The X70 has done more to improve Proton’s perception in a single day than any other vehicle. The first model of Proton’s relationship with Geely, it stretched the limits of what purchasers would spend for a Proton and, in one fell swoop, transformed Malaysia’s SUV industry.
I recall the first time I got my hands on the flagship crossover’s keys. Even back then, I expected China to produce attractive, well-made automobiles, but I didn’t expect to be blown away by luxurious ride quality and whisper-quiet refinement. Even now, the X70 outperforms cars twice or three times its price, whether you’re driving down a city street or speeding down the interstate.
It’s hard to imagine that was four years ago, and it appears that customers liked it as well — over 70,000 X70s have been sold since the late-2018 introduction. Although nagging reliability issues and visible component shortages have marred the luster, the vehicle remains a popular seller.
That is why it is troubling that Proton is changing the formula. The 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is gone, replaced by the 1.5 litre triple from the smaller X50. Three-pot engines aren’t exactly the pinnacle of refinement, but will the new 2022 X70 maintain its uncanny luxury vehicle image with one fewer cylinder? To discover out, we go for a brief test drive.
The 1.8-liter engine is still available, and all-wheel drive has been restored.
Still not convinced? Don’t worry, you can still get the 1.8 Premium, which is essentially the previous Premium X model (complete with the panoramic sunroof) with minor cosmetic changes that we’ll go into later. All versions get the same DCT, with the 1.5 litre types getting a retune.
Proton has also reintroduced the all-wheel-drive technology, which was discontinued in 2020 because to low sales. However, as before, the all-paw variant is only available in mid-range Executive trim, which means it lacks the X70’s optional driver assistance, which are exclusively reserved to Premium versions.
The rest of the NVH package, as well as the chassis tuning, is identical to the outgoing X70. According to a business spokesperson, the moderate suspension redesign for the 2020 model took into consideration the decreased weight of the new engine, therefore no extra alterations were required for the new car.
The same exquisite driving sensation, only not as effortless
First, a caveat. We were only given a brief preview test drive of around fifty kilometers from the Centre of Excellence showroom to Kundang in Rawang. A comprehensive review will come once we’ve had a chance to test the car for a longer amount of time, but for now, this sample will enough to put the new engine through its paces.
The good news is that the three-pot doesn’t appear to have jeopardized the X70’s demeanor. The amount of sound isolation incorporated into the automobile keeps noise levels low – so low, in fact, that you won’t hear the engine most of the time. When combined with the surprising absence of vibration, the new X70 is nearly indistinguishable from the outgoing model in regular driving.
Only when you apply a little more throttle do you hear the mill. The engine note is a touch louder than before, and you’ll be able to tell the difference between the four-characterless pot’s hum and the typical three-cylinder rumble – even if it’s less distinct than the ruckus created by a few other triples. But it’s not unpleasant, and the X70 is noticeably quieter at full throttle than many of its competitors.
However, you’ll have to listen to the engine more because the lack of torque is noticeable whenever you need more power, such as while overtaking. Whereas the previous vehicle was content to ride the wave of low-end pull, the new model requires a bit more work to get up to speed – you’ll have to dig deeper to unlock the latent potential.
Verdict: As competent as ever, but in need of more significant changes elsewhere.
There’s little question that the X70 will continue to be popular, especially among those searching for a luxury automobile experience on a budget (even though prices have gone up quite a bit). Crucially, the engine upgrade hasn’t detracted from the huge SUV’s endearing qualities, and the increased fuel efficiency will only add to its appeal among city dwellers and high-mileage drivers alike.
However, there is an unmistakable sense that Proton could have gone farther with this update, even by the company’s generally moderate MC activities. In the automobile world, four years is a long time, so the fact that the business looks content with merely putting black paint to random body pieces and calling it a day feels like a squandered opportunity. Buyers will be concerned about the aforementioned parts shortages, however Proton is working harder than ever to fix the problem.
But make no mistake: facelift or not, the X70 remains one of the greatest choices in its price category, and you can’t go wrong by putting it on Used SUV Car Malaysia.