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Unveiling the Proton X50: A Malaysian Marvel in South Africa’s Auto Arena


Proton, the Malaysian automotive powerhouse, has staged a triumphant return to the South African market with its X50 and X70 crossovers. In this article, we delve into the flagship Premium-spec model of the X50, graciously lent to us by CMH Cape Town and Proton South Africa for an exhilarating weekend test drive. Before we dive into the specifics, don’t forget to catch all the action on our REV-olution social media channels.

Styling – A Blend of Familiarity and Originality

The X50’s exterior design strikes a balance between familiarity and originality. Drawing inspiration from various automotive influences, the X50 presents a Vauxhall-like front end, a Peugeot-esque side profile, and a rear end that exudes originality. Our metallic blue press vehicle, featuring a black roof and chrome accents, creates an aesthetically pleasing overall design.

Interior and Space – Modern Comfort and Functionality

Inside the X50, a modern and well-crafted interior welcomes passengers. The combination of materials and colors exudes durability and style. Ergonomics are user-friendly, combining digitization with traditional buttons for a refreshing experience. The 10.25-inch infotainment screen, equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, unfortunately faced a hiccup with a malfunctioning USB-C port during our test drive.

Standard features include a multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, rear USB charging ports, artificial leather seats, keyless entry/start, a panoramic sunroof, a surround-view camera system, and a reverse camera. However, the X50’s practicality is average, with ample rear occupant space but a relatively small 330-liter boot.

Performance and Driving Impression – Turbocharged Elegance

Powering the X50 Premium is a 1.5-liter turbo petrol engine, a result of Proton’s collaboration with Geely and Volvo. Producing 130kW and 255Nm of torque, the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox delivers a claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds. The X50 feels brisk, exhibiting minimal turbo lag and a well-calibrated gearbox. Switching between Eco and Sport modes, we found Sport mode to be overly responsive, making Eco mode the preferable choice for daily driving tasks.

Refinement and comfort are commendable, with good insulation and agreeable dynamics. The X50, while front-wheel drive-only and not designed for off-road adventures, boasts 196mm of ground clearance and a 1,500kg braked towing capacity, making it a versatile choice for family trips.

Safety – A Stellar Performer

The X50 underwent crash testing in 2020, achieving a 5-Star rating from the ASEAN vehicle safety program. Equipped with 6 airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, and semi-autonomous driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning, the X50 prioritizes safety.

Fuel Consumption – Meeting Expectations

Proton claims a fuel consumption rate of 6.4 L/100km for the X50 Premium, but our real-world experience resulted in 8.3 L/100km—still acceptable for a vehicle in this category.

Pricing – A Contender in a Competitive Market

Priced at R579,900, the X50 Premium competes with established options like the Volkswagen T-Roc and Mazda CX-30. The package includes a 5-year/80,000km service plan and a 5-year/unlimited km warranty.

Verdict – Proton’s Resurgence

The Proton X50 emerges as an impressive contender in the South African market, marking a successful return for the Proton brand. With well-crafted, refined, and highly specified offerings, Proton has redefined expectations. However, in a segment filled with competent rivals, pricing remains a crucial factor, and the X50 faces a challenging battle for supremacy in the mid-size crossover segment. For a closer look at our weekend adventure with the Proton X50, head over to REV-olution’s social media channels. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss!


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