In this review...
- Tech & Safety
- Driving & Handling
- Initial Verdict
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Introduction
The Mitsubishi Xpander has been a solid contender in the local MPV market. This is evidenced by the fact that Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corporation (MMPC) sold 7,692 units from January to September 2021 alone. Further cementing the Mitsubishi Xpander’s position in the market is the release of its facelifted model last year.
With that said, the Xpander platform has proven itself to be capable for both Mitsubishi and its customers. This of course is also true to the Xpander’s more aggressive-looking sibling, the Xpander Cross.
Fast forward to 2023, MMPC has brought in the refreshed version of the Xpander Cross. Mitsubishi invited Philkotse to see it in the metal and to take it for a spin before its official Philippine launch. Here’s Philkotse’s first impressions review of the 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Exterior
The updated Xpander Cross for the model year 2023 has retained the overall silhouette of the outgoing version. It likewise remains a beefier-looking counterpart to the current Mitsubishi Xpander. No surprise there but, there are some subtle bits that were added.
Refreshed 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross from the front
At the front of the new Xpander Cross is the familiar Dynamic Shield front fascia that’s also present on the standard Xpander. This aggressive-looking MPV also has the same sharp-looking LED daytime running lights and the same T-shaped tri-projector LED cluster headlamps as the standard Xpander. Don’t fix what already works and looks great, right?
One of the exclusive trims found on the 2023 Xpander Cross is the thin strip of black colored plastic that extends from the grille all the way to the cladding. Another striking difference one can spot in the Xpander Cross is the more prominent front bumper, giving the vehicle a beefier stance as compared to the standard Xpander. I also find it to add depth to the vehicle’s overall front end.
Refreshed 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross from the side
Another new feature is found on the side of the refreshed Xpander Cross. What I’m referring to is its new set of 17-inch polished alloy wheels, which I think are a vast improvement over the old set. This is because they look smoother and are more refined compared to the old Xpander Cross’ set whose silver portions look like they were roughly carved out by an angle grinder.
Also added to this 2023 model are the square-shaped wheel arches which afford the Xpander Cross more presence than its standard Mitsubishi MPV sibling. Moreover, remember that the outgoing Xpander Cross has rounder wheel arches. And while these are still made out of black-colored plastic, I find their new shape more appropriate for the adventurous persona the Xpander Cross is going for.
A view of the refreshed Xpander Cross' rear end
Up top on the roof of the new Xpander Cross are roof rails for added cargo capacity – a feature that’s not present on the standard Xpander. The rear of the new Xpander Cross meanwhile, gets the same overall shape though it sports a more appealing rear bumper as well as a new tailgate garnish.
The changes to the updated Xpander Cross’ exterior can be described as somehow minimal. Although the minimal changes applied such as the beefier-looking bumpers make this MPV stand out from the standard Xpander.
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2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Interior
The Xpander Cross carries a similar interior layout as the standard Xpander. But since this is the Cross version, Mitsubishi added exclusive trims that intend to give this MPV added swag.
2023 Xpander Cross front cabin
The gauge cluster for starters is now an eight-inch LCD digital meter set. This appears to provide far better legibility via its sharp images of numbers, dials, and letters. It also helps in making the dashboard and the interior in general appear more modern and feel more premium.
By using a primarily blue color scheme, the Xpander Cross’ new digital gauge cluster also fits in well with the vehicle’s other decorative interior bits. This includes the blue-tinged soft-touch trim on the dash and the blue trim on the two-tone leather seats.
Its new digital gauge cluster
Another big new feature present on the updated Xpander is a new steering wheel. Its design is reminiscent of the one on the Montero Sport SUV, and so it looks heftier and more modern compared to the regular Xpander’s steering wheel.
With regards to using the said steering wheel, I have found it to be comfortable to grip. But if you’re used to the old button arrangement on the old steering wheel, it might take a bit of getting used to. Then again, it goes without saying that the positioning of the controls on this new steering wheel remains to be logical.
Seating in the second row is reasonably comfortable as expected from something that carries the Xpander nameplate. The amount of headroom and legroom for the second row is generous. Being a seven-seater MPV, the second row can accommodate up to three individuals. Also, the second-row seat gets a slide function to provide more space for the third row.
Second row can fit up to three
Other features found on the second-row seats are a foldable armrest with cup holders, as well as a separate dial control for the rear air-conditioning vents’ blower. Do note that the aforementioned features are similar in shape and function to the ones aboard the old Xpander Cross and the updated 2023 Xpander.
The third row can likewise provide ample room for legs and heads. For example, my large 5'11” frame that’s quite wide on the gut still managed to fit in this section. However, it did require some adjustment for the third-row headrest, and folks who are an inch taller than me will definitely bump their heads on the ceiling.
The seats can fold flat so cramming the trunk with cargo is easy
Stowing cargo aboard the 2023 Xpander Cross is made easy thanks to a flat-folding second and third row. The seats themselves also come with a 50:40 split-folding second row, and a 50:50 split-folding third row, allowing one to carry more stuff.
If you want to be sneaky, the updated Xpander Cross has a hidden cargo compartment in its trunk. A tray is also present underneath the front passenger seat. This is great for keeping things that you don’t want to be seen with curious eyes.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Tech & Safety
Still available on the updated Xpander Cross are a decent number of tech and safety features. Chief among these is a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as such, those who desire to remain in constant connection to the web will have less complaining to do.
Its seven-inch touchscreen headunit is linked to a six-piece speaker system
Also kept on the updated Xpander Cross is a sufficient number of safety features. It has dual front airbags, anti-lock braking, ISOFIX child seat anchors, a reverse camera, and a hill-start assist.
That’s a decent kit for the model, and they’re what you’d expect from models belonging to the Xpander family of vehicles. The addition of an active yaw control system that’s unique to the updated Xpander Cross though, and it’s a particularly welcome feature as it can help the vehicle keep more stable during cornering and braking.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Driving & Handling
The refreshed 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross uses the same 1.5-liter 4A91 inline-4 gasoline engine that’s also present on the updated 2023 Xpander. Power is sent to its front wheels, and it can put out 103 horsepower and 141 Nm of torque.
Managing the power of the Xpander Cross’ engine is the same four-speed automatic torque converter gearbox that’s used by the updated Philippine-spec Xpander. This contrasts the Indonesia-spec Xpander Cross that has switched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2023 Xpander Cross' gear-shift lever
Some might be disappointed in this due to the fact that CVTs may be able to provide better fuel economy. Then again, the four-speed automatic gearbox on the 2023 Xpander Cross has kept the vehicle responsive during abrupt acceleration and maneuvers. Revving up to speed was fairly quick, for an MPV at least.
Mitsubishi might have also intended to offer the new Xpander Cross with a four-speed automatic to not complicate logistics and manufacturing. The said gearbox is the very same one that is currently in use on the standard Xpander.
With regards to handling, I found that it felt identical to the updated 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander. It showed minimal body roll on turns, and the steering felt direct. Accelerating the vehicle from a standstill also didn’t cause much in the way of squatting, nor did hard braking cause diving. It managed well the short stretches of rough road and grassy areas which I drove it on.
Looks familiar right?
I also felt that noise, vibrations, and harshness (NVH) levels can be felt, but it wasn’t too jarring. Some engine noise was heard when the vehicle was pushed, but that’s normal. Wind noise and tire noise were barely audible as well.
To further test what the updated Xpander Cross can do, the team and I also drove it with a total of seven occupants aboard. Obviously, acceleration felt a tad slower compared to having just two aboard, but otherwise, I can still see it functioning well in similar real-world scenarios.
We also made it climb a slightly inclined path whilst having maximum occupant capacity. It was a bit slow and held on to the second gear for too long on this test. But otherwise, it remained steady on its climb.
2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Impressions Review: Initial Verdict
The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, based on what I have seen first-hand from the car so far, continues all the good things that we’ve experienced from the regular Xpander and then some.
The ride is still comfortable and it still handles well for an MPV. The one thing that impressed me the most about this new Xpander Cross is that Mitsubishi has shown us that subtle additions can indeed make a huge impact on an all-familiar platform.
The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross side-by-side with the regular Xpander
As I've said, the cabin retains its old arrangement, but the new steering wheel and new gauge cluster were able to add tons of new premium flavors to the ride that many people like myself will like.
Even the new wheels and the new exterior trim pieces have worked together to achieve a more adventurous-looking but also family-friendly ride.
So are these additions enough to make the new Xpander Cross more appealing to prospective buyers? Well, let me put it this way: if you like the regular 2023 Xpander but at the same time you’re looking for something more eye-catching and aggressive, then it's a hard yes.
Macho, but familiy-friendly
If you’re interested in the updated 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, do note that its monotone variant starts at Php 1,328,000. The Orange two-tone paint meanwhile, will cost an additional Php 10,000 while the Pearl White two-tone version carries a premium of Php 25,000.
Cesar G.B. Miguel