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.

What Is Car Spotting?

The hobby that unites us

It’s literally the description of our blog, but we haven’t talked about it, this hobby among us car enthusiast gives us the opportunity to seek cool, rare and classic cars and share them for the world to see, it’s called car spotting. Car spotting is what we at Maximum Torque Malaysia are doing, in fact, our first social media presence started as an Instagram page.

What is car spotting?

What is car spotting, well in fact there’s Wikipedia article about the definition. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory, it’s a hobby for automobile enthusiast to seek and snap photos of cars they see or “spot” on the road, similar to plane spotting. Car spotting is done either professionally with DSLR’s, consistent and amazing shots, while us, we do it at amateur level, which is when we’re free and can get a good shot of the car. Once a car has been spotted, the photos or videos are uploaded on social media websites to show what cool car is rolling around their area. Some car spotters also search certain areas to find cool cars, such as Beverly Hills or in front of fancy hotels.

Is this a common hobby?

Very much so, car spotting is becoming more common everyday, similar to van life people (we’ll talk about that another time). Look up on Instagram and you can see tons of pages about car spotting, with some even specific to just their own neighbourhood. This brings us to our general list of the types of car spotters out there.

  1. Spotters who spot ultra luxury, super cars.
  2. Spotters who spot older cars.
  3. Spotters who spot a specific type of vehicle (off-roaders, only Ford cars)
  4. Spotters who spot mundane everyday cars, abandoned cars, niche cars and just old stuff.

We’re number 4! because our blog/page can’t afford to go to rich places with super expensive cars, and we believe there’s a lack of the number 4 type of car spotting in Malaysia, though there has been a surge in abandoned vehicle Instagram pages. This is why our page is only filled mainly by clapped out cars, normal cars and sometimes, quirky cars, it’s just more interesting to see them and they don’t get enough appreciation. Whenever we can, we try to contact the owners of the cars to get their story, which is why all of our cars spotted, unless stated, have blurred plates for privacy reasons.

Is it fun?

Very much so (for us at least) because even if you’re not a car person, suddenly seeing an old Volkswagen Beetle parked in a street is going to catch your eye and might be a part of your photo op. There are plenty of interesting cars hiding or just left on various streets across Malaysia, which is why we rely on our followers to provide photos if they spot any cool cars worthy for our post.

Brennen: Our major car spotting contributor

Shout out to Bren! for providing lots of our content.

Our page is very new, pages like plankhond and carsofhongkong are legends in the car spotting world. One day, we hope to achieve that fame, being the number 1 Malaysian car spotting page! Check out our Instagram page below.

This Artist Sketches Awesome Cars That We Know And Love (And With A Twist)

All of us have drawn cars at one point during our youths, from the typical three box, massive wheels, exhaust spewing out puffs of smoke ‘car’ to cars with machine guns on top (I still draw cars with guns because I have a mental imagination of a 12-year old). Though, there are people here in Malaysia who take drawing cars to the next level, something that’s unique and just too cool to not post about, it’s Mr Syaiful’s work.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT KenMeri
Photo courtesy of Mr. Syaiful

Mr. Syaiful hails from the city of Ipoh, Perak, age 43. He operates a wedding photography business called jangguttouch, which you can check out on Instagram. However, in his pastime, he does car sketches like the photo above, a KenMeri era Skyline drawn in a specific style (Mr. Syaiful’s style) and includes some fantastic details such as the prominent rear quarter panel lines and components under the car. I had to contact him to know more about his gallery of cars, he was an extremely friendly and open individual about his work. I asked a few questions about Mr. Syaiful’s talent with first, how he began it all.

“Saya bermula dalam tahun 2000 dan berhenti pada tahun 2006 kerana sibuk dalam karier fotografi. Pada 2014 saya mula kembali melukis sehingga sekarang.”

We can see that this isn’t something new that Mr. Syaiful has started, it was his passion for quite some time. Initially, before transitioning to cars, Mr. Syaiful was an urban sketcher, focusing on old buildings. He was inspired to draw classic cars due to his love of old vintage things and things of the past.

Honda City Turbo with Honda Motocompo Moped
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Syaiful

“Melukis kereta ni seronok bermain dengan lekuk-lekuk dan perincian desainnya.”

Indeed, older cars tend to have more exciting lines and cool details that would look amazing when sketched. Mr. Syaiful said it takes him about 1-2 hours to fully complete a sketch and he doesn’t use a normal pencil and paper, all of these sketches are made using a Sambung Tab with apps called Autodesk Sketchbook and Clip Paint Studio. I asked Mr. Syaiful on which of his sketches he loved the most, the one where he was truly proud of.

“Lukisan kereta yang berkarat, lusuh dan rustic.”

A fantastic style of car, I’m a fan of these rusty patina cars too (I also sketch them), translating this style into a sketche means one can meticulous details such as rust, scratches, dents and many more. Take a look at this Old Mazda Wagon, one of his personal favourites.

Mazda Familia Wagon
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Syaiful

The detail, shading and look of the sketch is just eye catching even though its an old rusty wagon. Now you might think that sketching a car with this much detail is hard, yes it is very much so, plus, using a tablet makes it even harder.

“Jika diikutkan, lukisan potret lebih sukar kerana ianya harus tepat dan sama dengan wajah yang dilukis. Bagi kereta pula sudah tentunya pada bahagian yang perinciannya lebih rumit seperti bahagian depan atau belakang kereta.”

Looking at the photos above, you can see where Mr. Syaiful is going when he explained that sketching front and rear ends of a car is complicated, the Skyline for example, while may only have four circles for taillights, getting them to be the right size and alignment can be very tricky.

Now, we reach to the best part of Mr. Syaiful’s work, his awesome crossover car sketches! Many people can familiarize themselves with older famous movies that feature certain vehicles as the star car, or even being prominently visible in some scenes. What Mr. Syaiful did was give it a little Malaysian flare twist to these famous Hollywood icons.

These are probably the coolest Malaysian-ized crossovers I have ever seen, Mr Syaiful’s idea of blending our Malaysian cars and icons (the PDRM Volvo is an icon), and merging them with these famous Hollywood figures, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters and RoboCop, which is supposed to stand next to a Ford Taurus is just cool and unique! Seeing this for the first time made me scroll back up to fully see what was actually drawn, and you can never not get too excited when you see a Proton Saga turn into something, especially Ecto-1! In case you guys don’t know about the original movie cars, here are the original cars that Mr. Syaiful based the design on.

There’s more! Mr. Syaiful has also sketched cars that have been historically significant to Malaysia and our culture, with these two emphasizing on our famous (but none seem to exist anymore) fleet of Holden Police cars used by the PDRM in the sixties and the mythical yet very eerie and scary Yellow Volkswagen Beetle roaming the Karak Motorway

“Memang menjadi impian saya untuk mengembangkan lagi profil dan stail lukisan saya supaya dapat dinikmati oleh lebih ramai orang. Kalau tidak di pameran atau autoshow, di dalam sosmed pun boleh dikembangkan.”

It would be very unfortunate if Mr. Syaiful’s work is not be presented in any art show, I believe any car or non car people would absolutely enjoy seeing these beautiful and stylistic sketches. What makes it better, you’re in luck if you want one. Mr. Syaiful is opening up commissions for you to have your car or maybe another car of your liking to be sketched, prices range from RM 50-200.

Singam and Mahindra Bolero
Photo courtesy of Mr. Syaiful

You can follow Mr. Syaiful’s art account on Instagram and check out the rest of his sketches, my other favourite is the original DeLorean filling up at Petronas. Follow and like the amazing art he does and support his business, have your car commissioned to be digitally artwork-i-fied by Mr. Syaiful, you won’t regret it!

https://www.instagram.com/lufiaysirhab/

lufiasyirhab: Mr. Syaful’s car art account
More of his sketches

Check Out This Toyota Dyna Commercial Featuring Muhammad Ali

The old Toyota Dyna was really nothing special, it was a lorry and it did its job well, serving as a reliable workhorse to many businesses and people. The Dyna was also rebadged by Daihatsu in certain markets, the most prominent version being the 1980’s Daihatsu Delta, the red or white coloured cab lorries we see on the roads, I don’t think anyone has never seen them before.

I’m not sure if Toyota ever sold the older Dynas here, maybe I haven’t notice any or maybe they all rusted away, though I am quite a novice in the lorry world. However, the Dyna was rather popular in Indonesia, even being built there at Purwakarta, there’s even a channel that explained in quite detail, the history of how the Dyna was a part of the Indonesian motoring history and culture, though the audio is quite bad.

What’s more, there was a commercial made back then for the lorry to promote its ruggedness, finding a commercial vehicle advertisement is kind of rare because honestly not many people would actually remember or keep them. But by some stroke of luck and nostalgia, some managed to, this particular commercial was very interesting. First, it has a huge explosion for no reason, but it was very 1980’s, secondly, it featured Muhammad Ali saying something, “Ouum!” I think, twice! These two features alone make this one of the coolest commercials ever, nothing can beat a professional boxer and explosions with a Green Toyota speeding around a mining area, and this Muhammad Ali marketing even made it on paper ads, it was a legit endorsement by him, check out the photo below, and the video!

Source: Pinterest, Mas Benjo

Pairing Muhammad Ali with a Toyota lorry was a great idea, the two are synonymous with brute strength and ruggedness, I’m surprised he agreed to even be a part of this, props to Toyota/Toyota Indonesia!

The Toyota Dyna was certainly something big in Indonesia, and I’m glad that advertisements like these are still being preserved for people to find and see. The Dyna still continues to be in production, though nothing major has changed since its creation, the lorry still proves to be a simple, reliable and dependable workhorse for the honest blue-collared worker.