By Kap Maceda Aguila
IT WAS touch and go, but the threat of COVID-19’s further spread in the metropolis finally ended the hope of the planned formal launch of the Mitsubishi Xpander Cross last week. In a letter sent out to the media, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) said it “decided to cancel the scheduled Xpander Cross mall display in Glorietta 2, Activity Center. This decision is made to prioritize the health and safety of the public, our employees and dealer partners. MMPC is one with the effort of the Philippine government to contain the spreading of the virus.”
Indeed, public safety should always come first, but even as we wait to see the new variant of the Mitsubishi Xpander in the sheet metal, we get a glimpse of what the Cross is all about.
At its core, the Xpander Cross sees the “family-friendly seven-seater” multi-purpose vehicle getting more SUV styling — in effect straddling or even “crossing over” the two genres. Said MMPC Marketing Communications Senior Manager Mark Parulan to Velocity: “The Xpander Cross will be the new top-of-the-line variant in the Xpander lineup. We believe that with the new features offered by the Cross model, it is a better option for our customers who are looking for a sportier and more SUV-like vehicle that does not compromise the car like feel and affordable pricing.”
First introduced in the Philippines in 2018, the Xpander quickly gained a following and moved 13,494 units in its first year. That number now stands at 36,168 units, with the MPV accounting for a hefty 30% of MMPC sales. The company reports that the Xpander is also the best-seller in its category, and has garnered industry awards on its way to the top.
“With the entry of the Xpander Cross (and) its added features, we see renewed potential to the already successful Xpander nameplate,” reiterated MMPC President and CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri in a company release.
Still bearing Mitsubishi’s now familiar Dynamic Shield design, the Xpander Cross is given a skid plate, LED headlights and fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch molding and side body garnish, and a roof rail.
In addition, Mr. Parulan reported, “The “Xpander Cross has class-leading 225mm ground clearance that is higher than some SUVs available in the market. This is a great compliment to (its) new robust design anchored on a spacious and comfortable interior, driving comfort, a tough and luxurious look, and the strong and durable reputation of the Mitsubishi brand.”
Powering the MPV is the reliable 16-valve, DOHC 1.5-liter gasoline engine of the line. Mitsubishi asserts that, “thanks to high-performance sound absorbing and vibration blocking materials installed in the engine, the Xpander Cross is the top level of its class (with) near 80% articulation index.” The articulation index is an indication of how much speech within the vehicle cabin can be heard while the automobile is in operation.
The Xpander Cross has a black dashboard with brown accents, while its seats are swathed in two-tone leather. The head unit features a seven-inch touchscreen with reverse camera. As with other variants, it has configurable seats — the second- and third-row seats can be folded flat with no gap — to accommodate cargo and other payload.
When asked if there will be other variants coming in the future, Mr. Parulan said, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our products and satisfy the needs of our customers. The development and release of new products and variants are focused on customer experience and feedback.”
The Mitsubishi Xpander Cross is priced at P1.255 million and is available in White Pearl, Sterling Silver Metallic, Graphite Grey Metallic, and Sunrise Orange Metallic. For more information, visit www.mmpc.ph.