Proton 1.5L TGDi three-cylinder engine now locally assembled in Tg Malim, includes 30% local content –

By far the biggest news surrounding the recently-launched 2022 Proton X70 was the new engine option – a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder, first seen in the smaller X50. Except that this isn’t exactly the same mill, as it doesn’t come in a box from China, but assembled in Malaysia.

This was announced ahead of the media test drive on Tuesday, during which we were able to sample the downsized engine – you can read our first impressions here. The three-pot, which replaces the old 1.8 litre four-cylinder on most variants, is being built on a new production line at Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant.

According to powertrain deputy COO Muhamad Hasbullah bin Ismail, the new engine is made out of 30% Malaysian-made parts; we were told this exceeded the government’s requirement. As a result, the X70 now has a local content count of almost 70%, said the car’s chief engineer Md Fariza bin Ibrahim.

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It’s been known for some time that the national carmaker had been courting vendors to build parts for the engine, with Sapura Industrial announcing as early as May last year that it had been contracted to supply the camshafts and torsional vibration dampener. The company has also been steadily increasing the local content for the X70 itself, which stood at 45% when the CKD model was launched in early 2020.

Building the Geely-Volvo engine in house is a major step towards Proton’s eventual goal of replacing its dated CamPro mill with the three-pot. This is the key reason behind the development of a port-injected (PFI) variant for use in cheaper models, although currently only the more powerful direct-injected version (TGDi) is being produced locally. No word yet on whether the X50 will also receive the CKD mill, though it stands to reason it will get it sooner rather than later – if it hasn’t already, of course.

The new CKD 1.5 litre three-cylinder could make its way to a future Exora facelift

Fitting the engine into Proton’s Geely-based products is one thing, but its indigenously-designed models will be the next frontier. While the Exora is due for a minor change (MC) this year, we know the ageing MPV is set to get a more comprehensive facelift at some point in the near future – and the hope is that the old CamPro CFE turbo mill will be replaced by the new 1.5 litre unit, perhaps in PFI form. We can also expect the eventual replacements for the Saga, Iriz and Persona models to be designed with this engine in mind.

For now, the CKD 1.5 litre engine is making its debut in the 2022 X70, which is priced starting at RM93,900 for the 1.5 TGDi Standard and rises up to RM117,900 for the 1.5 TGDi Premium. The old 1.8 litre four-cylinder – still sourced from Geely in China – lives on in the range-topping 1.8 TGDi Premium, which is priced at RM121,800.

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