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Mitsubishi Xpander Review by Colin Windell

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

We recently chatted to motoring writer and enthusiast Colin Windell. Known for his vast car knowledge, Colin has covered topics like new model launches, industry activities, motor sport, road testing and more. Having worked for The Star, The Citizen and other motoring magazines, Colin gives us the inside scoop on the Mitsubishi Xpander.

The exterior of the updated Mitsubishi Xpander has the looks of an SUV and the interior dimensions and layout of a MPV - it’s a cross-over in every sense of the word.

There are two models in the revised range in South Africa – both powered by the same 1,5-litre engine with the option of manual or automatic.

“As the name suggests, the Xpander is all about broadening one’s horizons, whether that be in terms of lifestyle choices, or family dynamics,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA).

With a turning circle of 5,2 metres, the Xpander handles with the agility of a much smaller vehicle. The suspension in the Xpander has been solidly reinforced, which enhances the driving comfort.

At the heart of the look is Mitsubishi’s so-called Dynamic Shield Design, which is intended to express not only performance, but also protection. Front-face configurations of past-generation Mitsubishi models served to protect both the occupants and the vehicle. The new face with its black central area builds on this approach, but enhances it by adding a hint of sportiness and performance.

With sporty alloy wheels – 15-inch on the manual model and 16-inch of the automatic derivative – and wide flared fenders, the Xpander has clear headlights, daytime running lights and L-illuminated LED taillights that extend onto the tailgate add to the overall look.

Inside, the flexible seating can be configured to suit a variety of needs, ranging from carrying passengers and luggage to transporting lifestyle-focused items. The second and third-row seats have a 60/40 split, while the seats of the third row can be folded completely flat and stowed to create additional space in the cargo area. The latter also features a floor box with lid for safe storage of smaller items.

Full automatic air-conditioning with a manual rear overhead cooler, power windows all round, USB port in the front, 120 Watt power sockets to supply every row of seating and storage compartments under the seats come as standard.

Driver comfort is ensured through a tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel that features Bluetooth voice control for hands-free communication and a multi-information display. The rear-view camera has a high resolution that delivers optimal visibility and a wide field of vision.

The 1,5-litre DOHC 16-valve aluminium block engine features Mitsubishi’s Intelligent Innovative Valve Timing Lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) system and ECI multipoint fuel injection and pushes out 77 kW at 6 000 r/min, with 141 Nm of peak torque on tap at 4 000 r/min.

Safety features include crash bags for the driver and front passenger, seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as an impact-absorbing structure at the front-end of the vehicle. Additional safety for young occupants is provided through ISOFIX child seat anchors.

The Xpander also benefits from an advanced all-direction collision reinforced impact safety evolution (RISE) body construction with side impact bars. Coming-home and welcome lights enhance the overall safety, security and practicality.

Based on the XM Concept that was first showcased at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in 2016, the production version of the Xpander debuted at the same event a year later, before going on sale in Indonesia where more than 11 000 pre-orders were received – so much so, the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Indonesia had to double its monthly production output.

The plant now feeds markets in the Philippines, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Bolivia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. In 2019 the Xpander was Indonesia’s most exported car, with more than 64 000 units finding homes in countries abroad.

In 2017 and 2018 it was crowned as the Car of the Year in an annual event held by the Automotive Journalists Forum (FORWOT) in Indonesia, and was also named Otomotif Tabloid’s Best Low MPV for 2018. In addition, readers of Gridoto.com voted it their Favourite Car.

The new Mitsubishi Xpander is covered by a 3-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty and a 2-year/30 000 km service plan. The price also includes 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km/1 Year whichever comes first.

Pricing

Xpander 1.5L M/T: R299 995
Xpander 1.5L A/T: R319 995

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