Automotive, Opinion

The Proton X70 Is the Best C-Segment SUV to Get With 100% Tax Exemption

Most carmakers have announced new pricings for their models after the government’s announcement to give 100% sales tax exemption on locally assembled (CKD) cars or 50% for fully imported (CBU) models. Among all the vehicles that had their prices slashed, one caught our eyes: the Proton X70.

Even before the price revision, the X70 was already considered one of the best C-segment SUVs for the money. Needless to say, it is that much more attractive now with the tax exemption. If you’re in the market for a new car in this segment, we’d argue the X70 is the best option; it’s tough to ignore the value proposition here.

So how much cheaper is the Proton X70 now? Let’s start with the base Standard model. Previously retailing at RM94,800, it received a RM4,900 price cut, so it now costs only RM89,900. The Executive trim, on the other hand, is going for RM101,000; that’s RM5,800 worth of savings.

Moving up the price range is the Premium model, which got a RM6,700 discount, bringing down the price to RM113,100. Last but definitely not least is the range-topping Premium X trim: now retailing at only RM115,800, it’s RM7,000 cheaper than its original asking price.

As per the government’s announcement, these prices will be valid until 31 December 2020. Here’s a breakdown of the old and new prices for easy reference.

Proton X70 CKD variantPrice with SSTPrice with SST exemptionPrice difference
StandardRM94,800RM89,900-RM4,900
ExecutiveRM106,800RM101,000-RM5,800
PremiumRM119,800RM113,100-RM6,700
Premium XRM122,800RM115,800-RM7,000

Without a doubt these are pretty significant discounts, which undercut the asking prices of the X70’s competition by quite a margin. Take one of the most popular C-segment SUVs in the market now, the Honda CR-V. Even with sales tax exemption, the CR-V still starts at around the RM145,000 mark; that’s RM30,000 more than the top-of-the-line Premium X trim of the Proton X70.

On top of that, the X70 comes with a lot of neat features for the money too, even for the most basic model. The Standard variant, as mentioned, costs just under RM90,000 now, and it’s packed with quite a number of creature comforts. These include the same 8-inch infotainment system as the higher-end models, automatic headlights, as well as the new air purifier system.

More importantly, regardless of which trim level you go for, all variants of the X70 is equipped with the same 1.8L turbocharged direct injection engine. It outputs 181hp and 300Nm of torque, with drive sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission co-developed by both Volvo and Geely. Performance wise, the X70 can do the century sprint in 9.5 seconds.

The list of equipment for the range-topping Premium X model is even more attractive. Sure, RM115,800 is a lot of money, but you’re getting items like premium Nappa leather seats, a powered tailgate (with foot sensor), 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, tyre pressure monitoring system, and ADAS active safety suite.

Don’t fancy the sunroof? Then opt for the regular Premium trim. It has the exact same list of equipment as the Premium X, minus the sunroof.

In terms of sheer value for money, the Proton X70 simply trumps its competition. Not only does it offer more features for less money, it’s a really competent SUV. The X70’s build quality, for one, is far better than any previous Proton model. Really, you have to see it to believe it; the local carmaker has come a long way.

But there is another concern that many folks still associate with Proton: reliability. This is especially the case with the new 7DCT gearbox of the X70. DCTs in the past have a tendency to overheat, but Proton assures customers its 7DCT will be as reliable as conventional transmissions. See, it uses a wet clutch design, so any overheating issues will be mitigated.

On top of that, it’s worth noting that the 7DCT in the X70 adheres to Volvo’s strict durability requirement. It’s said to have a service life of more than 350,000km, which is a lot higher than the industry standard’s 240,000km estimate. Still not convinced it’s a reliable transmission? Well, Proton gives the SUV itself a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. That should give you some peace of mind, right?

With all of these in mind, we consider the Proton X70 to be the most attractive C-segment SUV to get throughout the tax exemption period in Malaysia, especially if you want the best value for your money. It is now more affordable than ever, it just got its air purifier system upgraded, and it’s just a really competent SUV.

Looking forward, things will get even more exciting for Proton as it gears up to launch its second SUV later this year. It’s expected to be a B-segment compact SUV based on the Geely Binyue, and it’s widely believed to be launched as the Proton X50. Rest assured, we will keep a close eye on the local availability of the highly anticipated model.