Review: 2024 Proton X90 Premium - The ultimate local 7-seater family SUV?

Review: 2024 Proton X90 Premium - The ultimate local 7-seater family SUV?

Embarking on a journey with the Proton X90 Premium, especially as we edge closer to the festive season of Hari Raya, unveils a narrative that intertwines technology, comfort, and tradition in a seamless symphony.


  • What's the price of the Proton X90 Premium?

  • What's the engine?

    1.5 TGDi 48 Volt Mild Hybrid System
  • What's the total output?

    190PS and 300Nm
  • Does it come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?

    No, but there is a very good in house navigation system and Spotify app
  • What kind of safety features does it have?

    6 airbags, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Centering Control, Emergency Lane Keep Assist, and Traffic Sign Information
  • This narrative is not just about traveling from one point to another; it’s about how those journeys are elevated into cherished memories, particularly for large families looking forward to celebrating the joyous occasion together.

    2024 Proton X90 Premium

    Through the Proton X90, the marque's most grandiose offering yet, families will not just be moving; they'll come together in a celebration of heritage, bonding over the kilometres with every turn of the wheel.

    This critique delves into the Proton X90 Premium variant, a noteworthy contender that sits just a notch below the pinnacle Flagship model.

    While it may not claim the crown as Proton's ultimate X90 configuration, it remarkably stands out, particularly shining as the preferred choice for larger families. The Premium variant boasts nearly all the high-end features found in the Flagship model, barring a panoramic glass roof and the second-row captain's chairs. 

    Proton X90 Premium

    For families requiring seven seats and preferring to avoid the additional warmth invited by the glass roof, this version presents itself as the superior selection.

    Curious about what makes it so? Continue reading to uncover the reasons in our detailed review.

    Engine mastery and Mild Hybrid magic

    At the heart of the Proton X90 Premium lies a marvel that harmonizes power with efficiency – a testament to Proton's commitment to innovation. The X90 is the only Proton model to offer this engine configuration for now and we understand why it is equipped with the extra feature. 

    The 1.5-litre TGDi engine, modest in displacement, is turbocharged to deliver an impressive power output of 177PS and 255Nm of torque, ensuring that the vehicle responds with vigor whenever the accelerator is pressed. It feels as eager as other Proton models with this engine such as the X50 flagship and X70s, but it does have a trick up its sleeve to help with fuel efficiency and the get go.

    Proton X90 engine

    This powerplant's charm is further enhanced by a 48V mild hybrid system, an ingenious solution that lends a hand to the engine, especially during acceleration from a standstill or overtaking maneuvers. This is why the X90 with the same engine as the other Proton models has an extra 13 PS and 45 Nm more power over the other models. This gives you a total output of 190PS and 300Nm, enough to make the SUV feel sprightly.

    This mild hybrid system isn't just about adding power; it's a crucial element in improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. For a vehicle of the X90's stature and size, managing fuel consumption is paramount, and this hybrid system addresses that need adeptly.

    Proton X90 Mild Hybrid system

    It provides a supplementary boost that allows the engine to operate more efficiently, ensuring that the vehicle's fuel consumption is kept in check despite its size and the demands of carrying a full load of passengers and their luggage.

    The transmission, too, deserves mention. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission is smooth and intuitive, and works in concert with the engine and mild hybrid system to ensure that power delivery is both seamless and efficient.

    Proton X90 transmission

    This translates to a driving experience that feels refined and controlled, whether you're navigating the bustling city streets or cruising on the open highway.

    This blend ensures that the X90 never feels lackluster or underpowered, particularly at speeds below 110km/h. However, pushing beyond this threshold may require a bit more effort from the engine, where shifting down to lower gears aids in accelerating with more vigor, luckily the DCT transmission is quick to provide that.

    Ride and Comfort: Probably its best feature

    One of our most cherished aspects of the Proton X90 is its exceptional ride quality and comfort, truly making it one of the most enjoyable cars to ride.

    Originating from a Geely design, where its counterparts often feature a torsion beam setup, Proton has taken a significant leap by integrating a multilink suspension system at the rear of the X90.

    Proton X90 suspension setup

    This crucial upgrade transforms the driving experience into one that is both exhilarating and supremely confident. The ride comfort is unparalleled, seemingly tailor-made for the diverse and often challenging Malaysian roads.

    It effortlessly smooths out the common imperfections and undulations, ensuring a serene journey every time. This meticulous attention to ride and comfort unquestionably positions the X90 as a standout choice, perfectly suited to the demands and desires of Malaysian drivers.


    The Seven-Seat configuration: A boon for large families

    When it comes to accommodating large families, especially during Hari Raya, the Proton X90 Premium shines with its seven-seat configuration.

    This isn't just about having more seats; it's about creating an environment where every passenger, from the youngest to the eldest, feels considered and comfortable. The flexibility of the seating arrangement ensures that whether you're carrying extra relatives or need space for the abundance of festive gear and groceries, the X90 adapts effortlessly.

    Proton X90 driver seats

    Every seat within the X90 is crafted with comfort as a priority, transforming even the longest journeys into enjoyable segments of the celebration rather than tedious tasks. Both the second and third rows boast generous legroom and headspace, allowing passengers to relax and savor the journey. 

    The second-row seats offer adjustable back-and-forth movement and reclining options for enhanced comfort. However, fully extending these seats to their rearmost and most reclined positions can impede the third-row seats from folding flat, due to obstruction by the second row. To avoid this and still enjoy reclining, it's advisable to keep the third row upright.

    As for the third-row seats, they stand out as among the most accommodating '+2 seats' at the back of an SUV. While they may not be the most spacious, they offer a commendable amount of room, making them suitable for passengers on extended trips.

    Proton X90 seats Premium

    This thoughtful design ensures that every passenger experiences comfort, making the Proton X90 an excellent choice for family adventures.

    For families, this setting fosters an atmosphere where conversations can effortlessly weave through the cabin, laughter resonates warmly, and the festive spirit of Hari Raya begins to bloom even before the journey ends. 

    On the topic of comfort, it's worth noting that air conditioning vents extend to the very rear, ensuring each row, including the third, benefits from dual vents on either side of the ceiling. This thoughtful design is crucial for the comfort of those seated in the back, as many 7-seater vehicles often neglect the airflow to the last row, leaving passengers feeling uncomfortably warm. 

    Proton X90 third row seats Premium

    In Malaysia, where the climate is becoming increasingly warmer, the efficiency of air conditioning throughout the entire cabin is not just a luxury but a necessity. No matter how technologically advanced or luxuriously appointed a car may be, it falls short if it cannot provide a consistently cool environment for all occupants. This is a key aspect where the Proton X90 excels, ensuring everyone on board enjoys the journey in cool comfort.

    On a side note and just like any other 7 seater SUV, the boot space is compromised, but you can still fit two airplane cabin friendly bags and a bunch of other stuff. If you plan to constantly carry seven people, an aftermarket roof box is recommended to house your luggages. 

    Premium Variant: Tailored for the festive season

    Choosing the Premium variant of the X90 for such occasions seems almost prophetic. It's as if Proton meticulously crafted this variant with large families and festive seasons in mind. 

    Beyond the seven seats, the absence of a panoramic glass roof, often a feature in high-end SUVs, becomes an advantage in the context of Hari Raya. The Malaysian climate, coupled with the traditional attire worn during the festivities, can make for a warm experience. The solid roof of the X90 Premium mitigates this, ensuring the interior remains cool and comfortable, a thoughtful consideration for those dressed in their festive best.

    Proton X90 dashboard, cockpit

    Furthermore, the Premium variant comes adorned with features that enhance the festive ambiance. Its great two zone climate control system guarantees a consistently comfortable cabin temperature, while the exceptional sound insulation effectively shields passengers from the noise and clamor of the outside world. This creates an intimate environment where families can fully engage in the warmth of each other's company. 

    Proton X90 controls

    Although the Proton X90 doesn't boast branded speakers(which is 6 speakers by the way), the audio quality it delivers is impressively clear and robust, with a generous serving of deep bass. This ensures that your favorite Sudirman Raya tunes are not just heard but are felt, adding to the celebratory mood of your journey.

    Infotainment and Connectivity: Addressing the unspoken concern

    While the Proton X90 Premium or any X90 for that fact might not boast Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, its infotainment system stands out as a beacon of innovation and user-friendliness.  Proton X90 steering wheel

    The large 12.3-inch LCD infotainment system touchscreen with 1920 x 720 pixel display resolution crisp screen is not just about aesthetics; it's about functionality. The inhouse Navigation system is intuitive, ensuring that drivers can focus on the road while also finding the best routes to their destinations. The inclusion of Spotify integration means that the journey can be accompanied by a soundtrack that reflects the mood of the occasion without touching your phone, whether it’s traditional Hari Raya tunes or the family’s favorite hits.

    This approach to infotainment highlights Proton's understanding that technology should enhance the driving experience, not complicate it. The system is designed to be as accessible as possible, ensuring that even those who are not tech-savvy can enjoy its benefits. It's a reminder that in the X90, technology serves the needs of the family, making every journey more enjoyable. Yes, the younger generations might bang tables about the omission of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but those who don’t use it will appreciate the onboard features provided by the infotainment system. 

    Proton X90 LCD meter cluster

    The Proton X90 features a 10-inch full LCD meter cluster that is not only crisp but seamlessly integrates with the infotainment system to display a wealth of information beyond mere speed. This innovative display allows for full-screen navigation, eliminating the need to divert your gaze to the center console and enhancing safety and convenience. Additionally, it provides timely notifications for various situations, such as when you're following the car ahead too closely. Intriguingly, these alerts are signaled with a sound reminiscent of an airplane turbulence chime. While this unique choice may not be to everyone's liking, I found it added an enjoyable touch of adventure to the drive, evoking the excitement of air travel.

    Safety: A priority for peaceful celebrations

    In the Proton X90 Premium, safety is a priority that becomes even more critical during the bustling festive season of Hari Raya. 

    Proton X90 tyres

    Amidst the heightened road activity and infectious excitement, the X90 stands as a bastion of protection for its occupants, fortified with a suite of advanced safety features to ensure that every journey, whether to or from Hari Raya festivities, is not only joyful but also profoundly secure. 

    Proton X90 safety

    The vehicle boasts cutting-edge driver adaptive cruise control assistance systems that vigilantly maintain safe following distances and speeds, complemented by an extensive array of six airbags and exceptional structural integrity. This comprehensive commitment to safety is underscored by its prestigious 5-star ASEAN NCAP rating, making the X90 a guardian on wheels for its passengers.

    Beyond its robust safety framework, the Proton X90 Premium is also equipped with an array of convenience features designed to enhance your driving experience, especially during the festive Hari Raya period. 

    Proton X90 safety

    This suite includes Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Centering Control, Emergency Lane Keep Assist, and Traffic Sign Information. These intuitive systems work in harmony to alleviate the stress of driving, allowing you to focus on the joy and happiness that Hari Raya brings. With these advanced features at your disposal, the X90 ensures that your mind remains on the celebration, making every journey a seamless and enjoyable part of the festive season.

    This emphasis on safety is particularly reassuring for families, allowing them to focus on the celebrations and the precious moments shared with loved ones.

    A journey together: The essence of the X90 Premium

    As families across Malaysia prepare for Hari Raya, the Proton X90 Premium emerges not just as a vehicle, but as a companion for those cherished moments. It’s a testament to Proton's understanding of Malaysian families and their needs, especially during such a significant time of year.

    Proton X90 boot

    The X90 Premium, with its thoughtful design, innovative features, and emphasis on comfort and safety, is perfectly poised to become a part of many family traditions. It’s a vehicle that understands the importance of togetherness, the joy of the journey, and the spirit of celebration.The fact that it also has the ability to evoke the premium feel of more affordable German automobiles, such as those from Volkswagen, further enhances its appeal. 

    Moreover, our test unit, which boasted 14,000 km on the odometer, still felt as pristine as new — save for the squeaking wipers, showcasing its enduring quality and adding to its charm as a reliable family vehicle.

    Proton X90 Malaysia Premium

    In the end, the Proton X90 Premium is more than just an SUV; it’s a celebration of family, innovation, and the journey ahead. As the roads will be filled with travelers heading home for Hari Raya soon, the X90 stands ready to make those journeys memorable, comfortable, and safe. 

    It’s not just about reaching a destination; it’s about the stories, laughter, and memories that are created along the way. And in the spirit of Hari Raya, that’s what truly matters and the Proton X90 is a good tool to help you reach those heights.

    Proton X90 Premium Specifications

    • Drivetrain: 1.5-litre TGDi 48V Mild Hybrid Electric Motor
    • Power output: 190 PS
    • Torque: 300 Nm
    • Transmission: 7-Speed Dual Clutch 
    • Seats: 7
    • Price: RM 144,800

    Also Read:  Review: 2024 smart#1 Premium – Not just a pretty face, it’s the smart choice if you want to buy an EV

    Adam Aubrey

    Adam Aubrey

    Adam Aubrey is an experienced writer and presenter with over a decade in the automotive industry, known for his passion for rebuilding older cars from the golden era of automotive design. His work also delves into the future of vehicles, highlighting the exciting potential of electric propulsion.

    Read Full Bio

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