With the launch of the 2020 Proton X70 CKD, one of the main changes that comes with the locally-assembled model is the use of a new seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission – first seen on the Geely Boyue Pro – in place of the previous six-speed automatic transmission

However, the C-segment SUV continues to be powered by the 4G18TD 1.8 litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder petrol engine (albeit slightly retuned for more torque) instead of the 3G15TD 1.5 litre turbo three-cylinder that was heavily rumoured prior to the model’s launch. Why is that so?

Well, there’s a reason for that. According to Proton, the decision not to employ the downsized mill is due to the results obtained from conducting surveys among existing and potential customers, who preferred a larger-capacity engine for large SUVs like the X70.

This is despite the potentially similar or higher power output that a downsized engine can offer. Indeed, when you compare the 4G18TD to the 3G15TD powering the Boyue Pro, the horsepower disparity isn’t that large – 181 hp (184 PS) versus 174 hp (176 PS), although the former generates more peak torque at 300 Nm compared to 255 Nm.

Put simply, car buyers, at least those surveyed by Proton, are of the belief that a bigger engine is necessary for a large SUV, hence why the national carmaker is keeping the larger, albeit older 1.8 litre turbo engine for the X70.

It should also be noted that in China, the Boyue Pro with the 3G15TD engine is only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the only way to get the 7DCT is with the 4G18TD engine. Meanwhile, the regular Boyue sold there doesn’t even have the option of the downsized mill.

So, will we ever see a 1.5 litre turbo three-pot engine in Proton’s line-up? Well, with the smaller X50 on the way, the downsized powerplant will most likely make its way into the B-segment SUV instead. Proton hasn’t denied suggestions that it will be using the three-pot engine in the X50, and given that it is a smaller SUV compared to the X70, buyers are likely be more receptive to it being equipped a smaller engine.

The X50 will be based on the Binyue, which in China, is offered with either a 134 hp/205 Nm 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual gearbox or a 174 hp/255 Nm 1.5 litre mill with the same 7DCT (used in the X70 CKD). The latter setup is also offered for the Volvo XC40 as well as various Lynk & Co models, and certainly sounds like the more likely route Proton will take.

Is Proton’s decision not to give the X70 a downsized engine a prudent move, and are they right to soldier one with the larger 1.8 litre turbo engine? Or will you be looking forward to the new X50 that will likely get the smaller engine instead? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

2020 Proton X70 CKD Infohub

GALLERY: 2020 Proton X70 CKD official images