To say the Proton X70 was a paradigm shift, not just in Proton’s line-up, but in the way it operated moving forward, would be an understatement. In an age of SUVs ruling the roost, the carmaker’s first offering in that segment had to appease all stakeholders.
Of course, it was born from a heavy synergy with partner Geely, being based on the Chinese automotive heavyweight’s Boyue SUV. Of course, Proton did infuse its own prowess into various aspects of the car to better adapt it for the local requirements of consumers as well as our less-than-stellar roads.
A 2020 Proton X70 1.8 TGDi Premium X sold for RM100,900 on CARSOME
With the weight of a nation on its inclining shoulders, the Proton X70 launched in 2018 to much fanfare. That it undercut the Japanese competition in price wasn’t a surprise, as were the levels of equipment and refinement that was on par as well.
Nonetheless, the popularity of the X70 has recently been plagued by complaints of part shortages and gearbox malfunctions. Therefore, it begs the question, is a used X70 a great value for money proposition, or could you be left wanting, literally, more?
To simplify the X70’s lifecycle in Malaysia, it can be split into two major updates thus far; the first was during the switch from fully-imported CBU (Complete Built-Up) to locally-assembled CKD (Complete Knocked Down) models that saw the introduction of an all-new, Geely-developed seven-speed DCT transmission. Then, earlier this year it adopted the X50’s 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine for all variants save the flagship trim, which maintains the 1.8-liter engine.
Proton X70 Variants Offered in Malaysia
At the time of its launch in 2018, the X70 was offered in four CBU variants, priced as follows:
- Standard 2WD: RM 99,800
- Executive 2WD RM 109,800
- Executive AWD RM 115,800
- Premium 2WD RM 123,800
Power for all variants was courtesy of a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that delivered 184 PS and 285 Nm of torque. Sitting between the engine and driven wheels was a 6-speed automatic transmission.
While the standard kit count was considerably impressive, distinguishing the flagship Premium trim was the full suite of bells and whistles of ADAS features that comprised Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Blind Spot Monitoring system.
Proton X70 Facelift
In early 2020, just before the pandemic plagued the world, Proton launched the CKD (locally-assembled) X70 that included a major change to its drivetrain alongside minor updates and revisions of the variants on offer.
Focussing on improving fuel consumption and efficiency in general, the CKD X70 saw the six-speed torque converter automatic dropped in favor of the aforementioned all-new seven-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission (DCT). The switch to the extra cog and clutch included a new shift-by-wire gear lever.
Under the hood, the 1.8-liter TGDi turbocharged engine remained but was updated to the latest ‘Generation 3’ version that pumped out the same 184 PS but with 15 Nm more torque for a nice round 300 Nm.
Dubbed the 7DCT, Geely claimed the new transmission was benchmarked against some of the established players in the cog-swapping market; namedropping the likes of Volkswagen’s dry clutch DCT as well as the Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic found in BMWs and Minis.
Geely also mentioned that the 7DCT averaged an efficiency rate of 94.6 percent with a maximum of 97 percent; the latter bringing it close to figures returned by manual, three-pedal transmissions.
That also meant the CKD X70 saw a slight improvement in fuel consumption from 12.8km/l to 13.3km/l.
Lastly, the higher torque rating of the 7DCT allowed the torque output of the engine to be bumped up without overwhelming the transmission, as would have been the case with the outgoing six-speed auto.
Read More: Used Mazda CX-5 Buying Guide
That wasn’t all Proton wrote though. Owing to dismal demand, the Executive AWD variant was dropped for the CKD range, replaced by a Premium 2WD variant instead. Pricing also saw reductions ranging from RM1,000 to RM5,000 with the new pricing as follows:
- Standard: RM 94,800
- Executive: RM 106,800
- Premium: RM 119,800
- Premium X: RM 122,800
Subsequently, the X70 received another significant refresh in 2022 that saw all variants bar the flagship Premium switch over to the X50’s turbocharged 1.5-liter, three-cylinder petrol engine. Atop the X70 food chain, the Premium retains the 1.8-liter TGDi mill that still boasted a higher power output.
Interestingly, the 2022 refresh brought about the reintroduction of the Executive AWD variant that was previously dropped.
Used Market Prices
Given the backlog of orders for new cars that’s resulted in an extensive waiting period, pre-owned cars have been able to command a higher price in the used car market. It’s no surprise that popular models such as C-segment SUVs hold a higher asking price.
A quick search will place prices for the CBU 2018 to 2020 Proton X70 units in the RM80k to RM95k range, depending on the variant of course.
As for the 2020 CKD X70 models with the 7DCT, pricing starts at RM90k and extends well into the RM110k vicinity for a 2021 model.
For similar money as a used X70, you could be looking at some of its Japanese peers such as a used Honda CR-V with the caveat that the Japanese SUVs will be a couple of years older, giving the X70 a distinct advantage of being newer and likely to still be wearing the manufacturer’s warranty.
Which One to Get?
In the case of the Proton X70, the safest bet will always be the Premium variant. The reasoning behind that recommendation is simple, it’s got all the bells and whistles.
Only the Premium received ADAS features and for a family mover, the more safety the better.
If ADAS isn’t a must-have, you can’t go wrong with any of the mid or entry-level variants as the equipment level doesn’t vary much and they remain mechanically identical.
Nonetheless, another cardinal aspect to keep in mind is the replacement costs for wear and tear items such as tires that vary between the Standard and Premium variants as the latter runs on 19-inch rubbers that will undoubtedly cost much more to replace.
2020 Proton X70 CKD basic costs
|Road Tax (RM)||360||360|
|Battery – DIN 74 (RM)||450-600||450-600|
The X70 has a large 512-liter boot enough for all your balik kampung luggage
Common Problems with the Proton X70
Having selected which variant to go for, the only other paramount consideration would be the choice of transmission. Do you prefer the simplicity of the traditional torque-converter 6-speed automatic or the benefits but also possible pricier maintenance of the 7DCT?
Furthermore, it’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room of numerous complaints surrounding parts shortages for the X70 as well as the X50. That said, the parts shortages aren’t limited to just Proton but is a global problem affecting other carmakers as well. It’s just that given the higher volume of sales here, the repercussions are spread wider.
Nonetheless, the larger owner demographic does make it easier to observe common issues with the model, some of which are detailed below:
Proton X70 Common Problems
|Main cooling fan||Noisy operation, AC not cold, overheating||750|
|Engine mounts||Strong vibration from engine||1,500|
|Front absorber||Noisy suspension over bumps||650|
|Door lever||Broken door lever||300|
|Torque converter (CBU X70)||Jerky gear changes, transmission juddering between 4th-5th gears||3,000|
In the case of the supposedly simpler 6-speed auto in the CBU units, there have been documented cases of premature failure with the torque converter itself, resulting in jerking during gear changes as well as juddering between 4th and 5th gears.
You can expect to fork out around RM3,000 or so to resolve the issue at a service center.
If you’re wondering why the CKD units with the 7DCT aren’t covered here, it’s simply down to the fact that being less than 2 years old, the transmission is still very much under Proton’s five-year/unlimited mileage warranty that would see the service center rectifying or replacing any defects. Therefore, there exists a lack of independently verifiable data from independent service centrer or external workshops to more accurately gauge repair costs.
In the case of the 7DCT, most complaints centered around jerky shifting, especially from a standstill or in slow-moving traffic between first and second gears. So, if you’re getting a CKD unit, keep an eye out for these symptoms when test-driving the car.
Owners have also suggested carrying out a transmission adaptation/relearning that in some cases resulted in the issue being rectified. However, while this isn’t a sure fix, it’s something that can be attempted before major work is considered.
From a maintenance point of view, the upkeep of the X70 is generally considered reasonable. For instance, the priciest scheduled maintenance occurs at the 60,000km mark with an estimated bill of RM1,100.
As a benchmark, here’s a table of the estimated costs for scheduled maintenance of an X70:
Proton X70 CKD Maintenance Costs
|Maintenance / Interval||Items||Cost (RM)|
|Oil change / 10,000km||Engine oil, oil filter||250|
|Air filter / 20,000km||Engine air filter||60|
|Cabin filter / 20,000km||N95-grade cabin filter||100|
|Fuel filter / 20,000km||Fuel filter||25|
|Brake servicing / 60,000km||Brake fluid||50|
|Transmission servicing / 60,000km||ATF fluid and filter set||350|
|Coolant / 60,000km||Radiator coolant||100|
|Spark plugs / 20,000km||New spark plugs||110|
Right now, the only aspect hampering the X70’s popularity stems from the parts shortage that shows no signs of being sorted in the short term. Truth is though that the X70 isn’t the only model blighted by this but is arguably the one that’s feeling the pinch the most.
On the other hand, from a purely value-for-money perspective, the X70 is firmly atop the C-segment SUV pyramid. It’s a handsome thing with continental design cues, has sufficient punch under the hood, and carries class-leading safety tech. Perhaps the only black mark on its report card could be an interior that lacks as much room as its chief Japanese rival but alas, having your cake and eating it too is still asking much in the segment. Something will always have to give.
“Better late than never.” Some despise it, others begrudgingly agree with it but he swears by it… much to the chagrin of everyone around him. That unfortunately stems from all of his project cars not running most of the time, which in turn is testament to his questionable decision-making skills in life. A culmination of many wrongs fortunately making a right; much like his project cars on the rare occasions they run, he’s still trying to figure out if another project car is the way to go.