Perhaps, you’re thinking, not another article regarding the Proton X50, and you’d be half right, with all the hype surrounding its design, new powertrain, to its active safety ADAS functions – there’s much to talk about. However, while we do know that the X50 is a powerhouse of technology – and at what could be a very attractive pricetag - the recent launch of the all-new Honda City, left us with a burning question – which of these two cars gives you the best bang for your buck?
But one’s an SUV and the other a sedan
Yes, we know this, but, for an apple-to-apple comparison, we’d have to negate the fact that one is an SUV and the other a sedan. While the ultimate purchase decision will come down to whether you want a high-riding SUV or a sleek sedan, it’s worthy to note which of the two is actually giving you the most “mamak bragging” rights – well, once the CMCO is over and we’re allowed to sit with friends at a mamak anyway.
On the one hand, the X50 is the new hotshot on the block – a B-Segment SUV with luxury trappings of some cars costing twice as much – on the other hand, the all-new Honda City is the fifth iteration in a long lineage of Hondas known for their reliability and practicality. In addition, for the first time, the City will offer a world-first application of a new hybrid powertrain, which a big deal to say the least.
How much would they cost anyway?
In short, we don’t know the exact prices of any of these two models.
Honda, having priced their City Grade S, E, and V variants between RM74k and RM87k respectively (with the SST reductions) have said they’re currently working with relevant government agencies to offer a price tag of under RM100k for the City RS e:HEV, and we’re optimistic they will do it given the levels of localised production of the City RS. Our educated guess: RM98,800.
The X50, on the other hand, is anyone’s guess. While its well-publicised that entry levels of the X50 will be priced around the RM80k mark, Proton has been careful to tell us that the 1.5 TGDi Flagship variant, with its full suite of ADAS functions, may just cross the RM100k mark, and we think it will too. For this discussion, our best guess is the Flagship variant will tuck in around RM105k.
Therefore, it is entirely possible for a prospective buyer to cross-shop between these two models since they’re just a few thousands apart.
What are the highlights of these two models?
With their respective spec sheets next to each other, one realises how close they are in terms of equipment and features - heck, they even have the exact same wheelbase length.
Drivetrain and performance
There's little doubt that both the X50 and City's powertrain are cutting edge in their own respect. The X50 downsized turbo unit is small in size but big on power, whereas the City is tuned for fuel efficiency, with just the right amount of 'go' when you need it.
The X50 has the higher top-speed but we think a drag race between the two might be closer than what the figures tell us because of the electrified torque in the City.
In terms of fuel economy, the City will take it by a large margin in our opinion. Given the superb efficiency of its older i-DCD Hybrid system (in the previous City Hybrid), we have little doubt the i-MMD system will be even more efficient.
Space and practicality
This is a closer toss-up than you think. Yes, we all would like to think SUVs are the final word in practicality because of their high-ceiling, but the City is the absolute benchmark in practicality and packaging for a sedan - rivalling that of D-Segment sedans such as the Accord. The City RS has the bigger boot space of the two (the non-RS City variants are even bigger at 519 litres), and will probably take longer items more easily than the X50. The X50 however, will accept relatively taller items in the boot as you might surmise.
As for occupant space, they're pretty much squared up at the front, however, despite an exactly similar wheelbase, the City takes it for rear legroom, based on our experience of being in both cars.
Note, however, entry and egress (especially for older occupants) is made easier in an SUV.
Equipment and Infotainment
Both these vehicles offer equipment and features that are traditionally not found in their respective segments. There was a time when paddle shifters and rear A/C vents were considered optional equipment. Now the City RS offers all these as standard.
Overall, we think the X50 just pips the City RS for its inclusion of a 360-degree camera and sunroof, also it has the larger infotainment touchscreen of the two at 10.25-inches (versus 8.0-inches in the City RS).
However, a point of contention is the X50's Operating Software (OS) which uses Geely's proprietary GKUI 19 - it's excellently designed from a hardware and UI/UX standpoint, but lacks Android Auto and Apple Carplay, which is the common connectivity platform most users want, and the City RS offers. In the X50, owners will have to make do with Smartphone Mirroring.
Active Safety and Driving Convenience
Honda has brought the City RS bang up to date with the inclusion of the Sensing suite of active safety functions. We have said this before, Honda Sensing is better than a lot of other active safety systems because of its intuitiveness and understanding of Malaysian driving conditions - it is something that needs to be experienced to be understood.
The X50, on the other hand, offers all the functions of the City but tops it slightly because of its Blindspot monitoring system, which covers both sides of the car (Honda LaneWatch covers just the passenger side), and the inclusion of the auto parking feature, which as we recently experienced, works as advertised.
Looks and charm
Well, this is a question only customers can answer.
Yes, we love how the X50 looks but we're also smitten by the sleek lines of the new City RS. Not to mention, the City's Passion Red Pearl colour looks drop-dead gorgeous. P.S. The Ocean Blue colour for the X50 is my personal favourite.
This report hopes to inform prospective customers that both these cars are charming in their own respect - despite the common SUV/Sedan argument - one should properly experience both cars before choosing which suits their lifestyle and travel needs better.