We’ve been waiting for this moment ever since Proton and Geely tied the knot in the middle of last year, and that moment has finally arrived – the Proton X70 has officially been launched in Malaysia! The national carmaker’s first ever SUV, unveiled by prime minister (and former Proton chairman) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this evening, marks an important milestone as the first model built in collaboration with the Chinese conglomerate.

As ever, we’ll kick off with the most important bit, and the one we’ve all been waiting for – pricing. Four variants are offered – the Standard 2WD at RM99,800, the Executive 2WD at RM109,800, the Executive AWD at RM115,800 and the Premium 2WD at RM123,800. All prices, identical in East and West Malaysia, are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a new unlimited-mileage warranty (still at five years).

By now, you are all well aware that the X70 is based on the Geely Boyue – in fact, the first units come fully imported (CBU) from China, with a CKD locally-assembled model coming next year. Even so, there’s a lot to unpack, with plenty of Proton firsts. So let’s get straight into it.

Five-seater C-segment SUV, B-segment price

With the X70, Proton is wading into the lucrative, highly-competitive C-segment SUV market, and it does so with a considerable price advantage, retailing closer to B-segment models like the Honda HR-V. Measuring 4,519 mm long, 1,831 mm wide and 1,694 mm tall, the X70 is 225 mm longer, 59 mm wider and 89 mm taller than the Honda and has a 60 mm longer wheelbase at 2,670 mm – so it’s firmly in a class above.

Against other models in its class, however, the Proton is on the smaller side, although it is comfortably larger than its Korean competitors, the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. Compared to the all-conquering Honda CR-V, the X70 is 77 mm shorter and 24 mm narrower, but it’s 15 mm taller and its wheelbase is 10 mm longer. As we’ve reported previously, the car is only available as a five-seater, with no seven-seat option.

The design has been lifted almost wholesale from the facelifted Boyue, so at the front you still get sharp projector headlights – halogens for the Standard variant, LEDs for the others – while the facelifted model’s sportier bumper design, complete with chrome fins and LED fog lights in the lower corners, is clear to see.

Click to view the full comparison table against key rivals

Moving over to the side, you have the prominent fender bulges, a beltline kink aft of the rear doors and blacked-out D-pillars to give it the oh-so-trendy “floating roof” look. Finally, the rear features broad LED tail lights and twin tailpipes integrated into the rear skid plate. Completing the look are alloy wheels measuring 17 inches on the Standard variant, 18 inches on the Executive and 19 inches on the Premium.

There are a couple of styling cues that are unique to the Proton model, such as the “infinite weave” grille – said to be inspired by traditional Malaysian wood carvings – that replaces the Geely’s concentric design. There’s also the Proton script on the head- and tail lights, as well as on the rear number plate garnish. The company has previously said that the CKD version will receive a more thorough makeover.

As for the colours on offer, the Standard variant is only available in Snow White and Armour Silver, while the Executive 2WD gains Jet Grey and Cinnamon Brown hues; strangely enough, the Executive AWD model is only offered in white and grey. The Premium is the only one to come with the full range of colours, including the exclusive Flame Red.

Carryover interior, GKUI infotainment system with voice control and AI

Step inside and you’ll find an interior that is again heavily derived from the Boyue, with a gently undulating dashboard (inspired by the Hangzhou Bay Bridge in China, apparently), a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a tall centre console replete with Porsche Cayenne-style grab handles.

Items introduced on the facelifted Boyue include four additional USB ports (one at the front, one at the rear), plus another port in the headlining near the rear-view mirror for installing a dash cam – a neat feature. The Premium model’s power-adjustable passenger seat also gains Toyota Camry-esque shoulder buttons – or as Proton aptly calls them, “boss switches” – for rear passengers to push the seat forwards for more legroom.

Again, there are a couple of unique touches in here, such as a version of the “infinite weave” pattern found on the speaker grilles. Speaking of which, the Premium model gets a Kenwood sound system with nine speakers (Standard has six speakers, Executive eight), including a subwoofer under the boot floor. Another more functional change is the twin rear air-conditioning vents instead of the Boyue’s single vent.

The highlight of the cabin is the new, standard-fit Geely Smart Ecosystem (GKUI) Android-based infotainment system, equipped with a flush-fitting eight-inch TFT LCD touchscreen and 16 GB of internal storage. It features MirrorLink connectivity for Android smartphones, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are yet to be supported due to restrictions; the company says they could be made available later on.

By far the biggest feature is the voice control system that uses artificial intelligence technology – just like similar personal assistants recently introduced by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Using the activation term, “Hi Proton”, users can control a whole host of vehicular functions, such as the climate control, music playback, navigation and even the windows and sunroof.

The system will also recognise natural language – saying “it’s too cold,” for instance, will raise the air-con temperature by one degree. Supposedly, it will even understand “Malaysian English”, although we’ll have to wait until we put it to the test to see if it actually works.

There are also a number of connectivity features enabled by the built-in Celcom eSIM. Every model comes as standard with a basic five-year data package, with a monthly quota of one gigabyte; other packages will be announced later on, along with pricing.

With integrated mobile data, you get Baidu Maps navigation, music streaming via Unlimited Music and over-the-air software updates. Users can also browse various vehicular information such as remaining fuel and range, service indicator, fuel consumption and vehicle location through the Proton Link smartphone app.

Behind the tailgate (not powered, unfortunately) sits an estimated 512 litres of boot space, which is more than what you’d find in the Mazda CX-5 (442 litres) and only slightly behind the larger Honda CR-V (522 litres) and Nissan X-Trail (550 litres with the third-row seats folded). The rear seats fold flat in a 60:40 split, but there is no reclining or sliding function available.

Six airbags as standard, ADAS, ASEAN NCAP five-star safety rating

Standard kit includes keyless entry, push-button start, auto headlights, auto-folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control with an air purifier system, cruise control, fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a seven-inch digital instrument display. The Executive models add auto wipers, faux leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Moving up to the Executive AWD gives you a tyre pressure monitoring system as well. Last but not least, the Premium variant throws in a panoramic sunroof, one-touch up/down power windows all around, powered lumbar support for the driver and Nappa leather upholstery for the seats and steering wheel.

In keeping with class norms, the X70 comes as standard with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors, plus hill descent control on all variants. Also standard is a reverse camera, while Executive and Premium models get a 360-degree camera system and front parking sensors (two cells on the Executive, four cells on the Premium).

The Premium goes one further with the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), adding Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Intelligent High Beam Control (BLIS). There’s also a Door Opening Warning System (DOW) that alerts you if you’re about to open a door into traffic.

All these features have allowed the X70 to score a full five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating, with a score of 35.27 points in adult occupant protection (AOP) and 40.78 in child occupant protection (COP). By comparison, the Honda CR-V nabbed 34.02 and 44.76 points respectively.

1.8 litre turbo engine, six-speed automatic gearbox across the range

Powering all models is a 1.8 litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine, making 181 hp at 5,500 rpm and 285 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 4,400 rpm. It is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission built by Drivetrain Systems International (DSI), a subsidiary of Geely. Three drive modes are available for the powertrain – Eco, Normal and Sport.

Front-wheel drive is standard except for the Executive AWD, which, as the name suggests, gets an all-wheel drive system developed by BorgWarner. So equipped, the car is able to send up to 30% of torque to the rear wheels using a NexTrac electromagnetic multi-clutch coupling. Suspension is handled by MacPherson front struts and rear multilinks, and the company says the handling was fine-tuned with input from MIRA in the UK.

Kerb weight ranges from 1,660 kg for the Standard 2WD to 1,725 kg for the Executive AWD. Proton claims a zero-to-100 km/h time of 10.5 seconds and a fuel consumption figure of 7.8 litres per 100 km for 2WD models – no figures for the AWD model as yet. The car is certified as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV).

Here’s the variant breakdown in detail:

Proton X70 Standard 2WD – RM99,800


Gets as standard:

Mechanicals

  • 1.8 litre T-GDI DOHC engine
  • 1,799 cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
  • 184 PS (181 hp) at 5,500 rpm, 285 Nm from 1,700 to 4,400 rpm
  • Six-speed torque converter automatic transmission with manual shift mode
  • Three drive modes – Normal, Eco and Sport
  • Electronic power assisted steering with Normal and Sport modes
  • Electronic parking brake
  • MacPherson struts (front), multi-link with stabiliser bar (rear)
  • Ventilated brake discs (front), solid discs (rear)

Exterior

  • Halogen projector headlamps with automatic on/off function
  • LED rear combination taillights
  • LED front fog lamps
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/65 profile tyres
  • Electronic power-folding side mirrors
  • Keyless entry

Interior

  • Black leather-wrapped steering wheel with on-wheel controls
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
  • Seven-inch LCD instrument cluster display
  • Push-button start
  • Electronic power windows with anti-trap for driver-side window
  • Black fabric seats and upholstery
  • Manually-adjustable front seats
  • 60:40 split-folding rear seats
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control with rear vents and air purification system
  • Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with voice command, online music streaming, navigation, smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Proton Link App to check vehicle status, remote functionality
  • Six speakers
  • Six USB ports – one for data, five for charging
  • Tonneau cover
  • 18-inch steel spare wheel with 155/85 profile tyre

Safety

  • Six airbags (front, side and curtain)
  • Rear seat Isofix child seat anchors with top tethers
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist
  • Auto brake hold
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction control
  • Hill Hold Assist (HHA)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
  • Four rear parking sensors
  • Reverse camera

Proton X70 Executive 2WD – RM109,800


Adds on:

Exterior

  • LED projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights (DRL)
  • Automatic rain-sensing wipers
  • 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/60 profile tyres

Interior

  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Front welcome and footwell lamps
  • Leatherette seats
  • Six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Eight speakers

Safety

  • Two front parking sensors
  • 360-degree camera

Proton X70 Executive AWD – RM115,800


Adds on:

Safety

  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Proton X70 Premium 2WD – RM123,800


Adds on:

Exterior

  • 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 profile tyres
  • Panoramic sunroof

Interior

  • Black Nappa leather multi-function steering wheel
  • Remote open/close all windows and sunroof
  • Electronic power windows with anti-trap for all windows
  • Brown Nappa leather seats and upholstery
  • Powered lumbar adjustment for driver’s seat, four-way powered front passenger seat (with additional shoulder switches)
  • Additional voice command functionality for the infotainment system
  • Nine speakers (with amplifier and subwoofer)

Safety

  • Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)
    • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
    • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
    • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
    • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
    • Door Opening Warning System (DOW)
    • Intelligent High Beam Control (HBC)
  • Four front parking sensors

The new Proton X70 will be offered with free labour for the first five service intervals and financing rates as low as 2.34% per annum. Browse full specifications and equipment of the X70 on CarBase.my, and read our first drive review of the donor car, the Boyue, here.

GALLERY: Proton X70 Standard 2WD


GALLERY: Proton X70 Executive 2WD
GALLERY: Proton X70 Executive AWD
GALLERY: Proton X70 Premium 2WD

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