Proton cars have been around for a while now, with PHP Automobiles assembling the Saga and the Preve models since 2018.
On June 21, PHP Automobiles launched their first SUV, the Proton X-70 -- a sleek new SUV that comes in three variants -- the standard, executive and premium. The first 100 vehicles are going to be imported from Malaysia, and the rest onwards, will be assembled here in PHP’s own facility in Chittagong. All the three variants are now available for show and test drives at all Proton showrooms in Dhaka, Sylhet, and Chittagong. The showrooms are located in Tejgaon and Kakrail areas of the capital.
The X-70 is a five-seater compact crossover SUV, that comes in with a 1.5 litres turbocharged engine. The vehicle is equipped with all modern features, such as a blind-spot sensor, a panoramic sunroof (which can be voice-operated), 360 degrees camera and dual exhaust outlets. Currently, the compact crossover market is being dominated by the likes of Toyota RAV4, Honda’s Vezel and Nissan’s X-Trail models. However, the X-70 offers better pricing for a brand new car, compared to the others. The turbocharged engine overshadows the inferior driving experience of the Vezel. With a decent amount of torque, the car feels faster than it actually is.
However, there are a few shortcomings of the X-70, such as a ‘squeaky’ interior which means the built quality could be much better. We are yet to see how the quality of the Bangladeshi assembled vehicles are, which could make the biggest difference for someone looking to purchase a vehicle of that category.
The car has three drive modes -- sport, standard and eco. If you are taking the car on highways frequently, switching to the sport mode will unleash the true potential of the vehicle, and overtaking lorries and trucks should be easy. The ride is, however, a little stiff, since it’s a taller car but that could be improved with a better and wider set of tires. However, the car feels stable at higher speeds, nevertheless.
Coming to the practicality of the vehicle, the boot space isn’t as great as the X-trail, but it comes with a full-sized spare, and a sub-woofer for which Proton had to sacrifice some space in the luggage compartment. The passenger seats come in leather, and the tan interior of the car gives it an expensive look. The rear seats have their own air-conditioner vents, and the front features a dual climate zone. The bulging handles on the door, however, make it a little difficult and uncomfortable for the driver. Long drives sitting in a compact space could be of a hassle for people who are on the taller side.
When it comes to the pricing of the X-70, the base model is priced at Tk37.98 lakhs, the standard version at Tk39.98 lakhs and the premium will be available at Tk41.98 lakhs. Proton is also offering a 150,000km warranty, and after sales services will also be available in all three cities, where the vehicle is being marketed. With all the features mentioned, an SUV at that price, is certainly a good bargain.