Our review unit is the top variant 1.5 TGDI Flagship coated in Jet Grey and gets its upholstery wrapped in Black and Red Leatherette.
With the X50 Flagship being priced at RM103,300 (OTR without insurance with sales tax exemption) it’s practically an advantage across the board against its competitors.
This includes the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and all-wheel-driven Subaru XV in terms of value with its extensive inclusions of accoutrements, advanced safety equipment and handling prowess.
In the looks department, the X50 will not seem as “vanilla” as one might think.
Instead, it comes nicely equipped with a rear roof spoiler and quad exhaust pipes that flank the rear diffuser.
Also, it comes with stylish 18-inch alloys with 215/55 series tyres as well as sharp and chiselled design cues at the front and along its side profile.
With all that coming together, the X50 ultimately shouts “sporty” with nothing seemingly out of place and consistent gaps maintained between body panels.
Under the hood, the little 1.5-litre direct-injected three-cylinder engine allows the X50 to outright shine and does well to stand out against the competition.
The Flagship variant’s engine is more powerful at 177PS at 5,500rpm and 255Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,000rpm compared to 150PS and 226Nm for the Standard, Executive and Premium variants.
There’s significantly more pep in terms of responsiveness and surges in power for the front wheels via the smooth yet quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Owners will notice how the power surges into effect with some obvious induction noise during low revs when under load.
At full throttle, the X50 Flagship doesn’t disappoint with power readily accessible around the engine’s 3,000rpm mid-range mark which makes it very much useable when out and about.
As the engine heads towards its 6,000rpm red-line, power does taper off gradually and only happens towards the last 1,000rpm before reaching its redline.
Regardless of the Flagship being in Eco, Normal or Sport mode, it’s always a smooth operator with very little abruptness coming through.
The suspension proved to offer a supple behaviour over uneven roads yet provide a good amount of stability for highspeed runs and corner-carving duties.
Driving confidence is further bolstered by the braking system which provides a significant amount of bite to slow things down when needed and is rather similar to more European makes.
Inside, the cabin seems well-insulated for a premium experience that adds sophistication via brushed aluminium accents, soft-touch rubberised materials in the high visibility areas and well laid out controls.
The buttons were found to be properly tactile, large and easily in reach while the 10.25-inch touchscreen adds to the feeling of being technologically advanced as does the keyless entry with push-start button system and remote start functionality.
The best part is, owners are able to experience a full-colour LCD digital instrument cluster and a more accessible 330-litre boot (unlike the Proton X70’s high boot floor).
Passengers get treated to a relatively comfortable and spacious interior that’s amplified by the panoramic retractable sunroof as well as access to three USB ports (one under the “floating” floor console and two behind the centre armrest.
There’s really very little to fault the X50 here, save for a few.
While the fit and finish of the cabin are absolutely well put together for all, its the ergonomics that don’t seem to fit at times.
For instance, the headrests of the front seats have been peculiarly angled too far forward and aren’t for those who prefer being seated in a more upright position.
This forces those at the front to uncomfortably bow their heads when puttering/cruising about.
Driving in a more reclined position solves this but forces the arms to be in a more outreached position to the steering wheel than necessary.
In the overall sense, budget SUV buyers should ultimately aim for the Flagship variant and add on the optional powered tailgate.
Aside from the Flagship’s price point, it also provides more than what the competition offers including advanced driver assist systems that would usually bump up the overall price.
The value proposition of the Flagship variant should be the main reward even if buyers have to wait a bit longer due to a long order list.
Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship
Engine: 1,477cc, 3-cylinder, turbocharged, direct injection
Maximum power: 177PS at 5,500rpm
Maximum torque: 255Nm from 1,500 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT)
Acceleration (0-100kph): 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 195kph
Features: Six airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, auto brake hold, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-hold assist, hill descent control, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, intelligent cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot information system, adaptive high-beam assist, tyre-pressure monitoring system, auto park assist, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, 360-degree camera system, automatic climate control with rear air vents, auto-dimming (electro-chromatic) rearview mirror, keyless entry with push-start button, remote engine start, front welcome lights, panoramic retractable sunroof, leatherette seats, six-way powered driver seat, N95 cabin filter, automatic LED projector headlights with daytime running lights, automatic wipers, roof rails, automatic on front fog lights when turning, electric parking brake, six-speaker touchscreen infotainment system with “Hi Proton” voice command, navigation, music streaming services, water forecast and smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, three USB ports, 4G and Wifi connectivity, Proton Link App (vehicle status and remote access) and 18-inch alloy with 215/55 series tyres
Price: RM103,300 (on-the-road without insurance including sales tax exemption)