Besides the current car market being filled with Crossovers and SUVs, which have mostly taken consumers’ attention away from the real spacious so-called Mini Van or family-hauler vehicles, true MPV (Multi-purpose vehicle), are the real deal when it comes to practical and affordable movability especially for medium/large families or fleet services. This time I get to test the bold and affordable seven-seater, Mitsubishi Xpander competing against other rivals in its segments such as Toyota Avanza, Renault Triber, and Suzuki Ertiga…
- Model: Mitsubishi Xpander
- Engine: 1.5 Litre 4-cylinder N/A petrol
- Power & Torque: 77kW & 141Nm
- Transmission: 4-speed automatic
- Fuel consumption: 7 L/100 Km
- Price: R319 995
Striking and bold front-end design, the Mitsubishi Xpander looks like an SUV at first sight, with its massive Dynamic shield grille design housing daytime running lights surrounded by a chrome trim, as well as halogen head and fog lights. on the side, they are quite noticeable wide fender flares with strong body lines. electric folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals as well as L-shaped LED taillight to round out the exterior.
Standing 205mm clear-off the ground, the Xpander comes fitted with sporty-looking alloy wheels with either 15-inch on the manual or 16-inch on the automatic derivative, which helps to a good balance and decently smooth ride quality.
Inside, the Xpander like most budget cars, you’ll find the cabin covered in hard plastic panels with faux stitching pattern, which I found to be pretty solid and at no time rattly. A 7-inch touch screen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with a reverse camera and Bluetooth hands-free voice control mounted on the steering wheel.
Across the cabin, you will also find automatic air-conditioning, cloth upholstery seats with driver’s seat height adjustment, electric window all-around, 3x 12V power sockets, and a quite questionable USB extension cable is hidden In the glove box.
So how practical is the Xpander?
Well, it seems like the Xpander came just at the right time. With its ability to fold flat the rear seats (2nd and 3rd-row seats) resulting in a roomy (1754mm length and 880mm height) loading space, we were able to strap a cameraman during our shoot with plenty of space around him. However, the Xpander has been tested to be capable of carrying 2 full-size mountain bikes and longer/bulkier items. The second and the third-row seats feel as comfortable as the front, with the second-row seats featuring ISOFIX child seat anchor point and air-vent in the middle.
In terms of safety, the Mitsubishi Xpander comes equipped with dual front airbags (front and passenger), ABS(anti-lock braking system) with EBD (Electronic brake force distribution) along with ISOFIX child seat anchors on the second-row seats. And I am sure you will be happy to know that the Xpander has a four-star ASEAN NCAP rating.
When it comes to its mechanical ability, the Xpander has been quite hard to fault. Offered in two derivatives, both powered by a 1.5 liter naturally aspirated petrol engine, developing 77kW and 141 Nm of torque, mated to either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. My test unit was fitted with the 4-speed automatic transmission which honestly works fine for this application and on leveled roads but I somehow suspect will struggle at full load and up-hill as it lacks a bit of torque, this can be solved by either shifting to “2” or “L” on inclines.
My test period consisted of driving both in city and highways and driving up and down around mountain roads, which resulted in achieving an average fuel consumption of 7.2Litres / 100 km, not far off the claimed 7.0L from Mitsubishi.
offering just a decent driving experience with a fairly equipped cabin, the Xpander does what it is meant to do just fine, not perfect but at this price point, it looks quite solid than its rivals and offers good practicality with its flexible split/fold seats which I believe is worth considering.
The Mitsubishi Xpander comes priced as follows
Xpander 1.5L M/T: R299 995
Xpander 1.5L A/T: R319 995
All prices include With a three-year/100 000 km warranty as well as a two-year/30 000 Km service plan