While Proton has reportedly delayed new product launches to next year, work continues on its next model – a seven-seater SUV widely tipped to be called the X90. The car, based on the Geely Haoyue (or the Okavango as it’s known in international markets), has been spotted yet again by reader Bullah Mansor.

Not much new catches the eye initially – it’s still a left-hand-drive unit, the donor car’s shape remains recognisable and you can even spot the Geely badge and concentric Expanding Cosmos grille still on the car. However, the alloy wheels look a little bigger than the 18-inch rollers we’ve seen previously.

Looking closely, the five spokes are also slotted, which they weren’t before. A quick perusal of Geely’s website reveals that the Haoyue was recently updated (as early as November, in fact, as Sina reported) with wheels that are an inch larger than before – 18 inches on base variants, 19 inches on higher-end models. The wheels you see here match the design of the new 19s.

The revised Haoyue also receives a new grille with vertical bars that isn’t shown here, although that’s to be expected, as the Proton should get its own Infinite Weave unit anyway. More pertinent is the slimmer rear chrome bar linking the taillights, the repositioned “Geely” badging on the tailgate and a new rear bumper design with fake twin tailpipes. Proton has previously mounted the trade plate higher up on the tailgate, suggesting a redesign that moves the number plate recess from the bumper, but that might be a red herring.

As for the inside, the 2022 Haoyue gets a revised T-shaped gear selector and a new black-and-brown colour scheme, along with increased use of soft-touch materials. Under the bonnet lies the same 184 PS/300 Nm 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the X70, mated to either that car’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or, oddly enough, a six-speed automatic on the lower variants.

It’s possible that the X90 will get a different engine – Proton recently showcased a 1.5 litre TGDi three-cylinder mill with a 48-volt belt-integrated starter generator (BSG), the same one used in the Okavango in the Philippines. It produces 190 PS at 5,500 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm, sent to the front wheels through the seven-speed DCT. The company has plans to introduce mild hybrids in the immediate future as part of its electrification strategy, as a stepping stone towards full electric vehicles.

It might be a while yet before we see the finished Proton X90 – the company is reportedly prioritising the fulfilment of a backlog of orders and resolving supply chain issues for now. While the car may be pushed back to 2023, the expected launch of the updated 2022 Saga should tide us over before then.

GALLERY: 2022 Geely Haoyue

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