2023 Mitsubishi Xpander–When the Mitsubishi Xpander arrived on our shores in 2018, I’m sure there were some doubters that it could replace the aging Adventure AUV. Despite its age and lack of safety features, the latter had continuously proven its worth as a family vehicle and a commercial workhorse.It’s a different story with the second upgrade, and I’d like to believe Mitsubishi listened to consumer comments (at least for some of them). Full disclosure: I own a 2019 Mitsubishi Xpander, so it’s reasonable for me to see areas where it could be better.Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) gave us the opportunity to put the Xpander version 1.2 through its paces. Let’s see if my first impressions assessment of the 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander strikes all the right notes.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Exterior
The body shell of the current Xpander is identical to that of the original. This permits the overall silhouette to be preserved, right down to the distinctive character line on the sides. The front and back ends, on the other hand, are vastly different. Because of how crowded the original Xpander’s Dynamic Shield fascia was, it took me a while to get used to it. The facelifted Xpander, on the other hand, was pretty easy on the eyes. I couldn’t figure out why, but it hit me when I was writing this post. The new blacked-out grille provided a pool of negative space for my eyes to rest in, while the larger chrome lines on the Dynamic Shield’s contour attracted my focus to the reworked T-shaped LED headlights on the side.Even the foglamps further down the front bumper have been encased in a more streamlined housing. Mitsubishi repositioned the license plate holder to make the grille appear larger than it is. However, while the negative space worked on the grille, I didn’t think it worked on the headlamps, which tempered my enthusiasm. The facelifted Xpander sports a notably higher ride height on the sides, thanks to greater ground clearance (equivalent to the current Xpander Cross) and larger 17-inch alloy wheels. With new T-shaped LED tail lamps, a more angular apron, and a restyled ear bumper that, incidentally, now omits the rear fog lamp, the model’s new rear end appears more tighter optically than ever before.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Interior
The cabin of the facelifted Xpander felt both familiar and new, much like the exterior. It still has three rows of sitting, but it now has a new diamond design on the cloth. From the cubby holes in the front to the underfloor storage in the back, it retains the model’s vast cargo area. The newer Xpander, however, has a restyled dashboard with brushed aluminum trim, which is more elegant than the present version. Padded surfaces have also been installed, particularly on the door panels. The steering wheel has been reworked to be beefier and sportier in appearance while still being adjustable for reach and rake. The folding second-row armrest now has cupholders, which irritates me little.Faux carbon fiber may appear pretentious (at least to me), but it would have been a better choice for the shift console than the piano black plastic. Many Xpander owners I know have complained about scratches that have gathered on the latter material over time, and have had to conceal the damage with aftermarket stickers. Unfortunately, the driver’s side visor still lacks a vanity mirror.
It’s safe to argue that technology played a role in increasing the cockpit’s size. This is due to the removal of the handbrake lever, which has been replaced by an electronic parking brake switch. The bulging rotary knobs on the climate controls have been replaced with flush-mounted switches and buttons. There’s no need to fiddle with a 12-volt power plug under the center console now that it’s been separated into two USB ports (one Type C and one Type A) for charging personal gadgets at the back of the box.The 7-inch touchscreen head unit is distinctive, with a dial beneath the row of tactile controls. That’s because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on the monitor, which explains why the auxiliary input jack was removed from the prior “iPod-ready” version (not that I mind). Standard features include power windows, power-folding side mirrors, and push-button engine start.Dual airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, seven seatbelts, and a reverse camera are all standard safety features on the facelifted Xpander. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the availability of traction and stability control, which had previously been reserved for the Xpander Cross (and the GLS Sport before it).
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Powertrain
In terms of the powertrain, there’s nothing to write home about. The facelifted Xpander continues to be powered by a 1.5-liter 4A91 gasoline engine that produces 103 horsepower and 141 Nm of torque. The gearbox is the same 4-speed torque converter automatic, replete with old-school overdrive button, so anyone expecting a continuously variable transmission would be disappointed. The car is still rev-happy and zippy to a fault, but drivers will need to keep a light foot on the gas pedal to achieve the reduced fuel consumption figures that a CVT would have provided.Mitsubishi chose to improve on the Xpander’s original suspension system with adjustments on the current model, which I noticed throughout my test drive. Even with the additional ride height, the facelifted Xpander exhibited less body roll in turns than my own unit, despite the fact that the seats didn’t appear to be any more bolstered. The feat was even more astounding because there appeared to be no weight gain over the present version.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Price release
The upgrades are mirrored in the pricing, with the base GLX manual costing Php 1,030,000 and the top-of-the-line GLS automatic costing Php 1,160,000, a premium of up to Php 32,000 over the existing model. I’m convinced that the 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander will remain a force to be reckoned with in the compact MPV sector, given what it offers (and what it currently needs).