JOHANNESBURG - Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Mitsubishi Motors South Africa couldn’t physically host us at its Xpander launch today in Gauteng. However, the company has invited us to invite you to take a glimpse behind the scenes. Combining the traditional versatility and practicality of a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) with the rugged and sporty looks of a sports-utility vehicle (SUV), Mitsubishi says its latest seven-seater Xpander is ready to take the highly competitive South African market by storm.
Watch the full 2021 Mitsubishi Xpander South African media launch video:
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2021 MITSUBISHI XPANDER
“As the name suggests, the much anticipated Xpander is all about broadening one’s horizons, whether that be in terms of lifestyle choices, or family dynamics,” explains Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA). “With the introduction of this very exciting addition to our line-up, we hope to strengthen our positions in both the MPV and compact SUV segments of the local market.”
The interior of the new Xpander might be all MPV, but the exterior screams SUV, so it’s equally well suited to everyday commuting, family road trips and leisure activities, he notes. In addition, its stylish ruggedness and practicality means you can take on a variety of terrains in confidence, without having to compromise on comfort.
With a turning circle of 5.2m, the Xpander handles with the agility of a much smaller vehicle. The suspension in the Xpander has been solidly reinforced which enhances the driving comfort. The quality construction and comprehensive anti-noise and anti-vibration measures make this vehicle stand out from the rest. “Our recent sales figures prove that we are getting the mix right in terms of our model range and our target markets. The Xpander will undoubtedly appeal to buyers with active lifestyles who are looking for something a little different to what our main competitors in the segment are offering,” Campbell says.
There are two models in the local line-up. Both feature a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine and the main difference between the two is the use of either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
Xpanding on a global success story
Based on the XM Concept that was first showcased at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in 2016, the production version of the Xpander debuted at the same event a year later, before going on sale in Indonesia. It caused such a stir at the Auto Show that more than 11 000 pre-orders were received. To meet this unexpectedly high local demand, the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Indonesia had to double its monthly production output.
The plant now feeds markets in the Philippines, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Bolivia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. In 2019 the Xpander was Indonesia’s most exported car, with well over 64 000 units finding homes in countries abroad. In the four years since the Xpander was launched in Indonesia, it has raked in numerous noteworthy awards and accolades.
Another key market for the Xpander is the Philippines and here, too, it has been honoured with various awards. The Xpander – which is the best-selling MPV in the Philippines – was hailed as the 2019/2020 Automobile of the Year (AYO) in the standard category of the Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards (AFPCA), a public poll that aims to determine the country’s most popular automotive brands and models. It also won the Model of the Year and the Best Design awards in the category for MPV’s. In the 2020/2021 edition of the same awards, it walked off with the silverware as the MPV/Van of the Year.
In Vietnam it’s a very similar story, with the Xpander winning the coveted Car of the Year title for 2021 after scoring highly in the segment for small and medium MPV’s. The winner was determined through a voting system that involved the public as well as the media. The Xpander also consistently appears on the Vietnamese list of top ten best-selling cars.
“The way in which other markets have reacted to the Xpander, as well as the host of awards it has won, is nothing short of impressive,” - Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA). “We are, understandably, very excited to be able to add the Xpander to our local line-up of Mitsubishi products as we believe local buyers will embrace it with the same enthusiasm.”
Exterior – a powerful first impression
The all-new Xpander arguably boasts the kind of exterior styling that will get you noticed, whether you’re pulling into a picnic area or driving up to a luxury hotel. At the heart of the modern yet practical look is Mitsubishi’s so-called Dynamic Shield Design, which is intended to express not only performance, but also protection. Front-face configurations of past-generation Mitsubishi models served to protect both the occupants and the vehicle. The new face with its black central area builds on this approach, but enhances it by adding a hint of sportiness and performance.
With sporty alloy wheels – 15-inch on the manual model and 16-inch of the automatic derivative – and wide flared fenders, the Xpander portrays toughness and power from the first glance. Crystal clear headlights, daytime running lights and L-illuminated LED taillights that extend onto the tailgate add to the overall look. The Xpander’s higher ground clearance of 205 mm is another feature that is immediately noticeable and emphasises its sporty, but practical character.
Interior – ‘Omotenashi’ in every detail
Mitsubishi strongly believes in the principle of ‘Omotenashi’ – a Japanese word that captures the way in which Japanese hosts pay attention to detail and anticipate the needs of their guests. This approach is clearly evident in the cabin of the all-new Xpander, which provides ample space for up to seven adults to travel in comfort and style.
The flexible seating can be configured to suit a variety of needs, ranging from carrying passengers and luggage to transporting lifestyle-focused items. The second- and third-row seats have a 60/40 split, while the seats of the third row can be folded completely flat and stowed to create additional space in the cargo area. The latter also features a floor box with lid for safe storage of smaller items.
Occupant comfort is further enhanced through full automatic air-conditioning with a manual rear overhead cooler, electric windows all round, USB port in the front, 120-Watt power sockets to supply every row of seating and clever storage compartments under the seats to ensure that personal items are out of the way but within easy reach.
Driver comfort is ensured through a tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel that features Bluetooth voice control for hands-free communication and a multi-information display. The rear-view camera has a high resolution that is said to deliver optimal visibility and a wide field of vision.
Performance – balancing power and efficiency
The all-new Xpander’s brisk performance, low fuel consumption and reduced noise are claimed to be a result of using the company’s durable 1.5-litre DOHC 16-valve aluminium block engine. This powerplant features Mitsubishi’s Intelligent Innovative Valve Timing Lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) system and ECI multipoint fuel injection and pushes out 77kW at 6000rpm, with 141Nm of peak torque on tap at 4000rpm.
With a fuel tank of 45 litres, average fuel consumption in a combined cycle is claimed to be 6.9l/100km for the manual model and 7l/100km for the automatic derivative.
Safety – technology where it’s needed most
Befitting its status as a people carrier, the all-new Xpander features a range of innovative safety features as standard. Designed to protect not only the driver and passengers, but other road users as well, these include airbags for the driver and front passenger, seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as well as an impact-absorbing structure at the front-end of the vehicle. Additional safety for young occupants is provided through ISOFIX child seat anchors.
The Xpander also benefits from an advanced all-direction collision reinforced impact safety evolution (RISE) body construction with side impact bars. Coming-home and welcome lights enhance the overall safety, security and practicality.
Warranty and service – added peace of mind
The new Mitsubishi Xpander comes standard with a three-year/100 000km manufacturer’s warranty and a two-year/30 000km service plan. The price also includes five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance, meanwhile service intervals are set at 15 000km or one year intervals, whichever comes first.
PRICES OF THE 2021 MITSUBISHI XPANDER IN SOUTH AFRICA
Xpander 1.5-litre (manual) - R299 995
Xpander 1.5-litre (automatic) - R319 995