Despite being beaten to the draw last year by its chief rival Toyota with the Rush MPV, Mitsubishi’s Xpander MPV prevailed and has continued to rack in the numbers in the sales race. Maybe its because the Philippine market loves underdogs or simply because this MPV is gorgeous from end-to-end. This writer experienced love at first sight when I saw it last during its launch.
Admittedly, Mitsubishi is a tad late in the MPV brawl. Honda already saw that market way back in 2016 when it launched the Mobilio and Suzuki with the Ertiga. Although Toyota was already fielding its Avanza in other Southeast Asian markets when the MPV bug went all out in the domestic market, manufacturers started to cash in on this emerging market.
The success of the Xpander is evident in the fact that Nissan is set to introduce an MPV on its own, which is actually the twin brother of its Mitsubishi brethren. Nissan has yet to announce when its MPV version will be launched locally.
Credit goes to the Honda Mobilio for popularizing the seven-seater concept to Filipinos. With the Xpander, Mitsubishi went a bit higher by throwing a futuristic looking MPV with a striking front end that my boyhood hero Shaider would approve of. It has a tall profile, spacious and flexible interior, which is just what the Philippine market needs. Filipinos tend to use their vehicles for a myriad of functions. The Xpander hits the spot because it has enough room for the junior soccer team, and just by folding the seats, you have a grocery mobile that your mom can take with her on errands.
For gear heads like this writer, the dashboard layout is sleek with touches of aluminum and swathes of leather. The climate control and the audio unit are well within reach of the drivers, perfect for short-limbed Asians. For an MPV, the Xpander has generous leg and headroom, and the climate control keeps humidity at bay. The suspension play is also commendable that is good for our bad roads.
The 1.5-liter DOHC engine pumps outs 103 hp and 141 Nm of torque, and provides enough grunt for daily use. Forget about your “Fast and the Furious” delusions with this vehicle because it was purposely designed for family use and not for speed, which explains the Xpander’s excellent fuel economy. Man, this MPV sips fuel like a camel. Arabs would not like this vehicle.
For its looks, fuel efficiency and ride quality, this writer would recommend the Xpander for practical reasons. It is actually better than its chief rival, but yet again, that’s another story.
The Xpander MPV retails for P999,000 for the entry level GLX 1500G 2WD with a manual tranny, with the high-end variant GLS Sport 2WD A/T priced just above the one-million peso mark at P1.175 million.
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