Published on December 15th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Proton X50 TGDI Flagship Test Drive Review
With bookings surpassing 21,000 units, is this Malaysia’s best selling crossover?
The Proton X50 crossover arrives at a time when the Honda HR-V leads in the crossover segment with the Mazda CX-3 close behind.
A little history lesson first. This Proton X50 is closely based on the Geely Bin Yue Crossover. This is the first ever right hand drive version of this crossover and Proton’s influence on this new crossover is not just badges, battery, tyres and build.
There are dozens of little components from Malaysian vendors that have been used for this all new Proton crossover. But, you and I know this is of no importance to the buyer of this X50. What is important is the design, safety features, engineering, drive dynamics and selling price.
All this has been answered in spades by the Proton management to the satisfaction of Malaysian car buyer and this is why the bookings keep rising by the day and the Proton factory in Tanjung Malim is working hard to keep dealers and waiting customers happy.
Even next to its bigger brother, the X70, this X50 makes a distinctive impression. The car’s exterior design combines the low-slung proportions of a coupe with a high riding stance of a compact SUV. Sharp angular lines with a low greenhouse gives it’s a very sporty stance and the final touch comes from the twin exhausts on both ends.
X50 Interior & Equipment
This X50 measures 4,330 mm long, 1,800mm wide, 1,609 mm tall, with a 2,600 mm wheelbase giving decent amount of cabin space.
The cabin is driver-focused with good quality fit and finish all around. All controls are positioned to allow the driver to access information with a single glance and operate them with ease. The interior of the X50 Flagship comes leather upholstery as standard and electric front seats. The boot has a capacity of 330 litres, meaning it can handle leisure activities, from shopping sprees to carrying outdoor fun filled equipment like a bicycle with the rear seats folded down.
This X50 also offers drivers a wide selection of driver assistance systems like automated park assist, a 360-degree view camera, tire pressure monitoring, lane keeping assistance, forward collision avoidance and more. You also get 6 SRS airbags a panoramic sunroof and a dual tone exterior paint finish.
The driver gets a 7-inch LCD instrument cluster displays a wide-range of information including phone, multimedia, navigation and driving assistance and more. Also included is a 10.25-inch high-definition floating infotainment panel with a 8:3 large widescreen design. The screen’s 1920*720 HD resolution gives users a cinema-quality visual experience.
A voice activated user interface is included to operate your sunroof, windows, climate control, audio system and more. It is easy to use, recognizes Malaysian accents better now and will impress Hey Mercedes! and Hey BMW! Users with its functionality.
X50 Driving Dynamics
From ignition this X50 feels more sure-footed and stable than most rivals, with a lively smooth sensation to every control input and response. The steering is a little light on feel but the weighting is lovely and this X50 copes with fast direction changes. Ride comfort is good too, a little firm around town possibly because of the wider taller tires, but really well balanced between comfort and keeping this crossover steady on the open road.
The 3-cylinder turbocharged engine can be altered in attitude by using the Driving Mode switch, allowing the driver to choose between efficiency-enhancing ECO mode and SPORT mode.
This turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine generates a top speed of 200km/h easily. With an overall system output of 177bp and 255Nm of torque. This X50 sprints from 0-100km/h in just 7.9 seconds with a 7-speed ‘wet’ double-clutch transmission working smoothly.
In the city, this crossover behaves predictably like a hot hatch through corners and the average driver will find themselves slowly being a hero around corners as the tail stays tucked in at speeds that will leave some others scouring for traction. The drive comes instantly and with great traction, pulling this X50 from the apex with neutrality not many drivers can really handle.
And unlike so many in this class, the rewards seem to come entirely without compromise. Under quick point to point driving the steering isn’t wrenched from your hands as you fight to maintain direction and there is no nagging electronic intervention.
If we had to pick a negative to any aspect of the X50, it will start with the rather harsh ride on our Petaling Jaya badly maintained roads with the 18-inch tyres. Then there is badge snobbery from some Malaysians. We had to ‘force’ a few friends and neighbors to get into this Proton and after a short test drive they all came away impressed and even ready to own one.
You need to test drive this X50 yourself to understand the level of quality, features and driving dynamics it delivers at this selling price.
Proton X50 TGDI Flagship Specifications
Engine: 12V 3-Cylinder Turbo VVT
Power: 177bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque: 255Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed wet dual-clutch
Top speed: 200km/h as tested
Price: RM103,300 Flagship (RM79,200 Standard)