The Geely Boyue has been spotted testing in Malaysia. These pics of the Chinese SUV were snapped by reader Mamu Penang in Putrajaya and on the Elite Highway. They show a white Boyue that’s uncovered save for black tape on the emblems, wearing ‘B’ trade plates commonly used by Proton. This mule is a left-hand-drive unit.

Of course, the Geely Boyue will be the base for Proton’s first ever SUV, which is set to surface at the end of this year or in early 2019. What’s taking them so long? Well, a right-hand-drive Boyue does not yet exist, and Proton will have to adapt the SUV for our RHD market. The eventual Malaysian-made “Proton Boyue” will also need to have local parts.

“Any products that we will bring from Geely and from elsewhere outside Malaysia, it will take time, because predominantly these products are left-hand drive, so to convert to right-hand drive will take some time. The level of the CKD programme that we are going to have for new products will also have to be detailed out, and this will include the RHD conversion and local components that are supposed to be produced here,” DRB-Hicom MD Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said in September 2017.

“We will have three car clinics. We should understand what do Malaysian customers would want. Then we will, according to their needs, redesign [the car],” said Li Chunrong, CEO of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd. With the Boyue undergoing real-world testing, we know that work has started.

The Boyue sits squarely in the middle of the C-segment SUV market, size-wise. A five-seater, it is available with a range of engines, with the most powerful being a 181 hp/285 Nm 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. The SUV can be had as a front driver or with AWD in China.

There’s plenty of available equipment in the Chinese-market Boyue, including a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera and an eight-inch infotainment system with WiFi, Apple CarPlay and voice control. It is also offered with a full complement of safety features including autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control there.

Like what you see? Find out more in our first impressions review of the Geely Boyue.

GALLERY: Geely Boyue