Xpanding your possibilities
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines arranged a media test drive up north from Manila to Subic Bay to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar last weekend after being in the market for several months already.
The road trip allowed the participants to try out the new Xpander on various road conditions from urban traffic to highway drives and some twisty back roads leading to our destination.
The Xpander had its world premiere as the new generation 7-seater MPV at the 25th Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in Jakarta last year, and its formal launch last March at the World Trade Center.
Although it took awhile for the all-new Xpander to get stocked up in the 53 Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide due to its huge demand in Indonesia where these units are being produced, it was well-received in the local market.
After driving the Xpander, this writer can see why.
For one, the Xpander rides and drives like a car, thanks to its MacPherson strut with coil spring and stabilizer front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension.
The shock absorbers use the same high-performance valves used in the rally-bred Lancer Evolution X.
Mitsubishi also generously placed sound-absorbing and vibration-blocking materials in strategic areas.
Its window panels and panoramic windshield are made of high-quality laminated and sound-absorbing glass, which is one of the thickest (if not the thickest) in its segment, so road noise and vibration is kept at minimal.
Outside, the distinctive new Mitsubishi design language and its distinctive “Dynamic Shield” front design looks very modern and premium, and is consistent in appearance with its other siblings, the popular mid-size SUV Montero Sport, Outlander PHEV, and Eclipse Cross.
The distinctive fenders also give a powerful SUV-inspired visual with a tough and dynamic sheet metal package.
According to Arlan Reyes, GM for product planning and marketing communications, the “Dynamic Shield” front design allows the headlights to be positioned below the grille, giving a more effective lighting projection and illumination at night.
The pair of park lights are positioned above the headlights, and sometimes confused as headlights.
The L-shaped LED tail lights uniquely extend to the tailgate, which is a segment first, allowing more visibility for vehicles behind the Xpander.
The 4.475-meter-long Xpander has a roofline designed to have a generous greenhouse because of a partially glazed-in rear pillar, making the roof itself seem detached and floating above the vehicle.
The cabin space is also one of the largest in the segment, and with good headroom in all of its three rows.
The backrests in the second row have a 60:40 split, and its third row has a 50:50 split that can easily be folded down in various combinations for seat and luggage cargo space, or even to create a large flat storage area.
The center backrest of the second row can also be folded down to create a wide armrest, or to clear space to carry extra-long items like a ladder or rolled carpets.
Access to the third row seats is a class-leading 540-mm width, allowing easy entry and exit.
The Xpander is perfect for long road trips, with plenty of large and small storage spaces for luggage to gadgets. It even has 16 bottle holders.
The infotainment system allows Bluetooth pairing with smartphones for easy hands-free calls and Internet connectivity.
Each row is equipped with 12V accessory power sockets and smartphone trays.
The 205-mm ground clearance offers driver confidence in tackling rough road patches whether driving around the city or out-of-town trips.
Powering the Xpander is a 16-valve 1.5-liter gasoline Mivec (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control) engine with 105 ps power rating and 141 Nm of torque that’s mated to either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission.
These offer a combination of fuel efficiency, low exhaust emissions, and adequate power even for highway driving.
Other notable features of the Xpander are the keyless operation system (KOS) and safety features like brake assist, ABS (anti-lock braking system), ASC (active stability control), HSA (hill start assist), and ESS (emergency stop signal) systems.
The Xpander line-up has four variants, from the GLX M/T (manual transmission), GLX Plus A/T, GLS A/T, to the top-of-the-line GLS Sport A/T variant.
It comes in five colors: sterling silver metallic, titanium gray, jet black mica, quartz white pearl (for GLX Plus A/T, GLS A/T and GLS Sport A/T only), and red metallic (GLS models only).
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