Monday, September 28, 2020

Review: 2020 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross


How much are you willing to pay for style? That, it seems, is the most prevalent question among those in the market between a 7-seater sub-compact MPV or 7-seater sub-compact SUV. The fact that every carmaker has come up with an SUV derivative of their respective MPVs—Rush (Avanza), BR-V (Mobilio), XL7 (Ertiga) shows that people are willing to pay more for style and added ground clearance. 

Mitsubishi has done the same, but in a break from the norm, has opted not to introduce a separate nameplate, but rather, simply added an SUV-styled variant to its Xpander MPV family—the Xpander Cross. If that’s not enough, their forward-thinking marketers have given the line-up some breathing room, opting to withdraw the low-riding top-trim GLS Sport in favor of this body-cladded, raised version. This keeps their total number of variants to four (in comparison, Toyota has 9 dizzying variants of its Rush and Avanza combined).



All in all, Mitsubishi’s move makes a whole lot of FGD sense, but the question now is: does it make sense in the real world?

The answer to that question depends entirely on the buyer’s perspective. On one hand, having to pay a P 127,000 premium over the Xpander GLS seems like a lot of money. However, amortized over a 60-month loan term, the difference almost becomes negligible—P 2,116.67 per month). Whether opting for the SUV derivative will help with the resale value is anyone’s guess at this point, but one thing’s for sure: the Xpander Cross does appeal to those who’d prefer a bit of SUV style to their daily driver.



The Xpander Cross resembles the Montero Sport at more than just a passing glance. The sawtooth-like pattern on the grille, the added body cladding, and roof rails all seem to suit the futuristic Dynamic Shield design very well; as do the larger two-tone 17-inch wheels complete with a faux bead lock design. Subjectively, it’s the nicest looking among 7-seater sub-compact SUVs, though admittedly, more work could have been done to hide the bits of body work that stick out beneath the cladding. Once you see them, particularly on the doors, it’s hard to unsee them.

With such a strong, rugged pretense shown by the exterior, it’s disappointing to see Mitsubishi exercise restraint with the Xpander Cross’s interior. Instead of embracing its SUV-fication fully, it gets the very same interior albeit dressed in a classier black-and-brown color scheme. At this price point, you’d start to expect a soft dash topper, at the very least; instead, what you get a hard, but sturdy dashboard. Regardless, at least all the switchgear feels sturdy, and the leather seats is a welcome addition.




As with the “regular” Xpander, the Xpander Cross scores well in both ergonomics and packaging. With a tilt/telescopic steering wheel (still a rarity in this class, mind you) and a driver’s seat that moves in six ways, getting comfy behind the wheel is easy. The controls are well-placed and easy to master, particularly the air conditioning. As with any touch-screen based infotainment system, the 7-inch Android OS system is hard to use on the move (it doesn’t even have any Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), so thankfully there are steering wheel controls. The execution looks very aftermarket, but works well enough.

Moving on to the second row, the accommodations here are just as good as those at the front. Not only does it offer various recline and sliding adjustments, but the center armrest doubles as a cargo pass through for long objects. Understandably, the third-row seats aren’t as generous, but it’s still easily the best packaged in its class. In addition, families would welcome the nifty underfloor organizer for loose knick-knacks with all rows of seats up (thankfully, the jack and tools can be stored separately in a space on the rear wheel well). Oh, and while the cargo hold isn’t completely flat with the third row folded down, the loading space is way more usable than of its class competitors. Take note though that the second-row seat rails go up when tumbled increasing the possibility of snagging or hitting them during entry or exit.




For its SUV transformation, Mitsubishi has left it pretty much alone, powertrain-wise. With that, the Xpander Cross uses the very same 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine; even the gearing of the 4-speed automatic is unchanged. The combo has already led to a peaky power delivery for the MPV version, but with the Cross’s added 35 kilograms of curb weight, the gearbox compensates by continuously downshifting to either first or second gear to get things moving brisky. This has affected the fuel economy somewhat, dropping to 8.5 km/L in the city—a sizeable 15 percent reduction.

The added strain on the powertrain aside, the Xpander Cross’s on-road behavior doesn’t differ much from its MPV sibling. Tuned with the regular car owner in mind, the suspension’s softly sprung. Overall, it exhibits a well-mannered ride, absorbing even larger potholes with composure. Couple that with a surprisingly quiet cabin, and you’ve got one great road-trip car right here. It does tend to understeer and exhibit lots of body roll at the limit, but nothing that’ll alarm even the most enthusiastic set. Oh, and the brakes actually bite very well and don’t exhibit any perceptible level of dive.



Without a doubt, Mitsubishi has certainly come up with a great SUV derivative of the Xpander. It blends timeless Filipino sensibilities—comfort, space, refinement, with modern tastes—design, features, safety. However, at P 1.255 million, the Xpander Cross is now most expensive 7-seater sub-compact SUV in the market, and assuming they’re going for volume, could spell trouble for them. With that, the Xpander GLS has become the best balanced for price-sensitive, value-conscious buyers. On the other hand, with Mitsubishi limiting the Xpander Cross to just one variant and two colors—Sunrise Orange and Quartz White Pearl—they themselves seem to realize its niche appeal. If the price premium is no worry—whether cash or financing, this is Mitsubishi’s MPV offering fully realized, especially in terms of design and features. For penny pinchers or value hunters though, this may come across as too much of a stretch.



2020 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross

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Ownership 2020 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross
Year Introduced 2020
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
Body Type 5-door SUV
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 8.5 km/L @ 14 km/h,
9.7 km/L @ 19 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,500
Width (mm) 1,800
Height (mm) 1,750
Wheelbase (mm) 2,775
Curb Weight (kg) 1,275
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Dunlop Enasave EC300+ 205/55 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear w/ 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 Hill Start Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & 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 Leather
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
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
Mirror Link
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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