The Mitsubishi Xpander is still fresh in its primary market of Indonesia, so what’s it doing here with a new grille and black tape on its nose? All signs point to this mule – sighted by Instagram user Indra Prasetya in Indonesia – being a prototype of the next-generation Nissan Grand Livina.

Nissan holds a big stake in Mitsubishi Motors after rescuing the latter from the brink, and both are members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, so a co-operation makes sense. Also, the Xpander has been a winning product for MMC in the MPV-driven auto market of Indonesia, while Nissan’s Livina is an ageing product in dire need of a reboot.

Now let’s take a look at the picture above. It’s clear that the MPV in question is the Mitsubishi Xpander, but the front end of the seven-seater appears to be slightly altered. Much of Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” cues are here – including the slim top tier lights sitting above big main beams in a three-tier lighting arrangement – but the trademark chrome strips that give the sunken cheeks look is absent.

Without this frame, the grille is bowl-shaped rather than X-shaped, conveniently morphing into Nissan’s “V-Motion” nose. Also different from the Xpander is the lower bumper, which has a full-width silver lip and angular fog lamps at each end (vs round fogs on the Xpander, arranged narrowly). The top-tier daytime running lights appear to have a different design, and the front wheel arches are round instead of squared-off on the Mitsubishi.

On the side, the deep wedge of a signature line is present, along with the “floating roof” look brought about by the small black strip joining the side and rear glass areas. No emblems can be seen at the rear, which design has been unaltered. The orange-bronze hue of this test mule (which isn’t a current Xpander colour) is a favourite of Nissan, which used orange on the original Livina NP300 Navara pick-up truck and recently-facelifted X-Trail.

The Mitsubishi Xpander competes in Indonesia’s core Low MPV segment against the Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Xenia, Honda Mobilio and Suzuki Ertiga. It’s powered by a 1.5 litre engine with 104 PS and 141 Nm. Power goes to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or a four-speed torque automatic. What do you think of the Xpander/new Livina compared to the Perodua Aruz?

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Xpander in Indonesia