Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has officially unveiled its latest people carrier, the Mitsubishi Xpander at the 2017 GAIKINDO Indonesia Auto Show. The new seven-seater MPV will go against key rivals such as the Honda BR-V and Toyota Avanza in the ever-growing budget people carrier segment.
Measuring at 4,475 mm in length, 1,750 mm in width and 1,700 mm in height with a ground clearance of 205 mm, the Xpander claims to offer the best in class cabin space as well as practicality. Corporate Vice President, Design Division, Tsunehiro Kunimoto said, “The Xpander actually was designed by our customers, I simply turned their thoughts, needs and desires into shapes.”
This resulted in a design that marries the best qualities of a spacious MPV and an adventurous SUV. The radical design is largely similar to the concept model which debut at the same auto show last year but if we were to be honest, we can’t decide what to make of its looks.
Nevertheless, the front end wears the “Dynamic Shield” family face like the Outlander and Eclipse Cross except here, the fenders are flared, adding to the rugged SUV appearance. The slim items on the top are actually LED daytime running lights, not headlamps as one would expect. Where are the headlamps you ask?
The large hexagonal pieces on both sides. Yes, it makes for a very awkward design but MMC said positioning the forward illumination pieces low in the bumper helps maximise vision during rough road conditions. Fortunately, the rear spots a more conventional look with sleek L-shaped LED tail lamps.
Stepping inside, its minimalistic cabin architecture is the product of the design team to give an uncluttered and spacious look. Besides boasting to offer best in class space, the Xpander is also able to accommodate its customers active lifestyles thanks to flat folding second and third row seats, giving it a breadth of utilitarian capabilities. There are even 16 bottle holders in the Xpander and dedicated smartphone trays for each passenger!
Besides that, MMC has also went the extra mile to ensure that the Xpander is one of the most premium MPVs in the segment. The large windshield is made out of a soundproof glass, laminated with an extra sound-absorbing layer to ensure noise doesn’t seep into the cabin. There are also a range of bells and whistles to play with such as coloured LED display instrument cluster, eco-drive indicator, touch screen infotainment system, 12V power socket for each row, keyless entry and more.
Powering this people carrier is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine that outputs 104 hp. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. MMC claims that this powertrain combination delivers competently, even when climbing steep hills ferrying a full load.
The Xpander uses MMC’s proprietary RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) monocoque body structure that offers high cabin integrity and efficient energy absorption, keeping the passengers’ safe in the unfortunate event of a crash. Standard safety kit is generous too – dual airbags, ABS, Brake Assist, Active Stability Control (ASC), Hill Start Assist, Emergency Stop Signal and three-point seatbelts on all seats.
The Xpander will first be assembled and sold in Indonesia later this year with plans to ship it to other markets in the ASEAN region from early 2018 onwards. In Indonesia, prices for the seven-seater MPV starts from Rp. 189,050,000 (RM61k) to Rp. 245,350,000 (RM79k). What do you think dear readers, if Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia brings this in, reckon it give the mighty BR-V a good fight?