As you would’ve already known, the Proton X50 – which will be launched on the 27th of October – will come with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. While most people are receptive to the idea of having a modern engine in a national car, there were of course some criticisms and confusions laced in between the generally positive comments.
Some of the main criticisms are aimed towards the “notorious” noise and vibration issues stemming from the unbalanced forces of a three-cylinder engine – which we’ve previously covered over here. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at another key concern among the Proton X50 buying crowd, and that is the reliability of the new turbocharged engine.
During the media test drive event organised earlier this month, Proton X50 chief engineer Noor Hisham Ismail revealed that the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder has been subjected to over 1.9 million (and still increasing) kilometres of local testing, involving more than 75,000 man hours. To put the number into context, the distance is enough to go around the earth more than 40 times!
If you’re lucky, you could also still spot some of these camouflaged test mules crawling on the streets, even though the car has already been fully unveiled to the public – which Noor Hisham explains, are for the purpose of reconfirmation activities and validation work. So rest assured, Proton will be doing everything it can to ensure that the new powertrain on the X50 is reliable enough for our Malaysian climate and driving conditions.
If that’s still not enough to convince you, the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-potter – developed by China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT), a joint venture of sorts between Geely and Volvo – is also designed to last 15 years or 350,000 km, more than 50% higher than the industry standard 10 years or 200,000 km. To date, the engine has already been deployed on over 550,000 vehicles across the globe.
The powerplant is built upon the Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA), which has been in development from 2006. The company begun testing three-cylinder variants in 2014, and the same VEA base also forms the T3 engine that is being used on the Volvo XC40. Before anyone gets confused though, they are still different engines, but are based around the same technology.
At the end of the day, words and numbers can only say so much – the true test of how reliable the Proton X50 is will be when they are being delivered to customers, and used in real world conditions. At the very least, they should provide some confidence for prospective buyers who are thinking of taking the plunge for the X50, as well as other Proton models in the future.