Mitsubishi New Xpander Ultimate Test Drive: Many Changes, Worth All New Status

 The New Xpander is Mitsubishi's newest product in the MPV class in Indonesia. Present for the first time in November 2021, the New Xpander offers several updates from several sides such as exterior, interior and safety features.

Bearing the New status makes potential consumers wonder what kind of updates are provided, especially in terms of comfort and performance. Mitsubishi revealed that this update improves the driving experience with the Xpander, which is known as one of the most popular MPV products in Indonesia.

Oto.com tried New Xpander Ultimate, the top variant of the latest Xpander for a few days to find out what the sensation of this MPV is like and whether it is worth ogling in the midst of the many MPV products that are flooding the market. Check out the full results below.

Mitsubishi New Xpander
Mitsubishi New Xpander


Exterior

The first discussion certainly cannot be separated from changes in the exterior design of the latest Xpander. The design line is still the same as the old model and Mitsubishi provides the most visible difference in the shape of the headlamp at the front and the stop lamp combination at the rear which now comes with a T shape and uses LED technology. For fans of Mitsubishi's Dynamic Shield design language, don't worry because it's still available on this latest model. The distinctive style of the headlamp at the bottom with LEDs on the top is also still included in this latest model.

Another addition to this latest Xpander comes with a sportier front bumper, side sill garnishes, and also 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels wrapped in 205/55/R17 tires. Although this section is more of a subjective assessment, the Xpander design approach is now closer to the Xpander Cross twin, aka approaching the SUV style. 

Regarding dimensions, the New Xpander offers a length of 4,500 mm, a width of 1,800 mm and a height of 1,750 mm. The ground clearance has increased to 220 mm thanks to the use of 17-inch rims, as well as settings on the suspension which result in cruising ability on various roads in Indonesia.

The unit borrowed by Oto.com carries the Blade Silver Metallic color. This is one of the colors offered from a total of five colors on the New Xpander, namely Quartz White Pearl, Jet Black Mica, Graphite Gray Metallic and Sunrise Orange Metallic. Regarding the price, the white color is given an additional cost of Rp. 1.5 million from the price offered by Mitsubishi.

Interiors

Entering the New Xpander, the changes are felt in several parts. The most striking is the dashboard design which now uses the horizontal axis design language with a touch of soft pad in some parts. This makes it look more premium and with the addition of a wood panel in the middle, the impression of exclusivity is quite pronounced. This soft touch can also be felt on the door trim which shows a combination of plastic material and stitches on the soft pad.

The main concern is on the 8-inch head unit screen which has smartphone connectivity, voice recognition, USB player, and iPhone/iPad/iPod connectivity and as a monitor for the rear camera. In appearance, the new Xpander head unit is ordinary but it must be admitted that the sound distribution is quite slick thanks to the presence of tweeters on the A pillar and speakers scattered in the cabin.

Mitsubishi New Xpander
Mitsubishi New Xpander


Attention then turns to the now digitalized AC settings with buttons for blowout and temperature. Unfortunately for the temperature the instructions do not show the number of degrees Celsius and still use bar instructions that have different lengths. This was confusing if you want to set a cooler temperature to be directed up or down.

Regarding cabin color, the latest Xpander Ultimate comes in a premium beige color. This color also gives an airy impression with a fairly comfortable seat design. The driver can adjust the comfort with the presence of setting the direction of the seat lying upright, high and low and back and forth manually. Convenience is also obtained with the ability to adjust the tilt and telescopic.

Speaking of the driver's area, the New Xpander steering wheel comes with a new design inspired by the Mitsubishi Evo product. The circle feels comfortable in the hand with a diameter that is not too large and the presence of a touch of anti-slip leather. Convenience is present thanks to the audio steering switch on the left side and the cruise control button on the right side.

The meter cluster also gets an update on the side of the opening animation when the vehicle is started. Besides that, the function is still the same, namely showing various information about the vehicle, starting from the odometer, outdoor temperature, fuel consumption, mileage and so on. Instructions for engine speed and speed still use the conventional needle which is clearer.

Another convenience that is present in the Ultimate variant is the electric parking brake feature with auto hold and a start stop button to start the vehicle engine. The Xpander also offers 19 storage spaces spread throughout the cabin. For the second row, convenience comes with a double blower for air conditioning, armrest on the passenger seat with cup holder, and a USB port for charging on the center console.

The second line problem also does not change with the previous model. The second row still offers ample room for the legs and head of the passenger. There is no difficulty for passengers with a height of 169 - 170 cm in the second row. The second row seats can also be adjusted back and forth and lie upright to provide comfort for third row passengers.

As an MPV with a capacity of seven passengers, access to the third row is quite easy. Passengers simply press the lever in the second row to fold the seat forward and give passengers access to enter. Comfort in the third row comes from the placement of cup holders on the left and right and a power socket for charging on the right side of the vehicle. Although it comes with a narrow mirror at the back, sitting in the third row still provides a wide perspective towards the front as well as headroom that is not too cramped for a person with a height of 169 cm. As an added convenience, the headrests of all the seats in the second and third rows are separate and can be adjusted for comfort.

Talking about the cabin can not be separated from the size of the luggage. Access to open the rear door has been using the electric button although it is still with a manual spring. When the third row is not folded, there is enough room to put a medium-sized bag and a compartment at the bottom for storing shoes and tools. Folding the third row of seats is also quite easy, just pull the rope at the end of the third row of seats and the bench will fold flat on the floor. As a result, larger luggage space is obtained with easy access for loading and unloading large items.

Machine

Regarding the engine, the New Xpander still uses a 1.5L Mive DOHC 1,499 cc engine that produces 105 ps of power at 6,000 rpm and 141 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The update is present in the transmission which is now offered with a five-speed manual option and the latest CVT. In terms of energy, it is no different from the previous model, but about the sensation of driving with a CVT transmission, the New Xpander is claimed to be more efficient.

The sensation of using a CVT is different when it is still a conventional transmission. Although now the Xpander only offers P, R, N, D and L transmission modes, this transmission comes with an 8-speed simulation that makes the sense of shifting gears quite pronounced. Unfortunately there is no manual mode in this transmission as well as the paddle shift behind the wheel.

If the driver wants to get a burst of power to pass other vehicles, just press the S button on the transmission lever which will bring up the S (sport) mode. This allows the computer to shift gears at high rpm with the greatest force that can be felt. During the use of the New Xpander, the S button is the most widely used because it makes it easier when you want to accelerate quickly. 

During use for a period of one week with a distance of about 400 kilometers, the New Xpander shows consistent fuel consumption figures at 12-15 km per liter. This is due to use in the city, freeways with various conditions, namely traffic jams, stop and go and smooth.

This consumption calculation is also helped thanks to the presence of the auto start stop feature. This feature will turn off the engine when in a temporary stop condition such as at a red light with the foot fully pressing the brake pedal. The engine will restart when the brake pedal is released.

Convenience during the use of the New Xpander comes from the new electric parking brake feature which comes with auto hold. This feature makes it easier to stop by activating auto hold, no need to press the brake pedal continuously. Attention is needed on pressing the acceleration pedal because it takes adaptation to get the car moving again

Driving sensation

The discussion about the sensation of driving is preceded from the driver's point of view. The New Xpander provides a wide viewing distance thanks to the angle of the windshield that protrudes forward. This also affects the position of the A pillar which is not difficult in terms of blind spots when turning. The Xpander dashboard gives a spacious impression, especially on the front which has a wide distance. As mentioned above, the driver can easily adjust the driving comfort in this model thanks to the telescopic tilt setting of the steering wheel as well as thanks to the settings on the seat even though it is still manual using the lever.

The control is quite precise, coupled with the new steering wheel design, making the New Xpander driving sensation quite different from the previous model. Steering with electric power steering is able to translate the desire of the driver to maneuver quite quickly.

Seeing the dimensions of the Xpander which is quite long, which is about 4.5 meters, there are no difficulties when in traffic jams or want to park. The ability to maneuver when parking is assisted by the rear camera while the confidence to maneuver on narrow roads or traffic jams comes from a higher and wider perspective.

 This maneuverability also feels better with the use of Macpherson strut suspension with coil springs at the front and torsion beam at the rear. This suspension is one of the changes from the New Xpander which is now more rigid but does not reduce comfort. The profile does feel tougher and still produces body roll though not too much. This update on the suspension side is even said to use the same technology as the Pajero Sport, especially for the rear suspension which has the same diameter as the Mitsubishi premium SUV.

This convenience side is indeed a concern when using the New Xpander. When bulldozing potholes or bumpy roads, damping works well even though it tends to be hard. The most fun is when this MPV is invited to speed with a little maneuver, the stability is still felt.

The most interesting feature of course cruise control. Its ease of use also helps travel on the expressway. Just press the button on the right of the steering wheel, press the gas pedal up to 60 km per hour, then point the lever down, then this feature is active. The driver just raises and lowers the button to set the desired speed.

About the silence of the cabin, Mitsubishi claims to have increased the ability to reduce sound for comfort while driving. Sound from outside is counted as minimal leaking in the driver's area. But the sound of the engine and tires can still be heard at speeds of 60 to 80 km per hour, which means it comes from the bottom.

Conclusion

It is quite questionable with this many updates, Xpander does not have All New status. The CVT transmission is also capable of translating the driver's wishes quickly for those who like to drive aggressively. Updates to the suspension also managed to make the driving feeling different from the previous model.

It is unfortunate, the difference with the naked eye with the previous model is not too visible. Relying solely on the shape of the lamp and LED technology alone, makes the difference from the outside with the old model insignificant.

In addition, seeing the updates from their tough rivals, namely the Avanza Xenia duo, the latest Xpander must move quickly. This includes responding to the trend of active safety features which are now more popular, which is under Rp. 300 million. Currently Xpander comes with safety features such as ABS EBD and BA, Dual SRS Airbags, ASC, and Hill Start Assist. 

The New Xpander Ultimate which comes with the most changes is now offered at a price of IDR 299.77 million on the Jabodetabek road. This price makes the latest Xpander not included in the PPnBM 2022 scheme, which until now has no technical guidelines. But even so, with this price tag and with the changes offered by Xpander, this low MPV is still the answer for potential consumers who want a low MPV with seven comfortable passengers and a sturdy appearance like an SUV.

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