Maiden Run: The Mitsubishi Xforce is simply stellar

Mitsubishi Philippines is undoubtedly on a roll right now with their offerings. The Xpander and Mirage G4 rose in the rankings of best-selling cars in the Philippines for 2023, they ended last year with more market share, and the Triton pickup was launched this January. Now they’re pulling the curtains on their latest crossover – the Xforce. 

The name reminds me of Super Sentai series from Japan like Maskman and Bioman and somehow it seems apt. The Mitsubishi Xforce is vibrant beyond its body color, action-packed, and just like any SS series – it is super fun. We were given the chance to drive it prior to launch and all I can say is, it is a stellar crossover. 

Starting with the design, Mitsubishi has clever tricks here and there. Like the headlights hidden within the DRL assembly that you won’t notice them during daytime. The shoulders by the rear wheel wells transition nicely to the taillights – that are also shaped like the DRL! Then they avoided a dull tailgate by implementing a similar shape to the front face. I’m not a fan of body color diffusers but I respect their decision in making that in order to break the huge rear bumper. 

The cabin also has its small touches of genius. Buttons were retained for the crucial controls like drive mode, dual-zone aircon, and electronic parking brake. The front seats have an upper pocket at the back for phones and other similarly sized items, while the rear armrest opens a section of the rear seat for easier access to the cargo area. And that cargo area has two levels of flooring – flat and recessed – to cater to your needs.

Ironically, the one thing I wasn’t impressed by in the cabin is an Xforce signature – its audio. It has Yamaha’s Automotive Sound System and it missed the mark by a few. It sounds decent but it lacks significant punch in the low end. You can hear this quirk with any song that has an acoustic drum with it or modern songs with boomy bass like Kendrick Lamar’s Humble and Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy. It’s just not as lively. I tried to fix it with their plethora of customization but the thing that can fix it – an EQ – is not present. There’s only a 2-band (bass, treble) adjustment. However, it’s commendable how its ‘Yamaha Signature Sound’ gives a great soundstage for all occupants which isn’t the case for its American-based competitors.

If you see the Xforce’s powertrain, it’s understandable if you feel underwhelmed. It has the same 1.5L engine as the Xpander, no turbo, and paired to a CVT. On paper that is a recipe for a vanilla drive and yet the Xforce delivered a lot of smiles per minute. 

The Xforce is comfy, nimble, and is willing to rev high for our driving pleasure. Mitsubishi made proper use of every horsepower available on the engine, and tuned the CVT so that there’s almost no rubber band effect apparent. 

Ride comfort was great especially at the back thanks to shock absorbers it borrowed from the Montero Sport. It’s not afraid on taking corners too and does so with minimal body roll. Together with a quiet cabin, it really makes for a great riding experience.

What’s surprising is it’s fun to drive in the dirt despite being a front-wheel driven crossover, and again a CVT. Much of that is thanks to the Gravel and Dirt drive modes of the Xforce. It’s such a powerful feature as it controls the Active Yaw Control, together with the Traction Control, steering, and throttle input if you’re on loose soil, mud, or dirt. 

During our activity, the Xforce was very confident in tackling the dirt as if it was meant to be a rally car. Playing on wet mud also proved to be peanuts to the new crossover, never allowing you to lose control or be stuck. If you’re over-revving, the Xforce itself will choke the throttle input so you don’t have too much wheel spin. In contrast if you don’t have much throttle input, it will maximize the Traction Control so you can still get out of the mud. Overall, this is what sets the Xforce apart from the competition.

If you’re the kind that goes into rough patches spontaneously, the Mitsubishi Xforce should be the top notcher in your list. It has more than enough space for all its occupants, the right amount of tech, and the capability to get you out of sticky situations in the dirt. It’s perfect for those who are always thinking of going into the mountains of Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan, the winding roads of Marilaque, and even the serene patch of nature in Lake Mapanuepe (if guided accordingly). 

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