In today’s episode of “Biggest open secrets verified,” Proton has confirmed that its much-touted B-segment SUV will be launched this year in completely-knocked down (CKD) form right out of the factory floor, unlike the X70.
Widely expected to be christened the X50 in accordance with the new alphanumeric naming nomenclature, the smaller SUV will follow the locally-assembled X70 that itself should be just around the corner with some updates; including a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The X50 will be based on the existing Geely Binyue. A major reason behind the immediate local-assembly is the push to transform Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant into a right-hand drive production hub for Geely vehicles and seeing that the Binyue is only available in left-hand drive currently from China, it makes sense to set the ball rolling with the X50.
Prototypes have been spotted on local roads so expect the launch to be sooner rather than later. Much like the X70, the X50 should be available with more than a few of the premium bells and whistles found in its larger sibling.
Of course, the Geely Key User Interface (GKUI) infotainment system will be available with a touchscreen so you can talk to your X50. Apart from saying “Hi Proton” to it, expect dual-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof.
An uncertainty however would be the autonomous driving aids. In China, you can buy a Binyue with those features and although available on the X70, the same might not be applicable for the X50.
In terms of powertrains, the Binyue is sold in China with a 1.0-litre turbo inline-three mated to a six-speed manual or a larger 1.5-litre turbo mill with the aforementioned seven-speed dual-clutch box. Since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, you’ll probably make some winnings if you bet on the 1.5-litre engine powering the X50 here.