Proton S70 Flagship X: More bang for the bucks

THE Proton S70 was undoubtedly a sweet experience as we travelled up to Penang to experience its offerings.

To reiterate, the S70 has been priced on-the-road without insurance at RM73,800 for the Executive, RM79,800 (Premium), RM89,800 (Flagship) and RM94,800 for the Flagship X.

At first glance, the S70 was assumed to be a B-segment sedan that would take the fight to the Honda City, Toyota Vios and Nissan Almera.

Even its dimensions would suggest that at 4,602mm-long, 1,809mm-wide and 1,466mm-tall - all while having a wheelbase of 2,627mm.

Such measurements might make it just slightly larger than the City, Vios and Almera, but not by much.


However, Proton was quick to clarify that the S70 is actually a C-segment sedan which is why it has the “70” within its nomenclature, instead of a “50” – much like the X50 and X70 sports utility vehicles.

The reason for this is that the S70 carries on from the brand’s legacy C-segment models such as the Preve and Inspira.

Based on the Geely Emgrand in China, the S70 thankfully doesn’t have the same powertrain.

If it did, a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine mated to a continuously variable transmission would be present.

Here, the under-hood offering has been “beefed” up with a 1.5-litre turbocharger three-cylinder mill mated to a seven-speed (wet) dual-clutch transmission for the front wheels instead.


What would have been 121hp and 151Nm of torque is now a more potent 150PS at 5,500rpm and 226Nm of torque from 1,750 to 4,000rpm.

On paper, the combination of the output and transmission certainly suggests that decent fun-to-drive moments are possible.

For the northbound journey, the range-topping Flagship X variant was be used.

Visually, this compact C-segment model has a long hood and short rear overhang – a design cue that often suggests it is something “sporty”.

Coupled with character creases on its hood and flanks, it does well to help accentuate the fluidity of the front and rear doors.



Although the small boot lid might suggest boot space might be lacking, rest assured it’s an accommodating 500 litres.

Meanwhile, the front automatic LED headlights do well to add the element of aggression to the S70’s looks department which happens to come with a bonus light show when unlocking the vehicle.

The addition of matt black bits including the front splitter, side skirts and rear bumper skirts as well as a glossy black boot lip does well to add to its sporty nature.

Although the S70’s looks might be resonating well thus far, the 17-inch wheels with 205/50 Goodyear Assurance tyres might be bordering on undersized. To each their own.

Inside, it isn’t copious nor cramped, rather, there’s a cosy feel to it that is accompanied by a premium vibe about it although plastics do dominate the cabin.


Some intricate designs within do well to provide a hint of attention to detail at the very least.

Soft touch may not be everywhere but there’s nothing to suggest complication or complexity.

Buttons are located within easy reach and a comfortable T-shifter allows the driver to rest the left hand to further bolster ergonomics.

The seats are also well bolstered and the same can be said about the rear bench as well.

The long wheelbase accords a good amount of rear legroom, and headroom can be said to be aplenty for someone around 175cm.



Practicality is also plentiful with stowage space for water bottles and the occasional smart device that can be charged via USB-A, Type-C or wirelessly.

On the road, the S70 has a somewhat direct feel via the thick multifunction steering wheel and the S70 will seem eager to sprint to highway speeds with relative ease even if it might take 9.0 seconds to reach 100kph.

Highway cruising is relatively quiet with very little fuss as the transmission allows it to putter at low engine speeds while noise-vibration and harshness impressed for a comfortable ride for those up front or on the rear bench.

Tyre noise intrusion was apparent but this might be due to the brand rather than an issue with insulation.

Taking to the twisted route of Balik Pulau in Penang, the front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam setup held its own.


While the suspension soaked up surface imperfections, pitch and roll were still noticeable but not excessive when carving through corners.

Using Sport steering mode allows the S70 to feel as though it isn’t afraid of being manhandled.

Abruptness can also be had to a degree when in Sport driving mode with the engine allowed to hold its revs higher and longer.

Throttle response is also altered here, becoming more eager than when in Comfort or Normal driving modes.

Although the S70 can be somewhat sporty to helm, the lack of paddle-shifters and the inclusion of the side-shifting gear selector when in Manual mode did dull the experience some.



Braking can be said to be on the sensitive end for some, but personally, it wasn’t an issue for this writer.

However, the absence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay was an issue, which Proton has indicated that they are currently working on rectifying soon.

Furthermore, the simple layout of the dashboard lacks any immediate and dedicated access to driving and steering modes, climate controls and even audio controls (steering wheel only) – all accessible via the 13.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Not particularly convenient nor safe when puttering about, so be prepared for a steep learning curve in terms of muscle memory and menu navigation.


Where the S70 shines the most is its value proposition by combining price, power, and practicality into a “compact” package.

As a daily driver, the S70 will serve its owner well with a decently sized cabin, plenty of storage and stowage space as well as a relatively good amount of performance for some fun.

So long as the lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as the side-toggling shifter, isn’t seen as a dealbreaker, there’s still much to love about this C-segment sedan that carries a B-segment price tag.
Autos Proton