We’re undoubtedly living in an era of multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) – particularly in the Philippines whose discriminating, value-spotting car buyers prioritize automotive ability and bang-for-the-buck qualities.
That’s certainly the case in the Mitsubishi Xpander that, while being a seven-person mover at its core, has given customers a lot to cheer about in the looks, capability, and price departments.
Indeed, first introduced in the Philippines in 2018, the Xpander’s myriad of appurtenances toward a heightened mobility experience quickly resonated in the market, where it moved 13,494 units on its first year. That number now stands at 36,168 units, with the MPV accounting for a generous 30 percent of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) sales. The company reports that the Xpander is also the bestseller in its category, and has garnered industry awards on its way to the top.
There was thus understandably a lot of buzz after news of what was billed as the Xpander’s top variant leaked out. The formal Philippine launch was supposed to happen in Makati City last Friday, but had been overtaken by concerns, and measures against, COVID-19. In a letter sent out to the media, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation said it “decided to cancel the scheduled Xpander Cross mall display in Glorietta 2, Activity Center. This decision is made to prioritize the health and safety of the public, our employees and dealer partners. MMPC is one with the effort of the Philippine government to contain the spreading of the virus.”
Once everything goes back to normal (and we’re hoping this is sooner than later), we expect the Xpander Cross to go, well, viral in terms of popularity. While we wait to see it in the sheet metal, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out from a distance.
If you go for either MPV or SUV, then Xpander Cross should hit the sweet spot. It sees the “family-friendly seven-seater” nameplate getting more SUV styling – in effect straddling or “crossing over” the two genres. Said MMPC marketing communications senior manager Mark Parulan to Wheels: “The Xpander Cross will be the new top-of-the-line variant in the Xpander line-up. We believe that with the new features offered by the Cross model, it is a better option for our customers that are looking for a sportier and more SUV-like vehicle that does not compromise the car-like feel and affordable pricing.”
MMPC president and CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri expressed similar confidence in the vehicle, which measures 4.5 x 1.8 x 1.75 meters. “With the entry of the Xpander Cross (and) its added features, we see renewed potential to the already successful Xpander nameplate,” he said.
Still bearing Mitsubishi’s familiar Dynamic Shield design, the Xpander Cross is given a skid plate, LED headlights and fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch molding and side body garnish, and a roof rail.
In addition, Parulan reported that the Cross “has class-leading 225mm ground clearance that is higher than some SUVs available in the market. This is a great compliment to (its) new robust design anchored on a spacious and comfortable interior, driving comfort, a tough and luxurious look, and the strong and durable reputation of the Mitsubishi brand.”
Under the hood of the MPV is the reliable 16-valve, DOHC 1.5-liter gasoline engine of the line. Mitsubishi asserts that, “thanks to high-performance sound-absorbing and vibration-blocking materials installed in the engine (compartment), the Xpander Cross is the top level of its class (with) near 80-percent articulation index.” The articulation index is an indication of how much speech within the vehicle cabin can be heard while the automobile is in operation.
When the launch campaign of the Xpander Cross finally gets underway, it will feature the Arellano celebrity family as its brand ambassadors. “The family is the best representation of a modern and adventurous Filipino family. Despite their hectic schedule, both Drew and Iya are still able to balance a fun and healthy lifestyle. They both excel in their professional careers, are known for their sporty lifestyle and still manage to be amazing parents to their kids,” said Alvin Dalida, MMPC FVP for marketing and sales.
The Xpander Cross has a black dashboard with brown accents, while its seats are covered with two-tone leather. The head unit features a seven-inch touchscreen with reverse camera. As with other variants, it has configurable seats – the second- and third-row seats can be folded flat with no gap – to accommodate cargo and other payload. For added convenience, there are power outlets in the front, middle and rear rows. Ample storage spaces/cubby holes are also available.
When asked if there will be other variants coming in the future, Parulan said, “for ways to improve our products and satisfy the needs of our customers. The development and release of new products and variants are focused on customer experience and feedback.”
The Mitsubishi Xpander Cross is priced at P1.255 million and is available in White Pearl, Sterling Silver Metallic, Graphite Grey Metallic, and Sunrise Orange Metallic. For more information, visit www.mmpc.ph.