After many months of anticipation, the 2020 Proton X70 in CKD form is finally launched. One of the biggest changes the CKD version brings is a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; both Geely and Volvo co-developed this wet DCT. Now, the X70 truly has Volvo technology in it.
Thanks to the new 7DCT, the Proton X70 CKD actually has slightly better performance even though it’s still using the familiar 1.8L turbocharged direct injection engine. According to Proton, the new transmission gives the C-segment SUV 5% more torque, bringing the figure up to 300Nm from 285Nm. Power output of the engine, on the other hand, remains the same at 181hp.
Even though this performance increase doesn’t seem particularly amazing, it does improve the car’s acceleration by a fair margin. The 2020 Proton X70 can now go from zero to 100kmph in only 9.5 seconds. Compared to the previous CBU model, that’s a whole second faster. Quite an impressive feat with just a transmission change.
On top of that, the new 7DCT also improves fuel economy. The Proton X70 CKD now has a quoted fuel consumption of 7.6L/100km versus its predecessor’s official figure of 7.8L/100km. A small difference, yes, but definitely not negligible. It’ll be interesting to see how closely this estimate matches real life fuel economy – quoted figures are usually very optimistic.
While the Proton X70 CKD’s 7DCT is practically a complete upgrade over the CBU model’s conventional six-speed torque converter automatic, we’re sure some folks are not too keen about it. This comes down to reliability issues of DCTs in the past, but Proton is very confident its 7DCT will not suffer the same fate.
For one, the 7DCT in the Proton X70 uses a more robust wet clutch design instead of a dry one, so any overheating issues won’t really be a problem with this gearbox. To top it off, this 7DCT adheres to Volvo’s strict durability requirement too: it’s said to have a service life of more than 350,000km. To put this into context, the industry standard is only 240,000km.
But if you’re still convinced the X70’s 7DCT is not as reliable as it’s made out to be, Proton is giving the SUV itself a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. That should give you some peace of mind, right?
Moving on. Another neat upgrade the new Proton X70 received is a powered tailgate; a feature many existing owners have asked for. Not only is it height-adjustable, the top two variants of the X70 also include a foot sensor. You’ll just have to “kick” the bottom of the SUV when you’re at the tailgate for it to automatically open. That being said, do note that the base Standard model doesn’t have a foot sensor or a powered tailgate.
On the inside, Proton also added a number of amenities. Regardless of which X70 model you get, the rear seats can now be reclined, so those long journey back to the hometown will be that much more comfortable. The front seats got a nice upgrade too: they are now ventilated, so you can get cool air blown from the seats themselves. However, much like the powered tailgate, ventilated seats are not offered in the Standard model.
Beyond these upgrades, other aspects of the Proton X70 CKD remain the same as its predecessor, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Build quality, for one, remains indistinguishable from the previous fully-imported CBU model, and that’s a really good thing. In fact, Proton went as far as to say that the CKD-based X70 “have matched and exceeded the quality standards of the (previous) model.”
But there is one thing that might disappoint some potential customers: the 2020 Proton X70 basically shares the same design as its predecessor. The only way to distinguish the new CKD model from the CBU is to either look at the gear lever – it’s now an electronic shift-by-wire lever – or the new Proton logo on the front grille, steering wheel, and centre wheel caps.
Surprisingly enough, there is one thing from the CBU model that’s not carried over to the new CKD X70: an AWD variant. Proton says that this model has been dropped due to low demand from customers, unfortunately enough. Despite that, there are still four variants (all in 2WD) offered: Standard, Executive, Premium, and Premium X. Just like their names suggest, the latter two models are actually very similar.
After all, the only thing that differentiates the Premium and Premium X models is the panoramic sunroof; only the Premium X variant has it. So if you don’t care for the sunroof, but you still want all the bells and whistles, the Premium trim is the one to get.
The new 2020 Proton X70 CKD is now available for purchase in Malaysia. As mentioned, four variants are offered here. The Standard model costs RM94,800, while the Executive variant is priced at RM106,800. The top-of-the-range Premium and Premium X trims, on the other hand, go for RM119,800 and RM122,800 respectively. All prices mentioned here are on-the-road without insurance.