Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: 2019 Mitsubishi Xpander GLS Sport


The family car for Filipinos has changed its shape and form over the past 30 years or so. Everything from compact sedans to AUVs, MPVs, and SUVs were all considered, at one point, the practical means of transport. Today, that mantle goes to the small MPVs like the Mitsubishi Xpander. With Manila’s horrendous traffic, rising fuel prices, and reduced purchasing power, does this MPV have what it takes to win the hearts and minds of the modern-day Filipino family?

The Xpander starts off on a very high note. Like the Montero Sport and the refreshed Strada, it won’t look out of place in the futuristic world of Star Trek. The roofline betrays it as an MPV, but the angular styling works so well that it will pass for a sporty wagon. The greenhouse is quite generous in relation to the metal panels and yet, the strong creases does the job of leveling out the proportions. The front-end works the best here with its second-generation Dynamic Shield design and bumper-embedded headlights. Outfitting 16-inch alloy wheels is a great move as does the fitment of the high-set L-shaped LED taillights.



Looking for weaknesses to the Xpander’s exterior design is quite hard and in as so far as we’re concerned, it’s limited to the bee-sting antenna (a shark’s fin antenna would have been nicer).

Inside, the Xpander shows tasteful restraint in its design. There are swatches of high-gloss piano black accents and silver carbon fiber-like trim, but the overall vibe is quite somber. Still, kudos to Mitsubishi for providing a driver-focused, clean layout with large, well-marked controls. Given its price point, soft-touch materials are a rarity, but thanks to liberal dipping into the Mitsubishi parts bin, the gauges are switchgear all feel sturdy and operate with a nice, tactile feel. That said, the seat mechanisms don’t feel as sturdy, either requiring a rocking motion to lock them into a place or a good shove to have them tumble.



The minor annoyance with the seats aside, the Xpander scores well in both ergonomics and packaging. With a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and a driver’s seat that moves six ways, getting comfy behind the wheel is very easy. The seats themselves are also well-bolstered and suitable even for long driving stints. The second-row seats are just as good. Not only does it offer various recline adjustments, but it’s got a center armrest too that doubles as a cargo pass through for long objects. Understandably, the third-row seats aren’t as generous, but Mitsubishi did manage to bake in some ingenuity as well. Getting in or out is easy thanks to the extra-wide rear doors (540-mm opening) but add to that a 60/40 split-sliding second row and you’ve got the best packaged choice in its class. However, it’s quite odd that the second-row seat rails go up when tumbled increasing the possibility of snagging or hitting them during entry or exit.

On paper, nothing stands out with the Xpander’s specifications. Like any other small MPV/SUV in its class, it’s powered by a small displacement gasoline engine fitted onto a chassis with a MacPherson Strut at the front and Torsion Beam axle at the back. What the specs don’t say is that the Xpander hits its crescendo with its everyday driving dynamics.



Tuned with the regular car owner in mind, the Xpander rides on a softly sprung suspension. Because of this, it exhibits a well-mannered ride. Even when loaded with up to four adults, it’s very supple, absorbing even larger potholes with composure. Couple that with a surprisingly quiet cabin and you’ve got one great road-trip car right here. Naturally, there’s a bit of a trade-off with this suspension setup and in this case, it’s not going to please the enthusiastic set. It easily meanders whenever it’s hit with a gust of wind or the wake of an overtaking car. Body roll is also fairly abundant at the limit.

The accompanying 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine also does the job well of pulling around the Xpander’s 1,240-kilogram frame. There’s a strong sense of urgency together with a hushed, refined tone. However, overtaking maneuvers must be planned well as the powertrain is peaky and easily strained. Thankfully, the 4-speed automatic is always ready to sing along. Despite looking archaic on paper, it downshifts at a moment’s notice keeping the engine singing happily. Cruise control is standard too and using that extensively results in a 14.28 km/L figure (average speed of 60 km/h). Even without it though, it registers an impressive 9.90 km/L in the city (average speed of 15 km/h).



A second round of price increase has affected all Xpander models this year with the GLS Sport now topping out at P 1,175,000 (that’s a P 45,000 increase since its launch). Still, it manages to keep its reputation as a well-kitted MPV with a solid list of standard features such as a push button engine start-stop, dual SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, and vehicle stability control.

After all’s said and done, the Mitsubishi Xpander comes across as an excellent family vehicle that blends timeless sensibilities—comfort, space, refinement, fuel economy, and modern tastes—cutting-edge design, features, safety. The nameplate may be relatively new, but without a doubt, it’s one that’ll withstand the test of time. It’s a vehicle designed and engineered with the Filipino family in mind; heeding the call for a ride that’s both practical and stylish.





2019 Mitsubishi Xpander GLS Sport
Ownership 2019 Mitsubishi Xpander GLS Sport
Year Introduced 2018
Vehicle Classification Entry-Level MPV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door MPV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 105 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 141 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 4 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.90 km/L @ 15 km/h,
14.28 km/L @ 60 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,475
Width (mm) 1,750
Height (mm) 1,700
Wheelbase (mm) 2,775
Curb Weight (kg) 1,240
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 205/55 R 16 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors None, with Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features None
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row),
50/50 (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Manual, Front and Rear
Audio System Stereo
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

9 comments:

  1. I keep hearing this discussion: TOTL Xpander or Innova E Diesel auto for a bit more? What's your take?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Can it climb the steep roads of Baguio?"

    The age-old question of would-be car buyers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i'm sure mahihirapan. probably need to rev the nuts out of the engine

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    2. Marami-rami narin naka expander sa Baguio

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  3. Is 15km/hr considered City driving speed?

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    Replies
    1. he's lucky. I average around 9-10 on my daily drive. Metro Manila traffic is horrible.

      Delete
  4. Konti nalang iaadd mag innova or MUX.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fuel efficiency comparable to Montero AT..

    ReplyDelete