Published on April 14th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Proton X90 Driven: Here Are Some Facts!

On Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to drive the yet-to-be-launched Proton X90. This is Proton’s third Geely-derived model after the X70 and X50. It is also the company’s first step into electrification as the X90 is powered by a mild-hybrid version of the familiar 1.5L TGDI 3-cylinder and 7-speed DCT combo found on the other ‘X’ SUVs.

From our short time with the X90, here’s what we discovered about the 3-row SUV besides what the brochures leaked.

It’s More Powerful & More Fuel Efficient Than The X70

The X90’s Belt Starter Generator system makes the vehicle a Mild Hybrid New Energy Vehicle. The same 1.5L 3-cylinder is present but thanks to a little electric boost, the output is up by 13PS and 45Nm of torque.

This gives the X90 better acceleration and the ability to carry 7 people and cargo with ease. At the same time, this new electrified motor uses 1L less petrol per 100km versus the non-hybrid version. CO2 emissions are also down by 13%. Part of how it reduces fuel use is Smart Glide – which turns off the petrol engine completely while the car is coasting.

The BSG System Is Also There For Comfort

Besides the advantages of more power and better efficiency, there are other benefits of having a 48V mild hybrid system. The first is Comfort Start. Most people dislike Auto Stop-Start engines because they’re rough upon reignition. The BSG is there to make start-up smoother and more seamless.

There Are TWO Batteries In It

The BSG system uses a separate 48V lithium-ion battery that is maintenance free and should last the lifetime of the vehicles. There’s still a tradional 12V car battery under the hood for most of the vehicle’s accessories.

There Are 19 Sensors Used For Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS)

The X70 and X50 were already packed with safety systems. The X90 takes this further by using data from 1 front-mounted monocular camera, 2 radars, 4 surround cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors. These allow it to carry out its various ADAS and self-parking features. The front-mounted camera has a range of 150m while the millimeter wave rear sensors can detect objects up to 30m.

It Has An Anti-Tailgater Feature

Are you tired of BMW drivers coming right up to your rear bumper on the highway and then flashing their high beams? Well, the X90 has a technical solution to this problem. Proton calls its Rear Collision Warning. Using the rear millimeter wave radar, the X90 will detect if the driver behind is at risk of causing an accident and activate the hazard lights to deter him. The X90’s instrument cluster will also issue the driver a warning so that they may consider moving out of the fast lane and making the highway safer for everyone.

It Can Read And Display MALAYSIAN Road Signs

Much of the vehicle’s digital systems have been reworked from the Geely donor model. This includes the Traffic Sign Information system. Proton has spent some time and energy programming the system to recognise Malaysian road signs with the locally-specified fonts and terms in Bahasa Malaysia. The system can identify road signs up to 700m away and can give the driver an audible warning if they’re driving over that road’s speed limit.

Proton Co-Engineered Major Parts That Aren’t On The Original Geely

The Geely HaoYue did not come with multi-link rear suspension, nor does it have roof-mounted air cond vents for rear passengers. According to a Proton representative, these items were co-engineered for the Proton X90. In fact, the X90’s suspension tuning is unique and features parts made for local conditions.

There are USB Ports for Type A and Type C cables

Many manufacturers today still omit USB Type-C ports. Premium manufacturers often omit Type-A ports. The Proton X90 is one of the few vehicles with both Type-A and Type-C, though as far as we can tell, there’s just one Type-C port at the rear for charging. Still, this is the best of both worlds and you won’t be stranded without the ability to charge your device if you have the wrong cable. In fact with no cable at all, you can still use the wireless charging pad available on the higher spec model.

The 2 Individual Captain Seats Are A Nice Place To Be

The X90 feels like it’s made for those in the middle row. The Flagship spec we drove had 2 individual captain seats in the middle and they were a good place to be. The seats themselves aren’t as supportive and large as they COULD be, but they have individual arm rests and they’re ventilated.

The front passenger seat has ‘chauffer buttons’ for rear occupants to move that seat forward. There’s also a large panoramic moonroof for that premium experience. For a car in the X90’s potential price range, this is not bad place to be.

The Lane Keep Is Aggressive And Hard To Deactivate

When we first started driving the X90, we realised that the large SUV was almost steering itself by default. While technically this is an impressive feat, especially given how accurately it was keeping to the centre of the curving lane, we found it very intrusive.

It’s Unlikely That The Infotainment Unit Can Be Swapped

What’s worse is that the button to deactivate this feature is buried under a layer of digital menus on the centre head unit, not the driver’s instrument cluster. It’s not intuitive and we can foresee customers becoming frustrated at this. Every vehicle I’ve ever driven with Lane Keeping Assist has had a physical button to deactivate it as far as I can remember.

This indicates that a lot of core vehicle functionality is built into the stock unit which might make upgrading to an aftermarket unit tough.

Proton X90 infotainment system

It Can Ascend Genting Highlands

We summited Genting Highlands with ease in the X90 with four adults onboard with cargo. The X90 proved capable, though the exhaust note was particularly blaring when revs were high. This is a similar characteristic of the X70.

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

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