Proton has finally gotten around to launching the locally-assembled version of its first-ever SUV; the X70, more than a year after its launch and over 29,000 units later. There are three major distinctions with the units manufactured at its Tanjung Malim plant… no, four.
Firstly, is the introduction of brand-new transmission. Second will be the powered tailgate that many early adopters have been retrofitting on the CBU units and third will be the front ventilated seats. What’s the fourth you ask? Well, it’s the ridiculously low revised pricing.
There are four variants now and the all-wheel drive variant from the CBU range has been sent the way of the dodo bird as demand for it was only around five per cent of total sales.
Entry into X70 ownership now starts with the Standard 2WD model priced at RM94,800 (RM5,000 less). Stepping up to the next trim is the Executive 2WD model going for RM106,800 (RM3,000 less). Right atop the X70 food chain is the Premium 2WD model that’ll set you back RM119,800 (RM4,000 less). There’s a new Premium X trim costing RM122,800 but the only difference with the Premium is a sunroof. Apparently, market feedback had customers that wanted all the flagship bells and whistles save for the sunroof.
All these prices are OTR but sans insurance and include a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Much like the earlier packages for the X70, the CKD models also get tacked on with five times of free labour for scheduled maintenance, a five-year data package (1GB per month) and low interest rates from 2.32 per cent per annum.
Furthermore, customers will benefit from the waiver of betterment costs of up to 10 years, an agreed value coverage of up to 12 years, a key fob care cover of up to RM1,000, flood relief allowance of up to RM1,000, coverage for all drivers and personal accident coverage of up to RM15,000.
Early birds always get the worm and in this case, the first 3,000 will get an extra 4GB of data a month for five years, an accessories package, a dash cam, floor mats, magnetic sunshades, door visors, a boot tray and a boot organiser.
Even the eagle-eyed will be hard pressed to tell the refreshed X70 apart from the early units. The only real change is with the new, round three-dimensional Proton logo.
It’ll be easier to tell if you spot one with the new addition to the colour palette. Space Grey is however only reserved for the Premium and Premium X models. Armour Silver, Jet Grey, Snow White, Cinnamon Brown and Ruby Red complete the options.
Of course, with the new transmission comes a new shift-by-wire gearlever for the seven-speed wet dual-clutch box. The box is Geely unit co-developed with Volvo and is also found in the latter’s XC40 T5 Twin Engine; so yes, it’s hybrid capable.
Although the transmission is new, the engine remains mechanically identical. The 1.8-litre direct-injected turbo four still produces 181hp but peak torque is bumped up by 15Nm to 300Nm as the new transmission is capable of handling more. Drive modes now comprise Eco, Normal and Sport.
With the additional torque and extra gear ratio, the CKD X70 is a second quicker in the century sprint at 9.5-seconds and fuel consumption has improved to 13.2kmk/l.
Ventilated seats have also been added into the mix from the Executive trim onwards. You can access its functions via the climate control menu from the infotainment screen or with the “Hi Proton” feature. We suggest expressing something in the region of “Hey Proton, my buns are toasty.” No guarantees it’ll work.
The rear seats are reclinable and the tailgate is powered as the latter is a function available on the Boyue and many buyers of the CBU X70s were having fitted via the aftermarket. You can operate the tailgate a number of methods that comprise a button in the cabin, the key fob or a hands-free sensor under the rear bumper by swinging your leg.
Ride and handling wasn’t an issue with the CBU X70 but Proton’s chassis engineers did spend a little time tidying things up. Everything remains the same mechanically except for the dampers that were retuned for improved body control and less body roll.
Now that all this is out of the way, you can expect the next big thing from Proton to be the compact X50 crossover.