Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) launched the Xpander late 2016, but the motoring media just got a crack on it last month. Sales have been brisk so no demo units were available. Of course we understood, after all, customers were the priority, and we read that situation as good sales performance.
After a long wait, a media test ride was organized by the Mitsu people, with Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, as destination with a quick lunch stopover in Subic Bay. A total of 10 units of different variants of Xpanders were used, but the funny thing was, nobody wanted to use the lone base model with manual transmission. Being a hardcore car nut, the author volunteered to drive it all the way.
To Subic and beyond
The drive to Subic was more of adjusting to the steering and clutch effort. Since the unit had a little more than 1,000km on the odometer, it was understandably tight. There were a few mishifts because of the tight shifter and engine response was a little delayed.
The beautiful thing about manual transmission is you decide when you shift, what rpm to shift, depending on what the situation calls for. This is more evident in zigzags and steep inclines going to Bagac via the Mariveles backroads. You can maximize torque by shifting on your own pace.
We also had a chance to drive the 4-speed automatic unit. It shifted flawlessly, no jerking and hesitation. The only disadvantage is there is no manual shifting, only 2 and Low; you cannot use it for high speed downshifting.
The Xpander looks more of a stylish Estate than a B-segment MPV. The long lines along the body and the shorter windows gives it a longer and lower look. This belies the big interior space, which is a boon for taller passengers.
The fascia is where it gets exciting. The new Mitsubishi look is evident here, angular vertical chrome grille is surrounded by the DRLs and signal lights; which are often mistook as headlights. The actual headlights are where the fog lights used to be, ay=though now, its bigger and ower, for better illumination without the glare. Smaller driving lights are below, all combined stylishly. Last we heard that future Mitsubishi models will sport this grille combination.
The dash and sidings are devoid of ll luxury accoutrements, save for some faux stitching. Just all plastic throughout. Surprisingly, it can set 7 people comfortably, with the 3rd row offering generous leg space. We managed to fit three average sized passengers with no difficulty whatsoever.
- Engine: 1.5 L 4A91 MIVEC I4 (petrol)
- Power output: 76 kW (102 hp; 103 PS)
- Transmission 5-speed manual 4-speed automatic
- Tires : 205/55/16 GLS GLX 195/60/15 GL
The powertrain is no traffic light racer, but it gets the job done. Fuel economy is the main priority here. City driving is easy, but it works harder under full load or climbing steep roads.
- Hill Start Assist (GLX)
- Stability Control
- Cruise Control (GLX)
Finally, the consumption is par for the course, getting 8-9 km/L in the city in heavy traffic with a couple of passengers. Highway consumption is estimated at 16km/L according to the inboard computer.
Mitsubishi is reportedly ramping up production as units are easily gobbled up by customers..and no wonder its more value for money, more vehicle for the price. This alone makes the Xpander, Xceptional….er… exceptional!
Get yours now! Visit your nearest Mitsubishi dealer or visit: www.mmpc.ph
More pics: Mitsubishi Xpander GLX Sport
Text/Images by Earl Manalansan