucrative and hotly contested B-segment crossover market, with highly competitive specifications and pricing.
The latter is the piece of information you’ve all been dying to know, so let’s not waste any more time. The X50 is priced at RM79,200 for the base 1.5T Standard, RM84,800 for the 1.5T Executive, RM93,200 for the 1.5T Premium and RM103,300 for the amusingly-named range-topping 1.5 TGDi Flagship.
These prices for this locally-assembled Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) include the full exemption of the sales and service tax (SST), valid until December 31. There’s also a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, a five-year data package (1 GB quota per month) and five times free labour for servicing up to 30,000 km.
But the price is only part of the story – as the second Geely-based model, the X50 also brings several firsts for the brand in terms of technology and safety. There’s plenty to talk about, so here’s everything you need to know about what is possibly the company’s most important model yet.
Second model from Geely, based on Binyue/Coolray
As mentioned earlier, the X50 is Proton’s second model to be based on a Geely – in this case, the Binyue (or the Coolray as it’s known in other markets). The car is part of a licencing agreement inked in 2018 which will also see the arrival of a rebadged version of the Jiaji MPV.
Predictably, the X50 is much smaller than the X70. Measuring 4,330 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,609 mm tall, it is 189 mm shorter, 31 mm narrower and 85 mm lower compared to its sibling, while its 2,600 mm wheelbase is 70 mm shorter. Its natural rival is the Honda HR-V, so it’s no surprise they’re millimetres apart – it’s four millimetres shorter, 28 mm wider and four millimetres taller, with a wheelbase ten millimetres shorter.
Just as the X70 is almost identical to the Boyue on which it’s based, the X50 derives much of its design from the Binyue. That’s no bad thing, of course – the latter is one of Geely’s latest models and sports arguably the most cohesive version of the Chinese brand’s styling language yet.
Certain cues are shared with the X70, such as the prominent front fender bulges, deep shoulder line creases and blacked-out D-pillars that give the car a floating roof look. But overall, the X50 has a far sportier design, helped along by the reduced dimensions and the fitment of the Sport exterior package as standard – yes, even on the base Standard model.
At the front, you’ll find the usual Proton “Infinite Weave” grille, here surrounded by a striking Auburn Red strip that dips down in the middle to fit the roundel badge. It’s flanked by sharp LED headlights, tied together by a large, sculpted chrome trim piece that somehow doesn’t look overwrought. This aggressive look is emphasised by the sizeable air intakes and a jutting front spoiler that flows neatly into the black plastic body cladding. The Standard is the only one not to come with LED fog lights in the corner inlets.
Moving to the rear of the car, the trapezoidal LED tail lights come with triple light guides and are joined by a full-width chrome strip carrying the Proton script. Rounding off the look is the massive diffuser and four genuine exhaust pipes that give the X50 an unexpectedly racy look. Fortunately, however, the designers have given a hard pass to the ostentatious rear wing found in other markets.
Not much separates the four variants from the outside. The Standard and Executive models get 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Premium and Flagship gain intricate 18-inch two-tone rollers. The range-topping version also receives a black roof, and buyers will be pleased to know that the A-pillar joint lines up neatly with the bonnet, making the two-tone colour scheme look less like an afterthought.
Jet fighter-inspired cabin, new GKUI 19 infotainment system
If you thought the exterior was modern, wait till you see the interior. There’s a futuristic minimalist dashboard with fake stitching on the upper layer, lashings of metal-look trim, a tall centre console “bridge” with a Porsche-like passenger grab handle, and even some jet fighter-inspired air vents at the corners. Underneath the centre console is a large storage space with a USB port and a 12-volt socket.
To amp up the visual drama further still, Premium and Flagship variants are kitted with a full red-and-black colour scheme, which finds its way not only on the seats but also on the dashboard and door cards. The upper parts of the dash and front door panels are made from soft-touch materials.
In terms of infotainment, all models get the latest version of the Geely Key User Interface, GKUI 19, which is claimed to be more responsive than the preceding system in the X70. The interface itself has also been revised, with cleaner tiles and permanent menu, back and home buttons (that last button is in the middle and features the Proton logo in place of the Geely insignia in other markets).
However, the application is slightly different depending on the variant. Standard and Executive models get an eight-inch freestanding touchscreen, an analogue instrument cluster and an eSIM built into the head unit itself. The latter enables basic functions of the “Hi Proton” voice control system.
On the Premium and Flagship, the display is much wider at 10.25 inches across, while the instrument cluster is now a seven-inch digital display that has different themes depending on the drive mode selected. The eSIM on these models is also integrated into the telematics box, allowing drivers to control additional functions such as the windows and air-conditioning, just like in the X70.
This eSIM also connects with the Proton Link smartphone app, letting users check the vehicle’s status and control certain functions remotely, including starting the car and using the air-conditioning to cool the cabin.
On both versions of the GKUI 19 system, you get access to weather information, Joox music streaming and online navigation (the provider of which has been switched from Baidu Maps to Alibaba’s AutoNavi, using data from Here Maps). There’s also a QDLink smartphone screen mirroring function that works on Android and iOS devices, although you can’t actually control your phone using the car’s touchscreen. You still don’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality, unfortunately.
Aside from the usual Proton touches like the steering wheel badging and the “Infinite Weave” mesh on the speaker grilles, the X50 also has a couple of unique features for the Malaysian market. Unlike the Binyue, the car comes with rear air vents – and best of all, it’s fitted as standard across the range. Above the vents are two USB charging ports instead of just one on the Geely.
Open the tailgate, and you’ll find 330 litres of luggage space, which is a ways off the HR-V (it’s actually more than 100 litres smaller) and less than what you’d find in the Toyota C-HR (388 litres), Mazda CX-3 (350 litres), Subaru XV (345 litres) and even the Hyundai Kona (335 litres).
You also don’t get a powered tailgate anywhere in the lineup – evidently, Proton wants this to be an X70-exclusive feature. As is par for the course in the segment, you can fold the 60:40-split rear seats for more cargo room, while a space-saver spare tyre sits underneath the boot floor.
Standard equipment includes keyless entry with remote engine start, push-button start, manual fabric seats, manual air-conditioning, an N95 cabin filter, rear parking sensors, a reverse camera and four speakers. The Executive bumps up the feature list with automatic headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front parking sensors and faux leather upholstery.
Step up to the Premium, and you get roof rails, a welcome light function, automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic up and down for all windows, a 360-degree camera system and six speakers, plus all the technology and aesthetic flourishes listed earlier. The Flagship is almost identical in spec but adds automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capabilities, five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating
As standard, the X50 comes with four airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control and rear Isofix child seat anchors. Moving up to the Executive model nets you curtain airbags to make it six in total, while the Premium adds a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Flagship is the only one to come with the Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS), which has been significantly upgraded over the one in the X70. The key highlight here is Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), which combines adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centring assist to provide Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capabilities. This allows the car to accelerate, brake and steer on its own.
We should point out that ICC will only assist in driving the car, so at no point should you be doing anything other than focusing on the road ahead. The system is not foolproof – the onus will still be on you to maintain full control of the car, and if you get into an accident when using ICC, you will still need to take full responsibility. In other words, don’t use this as an excuse to use your phone while driving.
Other features include autonomous emergency braking (now with pedestrian detection), lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and automatic high beam. These features have enabled the X50 to secure a full five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating, with a total score of 84.26%.
1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission
Power comes from a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine developed by Geely and Volvo. Two versions are available, with the Standard, Executive and Premium getting a port-injected mill making 150 PS at 5,500 rpm and 226 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. The X50 is the first car in the Geely group to receive this version, which delivers a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.5 litres per 100 km.
The more powerful direct-injected engine is exclusive to the Flagship and churns out 177 PS at 5,500 rpm and 255 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. It gets from zero to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds and is capable of sipping 6.4 litres of petrol per 100 km.
All models are front-wheel drive and come with the same seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission as the X70, also designed by Geely and Volvo. One difference from its stablemate is that there are no paddle shifters offered, not even on the Flagship.
The X50 is built on Geely’s B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) and as such features MacPherson strut suspension at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. Proton claims that the car features a total of 406 unique parts compared to the Binyue, as a result of the switch to right-hand drive.
Six colours are offered, only three of which are available for the Standard model – Snow White, Armour Silver and Ocean Blue. The Executive variant can also be had in Jet Grey and the Citric Orange you see here, while buyers of the Premium and Flagship can also specify their cars in Passion Red, a solid vermilion hue. As I said earlier, the Flagship comes only in the two-tone colour scheme.
Here’s the variant breakdown in detail.
2020 Proton X50 1.5T Standard – RM79,200
Gets as standard:
- 1.5T PFI 1.5 litre engine
- 1,477 cc multi-point injection, turbocharged three-cylinder
- 150 PS at 5,500 rpm
- 226 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm
- Seven-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission with manual mode (no paddle shifters)
- 6.5 litres per 100 km fuel consumption
- Three drive modes (Normal, Eco and Sport)
- Front-wheel drive
- Ventilated brake discs (front), solid discs (rear)
- Electronic parking brake with auto brake hold function
- MacPherson strut (front), torsion beam (rear) suspension
- 45 litre fuel tank capacity
- 1,325 kg kerb weight
- 17-inch silver alloy wheels with 215/60 profile tyres
- LED projector headlamps
- LED daytime running lights
- LED tail lights
- Gloss black grille with red outline
- Front lower splitter with carbon-fibre print
- Rear spoiler
- Quad-exhaust pipes, rear diffuser with carbon-fibre print
- Black fabric upholstery with grey contrast stitching
- Grey headliner
- Manual front seat adjustment
- Manual air-conditioning
- Urethane steering wheel with control switches
- Standard meter instrument cluster
- Cruise control with speed limiter
- Keyless entry, push-button start
- Remote engine start
- Rear air-con vents
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GKUI 19
- Voice command, navigation, online weather foreceast/ Joox music streaming
- 4G and WiFi, smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity
- Four loudspeakers
- Three USB ports (one data, two charging)
- N95 cabin filter
- 330 litres boot space
- Four airbags (front and side)
- Electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control
- ABS, EBD, brake assist
- Hill hold assist, hill descent control
- Reverse camera
- Four rear parking sensors
- Snow White, Armour Silver, Ocean Blue
2020 Proton X50 1.5T Executive – RM84,800
- 1,345 kg kerb weight
- Automatic headlamps
- Front LED fog lamps
- Black faux leather upholstery with grey contrast stitching
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with function control switches
- Six airbags (front, side, curtain)
- Two front parking sensors
- As above, adds on Jet Grey and Citric Orange
2020 Proton X50 1.5T Premium – RM93,200
- 1,350 kg kerb weight
- 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels with 215/55 profile tyres
- Red-coloured brake callipers
- Silver roof rails
- Black and red faux leather upholstery with red contrast stitching
- Black headliner
- Dual-tone black and red interior
- Six-way powered driver’s seat
- Single-zone auto air-conditioning
- 7.0-inch digital instrument display
- Front side mirror welcome lamps
- 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment unit
- Additional voice functions for GKUI 19 interface
- Six loudspeakers
- Proton Link App compatibility (vehicle status, remote control)
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- 360-degree camera
- As above, adds on Passion Red
2020 Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship – RM103,300
- 1.5 TGDi 1.5 litre engine
- 1,477 cc direct-injection, turbocharged three-cylinder
- 177 PS at 5,500 rpm
- 255 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm
- 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds
- 6.4 litres per 100 km fuel consumption
- 1,370 kg kerb weight
- Dual-tone exterior (black roof and pillars)
- Automatic rain-sensing wipers
- Panoramic sunroof, powered sunblind cover
- Automatic dimming rear-view mirror
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go function
- Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)
- Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
- Intelligent high-beam control
- Auto Park Assist
- Four front parking sensors
So, what do you think of the Proton X50 – will it be competitive against its competitors and similarly-priced B-segment sedan rivals, and are you planning to buy one? Sound off in the comments after the jump. As usual, you can browse full specifications and equipment of the new Proton X50 on CarBase.my.