Published on April 20th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mitsubishi Xpander Family MPV Test Drive Review
The Xpander arrives to challenge the traditional segment leaders.
This is a vehicle segment that has been shrinking in Malaysia for the past decade. With the arrival of sport utility vehicles with 3 rows of seats, Malaysians started looking away from the traditional family movers sitting on car platforms which were once, a long time ago, the must have vehicle in most Malaysian family homes.
Yes, we also invested years ago in a car based MPV and still have it in our garage as there is no more hire purchase loan on it and it is a simple easy to maintain vehicle.
The last time Mitsubishi entered this segment, it was with their Mitsubishi Delica and it was a direct rival to the fist generation Nissan Serena, Ford Econovan, Mazda Bongo and Toyota MasterAce.
As the years progressed, Malaysian buyers moved to high riding 7 seat vehicles like the Toyota Innova.
Then in recent years we have seen the sales boom of the Perodua Aruz, Honda BR-V and the current Nissan Serena S-Hybrid remains a lone wolf in the family MPV segment ….. until the arrival of this Mitsubishi Xpander in 2017.
Yes, the Mitsubishi Xpander made it first appearance in Indonesia in 2017 where 7-seat vehicles sell better than any other vehicle. Indonesia’s growing middle class of 260 plus million want vehicles like the Xpander and it has been a sales success with long waiting time for delivery from its factory in Indonesia. By early 2020, the Xpander had seen launches in Thailand and Vietnam and demand boomed even more and the factory in Indonesia tried to cope.
In November 2020 Malaysians finally got the Xpander in Mitsubishi showrooms and the first batch of vehicles which were shipped in from its Indonesian factory were sold out just a few days after with an impressive 2,000 plus bookings received. The Mitsubishi Xpander is now locally-assembled via Hicom Automotive Manufacturers in Pekan, Pahang. By April 2021 the bookings for the Xpander had reached an impressive 9,300 plus units and this is an economy still being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This family vehicle has a striking futuristic design. The Xpander follows the iteration of the ‘Dynamic Shield’ front design concept, which is incorporated in every newly launched Mitsubishi car. The ‘Dynamic Shield’ expresses high performance and a sense of protection for the passengers and pedestrians.
Aesthetically, the Xpander comes with a few impressive kit list including LED Headlamps, Crystal blocks LED position lamp and L-illumination LED Tail Lights. The new Xpander also comes with 16 inch dual-tone alloy wheels. Customers may also explore more adventurous places with the Xpander’s high ground clearance of 205mm.
Moving inside, the Xpander gets best-in-class spacious cabin with overall height of 1,730mm and overall length of 4,475mm. The Xpander is with a 2,775mm wheelbase and 1,750mm width offering more legroom for all its passengers.
The Xpander is the only vehicle in its class with fold-flat second and third rows seats providing full luggage space and car-like boot that makes it easier to load larger or longer items. The Xpander is also fitted with under-seat multi-purpose storage, cargo floor box with lid, third row side pocket and cup holder, centre console box with sliding lid, multiple storage compartments and glove box with double compartment to store all the items needed for a perfect weekend getaway.
Furthermore, the Xpander also comes with four roof-mounted air vents for better air distribution towards each passenger promising faster cooling effect for hot days. For entertainment, the Xpander comes with 9-Inch Audio System with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Ready.
Safety features includes dual SRS airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distributor (EBD), Active Stability Control (ASC), Brake Assist System (BA) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
MMM’s Authorised Dealer Package
To further enhance the value of the vehicle, a MMM authorized dealer package is introduced. The MMM authorized dealer package will include features such as All Round Monitor (ARM), Driving Video Recorder (DVR) and Leather Seats.
Xpander Drive Impression
With a slightly raised height over a sedan, getting in and out is easy for elderly passengers and also height challenged people. The dashboard is simple and effective in its look and feel.
This is what Malaysians will appreciate in the long run. No fancy gimmicks and high technology functions that will give problems after a few years, or even months of ownership. Family vehicles for the middle class should remain simple and effectively super reliable.
The driver gets a great view all around and its is an easy vehicle to live with in heavy traffic and also on the open highway when taking a road trip with the family. The driver gets keyless ignition and a 9-Inch Audio System which is Apple Carplay and Android Auto ready.
Using a simple and effective 1.5L, 105PS petrol engine, you get good fuel consumption and sensible power delivery as this is a family vehicle, not a speed demon or a corner carver. This is a 7 seat family or lifestyle vehicle. Yes, with all rear seats folded, you can get a pair of bicycles inside.
The 2nd row seats are good for 3 adults with ample legroom unless you are a NBA basketball player or a member of the Japanese SUMO academy. Take note that this Xpander is wider than all its rivals right now as 1,750mm wide.
The 3rd row access is easily done with the 2nd row seats flipping over and access o sets for teenagers or the adult that practices Yoga. At 4,475mm long, the Xpander provides generous cabin space over its rivals.
There is a separate air-conditioning system for the rear passengers with controls and air vents above the 2nd row passengers. This means cabin cooling is great in all situations.
We had 4 adults and two teenagers in the Xpander over a short drive and there was no issue in city commuting and when we took to the hills around Bangsar and Pantai Hills the 1.5L engine managed to keep up without sounding lethargic or ‘out of breath’.
Xpander Final Word
The Xpander safety standards satisfies ASEAN standards with its proprietary RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) monocoque body structure. Safety features includes dual SRS airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distributor (EBD), Active Stability Control (ASC), Brake Assist System (BA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Rest Reminder, Brake Override System (BOS) among others.
The selling price from RM91,369 which puts it slightly higher than its immediate rival, the Honda BR-V which is priced from RM86,726.00 to RM93,693.00.
Mitsubishi XPANDER Specifications
Engine: 4-Cylinder, 16-valve DOHC Mivec
Gearbox: 4-Speed Auto
Power: 103PS @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 141Nm @ 4,000rpm