Well this came as a pleasant surprise. Shortly after the global debut of the Mitsubishi Xpander MPV, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC), Osamu Masuko told Reuters that the company will begin exports of the Xpander to ASEAN countries from February 2018. The first country to receive this budget seven-seater is the Philippines followed by Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Manufactured in Bekasi Prefecture, West Java Province, MMC targets an annual production of 80,000 units and aims to export 20,000 cars. MMC also plans to supply the Xpander to their new parent company Nissan Motor, making it the first alliance model with Renault and Nissan. Although Masuko-san added that Nissan has no concrete plans for the Xpander yet.
Launched at the 2017 GAIKINDO Indonesia Auto Show, the Xpander is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine with 104 hp. A four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission is tasked to send drive to the front wheels. MMC also claims that the Xpander boasts best-in-class cabin space as well as practicality.
Measuring at 4,475 mm in length, 1,750 mm in width and 1,700 mm in height, the Xpander is the largest in its segment. With a ground clearance of 205 mm, the Xpander will clear obstacles better than the Honda BR-V (201 mm). Visually, the Xpander’s design is the product of MMC’s efforts to marry the best qualities of an MPV and SUV.
From all-wheel drive rally monsters of yesteryears to budget comfortable people carrier, MMC has certainly undergone a paradigm shift in product focus. Nevertheless, if the Xpander is what MMC need to revive the EVO nameplate, we have no qualms about it. Except maybe the headlamps.