Sometimes it turns out exactly what is written on the bank. In the new Mitsubishi Xpander, this name describes a vehicle with a modular interior that can be expanded from five to seven, or converted into a van by flipping all the rear seats.
Compared to rivals such as the Toyota Avanza, Suzuki Ertiga and Honda BR-V, Mitsubushi is the latest entrant in the growing segment of affordable seven-seat multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). It is suitable for vehicles on a tight budget that does not cover Hyundai H1, Ford Tourneo Connect or VW Kombi territory.
The Xpander is sold in a single specification of 1.5.l model, and the only choice you get is whether it’s a five-speed manual (R299 995) or a four-speed automatic (R 319,995). The prices compare favorably with those of the Avanza and Ertiga, which offer similar power to the Mitsubishi with 77 kW, while the BR-V is the most expensive in the arena, but also has the highest power at 88 kW.
The Xpander is the longest of the bunch at 4,475mm (Toyota 4,190mm, Suzuki 4,395mm and Honda 4,453mm), and this is evident in the relatively spacious cabin of the Xpander.
The car is ideal for teaching youth soccer, but it has enough room for six or seven adults. Adults can sit in the back row with reasonable comfort if the middle row passengers slide their seats forward on sliding rails. The backrests of all seats can be adjusted separately in the modular knife-like interior of the Swiss Army, and the middle row can be tilted forward relative to the front seats to carry bulky cargo.
Impressive utility, though the only problem this compact minivan shares with its price-conscious rivals is that it has a tiny luggage compartment in seven-seat mode, and there is only enough room in the trunk for no more than a couple of togg bags. At least there is a full-size spare wheel under the chassis. The third row of the Xpander needs to be turned over to expand the trunk to a 781 family size.l, and buyers looking for three rows of seats with more luggage space should look to the more expensive Combi / H1 league.
Although larger than its competitors, the Xpander does not look like a versatile “mommy cell phone” with its futuristic styling, which includes the Mitsubishi Dynamic Shield design on the front.
However, the affordable price provides some cost savings. The plastic in the cabin of this budget family truck is stiff and lacks touch panels to give it a premium feel, although the cabin is spared the too low rent by the silver decorative trim.
There is a lockable storage compartment between the front seats, but no armrest; further evidence of penny infringement.