Proton’s first ever SUV, which is based on the Geely Boyue, will apparently be ready by the fourth quarter this year, according to a report by The Malaysian Reserve. A source told the publication that the SUV is only expected to be ready for driving tests in October 2018, once the right-hand drive conversion and the necessary certification from relevant authorities are completed.

“The process will include a certification from the NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) and SIRIM (Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia) before it can be released to the market. The process will take one year at least, to obtain these certifications,” the source explained to the daily. In any case, the timeframe is in line with what the company said last year.

The Boyue, after making its first appearance here in June 2017, is required to undergo a lengthy conversion and market adaptability process, and possibly a slight redesign as well. “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,” DRB-Hicom managing director, Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said back in September.

“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,” Albar added.

As for Proton, the rebadged Boyue is one of the initiatives under Proton’s turnaround programme and part of its holistic strategic plan on the road back to profitability. In terms of pricing, the daily’s source said it will be set within the affordable range.

“The Geely Boyue is currently priced around RM68,500 (110,000 yuan) in China, while competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are sold at over RM100,000. But its (the rebadged Boyue’s) features, affordable price and attractive design will be a game changer to the SUV market,” the source claimed.

The Boyue was just spotted on the Elite highway yesterday, but the unit is a left-hand drive mule.

The report also said that Proton’s plant in Tanjung Malim will be able to support production of the Boyue by middle of this year. To recap, the Boyue – designed by former Volvo designer Peter Horbury – is a five-seat C-segment SUV measuring 4.5 metres long. In China, it is offered with a range of engines, including a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated unit (139 hp/178 Nm) and a 1.8 litre turbo making 163 PS and 250 Nm.

The said turbo mill can be had with either a six-speed manual or automatic, but the latter receives a higher 180 PS/285 Nm tune. The Boyue also offers an impressive list of equipment like an eight-inch display screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, as well as safety kit that includes lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Fancy one? Find out what we think of the Geely Boyue in our first impressions review, or watch the video below for a quick tour around the turbocharged model.