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The MPV world is an undervalued asset in my mind. These vehicles are very versatile, highly practical and well-priced. Some, depending on their styling, can even pass for stylish pseudo-SUVs.
Mitsubishi Xpander is one such type of vehicle that combines the traditional versatility and practicality of a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) with the sporty looks of a sport-utility vehicle.
“As the name suggests, the much-anticipated Xpander is all about broadening one’s horizons, whether that be in terms of lifestyle choices, or family dynamics,” explains Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA).
The interior of the new Xpander might be all MPV, but the exterior echoes SUV, so it is equally well suited to everyday commuting, family road trips and leisure activities. In addition, its stylish ruggedness and practicality means you can take on a variety of terrains in confidence, without having to compromise on comfort.
There are two models in the local line-up. Both feature a 1.5-litre engine (77kW/141Nm) and the main difference between the two is the use of either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
At the heart of the modern yet practical 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 not only builds on this approach, but also enhances it by adding a hint of sportiness and performance.
The new Xpander has modern alloy wheels – 15-inch on the manual model and 16-inch of the automatic derivative. Unfortunately, both are too small on the car’s frame, in my opinion. I would have liked to see 18-inch variants, but I guess the car’s price would need to go up!
The clear headlights, daytime running lights and L-illuminated LED taillights that extend onto the tailgate add to the overall look.
The Xpander’s benefits from a higher ground clearance of 205mm, which is another feature that is immediately noticeable and emphasises its faux SUV look while adding to its practical character.
On the inside is where the Xpander flexes its practicality with flexible seating for seven that 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.
Occupant comfort is further enhanced through fully automatic air-conditioning with a manual rear overhead cooler, electric windows all round, USB port in the front, 120-watt power sockets to supply every row of seating and clever storage compartments under the seats to ensure that personal items are out of the way but within easy reach.
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 decent resolution that delivers fair visibility and a wide field of vision.
With a fuel tank of 45 litres, average fuel consumption in a claimed 6.9 litres/100km for the manual model and 7.0 litres/100km for the automatic derivative on a combined cycle. I got a figure closer to 8 litres over my urban driving period.
The Xpander features a range of innovative safety features as standard. They are designed to protect not only the driver and passengers, but other road users as well. These features include airbags for the driver and front passenger, seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) 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.
Honda BR-V, Renault Tiber, Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Avanza
Xpander 1.5L M/T: R299 995
Xpander 1.5L A/T: R319 995
Warranty and service – added peace of mind
The new Mitsubishi Xpander is covered by a three-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty and a two-year/30 000 km service plan. The price also includes five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance.
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