2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross First Drive Impressions

The new Mitsubishi Xpander Cross has got a lot of Xpander fans looking intently at it. The Cross, to us, was once not so special since you could extract a ton of value as it is from the standard Xpander. Now, it’s not the case anymore, as the model has gotten a few key upgrades that we feel set it apart from the standard seven-seater. 

Our first drive with the Xpander Cross included a few short bursts on a private road, but that was enough to tell us that it’s a familiar drive, but with a bunch of remarkable goodies thrown into the mix. 

It’s not only a better Xpander, it’s also a better Xpander Cross. There were some angles in the old model that we felt weren’t so great. The cladding looked a little tacked on, and the accessories that Mitsubishi opted for didn’t totally justify the price. Granted, it was meant to be the coolest Xpander in the lineup, but that messaging didn’t really reach us. Now, however, everything’s changed, and we believe that this is the best Xpander Cross to date because it looks like an Xpander Cross, not an aftermarket edition of the Xpander. 

Everything looks more integrated now, from the cladding to the faux skid plates, to the roof rails. It feels as if Mitsubishi took something like 2000-grit sandpaper and made everything even and smooth. Still, we see the Dynamic Shield design language on full display, but things are more neutral now and not so angular, giving it a—dare we say—classy look. It’s still Xpander Cross in how rugged it is, but now it looks the part of an SUV-like MPV, and not an MPV trying to be an SUV. 

Stunning is the word that we use to describe it but we’ll add to that and say that it is a remarkable improvement through and through. 

The interior of the Xpander is the same as the standard model. The Cross enjoys all of the pockets, storage boxes, and cubby holes of the original, but you have a few improvements. It’s still practical with easy ingress and egress, even for the rear passengers, and you also get a blue-hued leather which is something different compared to the Xpander lineup, but the point is that it is leather, it is more durable than cloth and it definitely feels quite a bit more luxurious. 

While in practice it is all the same as the standard Xpander, the extra goodies that we managed to spot in our first impressions include an all-digital gauge cluster with a “new” steering wheel. The four-spoke steering wheel was taken from the Montero Sport, which adds to the SUV-like quality of the model. The infotainment system remains the same for the Xpander Cross and you also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone pairing, which is a feature we’ve been begging for ever since the Xpander first launched. We still see the blue leather carry over to the front and even onto the dashboard. 

2023 Mitusibishi Xpander Cross Engine

The 1.5-liter engine from the current and previous generations of the Xpander makes a return in the Cross. With 104 hp and 141 Nm of torque, it’s just enough to get the job done. Paired with the four-speed automatic, it’s a familiar drive, albeit with the weight of the Cross. No notable things here, but that can also be a good thing since you still have the “luxury” of hard gears in the traditional automatic transmission. 

However, Mitsubishi steered into the more SUV-likeness that it wanted to achieve with the addition of Mitsubishi’s Yaw Control. It’s a system that helps keep the car while turning at speed. The system activates at over 40 km/h and if you’re a die-hard Mitsubishi fan, then you’d be able to figure out that it’s a driving assist system that was once fielded in the Lancer Evolution. 

2023 Mitusibishi Xpander Cross Driving

As for ride comfort, it was not bouncy at all and the roads were all smooth on our drive, even if they weren’t perfectly paved during our short drive with the car. Of course, being a unibody chassis, it returns a good road feel, but with slightly heavier steering compared to the standard Xpander. Everything else feels pretty much the same on a drive, like the NVH insulation. We weren’t able to take it out on the highway yet, so we’re still not yet a hundred percent about the Cross’ long driveability, but we’re sure that it should be an okay drive. 

2023 Mitusibishi Xpander Cross Driving

With the familiarity that we have with the Xpander, it seems as if the formula has been kept as Mitsubishi made the Cross, there is just a few more added spices that make it a remarkable improvement. Is it worth buying over the standard Xpander, however? That remains to be seen. While the improvements were a flash in the pan, so to speak, we reckon that the improvements will become more apparent (especially with the Active Yaw Control) on a twisty road or in wet weather conditions. 

As such, we’re intrigued to see how the Xpander Cross fares in the real world. For a starting price of P1,328,000, it seems that the Xpander Cross is finally worth its price tag, at least as far as our first impressions go. 


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