The production Mitsubishi XM is one of the most anticipated new cars in Indonesia, having been confirmed for launch later this year. It marks MMC’s entry into the country’s “Low MPV” class, a core segment where stalwarts such as the Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Xenia, Suzuki Ertiga and Honda Mobilio play.

Mitsubishi is also promising something slightly different from the norm in terms of styling. The XM Concept that was revealed at GIIAS 2016 and wheeled out again for IIMS 2017 displays bold SUV-style styling for the utilitarian seven-seat MPV, a trick also used by Honda for the BR-V.

The showcar features Mitsubishi’s new Dynamic Shield face, with slit-like headlights, a large black “X” grille and chunky bumpers. The flared wheel arches and sculpted character line gives the car a strong look typical of an SUV. The black portion of the rear end has similarities with the eX Concept from Tokyo 2015. It looks good, but the main question is whether the bold design would make it to production.

Spyshots circulating on Indonesian websites show a camouflaged test mule roaming the streets of Bandung. The production XM (if the name is retained) will never be as dramatic as the concept, but the good news is that much of what’s good appears to have made it. That face – with the slim headlamps and squared-off bumpers – is intact, and the deeply sculpted front wings and signature line are present. The essence of it is there, for sure.

Mitsubishi has been playing it bold lately with design (witness the latest Pajero Sport), and it looks like the XM will sport a relatively adventurous shell to shake up the segment.

The XM will roll out 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 the latest member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance after a buyout in October 2016.

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

GALLERY: Mitsubishi XM Concept at IIMS 2017


GALLERY: Mitsubishi XM Concept official images