Mitsubishi reveals Xpander crossover for Asean

The Xpander features the brand's Dynamic Shield design.

The MPV-cum-SUV seven-seater comes with high ground clearance, 105hp 1.5-litre petrol engine and is aimed at stealing attention from Honda's Mobilio and BR-V.

Is this an MPV or an SUV?

A mix of both, perhaps. First previewed as the XM Concept, Mitsubishi's new seven-seat MPV is an answer to the Honda Mobilio, Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Avanza and made its world debut at this week's Indonesia International Auto Show.

Called the Xpander, the crossover also has sufficient ground clearance to tackle poor road conditions and make it an alternative to the Honda BR-V SUV.

Mitsubishi says the latest model has class-leading dimensions: 4,475mm length, 1,750mm width, 1,700mm height and 205mm ground clearance. By comparison, the BR-V's dimensions are 4,453mm, 1,735mm, 1,666mm and 201mm.

Unlike the Avanza's ancient chassis-on-frame floor plan, the Xpander comes with a monocoque platform for enhanced handling and ride comfort.

Note the vehicle's face bearing the brand's Dynamic Shield design philosophy, with a very simple fascia layout in the usual Mitsubishi fashion. Apart from the three-row cabin, Mitsubishi has confirmed one feature convenient for this region: remote engine start, so that the cabin can be pre-cooled.

The three-row cabin focuses on simplicity of use.

Cool. What's under the bonnet?

Mitsubishi says there's a 105hp 1.5-litre petrol engine with MIVEC variable valve-timing control. The motor is touted for its high output and low fuel consumption.

This sounds like a challenge, for the company has confirmed a rather old-fashioned four-speed automatic, aside from the five-speed manual option. Drive is purely via the front wheels. Mitsubishi hasn't provided any fuel economy figures yet.

The BR-V and Mobilio are both powered by a 117hp 1.5-litre petrol motor mated to a CVT automatic transmission.

Will the Xpander come to Thailand?

As with all of its competition, the new Mitsubishi seven-seater has been aimed primarily at Indonesia, where it will be made. The Thai Mitsubishi office could import it via Afta trade benefits, with a possible debut later this year.

Should it do so, expect competitive pricing in keeping with all the Mitsubishis currently on sale. Honda's BR-V goes for 750,000 baht in five-seat form and 820,000 baht in seven-seat guise.

Because Mitsubishi is now tied up with Nissan, it's likely that the latter brand will get its own version based on the former's to replace the Livina/Grand Livina. A Nissan executive once told a group of Asia-Pacific journalists of this plan, which would help boost economies of scale for both brands.

The vehicle has higher ground clearance than the Honda BR-V.

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