Looking at the specifications of the Proton X50, you’ll notice a few things. Firstly, only three variants – Executive, Premium and Flagship – come with six airbags, while the base Standard variant makes do with just four.
This is certainly worth questioning, especially since Proton has long been pushing the safety message and we don’t think it fits the brand to offer a car with four airbags in 2020. For that matter, even its larger sibling, the X70, offers six airbags across its entire four-variant range.
Secondly, paddle shifters are not offered on any of the X50 variants, which is a bit curious, especially given the available performance on tap and just how dynamic-looking the SUV is. The car which the X50 is based on, the Geely Binyue and Coolray, is offered with paddle shifters in other markets, so why not here as well?
On the topic of paddle shifters, Proton says the Sport versions of the Binyue and Coolray do come with paddle shifters, but the X50 does not follow that specification. This is evident in the lack of a large roof-mounted wing and S logos on the front seats, which you can see in Matthew’s previous first look video linked below. As such, there is no option for paddle shifters for the X50, and adding them on would require additional development work that involves programming and costs.
As for the four airbags in the Standard variant, Hazrin Fazail Haroon, director of group engineering at Proton, said, “the reason why we have all this specs are purely to balance the cost and also the business case of an offering that we want to give to the customer, to be able to stretch it to the level that customers are able to perhaps purchase this car is purely on the specs and rationalisations. It’s not that we can’t do this, but this is basically a business decision in terms of the specifications.”
So, there you have it. Costing was a big factor when Proton specified the X50, and the goal was to ensure customers got as much car for their money. While the Standard variant only comes with four airbags, it isn’t exactly devoid of other safety kit, with plenty of core systems like ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Despite not having any paddle shifters, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission does come with a manual mode on the gear lever, so you still have a means of shifting gears yourself. With all said and done, what are your thoughts on the matter?
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