Proton are back in South Africa and we drove their new SUVs

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Proton could also be an automotive identify vaguely acquainted to many South Africans however the Malaysian automaker is again and guarantees to remain, however how good are their two new SUVs? We obtained behind the wheel of each for a quick stint to see if they’ll contend their segments. 

This isn’t their first rodeo in South Africa. However this time, Proton include some extent to show and the monetary may of the Geely Group behind them to make sure they succeed. As a lot as this was an indication of the X50 and X70 SUVs, the launch day within the hills of the Magaliesburg furthermore signified the regenesis of the Malaysian model on South African soil. The reverberating theme: “We are here to stay.” 

This has been the case prior to now with Asian automakers who’ve beforehand entered our market with little market analysis and even much less impetus to thrive. Quick ahead a decade of no new car introductions, and a well-recognized brand is now being affixed to daring and luxurious-looking SUVs to whet the urge for food of the South African market. 

That is the recipe to success that has confirmed to work for Chery, who has gone from power to power with the assistance of their ever-increasing SUV vary. In a similar way, Proton has rejoined the native automotive spectrum with the introduction of two premium high-riding fashions. 

Some shoppers could have been snubbed by the withdrawal of Proton in 2012, the place they suspended product implementation and put an finish to 7 years of gross sales, with 4 mannequin introductions and a complete of 5 295 models bought throughout this time. The Malaysian automaking big, based in 1983 guarantees this epoch to be totally different. 

That’s as a result of the brand new chapter of Proton is now underway. As of 2017, the Malaysian model went right into a three way partnership with the Geely group which owns a 49,9% stake in it. This is similar Zhejiang Geely Holding Group which owns Lotus, Volvo and Polestar to call just a few. 

Most logically, Proton has launched two premium SUVs to their native lineup to assist shift the earlier notion potential consumers could have of the model. On the helm is the Proton X70, which is touted because the model’s flagship SUV and is a Malaysia COTY winner from 2019. The mannequin initially debuted one 12 months earlier than and has bought 1,2 million models since. Its age is clear when stacked as much as its youthful adversary however the general feel and appear nonetheless present a horny providing to consumers. 

The X50 which got here to life in 2020 is the smaller of the 2 and can possible be the amount product within the present providing from Proton. Being three years newer, the X50 can be extra tech-heavy than its bigger counterpart with extra fashionable finishes inside and outside. Proton

Your entire lineup and the derivatives inside are powered by a solitary 1,5-litre turbo-triple motor which appears optimistic, significantly on the bigger X70. On the aforementioned mannequin and the Premium X50, energy is rated at 130 kW with torque at 255 N.m. All different derivatives of the X50 make use of the identical engine however detuned to 110 kW and 226 N.m. The motor is coupled to a snug 7-speed DCT that has been carried over from different autos within the Geely Group.

We solely examined essentially the most potent stage of specification and the engine was admittedly discovered wanting within the 1 675 kg X70 when choosing up pace. On the X50, it was much more pliant and moved the mass round with much more ease. 

Our jaunt solely lasted a couple of minutes however alongside the best way, the top-specification fashions have been put briefly via rutted nation roads and highways. The obvious theme in each fashions was their energetic and passive security options which embody lane hold help, adaptive cruise management and parking help. 

As with many inexpensive premium SUVs competing in our market, the inside is nicely completed and generously geared up with drivers shows and infotainment screens.

X50 1.5T Customary – R449 900

X50 1.5T Luxurious – R499 900

X50 1.5T Government – R535 900

X50 1.5TDGI Premium – R579 900


X70 1.5 TDGI Customary – R529 900

X70 1.5TDGI Government – R579 900

X70 1.5TDGI Government AWD – R629 900

X70 1.5TDGI Premium – R639 900

All Protons shall be bought with a 5 12 months limitless guarantee and a 5 12 months/80 000km service plan and the model has paired with CMH Group SA to undertake the servicing and gross sales of the fashions. 

Over the following 12 months and a half, Proton earmarks one other 3 autos for our markets which embody an SUV and sedan. 

With such a brief stint within the cockpit, preliminary impressions have been good however there could also be a terror for antiquated consumers to belief a three-cylinder to lug across the sizable mass of the X70. The worth for cash by way of tech is the X50 and based mostly on the pricing, Proton could have what it takes to carry the battle to the Chinese language SUV giants reigning supreme in South Africa.