High-end digital tech for Proton’s X70

Simply put, the X70 transforms its infotainment system into a smartphone and turns the car into a smart mobility solution

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Buyers can expect an augmented driving experience from Proton Holdings Bhd’s X70 as the carmaker introduces a Siri-like virtual assistant in its first-ever SUV.

The X70 is equipped with an intelligent cockpit interaction system, the GKUI, that features voice command technology, an embedded eSIM card, smartphone and cloud connectivity, 16GB of disk storage and various apps — all via an eight-inch digital screen.

The Android-based system also has WiFi connectivity, so the X70 can be used as a mobile hotspot.

With a wake-up word “Hi Proton”, users can say phrases like “I am hungry” and the X70 will suggest nearby places to eat, or “I want to see the stars” and it will open the sunroof.

There are five pre-loaded apps in the system that include online radio, online music, navigation, weather forecasts and voice recognition.

Simply put, the X70 puts the Internet into the car, transforms its infotainment system into a smartphone and turns the car into a smart mobility solution.

Proton — for the first time through this co-developed SUV with its partner, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd — is flirting with the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and next-generation mobility.

“Proton is moving from just offering a conventional type of vehicle to a connected vehicle and to an integrated ecosystem in the future, given the country’s infrastructure is ready.

“It is going to be very interesting,” Proton Edar Sdn Bhd CEO Abdul Rashid Musa said at the second exclusive media preview of the highly-anticipated X70 in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Proton has partnered Celcom Axiata Bhd to develop the embedded eSIM card which, in principle, allows the head unit to work like a mobile phone and registration is needed upon purchase of the car.

At present, the GKUI offers voice recognition for English phrases only.

However, Proton said it is developing the system for Malay, Thai and Indonesian languages, which indirectly hints that the company is eyeing Thailand and Indonesia markets to export the X70 in the future.

Additionally, owners can pair their cars with their personal mobile devices via the Proton Link app that can track the location of the car, the distance travelled, fuel economy, journey times and service intervals.

The X70 comes in four variants, starting with the base standard 2WD, executive 2WD, executive AWD and premium 2WD.

All the variants will be powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol direct injection engine, capable of going from 0kph to 100kph in 10.5 seconds with an output of 181hp and 285Nm of torque.

Drivers can also select three drive modes — Normal, Eco and Sport.

There are five exterior colour options including snow white, armour silver, jet grey, cinnamon brown and flame red.

Meanwhile, the interior upholstery is available in black fabric for the standard 2WD variant; black leatherette for executive 2WD and executive AWD; and brown Nappa leather, a typical option normally found in high-end and luxury cars, is for the top range 2WD.

On the safety front, the X70 is loaded with five cameras and 19 sensors all around the car to support autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot information system, front collision warning, lane departure warning and intelligent high beam control (automatically lowers beam when an oncoming car is detected).

The SUV is bolstered with electronic stability control, anti-braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and traction control system.

The X70 also comes with hill hold assist technology which prevents the car from rolling back while going uphill and controls the speed when going downhill. 

Proton said the X70 has scored five stars with a class-leading score of 58.2 in the China NCAP crash test, higher than some other leading SUVs.

The X70 is speculated to be priced unlikely above RM100,000.

Abdul Rashid said the response so far has been “overwhelming” and the first delivery of the completely-built units is expected by year-end.

The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that Proton had received more than 5,000 bookings in less than a week after its first media preview on Sept 7.

Proton is investing RM1.2 billion to develop local capability and the completely-knocked down version is expected to begin production by the middle of next year. 

The company will activate an online booking function on its website on Oct 17 to further boost booking numbers.