2023 Proton X50 - 9 reasons to pick this over the Honda HR-V 1.5 TC

The Proton X50 has been around for two years already. But the Honda HR-V only hit the market at the tail end of last year. The HR-V does offer that highly desirable Honda badge, and does look smart on the inside and out in our opinion. So no brainer that’s the crossover to go for right? Not so fast!
We have driven the X50 in numerous occasions, and used it as the lead car for 2 of our Route Hunters drive events. Safe to say we have a profound understanding of its workings, so here’s a comparison on how the Proton X50, despite being launched years earlier in the market, still edges over the Honda HR-V. For this comparison we will be pitting the Proton X50 1.5 TGDI flagship against the Honda HR-V 1.5 Turbo V

More Power

The Proton TGDI spec car has more output than the Honda, by 1hp to be exact. But its the torque figure thats far denser in the Proton, with its 255Nm coming 200rpms earlier than the Honda’s 240Nm. Despite having the same engine capacity, aspiration, and fuel delivery. 

Delivered via very different gearboxes 

The wet clutch 7 speed dual clutch transmission in the Proton feels real dense, and responsive. You really feel like its completely engaged, responding relatively quickly to down changes, even during spirited drives. The Honda however has to make do with a CVT. While we have sampled some fine examples of the CVT gearbox, and they work really efficiently, in terms of engagement, it can only do so much. 

Faster in a straight line

The dual clutch gearbox and higher torque means faster acceleration figures compared, 7.9 seconds vs 8.8 seconds to get to 100kph. While for daily commute the HR-V’s CVT could be better in constant cruise driving, the efficiency, instant response of the DCT will out weight the CVT. The 0-100kph acceleration time is the testament. It is noteworthy that the Proton is 27kg lighter than the HR-V. 

Larger infotainment screen

On the inside, you are greeted with a 10.25 inch infotainment screen compared to the Honda’s 8 inch screen. You get everything from a navigation system, voice command, music streaming and more. It does however lack Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, something which the HR-V has. This is perhaps the biggest drawback in terms of interior user experience for the Proton X50. 

Panoramic roof 

The X50 comes with a panoramic sunroof that can be retracted with tilt function. The HR-V does not have them. Having a glass panoramic roof does have its merits on during drives through the city centre, and during drives in the outdoors. It is however an option that’s not offered to the HR-V

Blind Spot Monitoring 

While both cars receive adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, the X50 comes with blind spot monitoring. The HR-V does not offer this option for any spec in the current car. It is also noteworthy that the adaptive cruise control in the X50 is extremely well calibrated for our roads and traffic. In fact the throttle input is more ‘human-like’ compared to even some german brands. 

Auto Parking system

The X50 also comes with an auto park system. The system is quite good at getting you in tight parking spaces. But the more practical use of this device we feel is getting you out of tight parking spaces. 

N95 filter for the cabin

With the question of air quality becoming more relevant these days, the Proton X50 comes with N95 filters for the cabin. You can even monitor the air quality in the cabin. N95 filters are able to filter out at least 95% of small particles including allergens and bugs. The HR-V does not come with N95 filters for their cabin. 

Proton's Ride and Handling

The intangible advantage the Proton X50 has over the other cars is the fact that Proton engineers have worked on its ride and handling. These are the guys who benifited from Lotuses training and are responsible for some of the best handling vehicles on sale in our country. We can attest to that. 

These are the advantages the Proton has over the Honda HR-V which contributes greatly to the daily user experience of the driver and occupants. Cumulatively the advantages the X50 has over the HR-V, a car that was launched later than the Proton, is significant. Only the availability of the Android Auto / Apple Carplay seem to favour the HR-V. As for the exterior and interior design, it really comes down to ones preference. But the nearly RM21,000 price advantage is something every Malaysian would love and appreciate.