Besides the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport that’s now assembled in Indonesia, MMC has the Mitsubishi XM Concept on display at the 2017 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS). It’s essentially the same concept car that we saw at GIIAS 2016, but with a reminder that the production version will debut this year. Hadir tahun ini, Mitsubishi says.

The XM Concept is a preview of an upcoming contender in Indonesia’s core “Low MPV” segment, which houses the ubiquitous Toyota Avanza (and its twin sister Daihatsu Xenia), Suzuki’s Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio. But like Honda with the BR-V, Mitsubishi will be injecting some SUV flavour into its three-row, seven-seat people carrier.

The XM name is a fusion of “X” for crossover and “M” for MPV – the concept described as blending “the toughness of an SUV with the versatility of an MPV”. It fits in nicely with MMC’s brand image and Dakar-winning off-road heritage nicely. We’re not sure if the XM name and the bold looks of the concept will make it to production, but it will be good for the brand if it did.

The XM features Mitsubishi’s new Dynamic Shield front end design, with slit-like headlights flanking a large black grille. The flared wheel arches and sculpted character line give it a strong look that is typical of an SUV, while a sleek cab-forward profile and a “floating roof” illusion given by the blacked-out D pillar creates a free-flowing MPV look. The black portion of the rear end has similarities with the eX Concept from Tokyo 2015.

The production XM will roll out later this year from MMC’s new plant in Bekasi, which has started producing the Pajero Sport. The US$565 million factory was inaugurated last week by Indonesian president Joko Widodo, and the ceremony was attended by MMC’s new chairman Carlos Ghosn and CEO Osamu Masuko. MMC is of course the latest member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance after a buyout in October 2016.

“The Bekasi assembly facility symbolises our ambition to be a market leader in Indonesia, where we will produce our best-selling Pajero Sport and a new MPV to meet growing demand for high-quality, rugged and reliable passenger vehicles. This will enable us to build share in a market where we have been present for more than 45 years,” Masuko said.

Will this Mitsubishi seven-seater fare well in Malaysia as a Honda BR-V rival?