More than a pretty face —Behind the phenomenal success of the Mitsubishi Xpander

There are always high expectations whenever a new car is introduced in the market. This is especially true in segments that are deemed as family cars – sedans and MPVs. It becomes an understatement with the Mitsubishi Xpander because it came into the Philippines not just as a new model, but as a replacement for an icon.

For two decades prior to the introduction of the Xpander, Filipinos had the option to get the Mitsubishi Adventure as their family car. This 10-seater not only helped families, but also paved the way for a new mode of public transport that still exists today. Mitsubishi even celebrated the 100,000th unit that rolled off its production floor in the Philippines. It’s no wonder then that even at the end of its life, it was still a good contributor to the figures of the brand.

This is what the Xpander faced upon landing on our shore. It won’t compete only with its would-be rivals but also be pitted against the legacy left behind by the Adventure as it slots in the same family carrier spot in Mitsubishi’s local lineup. There is no doubt that the Xpander is a head-turner, but will it deliver the same numbers as the Adventure?

Right out of the gate, the Mitsubishi Xpander went to the upper seats in the brand’s local lineup. It had a lot of reservations upon its launch in 2018 and ended the year with 13,502 units sold. That made the Xpander the bestselling small MPV in the Philippines and broke into the top 10 bestselling cars in the country that year.

What makes the Mitsubishi Xpander so appealing? Its futuristic exterior design plays a part for sure but it’s more than that. Its biggest difference from the one it replaced is ride quality. The Mitsubishi Xpander has moved away from the Adventure’s body-on-frame design and instead, utilized a unibody chassis. This gives it more of a sedan-like ride comfort but with the space and seating that’s a signature for MPVs.

Speaking of space, there’s lots of it in the Xpander. Its dimensions are bigger than the Adventure and Mitsubishi has translated it generously into the interior. The second row has abundant headroom and legroom even for tall passengers standing around 5’10. Those of more average build will also find the third row to be roomy enough especially with the second row seats able to slide forward. Combine this with amenities like cruise control, lots of pockets in every corner, and power outlets in every row and the Xpander is a suitable MPV for long drives for all occupants.

Aside from having lots of space and providing comfort for its passengers, the Mitsubishi Xpander also made sure to keep all its occupants safe. It has front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, ISOFIX tethers, Active Stability Control, Traction Control, and Hill Start Assist. Overall, this gave the Xpander a 4-star rating from the ASEAN NCAP.

Where the Xpander shines best is where it matters most — in the wallet. Aside from a competitive price point, the Xpander is a very fuel-efficient MPV. It utilizes a 1.5L MIVEC engine paired to a 4-speed automatic. In a fuel economy drive based on the Department of Energy’s standards and overseen by the Automobile Association of the Philippines, the Mitsubishi Xpander recorded 22.94 km/l while the base model with a 5-speed manual transmission had 21.01 km/l.

The Xpander’s attractive feature set didn’t go unnoticed. In Indonesia where it was first launched, it received accolades immediately as it won Favorite Car from GIIAS 2017, New Kid on The Road of the Year from ICar Asia People’s Choice Awards 2017; 2018 Car of the Year, Best of the Best MPV, and Best Low MPV from OTOMOTIF Awards; Best Low MPV, and Favorite Car by reader survey from; FORWOT Car of the Year, and Carvaganza Editor’s Choice 2018.

The Xpander also snagged yet more awards in other regions. It was hailed Vehicle of the Year 2021 in Malaysia and Top Compact Crossover Sales Award 2019 from Thailand Automotive Journalists Association. Grand Prix International PLC also gave the Xpander the Thailand Car of the Year 2019, 2020 Best MPV under 1,600cc, and 2022 Most Valuable MPV awards.

Here in the Philippines, it was awarded as the Best Compact Carrier from C! Magazine in 2019; Automobile of the Year and Van/MPV of the Year, from Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards; and Best Design MPV of the Year from the Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards.

As expected, all these awards translated into more units moved for the Xpander. In its first full year in the Philippines in 2019, the Xpander sold 19,089 units and had a total of almost 60,000 units sold by April 2022. Global sales reached 372,000 units as of October 2021 since its launch in Indonesia back in 2017.

Mitsubishi continues the momentum of the Xpander here in the Philippines as it officially unveiled its latest iteration. With revisions on its aesthetics, interior amenities, and tweaked suspension, the Xpander is set to maintain its lead in the MPV segment here and in other markets.

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