2020 Proton X50 Overview (Flagship Tested)(Article Update)

27th of October Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of the new Proton X50 at Proton Kajang, the event was controlled and attendees were required to socially distance themselves. The test vehicle was also sanitized after each drive. The models that were displayed during the launch was the Premium and Flagship X50, with Standard and Executive being the two lower trims. The sales team believe that these two will be the hot sellers due to the features it offers at such a competitive price.

This article is just an overview of the new Proton X50 Premium and Flagship, it does not fully reflect any final thoughts I have on the car. A full, critical and detailed review of the car will be up soon, stay tuned!

This article has been updated after the X50 has been made available to me

Overview

It’s finally here, the car we’ve been waiting for almost a year? Or maybe more, this is easily one of the most anticipated and coolest car to come out this year, new Ferrari SP90?, bleh. The new Proton X50 is a smaller crossover SUV that focuses more on sportiness rather than big, soft comfort experience that the Proton X70 is made for. Like its bigger brother, the new X50 was originally born as a Geely, the X50 has changes to make it look like the rest of the current Proton line-up, with the new grille design and logo.

Exterior

The car obviously is smaller than the X70, similarly sized to a Honda HR-V and the Toyota CH-R. the overall looks of the car are fairly conservative and clean or as I would put it in my way, it looks very Asian, looking smoother than the HR-V but not quite up to the CH-R’s prominent styling (though some may say its very controversial). Daytime LED running lights are standard across the line, including the foglamps which are also LED for the Flagship model.

Engine and Power

Power comes from two types of the same engine, a 1.5 litre turbocharged 3-cylinder that makes 150 PS for the top three trims and a 20 PS bump for the Flagship model, bringing it to 177 PS, peppy for 3-cylinder. The same goes for torque, 226 Nm for the rest, and 255 for the top model. The power on the Flagship X50 hike is due to a direct injection system rather than a multi-port injection setup, as the name suggest, direct fuel injection delivers fuel much more efficiently and directly. All models come with four wheel disc brakes with red callipers for sportiness and 18-inch wheels are wrapped in 215/60 tyres, the two lower end models come with 17-inch wheels, though retain the same tyre width.

Now there has been debates on whether the 3-cylinder will cause or make a lot of vibration, since it that’s what 3-cylinders do, during my test, the cabin was well insulated and you don’t feel any vibrations at all, in fact, you don’t really notice that its a 3-cylinder powered car.

The only colour that’s interesting is Citric Orange and maybe Ocean Blue, the rest are a typical blend of silvers and whites and one top range models, Passion Red.

Interior

This is where I like being the most, I’ll be focusing on the top two trims because those were the ones I on display (and have been reviewed). Both trim levels get the same two-tone red over black leatherette interior, I’m guessing it’s not real leather (it’s something called leatherette), but it’s just as comfortable and soft, the top part of the car is plastered with red leatherette that is nice and soft to touch. The switches and buttons feel good to press with typical plastic buttons but a touch of silver trim lining around the edges, I’m guessing only the top models have these.

However, one nitpick is that you ONLY get a red and black interior, which doesn’t really go well with the other colours. It would have been a lot better if Proton offered a more neutral coloured interior colour or more options

Automatic adjusting seats are also standard, BUT, unfortunately it does not have cooled seats. The centre console is finished in a rather high quality patterned silver trim, along with the dashboard. The floating style centre screen is the prominent part of the centre console, with volume buttons right below the screen and climate control buttons below that, this makes the design look very minimalistic and clean. Moving to the the rear section, two cupholders and a small thin storage for area is readily open for you to use, and is lined with a layer of rubber matting, for easy cleaning. Under the rather heavy lid/armrest is a pretty sizeable storage area. The flat bottomed steering wheel feels nice and grippy, with plenty of buttons to navigate through the menus (the size of the buttons are quite perfect to my fingers at least) and it’s very easy to interact with. The X50 also has cruise control controls on the steering wheel, with Adaptive Cruise Control being a Flagship only feature.

Next up is the proton GKUI system, finally fully on and ready to use, the main screen houses 4 things to select from, these as your normal stuff like radio, navigation and weather, radio operation is nice and smooth and you can connect other forms of media to play through the speakers. The navigation, works the same from the x70, it’s very easy to navigate and everything is in front of you, the map quality is also good, showing road names and places. Selecting point of interest is also easy, the navigation is able to show near places of interest of your choosing, such as food, service centres and parking lots.

There are also a few options on the top left such as real time traffic, map type and zoom buttons, you can also pinch it but it’s not super responsive, the map also does this: The weather app does show real time weather forecast since this system is connected to the internet.

Inside the deeper menu, are all of the other functions like Bluetooth phone, some sort of proton member centre, your 360 camera, themes, videos and all are here. Sliding between menus works fluidly. In the settings, after the X50 slowly rolls up, features important vehicle things that you can customize or set depending on your preference, you can turn off individual safety features, set the door mirror folding, adjust audio settings and control the screen brightness and colour sensitivity

Just like a phone, you can move the apps into anywhere you want or adjust them accordingly to your comfort, though I did not see a way to take these apps into the main screen. You can also do the same thing on the main screen and select quite a limited number of other apps to be displayed. Weirdly there is a clean app similar to phones, suggesting that the system needs to be cleaned every once in a while to avoid lagging. Slide down the tray and you see a couple of more options, even a quick Bluetooth and Wi-Fi button. Overall the system is intuitive, smooth and easy to go through about.

The panoramic sunroof, while initially I thought was not really necessary, actually does bring more “air” into the cabin, you can control the cover to stop anywhere you want, the same goes to the glass roof itself.

Check out the new review to see the touchscreen and sunroof in action!

There isn’t much interior difference between the Premium and the Flagship, apart from a few blank switches that the flagship will fill up, the main difference is the ceiling controls, due to the Flagship having a sunroof, the control panel needs to accommodate those buttons, hence a slightly chunky design.

The interior is a spacious place, despite being a smaller car, you don’t feel cramped and with the driver seat adjusted to my height (173cm), rear legroom is not compromised at all. The rear also comes standard with USB ports and fold down cupholders. The USB and charging port for the front is cleverly hidden under the centre console.

The boot is large, easily able to fit two huge luggage without folding down the rear seats. Under the mat is your standard tool kit and spare tire. With the seats folded, you get more space to fit wider items because the centre section to the seats has no thick blockings on either end, but the seats don’t really fold flat. Overall, the interior ergonomics is neatly organized with an appropriate use of leather, plastic and other trim to make the car feel nice to be in.

Driving

Driving the car initially might be a bit hard, especially if someone isn’t used to seeing all digital gauges, but once you get passed that, you’ll find out that digital gauges are much clearer and more customizable to suit your needs. The vehicle comes with three modes, normal, sport and eco, and surprisingly sport mode really does make a difference to the car. Not only does the gauge cluster change colour and design, focusing on the tachometer, the turbo 3-cylinder vamps up on accelerating and gives you a brisk, yet smooth power delivery, easily giving you the advantage of overtaking anyone on the highway. While the X50 is aimed at being sporty, comfort and quietness is not compromised, the car was extremely quiet and lacked any sort of engine vibration. All of the advance driver safety worked marvellously too, the car is able to adapt in small town roads and respond well to its surroundings, you have to look at the video review to know what I’m talking about!

Features

Premium and Flagship models are basically the ones everyone should get, it comes with all the tech, kit and safety features you want. Starting with the infotainment system, while voice command, online navigation, online music and weather, smartphone connectivity and Bluetooth are standard across the line, vehicle status (some sort of app that checks the car’s system and other things) and remote control (not sure what this is yet) are only standard on the top two trim levels.

The same goes for safety features, and this time, even the Premium X50 doesn’t get all the premium stuff. Standard across the line includes Brake Assist, Auto Brake Hold, Traction Control, Stability Control (very important for sudden moves or slippery surfaces), hill hold and decent assist (stops the car from rolling back or front too fast). A tyre monitoring system and 360 camera are additional features available on the Premium X50, but the rest? That’s all only on the Flagship.

The Flagship model features advance driver assistance which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (the car can try to brake for itself at certain speeds), Forward Collision Warning (stops itself from hitting something at certain speeds) Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go (smart cruise control able to tell speed and other traffic environments), Intelligent Cruise Control (I guess it’s really smart), Lane Keep Assist (car will keep you in your lane), Lane Departure Assist Warning, Blind Spot Information System, intelligent beam control (smart lights able to level themselves) Auto Park Assist and more parking sensors (on the corners of the car). That’s a lot more things you get, similar to a top spec X70 and all of these features does improve your driving and safety, the X50 even received a five-star ASEAN NCAP rating. Six airbags are also standard across the top three lines.

Pricing

This car isn’t that expensive, look at all the other automotive blogs and they all say that this car is very much competitively priced against all of its rivals, and it’s true. The car starts at RM 79,000 for the Standard model, RM 84,000 for the Executive, RM 95, 869 for the Premium and 106,000k+ (not OTR pricing) for the range topping Flagship (excluding optionalextras, you might need to ask a dealer about what is included in the price). Take a look at the HR-V, which starts at over 108k with not that much tech, and let’s not talk about European cars of the same segment as the X50, they’re either on a league of their own or not worth comparing because we don’t get the best ones.

Verdict

There was a huge hype about this car since it came out three weeks ago (during the original post write up), it’s still hyping, people are still booking the X50, especially the top two models. It’s cheaper than its rivals, a lot cheaper, I’ve heard stories people switching a Mercedes to this car. While 100k isn’t exactly a small number, you get plenty of features that other makes will charge more on their top trim level, plus it is rather sporty, not just the looks but the performance itself, switch to sport mode and the car does liven up and respond faster. The only things that I don’t like about the car is of course, no cooled seats, the premium and flagship’s seat colours. Like the X70 the, X50 is a good bargain to get all the modern tech at a much more competitive price.

Check our the full review on our YouTube channel!

Final Verdict

What’s good:

  1. Great value for features and tech.
  2. Comfortable and quiet.
  3. Good performance.
  4. Responsive touchscreen.
  5. Comes in orange.

What’s not so good:

  1. No cooled seats option.
  2. No interior colour choice.

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