Philippines-market Geely Okavango shown
Set to be Proton’s first 7-seater SUV, the soon-to-be launched Proton X90 has been spotted numerous times in Malaysia and it could be the beginning of company’s hybrid future.
Like the Proton X50 and Proton X70, the soon-to-launch Proton X90 is also based on a Geely model. In this case, the Geely Haoyue. It is also sold as the Geely Okavango in the Philippines, Egypt, and Qatar.
China-market Geely Haoyue shown
While the Geely Haoyue sold in China is powered exclusively by the X70’s tried-and-tested turbocharged 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine, we believe that this engine won’t be fitted to the Tanjung Malim-assembled X90.
For starters, export versions of the Geely Okavango get a turbocharged 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine hooked up to a 48-Volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system. Combined system output is 190 PS and 300 Nm, mated to a 7-speed wet-type DCT.
This 1.5 TGDi with BSG is on display at Proton COE
Furthermore, Proton has sort of teased its electrified future at its own headquarters. Tucked at its Gallery of Inspiration at the Proton Centre of Excellence is a display of a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine with BSG (belt starter generator). Recall that Proton’s current line-up does not offer this petrol-electric hybrid.
BSG is Geely’s 48-Volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system, not to dissimilar from Mercedes-Benz’s own 48-V MHEV with an ISG (integrated starter generator). BSG allows for energy recovery during coasting (but no regenerative braking like full-hybrid), and it also allows for brief power assistance during acceleration.
Why not the turbocharged 1.8-litre engine?
There’s a good chance we won’t be getting the Haoyue’s 1.8-litre engine
The short and simple answer why the Proton X90 isn’t likely to get the X70’s engine is simple – said engine is too old to meet export requirements, more so if Proton has plans to export the X90 to overseas markets.
In export markets where the Proton X70 is sold like South Africa, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, Proton only offers this C-segment SUV with the smaller turbocharged 1.5-litre 3-cylinder engine.
Although power and torque figures are down compared to the older 1.8-litre engine, the newer 1.5-litre unit is 43 kg lighter, which has improved the X70’s fuel consumption by 7 percent.
Proton has also reiterated their plans to further deploy the turbocharged 1.5-litre engine in future models.
Seeing that the camouflaged Proton X90 is still running around town, it’s safe to say that development work is still underway for a launch in 2023. Watch this space for more updates.