Latest B-Segment SUV With Competitive Pricing
The long-awaited Proton X50 SUV finally launched on October 27.
Ahead of its launch, Proton Holdings Bhd said the SUV had already received 20,000 bookings, double the pre-launch bookings their X70 SUV received in 2018.
Proton Chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar even predicts that the X50 alone can and will represent an annual purchase value of RM 1.8 billion from Proton.
On top of that, it’s capable of beating the BMW X1 sDrive 18i under acceleration, its most premium and expensive competitor, in the exclusive media player aka drag racing at the Sepang International Circuit.
These are pretty important statements from Proton, and have undoubtedly caught the attention of many.
Ours too, so we decided to take a look at what it has to offer.
Very competitive prices among other B-segment SUVs
When it comes to cars, for an average Joe like me, the first thing I’ll look and compare is definitely the price tags.
Prices for the X50 range according to its 4 variants:
- Standard – 79,200 RM
- Executive – RM84 800
- Premium – 93,200 RM
- Flagship product – RM103,000
Its direct and notable competitors are the Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3.
The 2 variants of the HR-V which are the competitors of the X50 are the 1.8E and the 1.8V, which are respectively 108,000 RM and 118,800 RM.
The CX-3, meanwhile, is only available in 1 variant and is priced at RM130,159.
So in terms of price, its flagship variant is cheaper than the cheaper variant of the HR-V, the 1.8E as well as the CX-3.
But then again, of course, price isn’t everything when it comes to competition.
So what exactly are we paying?
Each variant has around 5 upgrades from the previous variant, with a price difference of RM5,600 to RM9,800, the biggest difference being the move from Premium to Flagship.
The safety features of the flagship variant
Here are the specs and their improvements in all four variants:
While the Premium to the Flagship has the biggest jump in price, I think it makes sense given the features they add.
The specs of the first three variants are the ones I find the least impressive as they are quite basic, but I find the specs of the Flagship variant to be exceptional, especially its safety features.
One of the X50’s most notable selling points is its Level 2 semi-autonomous driving feature, which is not present in the HR-V and CX-3.
Dictionary time: Semi-autonomous driving level 2 does not mean autopilot, but partial automation. The driver is still required to steer, brake or accelerate as needed to maintain safety. However, they are supported by systems like Lane Centering and Adaptive Cruise Control at the same time.
For the Flagship variant, what is included in the partial automation features are:
- Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Adaptive cruise control with stop and go
- Track centering and maintenance assistance
- Automatic monitoring of high beams and blind spots
- Door open warning
All of these additions should allow the car to maintain a set distance from a previous vehicle and to stay in the center of its lane. It operates at speeds of up to 150 km / h.
“These features that we are adding help the driver and, therefore, can support the reduction of human error,” said Hazrin Fazail Haroon, director of engineering for the Proton group.
Their security features have also earned them a 5-star rating on the ASEAN NCAP, like the HR-V, which only strengthens its security credibility.
In addition to lane centering and adaptive cruise control, the Flagship variant also has an automatic park assist function.
Ideal for those with Kopi-O licenses who cannot park for their life.
For this feature, you can really take it easy and let the car do the work for you, unlike when you’re on the road.
Their self-parking feature gives the system full, active control over throttle, brakes, steering, and gear selection to help the driver maneuver in a parking space.
It works for both 3 point parking and parallel parking.
With this feature, I can just imagine all the stress put to rest every time I want to grab a bite in Bangsar or Damansara Utama, where parking is usually a pain in the ass.
While these Level 2 features aren’t new to Malaysia, they aren’t as accessible to everyone in the country, which Proton is trying to straighten out.
Some Level 2 examples are the Volvo XC90 / XC60 / XC40 / S90, Mercedes-Benz S 450 L, Hyundai Ioniq HEV Plus, Honda Odyssey / CR-V / Accord (Honda Sensing).
The range of these cars is between RM115.888 (the Hyundai) and RM699.888 (the Benz).
But if you only look at the SUVs, it would be the Volvo XC and the Honda CR-V, which range between RM151,100 (the CR-V) and RM373,888 (the XC90).
However, it’s also important to note that the CR-V cannot park, so a fair comparison would be with the Volvo XC40.
Although this is the cheapest variant of the Volvo XC 3, it costs RM255,888 which should help you gauge how inaccessible these features are for this price tag offered by the X50 Flagship.
Drag racing champion
At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that the X50 emerged as the winner of the drag race that took place at the Sepang International Circuit, which you can watch here.
This race was to test his bold claims of being able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.9 seconds.
The X50 took on the HR-V, its most common and direct competitor, as well as the BMW X1 sDrive18i, its most premium and expensive competitor.
Despite championing himself in drag racing, his claims of 7.9 seconds were a bit wrong, as he actually did the sprint of the century in 9.8-9.9 seconds.
“The X50 looks very refined. It doesn’t look like a 3 cylinder engine at all. There is no washing machine humming noise with this car, ”said Hafriz Shah, an author of Paultan.
In a certain context, the X50 offers 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo engines.
Its competitors, the CX-3 and X1, both have a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine and a 1.5L 3-cylinder engine, respectively, making the X1’s powertrain much closer to that. of the X50.
Most cars are usually powered by 4 to 6 cylinders, but often times when a car is only powered by 3, it is usually to keep costs down and reduce fuel consumption.
You would probably have experienced a 3 cylinder engine car if you drove a Kancil, Viva or Axia.
Therefore, you will also be familiar with the loud and noisy vibrations of the engine, which is usually a shutdown for most people, including myself.
However, the X50 turned out to be the quietest of the three in the race, which was quite unexpected for a car with a 3-cylinder engine.
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It’s pretty clear in these specs that Proton is trying to make us happy with a car that has these specs that are inaccessible to most of us.
That being said, I still think the Flagship would be the only one worth investing in, especially for its Level 2 semi-autonomous driving feature, which isn’t cheap for SUVs right now.
I am delighted that a local brand is bringing big things to the automotive market in Malaysia right now.
If I had the money and needed a new car, you’d bet I’d reserve one of these flagships for me now.
- You can read more about the Proton X50 here.
Featured Image Credit: Imran Ansari
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