Minor changes, same reliable 7-seater: 2022 Mitsubishi Xpander GLS – Review

Mitsubishi has had a solid fan base in the Philippines. Okay, that might have waned a little bit in the past few years, but if there’s one vehicle in their lineup that consistently keeps them up there, it has to be the Xpander. 7-seater MPVs keep selling like pancakes in the Philippines, and since it was first introduced, Mitsubishi’s fighter had always enjoyed major sales numbers.

The 2022 year model Xpander may not be all-new, but it did get a couple of changes. Do they just make it more attractive? Is it still the same go-to-and-rightfully-so MPV for many buyers in the market? Let’s go and check it out.

The Xpander gets a nip & tuck, inside and out

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Side Exterior

Overall, the Xpander’s shape did not change. Okay, maybe it did but only so slightly. The silhouette remains the same but is just accentuated a bit more for this release. Personally, the previous look was a bit too “pointed” for me. Perhaps it had something to do with the large, angular bulge of the headlight housing, but that’s gone now.

The greenhouse remains the same with a beltline that’s just right; not too high nor too low. The floating roof design has been carried over as well. Also, there’s a bit too much chrome for my liking. While they do help the overall design, I think the shiny side mirror caps could’ve looked okay color-keyed, but that’s just me. Again, it doesn’t look gaudy, it’s just a personal preference.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Wheels Rims Exterior

At the front, you’ll see that the Dynamic Shield design of Mitsubishi has been retained on the 2022 Xpander. While there’s still a lot of chrome surrounding it, the headlights now sport a new T-Shape design that makes it look sleeker and sportier. No more bulge that looked like a vestigial air dam here. The addition of a 3-slatted horizontal upper grill adds a touch of class while the honeycomb lower grill gives it the sporty look that appeals to a lot of the younger crowd.

The flattened-out front fender is evened out by both the character and accent lines on the side. This time I just think that it looks less like a pointed wedge, the Xpander. Despite some flat panels, the creases are there to make it look a bit more… alive. There’s now a greater sense of “bulk” without having anything bulging out. Most would refer to the 2022 Xpander as “macho”, and I can’t agree more.

The T-Shape design is also carried over to the taillight units in the rear. It’s a very subtle change from what you can see in front, but it makes for a more cohesive design all around. The tailgate is also the same (except for the garnish lights), and the familiar chunky wing is still there, complete with its high-mount brake light.

Rounding up the exterior changes is a new set of two-tone 17″ alloy wheels. I don’t know, I just like two-tone wheels better than solid colors; it gives any car a touch of class and ruggedness or sportiness at the same time. This may not be the Xpander Cross, but this GLS looks pretty strong on the road, given all of its exterior updates. Just imagine how the Cross would look.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Dashboard Interior

Inside you’ll find a familiar cabin, but with a couple of new looks.

The dashboard got a total redesign and I think it’s much, much better than the previous Xpander’s. Instead of sloping lines, Mitsubishi went with a linear look this time that looks more solid and more premium, especially with that brushed aluminum accent piece in the middle. The pockets in the center stack as well as above the glove box have been retained, so you won’t have a problem stowing cards, phones, and other things in front.

Oh, the brushed metal accents continue to the front AC vents, and the center stack and shifter console borders as well. Another nifty update is the electronic e-brake lever and brake-hold toggle to the right of the shifter. No more antiquated handbrake lever, so hooray for progress!

Center stack being mentioned, you’ll now see an updated infotainment system and a new digital climate control system. The dials have been replaced by buttons and while they do feel better, I think they could have been designed to look better. The fan and temperature toggles are finished in chrome, and that’s good, but the other buttons look rather clunky in plain, black plastic. I did say I wasn’t much for chrome, but the inside bits are where I think they would matter, especially if you want to add a touch of “premium”. A future update to address this, perhaps?

The gauge cluster has remained the same in the 2022 Xpander GLS. Don’t expect to find brightly lit-up dials here, they’re still analog. The digital multi-information display is still there, though, and it still does well to provide you with relevant information such as fuel economy, mileage, and your current gear selection. Mitsubishi would do well to look into replacing the whole thing with a digital unit in the next all-new model, though, but for now, we’ll take it. Besides, it doesn’t look bad, and it serves its purpose.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Seats Interior

Black and brown are the colors of choice for the Xpander’s interior. While the seats are upholstered in black fabric, the door cards are accented with brown (and black) covers. I think black plus the faux metal pieces would’ve been fine as they are, but the brown color does break what would otherwise be a monotonous cabin. So yes, I do like it. The quilted centers of the upholstery also look very nice and are pretty well-padded, too.

Something to note, though, is that the headrests of the exact specimen you see here were close to impossible to raise and/or lower. We’re not sure if it was just a “bug” with this unit, but we all know the importance of being able to bring headrests up and down with ease. Be sure to check on yours, yes? Yes, maybe this was really just a bug. It’s quite tough to miss out on “lubricating” the metal posts of headrests, so we’re just throwing this out there to nitpick and not to greatly fault Mitsubishi at all.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Passenger Second Row Interior

The seating and ride quality both in the front and middle row were very comfortable, too. The support and padding were a little bit better in the front, but that’s understandable. You can’t expect a great level of bolstering in the middle row, especially since it’s meant to be able to seat three individuals. But regardless, your posterior will feel very comfortable. Now, we did mention seating for three, but that might be a little bit of a stretch in the Xpander.

The middle row’s middle seat isn’t too wide to accommodate a full-sized (and hefty) adult. Yes, three can fit, but shoulder room might be something to look out for. Two adults in the middle row are no problem, though. This is not meant to knock on the Xpander, no no. It’s just that it really is a snug fit for three, but you can certainly still fit three people on there.

But what I think is the best thing about the entire middle row of the Xpander is the fact that knee-, leg-, and headroom are so good! You won’t find yourself bumping your noggin or bruising your knees or cramping up your legs in this row, and for an MPV that’s made for maximum people capacity – though shoulder room could be better, as we mentioned – it’s space like this that more than makes for a good ride.

I also have to mention the fact that the seats in the middle row are not positioned at an uncomfortably high level. That makes for easy entry and exit, and that’s yet another little bit that makes the Xpander comfortable for people. Another thing worth mentioning is that having to reach for something in the trunk is just so easy in the Xpander. The second row’s seatbacks weren’t designed to be too high and provided that what you want is within arm’s reach, you won’t have to stretch too far to get it.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Passenger Third Row Interior

As we moved to the third row, we were quite surprised. While it is not really meant for full-sized adults, the space wasn’t as cramped as we initially thought it would be. The knee room was a snug fit, but for a pretty long fellow (like my colleague Pablo), there were still a few inches worth of allowance in that department. The shoulder room in this row is better than in the second row, but hey, it is meant for only two people, right?

We still recommend having the kiddos sit in this row. If space for adults is called for, then the Xpander’s third row can still handle it, though; you don’t have to worry about that.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Cargo Interior

Looking at the space provided, and with the third row folded, what you have is a pretty flat trunk space in the Xpander. MPVs were made with cargo hauling in mind, so if you’re looking for something that can handle your wares or your passengers, this is a pretty solid option. The fold-flat capability is something that not all options in the market have, and this is always a plus above those that don’t. Maximum cargo space makes for more fun and practicality in this segment.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Engine

Now let’s move on to comfort and performance.

The ride quality is quite good in the Xpander. Space aside, the suspension is well-tuned in this MPV. Despite the fact that our tires were slightly over-inflated which could have made for a bumpy ride, we didn’t feel that at all. Sure you can feel the undulations on the road, but you weren’t bouncing every which way, nor were wallowing up and down. I’m the type who often experiences “biyahilo” in MPVs and SUVs, But I’m glad to report that there was none of that while riding the Xpander.

As for power, a 1.5-liter inline-4 gasoline MIVEC engine sits under the hood of the Xpander. The motor is good for 105 PS and has a pull of 104 Nm. While these numbers aren’t so exciting, they are certainly enough for what the Xpander is made for, which is to carry people and haul cargo. You can’t expect an MPV to be fast, but you should expect it to be able to get rolling and keep rolling, right? Sure, a full house may need a bit of a deeper mash on the throttle, but perhaps the 4-speed automatic transmission is what helps the Xpander to get going.

Yes, you read that right. Despite all its modern knick-knacks, the Xpander still has a rather old transmission. A newer CVT unit may pave the way for a stronger engine and better fuel economy, but for this model, we all believe that it still works. Besides, getting up to the 15 Km/L range on the highway is very respectable given the lack of gears. Maybe the next all-new model could be more modern too, right Mitsubishi?

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander Gls Rear Exterior

So now we get to the rub.

The kicker questions as we asked above: Do they (the updates) just make it more attractive? Is it still the same go-to-and-rightfully-so MPV for many buyers in the market? The answer is yes, and yes.

Every brand has its own way of releasing a unit with a “minor model change” or a facelift. I do like the new looks of the Xpander, and I like it a lot. It looked too close to the Rush with its past looks but now, we have something that is uniquely an Xpander. Especially with the Nissan Livina sporting the old-look Xpander, this change of looks could not have come at a better time.

And yes, it can still – easily – be the same go-to choice for those in the market for a capable MPV. Priced at PHP 1,180,000 (+ PHP 15,000 for the Quartz White Pearl pearl), it is not the most affordable, but it isn’t the priciest one either. Mitsubishi struck a good balance between looks, function, and form with the Xpander before, and despite this 2022 model sporting just a few aesthetic updates, it is still an MPV to be reckoned with.

What looked good was made better, and what was an already successful formula was retained to keep the Mitsubishi Xpander’s plusses intact. Moving forward, they just have to make sure that they update the Xpander to keep up with more modern times, but until that happens, this is still a strong choice in the 7-seater MPV market.

Mikko Juangco
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