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proton is rightfully not pulling its punches with the x70

Proton is rightfully not pulling its punches with the X70

Starts below RM100k, full safety suite for all trims and some attractive Xtras

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

12 Dec 2018

Though its status as a national car might be in limbo following the influx of Geely money, the arrival of any new Proton is still something that keeps the nation on its toes due to the patriotic essence sowed decades ago that’s still blossoming within Malaysians.

The X70 quite literally had the weight of the entire nation on its shoulders. Not only was it the marque’s first SUV, it was the first new model under Geely stewardship and the expectations were stratospheric to; to put it modestly.

Proton had to deliver an astounding product that hit new heights in terms of quality yet still price it accordingly to the “kereta rakyat” identity the brand was built on. Good thing it delivered then with a starting price of a shade under RM100k and not skimping on the safety tech with impressive build quality, materials and tech to complement it.

Many cats were already let out of the proverbial bag with so-called leaks but we can finally put it all in black and white following the official launch last night.

There’ll be four variants to select from; starting with the Standard 2WD (RM99,800), Executive 2WD (RM109,800), Executive AWD (RM115,800) and culminating with the Premium 2WD (RM123,800) as the flagship variant.

The Xtras mentioned in the sub-header are some bonuses Proton has thrown in with the purchase of the X70 that comprises a five-year data connectivity package of 1GB a month by Celcom, five free labour charges for scheduled servicing, five-year warranty with unlimited mileage and a low finance rate of 2.34 per cent per annum.

Seeing the potential of the X70 across the South China sea in Sabah and Sarawak, Proton has announced that prices will be standard nationwide without any additional costs for Borneo.

Most of you would’ve already seen the X70 in photos but just to recap, it isn’t a carbon copy of the Geely Boyue that it’s based on. Proton in-house design team did go the extra mile to incorporate local cultural elements into its design.

Proton’s chief designer; Azlan Othman, deep dived into the design cues together with a very special guest, Peter Horbury; the head of design for Volvo and now for Geely’s entire automotive ventures.

A large part of the Boyue’s adaptation into the X70 stemmed on the right-hand drive conversion; a first for the Boyue as it was exclusively sold in left-hand drive markets prior to this. Proton and Geely didn’t cut corners by just relocating the steering column. Instead, the switchgear was also mirrored with the electronic parking brake moved to the right of the transmission lever; closer to the driver. You’ll also get a proper footrest for your left foot.

With the aforementioned safety suite standard on all trims, it’s the other bell and whistles that set apart the four variants. Starting with the Standard 2WD, you’ll find that it isn’t too shabby at all with a 7.0-inch LCD digital instrument cluster, 8.0-inch touchscreen GKUI integrated infotainment that responds to the now familiar “Hi Proton” command, six-speaker system, reverse camera, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, rear air-conditioning vents and six USB charging ports. Seats are fabric though the steering wheel is leather-wrapped. Lighting is via halogen projector headlights with LED fog lights and LED taillights. Wheels are 17-inch alloys with 225/65R17 rubbers.

That extra RM10,000 for the Executive 2WD is a princely sum of a leap but it does justify the price with LED projector headlights and LED DRLs. Seats are now leather with power adjustability for the driver, the speaker count climbs to eight and you’ll also get a 360-degree surround view camera. Joining the mix are larger 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/60R18 tyres. Some cool puddle lamps illuminate the road under the front doors with the Proton logo.

Splurging for the Premium 2WD sees the leather itself upgraded to Nappa, power adjustability for both front seats and the addition of a “chauffeur switch” on the right side of the front passenger’s seat upright. This allows the driver and rear passengers easy access to moving the front left seat forward for more legroom for the “tauke” in the car. A panoramic sunroof, additional functions for the voice command and a Kenwood nine-speaker set up completes the toys. Massive 19-inch wheels in 225/55R19 Continental UC6 SUV rubbers fill those wheel wells rather handsomely.

All X70s will run on the 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder TGDi petrol engine from Geely that makes a respectable 183hp and 285Nm of torque. You can have any type of transmission as long as it’s a six-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels while the AWD version runs on a Borg Warner NexTrac system that’s capable of a 70:30 torque split when the going gets tough.

There’s a drive mode selector to switch between Eco, Normal and Sport but more importantly, the X70 is rated at 12.82km/litre that officially grants it EEV status.

Last but certainly not the least are the core safety features that will be standard for all variants. An Asean NCAP five-star crash safety rating is achieved with help from six airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, stability control, traction control, hill-hold assist and hill descent control.

For the Executive trims, your extra money will net you dual front parking sensors while the Executive AWD gets a handy Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

The active safety though is reserved for the Premium trim. Labelled the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), it integrates Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) (under 30kph), Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control (between 30-150kph), Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information System and Intelligent High Beam Control.