The MPV segment doesn’t always get the attention it deserves but the seven-seater segment is more competitive than you may think. This brings us to the Mitsubishi Xpander and how it might compare to the Toyota Avanza since both are among the more popular people carriers.
So, if you’re looking for a family car that can seat seven people in relative comfort with space to boot, here’s a closer look at some of the features, driveability and performance of the Mitsubishi Xpander with some comparisons to the Toyota Avanza.
How Practical Is The Mitsubishi Xpander?
With a family in mind, choosing your next car is not only a matter of personal taste but also the practicality factor. When it comes to the Mitsubishi Xpander, the cabin is just that with various cubbyholes and pockets to help keep your things in order. While the third row of seats might be a little tight for taller adults, the second row offers more room and comfort for three people without any hassle.
As for boot space, the Xpander has a competitive offer of 223 litres with all seven seats in place. However, with the second and third rows of seats folded down, you benefit from up to 1608 litres which is ideal for school bags, groceries, sporting equipment and luggage for those family weekends away. In comparison, the Toyota Avanza offers 128 litres of boot space with all the seats in place and 1,424 litres of boot space with the seats folded down.
What About The Xpander’s Styling?
Since the focus for MPVs and other people carriers is mostly on practicality rather than design, they aren’t always overly flattering. That said, the front and rear of the Mitsubishi Xpander are easily recognisable, especially if you’ve seen the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport; fielding the automaker’s “Dynamic Shield” to make it stand out from the Avanza and similar vehicles in its class.
While the Avanza follows a more traditional design approach, it still looks good but it’s not as distinctive as the Mitsubishi Xpander. You have to give the Mitsubishi designers credit for continuing with the Dynamic Shield concept which has featured even more in 2022. This, together with the T-shaped LED headlights, gives Mitsubishi Xpander a unique appearance; a rare quality in the MPV segment.
As for the rest of the body, everything is tidy with better-integrated side sills and a sleek tailgate and rear bumpers. Sitting on stylish 16-inch allow wheels with a ground clearance of 225mm, compared to 195mm on the Avanza, it looks more like an SUV than an MPV.
A Closer Look At The Interior
The interior follows Mitsubishi’s principle of “Omotenashi” which roughly translates to giving more attention to detail and anticipating the needs of their customers.
While the interior consists of hard plastic, it looks classy and well put together, unlike the Avanza which lacks the same refinement. The dashboard and door panels get faux stitching which emulates a leather stitching pattern for a more premium feel. The fabric seats are comfortable and the interior is likely to withstand the rigours of everyday use without a hitch.
The combination of analogue dials with a central digital display tells you everything you need to know, while the Bluetooth and voice-controlled infotainment system is easy to operate. There’s also a USB port inside the glovebox which is not the norm in modern cars but it works.
What Safety Features Are Included On The Mitsubishi Xpander?
The Mitsubishi Xpander comes standard with several safety features, including dual front airbags, ABS and EBD (electronic brake force distribution) as well as ISOFIX child seat anchors. It also has a front-end impact-absorbing structure further boosted by Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body construction with side impact bars. The Avanza also gets ABS and EBD but it lacks the same reinforced body construction of the Xpander.
What Is The Performance Like On The Mitsubishi Xpander?
In South Africa, the Mitsubishi Xpander is available in two derivatives, both front-wheel drive with a 1.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine delivering 77kW and 141Nm of torque. However, one is coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox (with 15-inch wheels) while the other is fitted with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The Avanza, on the other hand, has two different petrol engine options in a 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre. Both are equipped with VVT-i pushing out 67kW, 113Nm and 76kW and 136Nm respectively, a slight drop in performance compared to the Xpander.
In terms of driveability, the Xpander offers a somewhat more refined drive with the automatic offering a smoother driving experience. The engine is also quite responsive even when accelerating from low revs, making it relatively easy to get up to speed on highways but where it shines most is on urban roads.
When it comes to fuel economy, both vehicles offer relatively good numbers but the Mitsubishi edges the Avanza with 7.0 l/100km compared to 7.7 l/100km.
Overall the Mitsubishi Xpander is a solid choice as a family car with a distinctive design, a practical and spacious interior and an efficient engine delivering respectable performance and decent fuel economy for an MPV. All new Xpander models come with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 2-year/30 000km Service plan.
If you’d like to find out more about the Mitsubishi Xpander or book a test drive, visit our showroom in Kuilsriver and Stellenbosch or simply give us a call.