Mitsubishi’s much awaited entry into Indonesia’s core “Low MPV” segment is here. The Mitsubishi Xpander is its name (not Expander as rumoured), and it’s based on the Mitsubishi XM Concept that made its debut at this show last year. It will enter an arena that stalwarts such as the Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Xenia, Suzuki Ertiga and Honda Mobilio currently dominate.

The Xpander’s unique selling point is its looks, which are highly-stylised and sculptured for a car in this utilitarian class. Mitsubishi has a rich off-roading 4×4 heritage, and has of late turned itself into an SUV company – this seven-seater “small crossover MPV” plays on those points with SUV-inspired styling. It’s a trick also used by Honda for the BR-V, but the Xpander looks more futuristic and robust than the Honda Mobilio-based seven-seater.

MMC claims that the Xpander will be a class-leading model that combines the comfort and versatility of an MPV with the performance, strength and toughness of the company’s SUVs. It will “come loaded with MMC technology and MMC SUV knowhow.”

The production Xpander is a faithful rendition of the XM Concept. It comes with Mitsubishi’s current Dynamic Shield face, with slit-like lights, 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 X-shaped rear end has similarities with the eX Concept from Tokyo 2015, but there’s no black paint to mark it here. The shape of the Xpander’s rear lights and its LED signatures are similar to the XM concept’s. There’s also a floating roof effect.

The MPV rides on two-tone 16-inch alloys and 205/55 Dunlop tyres (except for the base GLS spec, which has 15-inch items). The suspension consists of front MacPherson struts and a rear torsion beam.

The finalised MPV also comes with three tiers of lighting – the top floor, connected to the grille, houses LED position lamps, while the large lamp clusters below are the main headlamps sitting above turn signals. The fog lamps sit very low on the bumper. The layout is unorthodox and is similar to that on the new Hyundai Kona.

The Xpander is 4,475 mm long and 1,750 mm wide, which is 22 mm longer and 15 mm wider than the Honda BR-V. The Mitsu’s 2,775 mm wheelbase is a 113 mm longer than the Honda’s. If the ground clearance looks generous, it is – at 205 mm, it’s highest in class and 4 mm higher than the BR-V.

The new boy is powered by a 4A91 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine, which is par for the course. The DOHC MIVEC unit produces 104 PS and 141 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Power goes to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or a four-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The brakes are front discs and rear drums, which is again default in the class.

The Xpander is available with dual airbags, ABS and EBD across the board; but brake assist, stability control and hill start assist can be had on top variants as well, lifting it on par with the top spec Honda Mobilio in safety kit count.

We’ve seen official images of the Xpander’s interior in a black-beige theme with wood trim – here’s the more sober option in full black and faux carbon fibre trim for the Sport variant. The dashboard design is rather smart, and much safer than the exterior, while the instrument panel consists of two sporty-looking dials sandwiching a colour LCD. As usual for MMC, the MID’s pages are scrolled by an “Info” button on the dash.

UPDATE: Xpander Ultimate’s beige-wood trim interior pics added below

Other available features include keyless entry with push start button and tilt/telescopic adjustable steering (a rarity in this class). The third row, which split folds 50:50, gets a USB port. The top Ultimate spec gets a touchscreen head unit with Bluetooth and a reverse camera.

The middle row has one-action tumble fold for access to the last row, but it only gets two headrests. The middle row’s middle seat can be folded down to be an arm rest. The luggage area has underfloor storage, while the spare tyre is located under the car.

The Mitsubishi Xpander is available in five trim levels – GLX, GLS, Exceed, Sport and Ultimate – and is priced from Rp 189,050,000 (RM60,843) to Rp 245,350,000 (RM78,968). It is made in MMC’s new plant in Bekasi, West Java, with a volume of 80,000 units per year. Exports to ASEAN markets will begin in 2018.

Like what you see? Will the Mitsubishi Xpander do well in Malaysia as a sub-RM100k challenger to the popular Honda BR-V?

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Xpander Sport A/T


GALLERY: Mitsubishi Xpander Ultimate A/T