REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

No one car has done more to change Proton’s perception overnight than the X70. The first product of the national carmaker’s collaboration with Geely, it pushed the boundaries of how much buyers would pay for a Proton, and in one fell swoop it redefined the SUV market in Malaysia.

I still remember the first time I snagged the keys to the flagship crossover. That China could build handsome, well-built cars was a given even back then, but I didn’t expect to be blown away by plush ride quality and whisper-quiet refinement. Till this day, the X70 embarrasses cars that are twice, even three times the price, whether you’re pottering on a pockmarked city street or cruising on a highway.

It’s hard to believe that was four years ago, and it seems that customers have taken a shine to it too – over 70,000 units of the X70 have found homes since the late-2018 launch. Niggling reliability concerns and the obvious parts shortages have dulled the sheen somewhat, but the car remains a popular seller.

Which is why it’s concerning that Proton is now altering the recipe. Out goes the torquey, silky-smooth 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, replaced by the 1.5 litre triple from the smaller X50. Three-pot mills aren’t exactly the last word in refinement, so can the new 2022 X70 replicate its uncanny premium car impression with one fewer cylinder? We head out for a short test drive to find out.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

X50 engine brings less torque but is also lighter and more efficient

This is technically the second minor change (MC) that Proton has put the X70 through. The first was when it introduced the CKD model in early 2020, back when COVID-19 was a distant but looming sceptre in people’s minds. The start of local assembly coincided with a series of thoughtful upgrades, not least of which was a new seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission, developed by Geely and Volvo.

For 2022, Proton completed the powertrain overhaul by finally bringing over the X50’s engine to replace the old 1.8 litre unit – something it has done for export markets first. The three-pot is arguably a better fit for the gearbox, being designed for it as part of the same Sino-Scandinavian collaboration.

By now, you’ll be familiar with the mill, which displaces 1,477 cc and has an undersquare design for better low-end torque. The version used in the X70 has direct injection as standard and produces 177 PS at 5,500 rpm, which is 7 PS lower than what the 1.8 litre makes. The key stat that will worry customers is torque, which has fallen by a considerable 45 Nm to 255 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm.

Proton contends that the peak figure is made lower down, but the difference is only 250 rpm, so it’s not exactly night and day. At least the weight saving is decent – dropping the cylinder has shaved 43 kg from the engine itself. But it’s not enough to offset the lower outputs, as the 9.8-second zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time (three tenths of a second slower than the 1.8 litre X70) suggests.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

Click to enlarge

The national carmaker is also claiming a seven per cent improvement in fuel economy; while no exact figures have been released, we can use the claimed 7.6 litres per 100 km figure for the 2020 X70 to come at an estimated 7.1 litres per 100 km. More than anything else, this is what buyers will be most interested in, and it should appease those who balk at the 1.8 litre’s relative thirst. The reduction in road tax helps too, of course.

As per its application in the X50, the 1.5 litre benefits from several measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, including a balancer shaft and a centrifugal pendulum dampener on the dual-mass flywheel to compensate for the three-pot’s inherent imbalance. There’s also a specially-designed timing belt cover, as well as a sound-insulating soft polyurethane engine cover that’s unique to the X70 1.5.

1.8 litre engine still available, all-wheel drive option reintroduced

Not convinced? Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to purchase the 1.8 Premium, which is effectively the old Premium X model (replete with the panoramic sunroof) with the minor aesthetic tweaks that we’ll detail later. All models get the same DCT, albeit with a retune on the 1.5 litre variants.

Proton has also responded to customer feedback, reintroducing the all-wheel-drive system that was ditched in 2020 due to low sales. As before, however, the all-paw model comes only in mid-range Executive trim, meaning that it misses out on the X70’s available driver assists, all of which are again exclusive to the Premium models.

The rest of the NVH package is identical to the outgoing X70, as is the chassis tuning. A company official told me that the 2020 model’s mild suspension revamp took into account the lighter weight of the new engine, so no additional changes were needed for the new car.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

Minor colour changes, new wheels do little to disguise age

Also pretty much unchanged is the rest of the X70, with the 2022 model receiving a few aesthetic tweaks that are little more than colour changes to specific parts. Proton has held off on a proper facelift, despite its twin, the Geely Boyue, having gone under the knife twice in China (Boyue Pro/2022 Boyue and Boyue X) since the Malaysian version was launched.

There are no new body panels, although the components that were previously matte grey (the Infinite Weave grille bars, front bumper corner “rings”, rear number plate garnish and decorative rear skid plate) are now finished in gloss black. The sole exception is the chin spoiler at the front, which appears to be painted in a brighter matte silver.

So too are the inserts for the air curtain inlets, which is a curious choice, as it gives them a slightly unfinished look and draws undue attention to the small slits for the air to enter. The surrounding trim is also painted in gloss black instead of body colour, while the door mirrors are finished in metallic Quartz Black – both of these are carried over from last year’s SE.

Finally, there are the two new wheel designs, both lifted from the Boyue Pro. The intricate 19-inch alloys on the 1.5 and 1.8 Premium are familiar and come from the SE, but the 18-inch rollers for the Executive have not been seen here before – they are certainly more distinctive than the previous turbine-style items.

Overall, however, the X70 appears different, though not necessarily newer or better. It’s still a good-looking thing, but even though this is one of the newer models in Proton’s stable, the fact that its other siblings have had a facelift (or two) since its introduction means it’s already starting to look a little long in the tooth.

Interior gets black headlining but is otherwise untouched

It’s the same story on the inside, which has been left practically unchanged save for a black headliner that helps give the cabin a sportier look, although some customers will likely miss the airiness afforded by the previous beige liner. There’s no new trim nor any improvements to the infotainment system, which retains the eight-inch touchscreen and the original Geely Key User Interface (GKUI) – no GKUI 19 or ATLAS here.

To be fair, this is still an incredibly well-made interior, with plenty of classy materials that include metal-like trim, soft-touch plastics and, on the Premium models, expensive-feeling Nappa leather. But for years, Malaysians have had to watch from afar as other countries received larger touchscreens and comprehensive cabin redesigns in their Boyues and Azkarras, and the MC would’ve been the perfect opportunity to bring the X70 back up to date. Proton says there is a facelift in the works; it can’t come soon enough.

Nevertheless, this car still has one of the best cabins in the class, besting rivals in terms of perceived quality and standard equipment. You also get the usual X70 strengths, which include a commanding driving position, excellent rear legroom and a decently sized – if slightly shallow – boot.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

One major disappointment is that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) remain the preserve of the Premium variants. Proton’s (or perhaps Geely’s) all-or-nothing approach is particularly galling considering that the much-cheaper Perodua Ativa comes with autonomous emergency braking at the bare minimum.

The suite of active safety features is unchanged and includes AEB (crucially, without pedestrian detection), adaptive cruise control (without a stop-and-go function), lane departure warning (no steering intervention) and blind spot monitoring. As such, the X70 continues to fall behind the less expensive X50, which offers Level 2 semi-autonomous driving functions such as lane centring assist.

Same refined driving experience, only not quite as effortless

First, a proviso. We were only treated to a short preview test drive, covering the fifty or so kilometres from the Centre of Excellence showroom to Kundang in Rawang. A full review will follow once we’re able to take the car out for a longer period, but this taster is enough for us to put the new engine through its paces.

The good news is that on first blush the three-pot hasn’t compromised the X70’s well-mannered nature. The level of sound isolation built into the car keeps noise levels low – so low, in fact, that most of the time you won’t hear the engine. Coupled with the remarkable lack of vibration and the result is that in everyday driving the new X70 is nigh-on indistinguishable from the outgoing model.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

Click to enlarge

It’s only when you apply a bit more throttle that you start to hear the mill. The engine note is a little louder than before and you’ll be able to distinguish the trademark three-cylinder rumble – even though it’s less distinct than the racket made by a few other triples – over the four-pot’s characterless hum. But it’s not exactly unpleasant and the X70 is still markedly quieter at full pelt than many of its rivals.

You’ll have to hear the engine more, however, because the shortfall in torque does make itself known whenever you need more oomph, such as when overtaking. Whereas in the old car you’d be happy to surf the wave of low-end pull, the new model takes a fair bit more effort to get up to speed – you’ll have to dig deeper to access the latent performance.

This isn’t helped by the slightly lazy gearbox, which displays traits that are the opposite to most DCTs, slurring shifts and taking its sweet time to respond to prods of the throttle. That wasn’t such a bad thing with the torquey 1.8 litre engine (in fact, it actually suited the mill’s easygoing nature), but the 1.5 litre unit’s relative lack of twist exposes the transmission’s shortcomings more clearly.

I’m nitpicking here, obviously – this is still an agreeable engine and gearbox combination, and the X70 is still not exactly slow. I should point out that the aforementioned sluggishness is only noticeable if you’ve spent a lot of time with the old car, as I have.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

You see, I actually have one in the household – my mother took delivery of a 1.8 Premium in earlier this year after I recommended her to buy one. That’s because the X70’s remarkably pliant ride and almost total absence of road, wind and powertrain noise genuinely set it apart from the competition, and those attributes were on full display even during this brief encounter.

So too was the car’s safe, competent but ultimately anodyne handling, the considerable body roll and numb steering actively discouraging any form of spirited driving. Enthusiasts who miss Proton’s legendary ride and handling prowess might be turned off by this, but the relaxed demeanour is entirely in keeping with the SUV’s remit of soothing nerves and soaking up highway miles.

Verdict: As capable as ever, but needs bigger updates elsewhere

There’s no doubt that the X70 will remain in high demand, especially for those looking for a premium car experience on the cheap (even though prices have gone up quite a bit). Crucially, the change in engine hasn’t come at the expense of the big SUV’s likeable characteristics, and the improved fuel efficiency will only help its popularity among urbanites and high-mileage drivers alike.

REVIEW: 2022 Proton X70 MC with X50’s 1.5 litre turbo 3-cylinder, priced from RM94k to RM122k in Malaysia

But there’s also also an inescapable feeling that Proton could’ve gone further with this refresh, even by the standards of the company’s typically mild MC exercises. Four years is quite a long time in automotive circles, so the fact that the company appears content with simply applying black paint to random body panels and calling it a day seems like a missed opportunity. The aforementioned parts shortages will also give buyers pause, although Proton is working harder than ever to resolve the situation.

Be in no doubt, however – facelift or not, the X70 continues to be one of the strongest offerings in its price range, and you can do much worse than to put it on your shortlist.

The 2022 Proton X70 is now on sale in Malaysia, with pricing starting at RM93,900 for the 1.5 TGDi Standard and topping out at RM121,800 for the 1.8 TGDi Premium. Browse full specifications and equipment on

GALLERY: 2022 Proton X70 1.5 TGDi Premium
GALLERY: 2022 Proton X70 1.5 TGDi Executive AWD

Looking to sell your car? Sell it with Carro.

Learn more:

Certified Pre-Owned - 1 Year Warranty

10% discount when you renew your car insurance

Compare prices between different insurer providers and use the promo code 'PAULTAN10' when you make your payment to save the most on your car insurance renewal compared to other competing services.

Car Insurance

Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Tommy on Jun 09, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    “The aforementioned parts shortages will also give buyers pause, although Proton is working harder than ever to resolve the situation.”

    Well i hope they will give a news in late June about this problem….They said that Improvement on Spare Parts Availability should be on the Late of June ….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4
    • Kunta Kinte 2013-2020 Archives on Jun 09, 2022 at 7:58 pm

      Shahril Annuar on Dec 28, 2018 at 9:03 pm
      This is hype. Wait till all these owners go to Proton Glenmarie to servis their car. And when the owner complains about their car problems and the Proton SC technician say “Biasalah bang, ini Proton, what do you expect,”
      Then, you will see, all the X70 owners will get the same shock like all the previous Proton owners kena

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 7
      • Raja Celup on Jun 09, 2022 at 8:43 pm

        38tahun masih ciplak bulat2 kerete negara kapir. Org kita btol2 takguna langsung …Hihihi plotong

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13
        • Lets See on Jun 10, 2022 at 1:27 am

          Haters will hate all they want but still the best selling SUV along with smaller bro X50. No matter how much you spew hate will not change reality.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 16
          • onli can sell well cuz of the tax advantage given to both p1 and p2. CRV, forester etc cant sell at the same pricing as x70.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
          • PlainBS on Jun 10, 2022 at 12:39 pm

            Nobody stopping Honda sell CRV at X70 prices but the big is can they do that without eating into their overpriced margins? Last time Almera sold at Preve price level but still cannot beat Proton sales. CRV only 20k above X70 tak kan M40 buyers cannot afford? There is a good reason why X70 still outsold CRV and that is value plus high tech features.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
          • Kakak Tiri on Jun 14, 2022 at 12:03 pm

            Yess true indeed. At least they put Malaysian logo. Hire local.people. rather than talk like TIN KOSONG but buy other country car and proud of it.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
        • SlyGTR on Jun 10, 2022 at 9:43 am

          While its true that Proton has been using other manufacturers car to rebadge as their own. However, there are also serious attempts ie Iriz, Preve, Petronas EO1 engine, etc but not making it in the market. Too many politicians tried to dip their ugly hands in these, making it impossible to succeed. Wish to see how our local politicians compete one to one with Chinese mainland politicians. So far looks like Mainland Chinese are getting the upperhand (eg engine and parts from there.Design are solely China market driven but production focusing on Tg Malim 250k cars output)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
        • Name me one car not from negara kapir

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
        • andry on Jun 30, 2022 at 10:03 am

          Otak Melsyu kena betul dulu, jangan salahkan orng ksfir. Masalah bukan Melsyu tapi otak dikontrol pemikiran orang politik Melsyu yang mau raih undi Melsyu supaya Melsyu tetap mundur dan bodoh. Ini yang dilakukan Suharto di Indonesia. Sekarang Jokowi sudah lain. pikirkan lah.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • John Doe on Jun 09, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    The supply chain for this model has been disrupted since 2018.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  • people will repeat this

    ‘why china give us stuff they dont want?’

    inbe4 dont buy la

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 18
    • XC40 = single car, 2nd row straight and not comfortable.
      XC60 = family oriented 5 seater, space for baby seats

      X70 = ‘Volvo engine

      X70 = better value Renault Koleos and Volvo XC60.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
      • Fordist on Jun 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

        X70 is like a Swiss Swatch x Omega.
        The heart of Swiss Volvo Engineered, Swatch Grade.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
  • Pr_OMEGALUL_t_OMEGALUL_n on Jun 09, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Friendly reminder that the 1.5L 1477cc TL3 177PS 255Nm engine configuration is now being replaced by the 1.5L 1499cc TL4 181PS 290Nm engine configuration in China (see Binrui Cool). Not only does the new 1.5L TL4 benefit from the same 1401-1600cc road tax and 1401-1650cc car insurance brackets as the old 1.5L TL3, but it also produces comparable power to the original 1.8L 1799cc TL4 184PS 300Nm engine configuration which sits at the more expensive 1601-1800cc road tax and 1651cc-2200cc car insurance brackets. Our Malaysian X50 is still on the oldest and ugliest Boyue pre-facelift design whilst the Chinese Boyue has gone through several extensive facelifts (Pro, X, ’22) and is about to be replaced by an all-new 2nd generation (FX11)…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 8
    • Lets See on Jun 10, 2022 at 1:29 am

      No duhhh coz X50 is not analogous to Boyue. Dumb hater is dumb hater.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8
    • Copy Paste on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:14 am

      Copy paste edited: “Are you high or something ? You can’t even post a proper comment in a proper post. This is X70 post , not X50.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • In short, when put along side with the 1.8 , there is still a noticeably difference in premium feel. And to get the 1.8 there is only one choice at the top end of the price list. Now I regret for not getting the 1.8 earlier this year and reap the SST discount as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1
  • ROTI CANAI on Jun 09, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    not sure if proton is aware most of their clients moved on to the corolla cross, potentially the hrv next

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 23
    • Lets See on Jun 10, 2022 at 1:29 am

      Sales figures does not reflect what you said bro

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 23
      • ROTI CANAI on Jun 10, 2022 at 4:55 pm

        maybe go check the 2nd hand car dealers

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
        • So fast ady got 2nd hand corolla cross bro? Something must be wrong with that car being so new wei

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10
          • ROTI CANAI on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:18 am

            yea, cos a lot park there when they need to fetch their owners wife who dumped their x70 at the used car

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • David on Jun 09, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Buy with own risk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 11
  • Newuser on Jun 09, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    1.5t more expensive against 1.8t?4k up?no other added value?buy new hrv more value for money..more resale value…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
    • Resurgent Ajibkor on Jun 09, 2022 at 11:53 pm

      One of the ugliest SUVs in its class,if u examine closely.
      Anyway,to a P1 is their dream suv.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 35
    • Copy Paste on Jun 10, 2022 at 1:59 am

      Copy paste: “You are very welcomed to pay more and get less. We call them waterfish. Do you know what is a waterfish?”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4
    • Fordist on Jun 10, 2022 at 8:49 am

      Existing HR-V has bad second hand value,
      Due to being tin kosong, low spec, no AEB, no ACC, no BSM, etc compared to New Cars on sale.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
    • Inflation up, raw material up, so car also follow suit. HRV? well probably 1.5NA will cost you 120k. Anyway, that doesn’t really matter as usually ppl who complaint like this at best is just complaining, and won’t buy anything.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • Rakyat Malaysia on Jun 10, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Nak gaduh mana lagi better buatpe. If when DAP comes back, tak kisah mana2 all cars will be expensip for rakyat except their members, T20, & cronies. Nak beli tu beli skarang, u wait new HRV come by that time DAP tookover habislah cannot buy anything!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 64 Thumb down 38
  • what are the alternative for x70 (budget 120k), Corolla Cross and HRV?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • X70 Buyer on Jun 12, 2022 at 1:24 pm

      Alternatives are poorer, if you want the best car get X70.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
    • Mr derek on Jun 13, 2022 at 10:15 am

      By on paper details, cross & hrv compared to x70 is like earth and heaven lol. Cross is underpower and hrv using old tech. Try to check the boot section on all 3 of them then u will see that x70 deliver very good compartment organizer while the other especially H, seem like a scammer trying to give a shitty organizer in hidden area

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Kakak Tiri on Jun 14, 2022 at 12:05 pm

        Some poeple don’t care under power or old tech. They just don’t buy Malaysian car even u put Tesla engine on it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
        • Mas Elon on Jun 20, 2022 at 11:11 am

          Your ‘malaysian car’ is actually China’s Car

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
          • yes, only Toyota qualify to be best Malaysian car, the rest are all creepy crab

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • I think Proton is a great company if there are no politicians involvement and greedy people that want to become very rich for themselves only, not for the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  • Low class on Jun 20, 2022 at 5:18 am

    you can see Paultan is not being fair when the topic is Proton. They never mention perodua as Diehardsu. and they never review other brand rubbish model such as old fortuner or else because tht influence the brand’s image

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Schaoyz on Jun 23, 2022 at 9:52 am

    Frustrated and no more with Proton. Bought x70 SE ckd just after 5 month local used, towed to centre and diagnosed with major gearbox failure and cost rm30k for repair. Luckily under warranty…. No more no more

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

Add a comment