Cars Geely

Published on August 19th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair


2022 Proton X70 1.5L Premium: The New Engine Completes The Package

Proton X70 is a much better all rounder with this modern turbo engine.

The X50 may still be the talk of the town today, but without a doubt, it was the Proton X70 that turned the national carmaker’s fortunes around. When the X70 debuted in Malaysia, it shocked the market with its high quality interior and equipment list. It seemed to tick all the boxes and it did so for well under what was expected by the market.

That being said, it was not a perfect car. The X70 was based on the Geely Boyue, which was engineered a few years after Geely had acquired Volvo Cars. At the time, Geely was still using their own powertrains and chassis components. It took some time for Volvo Car and Geely to jointly develop these, so they only came in the next wave of Geely products, i.e. the Proton X50. The X70 meanwhile debuted with a 1.8L turbocharged engine and a 6-speed conventional automatic. This powertrain was competitive on paper, but behind the wheel it lacked the refinement and quietness at the high end of its Japanese rivals. 

New 19” wheels

However, the X70 has evolved over time. When the car was locally-assembled, Proton mated the 7-speed dual clutch automatic to the X70’s existing engine. This improved transmission allowed the 1.8L to be remapped for more power while also cutting the fuel consumption by a few percent. The new transmission was measurably better than the one it replaced, but the engine still bellowed when pushed. Power was up, but it was still a sledgehammer of a motor.

This year, Proton took that last step and integrated the Volvo-Geely powertrain completely to the X70. They still offer the 1.8L for those who still want it, but it’s reserved as the most expensive variant. Three of the other variants of the X70 are now powered by the 1.5-litre TGDI engine.

Smoother than just about any other 3-cylinder

Now this engine IS a 3-cylinder. But it’s honestly the smoothest 3-cylinder that I have ever experienced. We noted this when we test drove the X50 Flagship with the same motor, but in the X70, the engine is somehow even smoother. It’s perhaps down the X70’s larger frame and great NVH dampening qualities. 

Better sounding and better power delivery than the 1.8L

The 1.8L in the X70 has a lot of power and torque to offer. 300Nm is no joke, even in the premium segment, this amount of torque is often reserved for more expensive variants. But in the X70, that extra output never really made sense. It was a little excessive when most people were using the vehicle as a family runabout. The 1.5L has 255Nm of torque, which is more than enough to ‘climb up Genting’ with all seats occupied. In fact, the way this engine delivers that power is actually noticeably better than the 1.8L. It comes in nice and smooth, responding perfectly to pedal inputs. What’s more, the motor sounds genuinely good when revved up. The older engine, in contrast, was way too loud under pressure. 

Finally Fuel Efficient

The biggest drawback to owning an X70 with the 1.8L was the fuel consumption. The 6-speed automatic had pretty dismal efficiency for its class. The 7-speed improved things noticeably. This new engine finally puts it on parity with cars in its class. That’s because this new engine is more than 40kg lighter and was designed from the ground up to have very little internal losses. This engine was made to work in markets with the tightest emissions regulations and it feels a whole generation ahead of the 1.8L.

It Completes The Package

When the X70 first debuted, a big part of its appeal was the perceived quality. The interior felt and looked very much like a premium product. The equipment list, to a large degree, was quite complete as well. Even the design had details normally reserved for more upmarket vehicles. The only thing that subjectively felt a generation behind was the drivetrain. Now, with a modern gearbox and engine under the hood, the X70 as a package could quite easily supplant a base model premium SUV. 

Other Changes

The rest of the updates to the X70 are pretty minor to be honest. There are a few black trim pieces outside and the headliner material is black as well. Also new are the 19 inch rims on the car.

Pricing has also gone up by a small degree, but that’s reflective of the current performance of the Ringgit. Proton has also returned all-wheel drive as an option on the mid-spec ‘Executive’ model, but we feel that this 1.5L Premium specification is the sweetspot for the X70 now. 

Proton X70 1.5 Premium Specifications

Engine: Inline-3, 12-Valve, DOHC, Turbocharged Petrol
Capacity: 1477cc
Gearbox: 7-speed DCT
Max power: 130kW @ 5500rpm
Max torque: 255Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
0-100 km/h: 9.8 seconds
Price: RM117,900

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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