February 13, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2019 Mitsubishi Xpander GLS Sport

Bases Covered

It may have taken a considerable amount of time for a replacement model, a famously solid 20-year production run for the Mitsubishi Adventure (also known as the Kuda, Jolie, Freeca, and Jockey in other markets), but there is no questioning the model success and its exponential influence on being one of the original affordable Multi-Purpose-Vehicles in not just our Philippine market. Heck, I was one of those owners who recognized its versatility, practicality, and the potential fun you could have with such a robust people mover. Sure, it could be argued that the model hardly evolved during its production life, but neither did the original Volkswagen Beetle Mk.1. Mitsubishi Philippines had a captured and loyal market where many buyers bought the Adventure because the MPV shared the basic powerplant and resembled the face of the hugely popular Pajero. Ultimately, buyers who desired the 2nd generation Pajero V20 felt that they were getting a bargain by buying the Adventure, which had most of the capacity of the Pajero but did not have the 4×4 drivetrain, equipment and more powerful turbocharged engine in our market. I will always have fond memories of our Adventure that we purchased from Carlo Ching of Citimotors Makati in the late 90’s, which I eventually modified through the Car Shack.

The noble Mitsubishi Adventure’s replacement, the Mitsubishi Xpander, is a quantum leap ahead of its predecessor and swiftly earned its best-in-class status in the 2018 14th C! Awards. In stark contrast with the Adventure, which was very spartan and raw, the Xpander is not just larger than the vehicle that it replaces, but is the largest, most powerful, most plush, most comprehensive, and most spacious in its class. Our Quartz White Pearl test unit was the top-spec Xpander GLS Sport model which comes packaged with additional unique standard front, side, and rear aero body cladding, together with additional Active Stability Control, Traction Control, and Hill Start Assist driver aids on top of the strong packaging of the GLS model which already comes with a 6-speaker 7-inch infotainment system, navigation, leather steering wheel (with remote controls and full tilt/telescopic adjustment), cruise control, ESS, ABS and EBD.  The good-looking two-tone 16 x 6.5J alloys are wrapped with appropriate Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 205/55R16 91H tires.

I appreciate all the additional safety equipment that the GLS Sport has over the standard GLS but I wish it came without the extra body kit. I would prefer to have the cleaner design lines of the standard MPV crossover; the extra cladding also adds more weight. I like the second-generation Dynamic Shield design and bumper-embedded headlights but I had hoped that Mitsubishi would have replaced the headlight halogen bulbs with either LED or HID for better vision and aesthetics which would also complement the high-set L-shaped rear LED taillights assemblies.

The interior is simple but tastefully thoughtful. The abundant plastics are designed well with pseudo-stitching on the dashboard and panels. The high-gloss piano black accents and silver carbon fiber-inspired trim are also well executed. The cabin has outstanding NVH to complement the most spacious and comfortable seats for 7-passengers in its compact MPV/crossover class.

The Adventure always felt like a practical rear-wheel driven commercial vehicle. The center tunnel to accommodate the driveshaft did take up space too, so given the Xpander’s extended-duty role as an affordable people mover, the move to drive the front wheels to liberate capacity and improve ride as well as fuel efficiency was a very calculated triumph by Mitsubishi. The modest power and very compliant suspension did not bother me at all; heck, the Xpander drives like a sports car compared to the Adventure and it’s currently the most dynamic in its segment. Despite the use of a torsion-beam, rear suspension setup, the Xpander rides very well, exceptionally, even. Mitsubishi definitely worked very hard to engineer the best balance of practical, every day compliance without compromising load capacity and handling. I reckon a 6-speed or more transmission would have improved drivability and fuel economy even further though. As it stands, the Mitsubishi Xpander is a winner for both the brand and for consumers. If I had to choose the most appropriate and most useful vehicle for our region, it would be the Xpander.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1499 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector MultiPoint Injection, MIVEC
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 105 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 104 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission 4-speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 178 km/h (111 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 11.3 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 15.68 km/L overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,175,000.00
What's Great Versatile and solid packaging, strong NVH, quite comfortable with 6-passengers with room for storage.
What's Not So I actually prefer the slightly cheaper GLS (slightly less weight and cleaner looks by not having the extra body cladding), halogen headlights, would be even better with a 6-speed automatic, drum rear brakes.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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