By Manny N. De Los Reyes
MITSUBISHI MOTORS hit a home run when it unveiled the first-generation Xpander subcompact seven-seater MPV to the Philippine market almost five years ago in March 2018.
The Xpander took the MPV market by storm — and Mitsubishi followed that up with a model that, um, expanded the model into the SUV realm. That was the first-generation Xpander Cross, which rolled out in 2020.
That first-gen Xpander Cross bore almost all the fittings (save for four-wheel drive) you’d expect from an SUV — from the aesthetic (fender trims, under-bumper garnishes, etc.) to the functional (higher ride height). In a crossover-crazy country like the Philippines, the Xpander Cross was an unqualified success.
And now, Mitsubishi has raised the curtain on its encore: the 2023 Xpander Cross.
Perfect for families who prefer performance and functionality in one aggressively styled package, this latest iteration of Mitsubishi’s best-selling model redefines the MPV/crossover segment — sporting a more advanced and progressive look while combining luxury and comfort usually seen in premium vehicles.
The new Xpander Cross takes the sense of adventure up a notch by enhancing the practical essence of the Xpander with an SUV-like design language — effortlessly capable as a daily driver yet equally capable of taking you and your family or friends off the beaten path on weekends.
The latest Xpander Cross was developed to exude a more “active” and “outdoorsy” image. The black wheel arch moldings, door garnishes, and side sills give it a taller stance, while the front and rear bumpers are more aggressive with the guard bar motif rails. It also sports striking T-shaped LED headlights with daytime running lights (DRLs) and LED fog lamps at the bottom. Roof rails now come as standard.
The side view shows off handsome, new 17-inch alloy wheels that give the car a more rugged stance. The redesigned rear also shows off a bolder appearance with its T-shaped LED taillights that seamlessly integrate into the new tailgate garnish.
The spacious interior (thanks to its long 2,775-mm wheelbase) has been reimagined with comfort and convenience in mind. The new Xpander Cross offers an exclusive combination of luxury and high-tech features, several of which come from the brand’s higher-end models.
The new Xpander Cross projects a “horizontal axis” dashboard that smoothly integrates all the interior elements at the front. Across the dashboard runs soft padded materials with real stitches in a new navy blue shade.
At the driver’s seat, you will immediately notice the new four-spoke leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescope steering wheel that came from the luxurious Montero Sport. Moreover, the steering wheel return control is now faster for better maneuverability at low speeds. Behind the wheel is a new eight-inch LCD digital meter cluster.
The center console ensures seamless pairing with your devices, and all controls are within your reach. You also get an intuitive digital A/C system with a “max cool” button for rapid in-cabin cooling. All the seats are wrapped with innovative leather, finished in navy blue soft-touch padding with stitching. This leather suppresses any increase in surface temperature with its heat guard technology for more comfortable seating even under direct sunlight.
Road trips are now more enjoyable with the seven-inch Smartphone-link Display Audio 3 (SDA-3) system, a touchscreen infotainment system that supports hands-free functions and is Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-compatible. For improved convenience, the front console has been converted into a larger capacity open tray while still having a 12V outlet and USB port.
Taking an outdoor adventure with the new Xpander Cross has never been easier, thanks to its spacious luggage room, adaptive seating arrangements, and versatile storage compartments.
At the center is a leather-wrapped armrest that can hold a tissue pack on the back of its lid and four 600 ml-sized bottles in the main space. The second row offers USB-A and USB-C ports embedded on the back of the console. An armrest with built-in cup holders is available for passengers at the back. Front-row and luggage under trays, multi-function seatback pockets and third-row power outlets are present for additional storage and convenience.
The cargo area is configured to fit four large four-gallon water containers or a folded stroller directly behind the third row. Folding the rearmost seat allows easy loading of bikes, camping gear, or even furniture.
We got to drive the new Xpander Cross during a pre-launch shoot at New Clark City in Tarlac. Driving comfort and safety has been optimized for the model. The new Xpander Cross’ rear suspension borrows some components from the Montero Sport, notably its enlarged rear shock absorber, which results in a more comfortable and stable ride even on rough roads. This, together with advanced safety features such as Active Stability Control (ASC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), and Traction Control (TCL), ensures that every drive is a safe and fun one.
It is also equipped with cruise control that aids in reducing fatigue on long drives. An HD reverse camera has also been included to help provide better visibility while backing up. Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) and Brake Auto Hold (BAH) further contribute to comfort and stress-free driving.
The new Xpander Cross ensures precise stability when cornering with its Active Yaw Control (AYC) that electronically and intelligently guides and stabilizes the car on sharp turns and especially on slippery road surfaces.
With 225mm of ground clearance (and meaty 205/55 R17 tires), the new Xpander Cross continues to be the best in its class. The higher ride height endows the driver with better outward visibility for better recognition of road conditions and added confidence especially when negotiating rough roads or floods.
Under the hood is a 1.5-liter MIVEC DOHC 16-valve engine with 104hp and 141Nm of torque, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
“With the new Xpander Cross, customers can comfortably and confidently go out and experience the scenic places of the Philippines; hence our tagline: ‘Cross the Current.’ Where your family can expand horizons in comfort and style. It is as if you are crossing into a new world filled with memorable experiences,” said MMPC President and CEO Takeshi Hara.
The new Xpander Cross comes in four colors: Sunrise Orange Metallic (two-tone), Quartz White Pearl (two-tone), Graphite Gray Metallic and Blade Silver Metallic. The prices are P1.328 million for the Blade Silver Metallic and Graphite Gray Metallic (monotone), P1.338 million for the Sunrise Orange Metallic (two-tone); and P1.353 million for the Quartz White Pearl (two-tone).