Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) has finally launched the newly-refreshed Xpander MPV. Slated to arrive in dealers this May as a 2023 model, the new Mitsubishi Xpander comes with a host of aesthetic and feature upgrades to keep it competitive amid stiff competition, chief of which is the upcoming 2022 Toyota Avanza.
Three variants will be sold: GLX M/T, GLX A/T, and GLS A/T (as shown). Regardless of which variant is chosen, the new 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander gets a revised Dynamic Shield grille, which now combines gloss black bars in the upper section and a mesh grille down below. Flanking it are new T-shaped headlights, which are halogens on the GLX and LEDs on the GLS. Below its face is a faux skid plate to give the Xpander a rugged look.
My biggest contention point with the Xpander was its face, and with the front overhangs being extended by 75 mm, my aesthetic issues towards its face were mostly fixed. The rear overhang has also been extended by 45 mm to give the Xpander better proportions. Its ride height has also been increased by 20 mm, which is now at 225 mm. To complement this, new 17-inch alloy wheels now come as standard, and it’s bigger than last year’s 16-inch wheels. Lastly, the rear end of the Xpander also benefits from a revised rear bumper, a cleaner tailgate design, and new LED taillights.
Interior Design and Features
Mitsubishi also improved the Xpander’s cabin for the 2023 model year. While it aesthetically looks similar to the previous model, material quality has been significantly improved. Padded soft-touch surfaces now adorn the dashboard, while the door panels now come with synthetic leather. It’s indeed a huge improvement from the previous model. There’s also a new electronic parking brake for the first time, but this is just for the GLS A/T variant.
Another improvement is the new 7-inch infotainment system that is not anymore from some local third-party supplier. It’s standard on all variants, and it’s the same unit that’s seen in the Mirage G4, and it works responsively and intuitively enough. There are also hard buttons which is always a good thing, and it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mitsubishi also added new digital controls for the air conditioning, giving it a modern look even if this doesn’t come with automatic climate control. The GLX variants come with mechanical dials though.
Space and Practicality
Space and practicality remain largely unchanged this year, though rear-seat passengers now benefit from USB-A and USB-C ports. It’s also one of the only in the subcompact MPV segment to have a fully-flat cargo area when all the seats are folded. The third row is still best left for kids, but at least being an MPV, it’s a much more usable space than if it were a true body-on-frame SUV.
The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander still uses the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine as before, which means it produces 105 hp and 141 Nm of torque. However, whereas overseas models debuted with a CVT, the Philippine-market Xpander still uses the same 4-speed automatic as before (or a 5-speed manual for the GLX M/T). This was a deliberate decision, mostly due to how Filipinos tend to treat their subcompact MPVs both as a family car and as a utility vehicle.
From a driving perspective, we drove the new 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander around a closed and private South Lake Village in Eton City, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. A thorough drive is definitely in order, of course, but based on our first impressions, the increase in ride height meant that Mitsubishi had to fit the Xpander with a new suspension setup. It’s theoretically stiffer as a way to counteract body roll, but the ride quality is largely unchanged as before, which means it’s still one of the best in its class in terms of ride comfort.
The 4-speed automatic gets the job done. A more modern CVT would have been welcome, but considering how cars like these are treated in the Philippines, we’re not surprised with the decision. Shifts are responsive enough for the vehicle’s intents and purposes, and the engine itself delivers good performance (for the class at least). Based on our past experience with the Xpander, the engine should be good enough for most families.
As far as handling is concerned, the Xpander still manages to steer securely when thrown around a corner. Body roll is present, but not overly dramatic to be considered wallowy. That’s despite the fact that it’s now a couple of millimeters higher off the ground, which, in theory, should make for compromised handling. That’s the new suspension set up at work to give the Xpander a proper SUV stance while still managing to keep its handling in check.
Refinement remains to be a strength for the 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander. Again, we haven’t taken this out on public roads, but at least on our first impressions, noise, vibration, and harshness are likewise good for the class. There’s not a lot of road and wind noise, though unsurprisingly, the engine itself becomes vocal when pushed.
Lastly, as for safety, this is where we hope Mitsubishi could improve upon the Xpander. These specs are not yet final as we speak, and it’s subject to change until the vehicle arrives in dealers this May. While all variants come with a reverse camera, we wish that Mitsubishi would offer more than just the standard dual SRS airbags on all variants. We also wish that hill start assist and electronic stability control is standard on all variants and not just the top trim GLS, which is the case with the upcoming 2022 Toyota Avanza if its rumored specs are proven to be true.
Prices and Specifications
The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander is now available for pre-order at all dealers nationwide, with units destined to arrive in the Philippines by May.
- GLX M/T: P1,030,000
- GLX A/T: P1,090,000
- GLS A/T: P1,160,000