Proton has been doing everything it can to fan the anticipation. It announced today that online booking of the X70 will kick off on Oct 17 and also revealed more details of the SUV, which will initally be sold as fully imported units before local assembly starts in the third quarter of 2019.
Customers who are interested to place a booking for the X70 will be able to book and pay a deposit for their order online at the Proton website.To promote the online booking channel, Proton will run a promotion for three days from Oct 17, where those who place a booking for the X70 will also receive special gifts.
The X70, based on the Geely Boyue, will be available in four variants: Standard 2WD, Executive 2WD, Executive 4WD and Premium 2WD. Customers can pick from a choice of five colours namely Snow White, Armour Silver, Jet Grey, Cinnamon Brown and Flame Red. We reckoned the Executive 2WD will be the popular choice of Malaysians provided the price difference with the base Standard 2WD is small. The Executive 2WD has the most attractive specs that would appeal to the mainstream.
All versions of the X70 are powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol direct injection engine, producing 181hp at 5,500rpm and 285Nm from 1,700-4,400rpm.
This model happens to be the first Proton to use voice recognition technology as well. It has 9 speakers with power amplifier and subwoofer. To cater to the phone addicts, six USB ports are available with five clustered in and around the centre console box and one on the rear view mirror for dashcam recording.
Today's media preview also sought to emphasise how connected the X70 is.
The second round of previews (read the first round) for the first co-developed vehicle by Geely and Proton focused on the Integrated Cockpit Information System (GKUI), which will offer owners multiple user functions via apps as well as the option to stay connected to the car via their mobile device.
Featuring an embedded eSIM card, the GKUI in the X70 is preloaded with five apps offering services such as online radio, online music, navigation, weather forecasts and voice recognition. Access to the apps and other car functions is via an 8-inch Android based touchscreen interface featuring a 1280 x 720 full colour display with 16GB of internal memory space. The system also has Wi-Fi connectivity so the X70 can be used as a mobile hotspot.
To fully exploit the connectivity capabilities, owners can pair their cars with their personal mobile device via Proton Link and use an individual ID that is assigned to every buyer. They can then create a profile of their driving thanks to the on board telematics that will record data such as distance travelled, fuel economy, journey times and even keep track of service intervals. Should an X70 resell the vehicle, he can go back to Proton Edar to have his ownership details de-registered.
There is also a "find my car" function that will be useful when parking in huge and unfamiliar parking complexes.
“The GKUI system in the X70 allows owners to stay almost constantly connected to their car. It’s an active two-way system that allows for multiple options to fit the preferences of individual owners. In the future, the ability to download additional apps will also be offered and just like mobile devices, it means no two cars will be exactly alike,” said Proton Edar CEO Abdul Rashid Musa.
Because it runs on an Android operating system, the GKUI offers Android mobile device users full mirroring capabilities. That means apps owners have on their device can be accessed on the X70’s touchscreen thus offering yet more connectivity possibilities. Apple OS user won’t be able to do the same though they will be able to connect to the X70 via Bluetooth to access telephone and contact list functions.
True hands-free operation of a number of functions on the X70 is now possible thanks to advanced voice recognition software that allows the use of spoken commands. Access to the system is granted when an owner utters the phrase "Hi Proton" which opens up a variety of choices that can be controlled simply by speaking a command. This includes operating the windows and air conditioning system and even accessing the navigation app to look for places to eat nearby.
“The X70 is the first Proton model to use voice recognition technology, which is something we think our owners will appreciate," said Abdul Rashid.
"Hundreds of voice samples were recorded for each phrase to ensure the system would have a high degree of accuracy even when you take dialects into account. For ease of use, the GKUI will also type out each spoken phrase on the screen to confirm each command.
“Currently, the GKUI offers voice recognition for English phrases only as there are software limitations but we have ensured the phrases it recognises are easy to use even for owners who are not fluent speakers of the language.”
As for options, the X70 owner can choose from either "Tom" or "Ava" for male or female voice assistant.
In addition, the X70 allows for Over-the-air (OTA) software updates of the infotainment system, which Proton assures is free for the life-cycle of the vehicle.
Abdul Rashid hinted that Thailand and Indonesia are likely to be the first countries the X70 will be exported once local assembly gets under way in late 2019.
Hosting the media preview was Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong, Proton deputy CEO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed and senior management members.