2018 Mitsubishi Xpander GLX

When it comes to purchasing a car, the best case scenario is that you’ve got the cash to drop on the highest variant available, featuring all the bells and whistles, and then some. If you’re really set on the car but have a limited budget, you’ll be forced to stick to the lower variants, sacrificing a number of additional goodies. So does purchasing a base manual variant of the Mitsubishi Xpander leave you with the short end of the stick?

When we reviewed the Xpander GLS Sport last year, it surprised us with its generous cabin room, thoughtful amenities, and an impressive ride. Sure, that high-end variant we came with a nice touchscreen, a nicer steering wheel, and additional safety technologies such as stability control, hill start assist, and traction control. But for just shy of a million Philippine pesos, you’d be getting the essential feature set and driving experience in the GLX MT.

At its very core, the Mitsubishi Xpander is a seven-seater small MPV powered by a gasoline engine. This gasoline engine is the same across the range and is a 1.5L, but the base variant gets a traditional five-speed manual transmission. You still have 105 hp and 141 Nm of torque at your disposal, and the flexibility of a manual transmission in all driving conditions means you can exploit the Xpander’s powerband better. You get slightly smaller tires and a smaller rim size on the GLX MT, so don’t expect the tires to perform when pushed hard, in which case, this isn’t the car for you if you want to drive fast anyway.

On the outside, you have a blacked out grille for the base models, and a chrome one for the top variants (a matter of taste for some). Essentially, everything else is the same and you can even opt to purchase Mitsubishi accredited parts to add more visual flair down the road.

The seven-seater capacity isn’t compromised in any way no matter what variant you get. Access to the third row is still the biggest in its class, and the center USB charging port, plus a third-row power outlet ensures gadgets are charged up to the last passenger. The steering wheel is urethane instead of leather, but the steering wheel controls are standard across the range. The various cubby holes and storage compartments increase versatility and practicality, and are all present on all Xpanders. The touchscreen is replaced by a standard 2 DIN radio with Bluetooth and USB inputs; all essential features for playing your music from your phone or flash drive, and to receive calls without your hands leaving the wheel.

In terms of safety, even the GLX MT gets ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution for shorter braking distance and no tire lock up during panic stops. Even emergency stop signal (ESS), where the vehicle’s hazard lights flash quickly to warn other road users of sudden braking, is equipped on all variants. Two airbags and three-point seatbelts for all passengers are standard equipment, with the addition of ISOFIX mounts for child seats thrown in.

In conclusion, for just P999,999, you get a vehicle that’s practical, maximizes space, seats seven safely, and comes with all the main features for any long drive, mall visit, and grocery run. The Mitsubishi Xpander GLX MT proves that keeping costs low doesn’t mean you’re scrimping on the essentials, and you’ll still be rewarded for purchasing one of the most impressive small MPVs on the market today.

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