It’s been a while since Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) launched a brand new model so the world premiere of the all-new XPANDER at the 25th GAIKINDO Indonesia International Auto Show in Jakarta, Indonesia this week is more significant than usual. The XPANDER is a next-generation MPV developed with the Indonesian market in mind but also to be sold in other countries.
The name is said to reflect MMC’s ambition to expand the customer’s motoring experience, and to make it more fulfilling as well as more enjoyable. The company explains that the ‘XPAND’ in the name also refers to ‘Xpanded market presence, Xpanded design, Xpanded comfort, Xpanded e-convenience and Xpanded performance’.
“The Mitsubishi XPANDER is set to expand MMC’s strong presence in the Indonesian SUV and Light Commercial Vehicle markets further into the booming MPV segments and beyond, throughout the ASEAN region. We intend to be right at the forefront of this growth by expanding customers’ lives,” said Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
Blending functionality with adventurous SUV spirit, the new model offers ruggedness and roominess, character and convenience, with style and function all fused and expanded into as next-generation MPV. Refined ride comfort in a tough, yet stylish vehicle with ample space for seven and their luggage is claimed.
According to said Tsunehiro Kunimoto, Corporate Vice President, Design Division, the XPANDER’s design and features are based on many and long discussions with customers. “The XPANDER was actually designed by our customers. I simply turned their thoughts, needs and desires into shapes,” he explained.
The 4475 mm long MPV (about the same length as a Nissan Grand Livina) has the distinctive ‘Dynamic Shield’ front design concept used in some other Mitsubishi models. As its name suggests, it gives expression to the protection of passengers and pedestrians while also adding dynamic looks.
The LED position lights are located high up in the bonnet side trim, not just for good looks, but also to make the vehicle more noticeable. The headlights are placed low in the bumper, to maximize vision during rough road conditions. The rear combination LED lights uniquely extend into the tailgate with separate L-shaped LED tail lights.
The roofline tops a greenhouse with generous glazing all round for an airy interior ambience. Thanks to a partially glazed-in rear pillar, the roof itself seems to float above the car. There are subtle hints of tailfins in the rear side panels.
The model for the Indonesia market has a generous 205 mm of ground clearance. This will enable the vehicle to be driven over rough roads as well as cross flooded stretches. The suspension has been tuned for comfort and driving stability so it will also be enjoyable to drive on highways and in the urban areas.
The 7-seater XPANDER is wider outside (1750 mm) and larger inside than competitors in this class. The roomy cabin space – largest in its segment – and the clever occupant layout of the XPANDER are complemented by generous luggage space. Access to the third-row seats is also easy.
The backrests in the second row (60:40 split) and third row (50:50 split) can easily be folded down to arrange the seats and luggage in various combinations, or to create a large flat storage area without bumps, or gaps. Also, the centre backrest of the second row can be folded down to create a wide armrest, or to clear space for extra-long items, like a rolled carpet, or even a tall ladder.
With 7 people on board, lots of storage spaces will be needed, especially in this age where people carry different personal devices. MMC’s interior designers have provided an abundance of large and small storage spaces and no less than 16 bottle holders.
Cabin noise levels are claimed to be low, partly due to the use of a panoramic windscreen with thick, high-quality, soundproof glass, laminated with an extra sound-absorbing layer to block out outside noise. This feature is unique in its segment.
Air-conditioning is a must in tropical conditions and a powerful system is installed in the XPANDER. It has 8 blower settings for the front seats, and 4 settings for the rear. To make driving safer, the large ribbed buttons can be operated by feel alone so the driver does not have to take his or her eyes off the road when making adjustments.
Initially, the XPANDER will have a 16-valve 1.5-litre MIVEC 4-cylinder petrol engine which has an output of 105 ps/141 Nm. There is a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions which deliver power to the front wheels.
As part of MMC’s commitment to Indonesia’s economy, the XPANDER is produced at the company’s new factory in the Bekasi Prefecture, West Java Province. An annual production of the model is set at 80,000 units, with sale starting in the fourth quarter of this year and exports beginning from early 2018.
While Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has not discussed the availability of the XPANDER in Malaysia in future, it is almost certain that the company will offer it. Being made in Indonesia, it can be brought in without import duties using the AFTA agreement privileges. The addition of a MPV to the local range would certainly help boost the sales volume which is largely made up of the Triton pick-up presently.