We shift our focus to three products that offer seating for seven while still within the RM90k price range. This is a follow-up to our earlier comparison feature which highlighted the differences in performance between the B-segment Japanese sedans in Malaysia.

We will be looking into the features available in the Mitsubishi Xpander, the Honda BR-V and the Toyota Rush. For the simplicity of comparison, as well as feedback from the market, we will be examining the fully-loaded, highest grade variants of each model.

Warm-up: The Competitors

In this feature comparison, we start things off with the Honda BR-V. Among the trio of models we are assessing here, it is the oldest with its launch dating back to early 2017.

Honda Malaysia has updated the BR-V last year, with the scope just limited to the usual cosmetic changes and some additional comfort features. The 2020 facelift Honda BR-V 1.5V is priced at RM93,420.

Our next contestant is the Toyota Rush. We have selected the Toyota Rush over the Perodua Aruz as we are keeping things fair with regards to the price level. Introduced back in late 2018, the second-generation Toyota Rush ups the ante with more safety features such as six airbags and autonomous emergency braking.

The Toyota Rush is priced at RM91,885 for the fully-equipped 1.5S variant.

The third entrant is also the latest addition to the Malaysian market. It took Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia a little longer time to introduce the Xpander here as the company needed to set up their own assembly plant in Pekan, Pahang.

Only one variant of the Mitsubishi Xpander is available and the price is set at RM91,359, which is the lowest among our trio of fully-loaded, highest grade compact seven-seaters.    

Round 1: Features for the DRIVER

In terms of most features available to the driver, we feel the Mitsubishi Xpander is the winner. The Xpander has cruise control to make long-distance journeys a little less tiring, as well as an automatic front wiper system.  The steering column is also adjustable for reach (towards or away) aiding to a more comfortable driving position.

The infotainment system in the Mitsubishi Xpander is also the most up to date, thanks to the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It is also the largest display screen measuring 9 inches.

Our feature comparison also noted that the number and size of storage spaces are also better in the Xpander, thanks to under-seat storage, a dedicated smartphone storage area, sleeves and pockets on the dashboard and behind the front seats as well as a centre console with lid. It also comes with an organiser under the boot floor.

The coloured multi-information display in the Mitsubishi Xpander is also more pleasing to the eyes.

In the Toyota Rush, a high contrast black-white dashboard welcomes the driver. The infotainment only supports USB-mirroring which is not as user friendly. Fitment of an integrated toll card reader is welcomed and only available in the Toyota.  

The updated Honda BR-V sets a sportier theme with red highlights on the leather seats and door inserts. Shift paddles also allow more control of the engine and transmission. There is only one 12-volt power socket in the whole interior, as opposed to USB charging points in the other two competitors.

Round 2: Creature Comforts

Here is the section that matters; the reason why anyone would specifically buy a seven-seater compared to a sedan that is within the same price level.

Thanks to the competitive nature of the seven-seater segment in the ASEAN region, all three of our contestants come equipped with the same core features: ceiling mounted air blower, one-touch tilt-and-tumble second-row seats and split-folding third row. Cupholders are everywhere too.

There is little to separate each of the three, as the Mitsubishi Xpander has the seats with plenty of pockets slots. There is also a centre armrest on the Xpander.

The Toyota Rush meanwhile has an advantage of one USB charging slot for the second-row passengers, mounted on the side of the driver’s seat (the other two doesn’t even have!). A 12-volt power socket is located on the third row of both the Mitsubishi and Toyota models.

All three provide decent space at the luggage area with the third row of seats up. The third-row seats on the Xpander folds flat, flush with the luggage floor. The Toyota Rush meanwhile require the user to unlatch the seat base and tumble forward. Similar results but more effort is required.

In our feature comparison, we note that once folded down (two-row mode), the luggage capacity is pretty much the same for all three models: BR-V the most at 539 litres, followed by the Rush at 514 litres and the Xpander just 5 litres below the 500-litre mark.

Round 3: Safety features

The Toyota Rush has the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that applies autonomous emergency braking at up to speeds of 80 km/h. This feature is only found in the Malaysian-made Toyota Rush, so kudos to UMW Toyota!

Another active safety feature that only available in the Toyota Rush is the blind-spot monitoring system. This feature is also active when one is reversing out of a parking spot, alerting if there are vehicles approaching (commonly known as Rear Cross-Traffic Alert).

If airbag count was given plenty of points, then the Toyota Rush bags the most too. 6 airbags are provided, compared to just two air airbags in the Honda and Mitsubishi.

Both the Mitsubishi Xpander and Toyota Rush come with the ever-useful 360-surround parking camera system, while the Honda BR-V only comes with a reverse camera.

All three vehicles come with electronic stability control (VSA/VSC/ASC), Hill Start Assist and two child seat ISOFIX mounts located at the second row.     

Putting on the 3-point seatbelt for the centre occupant is also the same in all three vehicles: ceiling-mounted retractor mechanism with the two locking buckles. One family-friendly feature in the Toyota Rush is the seat belt reminder for all seven occupants!

In case you missed it, all three 7-seaters will also have dirty spare tyres that are difficult to dismount when you need them, as it is fitted externally beneath the rear of the vehicle. They will also be difficult to inflate due to this placement. We try our best to find out and inform in our feature comparison. 

So, as a family-oriented 7-seater, which would suit you best? Let us know in the comment section!