A lot of Proton fans are looking forward to a new generation Proton MPV, and with rumours swirling that the Geely Jiaji/ Proton V70 will be that next-generation Proton MPV, it's hard not to get excited.
The Jiaji is a compact MPV built by Proton's strategic partner, Geely to cater for MPV buyers in China. According to Geely, the Jiaji combines the "sleekness of a sedan, the power of an SUV, and the space of an MPV." It has a small yet powerful turbocharged engine and comes with the latest safety gear. It's priced in its home market from around RM60k to RM111k, depending on the variant.
Judging by what we know of it, the Geely Jiaji can not be further apart from the Exora, a homegrown and affordable MPV built for local taste from the last decade. Yes, the Exora had a major update in 2017 (minor update in 2019), but it still feels, looks, and is equipped like an MPV from the early noughties, which only appeals to buyers with big families looking for the cheapest MPV around.
If Proton seriously wants to compete in the affordable MPV segment and change people's perception of them of selling a budget MPV to one that is value for money, they need a new up-to-date MPV to do so. Cue the Jiaji/ Proton V70.
So let's take a look and pit the Jiaji/ Proton V70 head to head against the Exora.
The Jiaji is a more extensive MPV than the Proton Exora. It's length is 177mm longer, and its width is 100mm wider than the Exora.
The Proton V70 is offered either as a six or seven-seater MPV. You can have it either in a 2+2+2 or 2+2+3 or a 2+3+2 configuration which should give buyers more options compared to the Exora's 2+3+2 arrangement.
While the 1.6-litre turbocharged CamPro CFE engine gave the Exora the much-needed power bump over the CamPro CPS that earlier Exora's were equipped with, it does still feel harsh and outdated when compared to newer engines from recent years.
The Jiaji/ V70 can be had either with a 1.8-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine that provides an output of 185 PS and 300 Nm coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 1.5-litre turbo engine developed with Volvo, producing 174 PS and 255 Nm of torque with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Apart from the exterior, we think one of the most significant differences when comparing the Exora to the Jiaji/ V70 will be when it comes to the cabin experience. While the Exora was enhanced in the NVH department in 2017 to make it feel a bit more premium, it probably will have nothing over the V70's.
With a 12.3-inch floating infotainment display screen, floating centre console, and broad dashboard that emphasises spaciousness, the Jiaji's interior is a nice and spacious place to be in. To top it off, the Jiaji also features a full panoramic sunroof, head-up display, active noise cancellation and an AQS air purification system.
Proton removed side airbags from the Exora range in 2017 and left all Exoras with only a driver and passenger airbag. While the money saved from the removal of the airbags was reinvested in showroom friendly features such as a better "Hello Proton" infotainment system, it did leave the Exora a bit thin on the safety side, especially in the lower variants, as only the Premium variant came with ESC (stability control) - Yikes!
The Jiaji on the hand comes with an array of safety gear. These include eight airbags, Level 2 autonomous driving, adaptive cruise control with stop-go function, lane centring with turn assistance, electronic stability control, rear and front collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assistance, blind spot detector, and intelligent high beam control.
In China, the Geely Jiaji is sold from around RM60k to RM111k, depending on the variant. Its price is higher than the Boyue (Proton X70), which goes from around RM58k to RM74k in China.
Judging from this, we can obviously see that the V70 will probably be priced higher than the Proton X70, something that will shock those interested in buying a Proton MPV as the highest variant Exora (Exora Black Edition), only costs around RM70k.
But Proton is no longer on the budget car path. They want to offer a value for money vehicle that can compete with the best while providing a relatively affordable vehicle. As you can see, the Jiaji/ Proton V70 comes with a lot of modern and sophisticated features and they will surely raise the price of the vehicle.
If you want a budget MPV, then yes, you may have one with two airbags and no ESC, but is that really what you want in a family car?
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Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler