It’s undeniable that a lot of people out there believe the 2020 Proton X50 is simply a rebadging exercise of Geely Binyue/Coolray SUV – in much the same way Proton Wira’s were rebadged Mitsubishi Lancers or the Honda Accord based Proton Perdana of more recent times.
Well, the truth is much more nuanced than that, and as we’ve found out, Proton has extensively worked on the Geely’s original product to create an SUV that caters well for the needs of the Malaysian customer.
Over 400 different design and engineering parameters have been changed to produce the Proton X50. While we will never know the full extent of Proton’s efforts we can highlight some of the key visual differences of the two models.
Those have been the three guiding principles behind the execution of Proton’s design team during the development of the Proton X50.
There’s no doubt Proton’s design team, led by the Azlan Othman, had an easier job, starting with the Binyue’s canvas which, in itself is already a well-designed product from the get-go.
The front grille has been redesigned. An evolution of the “Infinite Weave” first seen on the X70, which has been subsequently reimagined for the Iriz, Persona, and Saga models sees a far more three-dimensional effort in the X50.
Pictures don’t do it justice, look closer, however, and one sees the individual grille structures interlocked, and spreading outwards from the central logo position. The grille elements also come together to create an arc-ed fascia across the frontal surface of the grille.
The underlying “Ethereal Bow” is finished in satin red (in the Flagship variant) and is meant to highlight a stylish yet aggressive front end.
The front bumper, for the most part – is similar to the one found on the Binyue, even down to the placement of the front fog lamps. A cool design detail though is the small lettering at the sides of the headlamp assembly which read Proton LED.
At the lowest point of the front bumper, resides an aggressive front splitter element (Flagship variant) which shows off a textured “carbon-weave” texture.
There’s less to demarcate the Binyue from the X50 along the flanks. Proton tells us that the chiselled surfaces along the belt and shoulder line of the X50 are supposed to convey the motion and grounded stability, and truth be told, the X50 does look the part.
The X50 does, however, get the sleeker and more subtle roof spoiler, and then dual-tone contrasting black roof (on the Flagship variant) reserved only for the Binyue Sport variant in other markets. A cool combination some might say.
Further down, the ‘Turbine’ styled dual-tone wheels are a superb addition to proceedings, again here, its similar to the units found on the Binyue Sport.
Proton says the rear of the X50 aims to give a confident final salute. The key features of the rear fascia include the snazzy taillights, with flowing graphics on the insides – same as the Binyue.
The Geely lettering featured on the Binyue is replaced in the case of the X50 with the Proton script, finished on a satin trim element.
Lower down, four circular tailpipe finishers, are flanked by a diffuser style lower bumper apron which in the case of the X50 – has a “carbon-like” textured weave on its surface. Repeating the treatment, found on the front splitter.
The X50’s cockpit is far more similar in design to the Binyue it is based on.
The focal highlight of the Flagship variant is the dual-tone contrasting colour treatment on the surfaces of the dashboard and seats. On the seats, black and red leather gives the cabin a nice sporty feel, whereas the red ‘soft-touch’ top-section of the dashboard contrasts the satin metallic finish of the dashboard fascia and centre console for a sublime premium feel.
Elsewhere, the 10.25-inch floating type touchscreen infotainment system immerses the driver with up-to-date connectivity and multimedia functions.
An additional visual highlight is the air-conditioning vents on either side of the dashboard – these are meant to look like ‘jet-afterburners’ – as claimed by Proton. These are, however, present on the Binyue model as well.
At the edges of the cockpit, the speaker (lower in the door panel) and tweeter (just after the A-Pillar) have also received the Infinite Weave treatment with respect to their covers.
Also note, that the X50 comes with rear air-conditioning vents and two charging ports, which are not offered on its Binyue counterpart. Another crucial design and equipment addition to cater to local requirements.
So while the Proton X50 is based on the Geely Binyue, it is not a simple rebadge and sell exercise. Proton has injected its own dose of local style into the Proton X50 and from the media preview, we like what we see so far.
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