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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Geely Haoyue debuting soon as Proton’s new flagship X90

A third SUV has been confirmed for South Africa, which could well be the X90 as Proton's global line-up currently consists only of the X50 and X70.


Proton’s line-up of SUVs derived from models made by its Chinese parent company, Geely, will soon include a new flagship positioned above the X70.

Set to be called the X90, which falls in-line with the X50 and X70 nameplates, the newcomer has already been seen undergoing testing in Malaysia, ahead of sales reportedly commencing later this year.

Chinese-Malaysian

Similar to the X50 based on the Geely Binyue and X70 spun-off of the Boyue, the X90 will be modelled on the Geely Haoyue that went on-sale in China three years ago as the brand’s range-topping model.

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Known outside China as the Geely Okavango in reference to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the Haoyue measures 4 835 mm long, 1 785 mm tall and 1 900 mm wide while riding on a 2 815 mm wheelbase and platform said to be entirely different from that of the Binyue/X50 and Boyue/X70.

What will change

According to Malaysia’s paultan.org, who spied the camouflaged production model testing, the front facia will be restyled from that of the Haoyue/Okavango and the interior largely carried over, besides a redesigned gear lever and replacing of the Geely badges with Proton items.

Specification items, depending on the trim level, is expected to mirror that of the Haoyue and include a 10.25-inch instrument cluster, tri-zone climate control, a surround-view camera system, a 10.25-inch infotainment system, up to six airbags, an eight-speaker sound system and electric front seats.

Geely Haoyue will serve as base for new Proton X90
Rear facia, which resembles that of the Opel Insignia, will most likely also be restyled. Image: paultan.org

The X90’s biggest differentiating factor from the X70 though is that it will have three rows and seating for seven, with the two-row five-seater available in China unlikely to be offered as it could clash with the X70 on price.

In terms of space, the Haoyue/Okavango’s boot accommodates 257-litres of luggage with all seven seats up, which rises to 1 200-litres with the third-row down. Lowering the second-row frees-up an additional 850-litres of space.

Familiar engine, more grunt

Up front, the X90 is expected to carryover the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine also used in the X50 and X70, although the power output remains unknown as the unit comes in two states of tune.

Geely Haoyue will serve as base for new Proton X90
Proton badges will replace the Geely badges inside. Image: paultan.org.

In the Haoyue, outputs stand at 135kW/300Nm while in the Okavango, a 48-volt mild-hybrid system has been added in order to lift the former to 140 kW with the latter remaining unchanged.

Unlike the X70, all-wheel-drive won’t be offered, meaning the amount of twist will be transferred to the front wheels only via the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission both the X50 and X70 employ.

South Africa seemingly assured

While nothing in details about the X90 is known at present, it’s significance, once unveiled, could see it come to South Africa as it confirmed it the presence of a third SUV and two sedans at its official market relaunch in September last year.

Once out in Malaysia, expect Proton South Africa to make an announcement regarding price and availability.

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