Launching in Malaysia: 2022 Toyota Veloz, Honda BR-V and Mitsubishi Xpander previewed
Eric · Feb 13, 2022 12:00 PM
For the past couple of years, the compact 7-seater SUV / MPV segment has been relatively quiet. The two most notable launches in recent times include the Honda BR-V's debut in 2017 and the Perodua Aruz's launch in 2018.
Come 2022, we expect things to shake up by a fair bit. Over the past few months, Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi introduced all-new or updated versions of their 7-seater SUV / MPV, all of which made their debut in Indonesia.
Which is also why we will be using the Indonesian-spec models as a point of reference in this preview.
The all-new 2022 Toyota Veloz, 2022 Honda BR-V, and the updated 2022 Mitsubishi Xpander are expected to be launched in Malaysia later this year.
Before we get started, we’ve also covered the reason on why the Avanza name may not be used for the new-generation model here. Thailand could be the first market to see the Avanza nameplate dropped in favour of Veloz.
Fun fact, the all-new Veloz’s 2,750 mm long wheelbase is actually identical to the Innova, albeit with a shorter overall length.
Exterior – Sharp-looking Veloz, elegant BR-V, or futuristic Xpander?
Each 7-seater SUV / MPV here takes a vastly different approach when it comes to design: the all-new Toyota Veloz is adorned by sharp lines and angles, with its LED headlights flanking a massive hexagonal-shaped front grille. But the sharp edges don’t end there: the Veloz also gets a recognizable D-pillar and slim LED tail lights.
As for the all-new 2022 Honda BR-V, it continues the rugged, off road-esque design language from the predecessor model. Unlike the Avanza, the all-new BR-V offers black coloured fender extensions, as well as roof rails and body cladding.
Last but certainly not the least is the updated Mitsubishi Xpander. Mitsubishi has resculptured the Xpander’s front and rear bumpers, replete with a new front grille and redesigned LED headlights. New dual-tone alloy wheels and reworked LED tail lights complete the updated Xpander’s looks.
For those who has sat inside the outgoing Toyota Avanza would know how dreary the cabin can get: it’s a sea of dark grey plastic, while the centre stack for the infotainment and air-conditioning controls is generic-looking at best.
But the same cannot be said for the brand-new model. Out goes the dark grey plastics, now replaced with contrasting black-beige inserts, uplifting the Veloz’s cabin ambiance. There’s also a floating-style infotainment system, digital instrument cluster, as well as an electric parking brake (EPB). The icing on the cake is the ambient lighting – something unique to the Veloz in this trio.
Honda has also upped the ante when it comes to the all-new 2022 BR-V. It gets a revamped dashboard with tasteful silver inserts on the air-conditioning vents, as well as door trim. However, unlike the Veloz, the BR-V makes do with a mechanical hand brake and regular analog-type instrument cluster.
The oldest 7-seater SUV / MPV of this bunch may be the Mitsubishi Xpander, but you can’t quite tell as it looks fairly modern inside. It’s the second 7-seater SUV / MPV after the Veloz to offer an EPB and floating-style infotainment system. The older Xpander also offers a host of storage spaces littered throughout its cabin.
It is also worth mentioning that all three 7-seater SUV / MPVs here offer an arm rest – something that’s missing on the outgoing Avanza and BR-V.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support is present on all 7-seater SUV / MPVs as well, keeping up with times.
Ever since Mitsubishi introduced the updated Xpander, giving it a new CVT transmission to replace its four-speed torque converter unit, now all three 7-seater SUV / MPVs in this comparison have a similar powertrain configuration: a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine hooked up to a CVT transmission. All 7-seater SUV / MPVs here are also front-wheel drive.
The difference lies with each respective 7-seater SUV / MPVs’ power output: the most powerful of the bunch is the Honda BR-V, which does 121 PS and 145 Nm.
As for the Veloz and Xpander, their power output are roughly on par: 106 PS and 137 Nm for the Veloz, while the Xpander does 105 PS and 141 Nm.
All three 7-seater SUV / MPV are also available with a manual transmission in Indonesia, but don’t hold your breath for the manual versions to be offered in Malaysia.
Safety – BR-V leads the trio with its Sensing suite
Gone are the two-airbags-plus-ABS days, as budget 7-seater SUV / MPV have certainly come a long, long way.
The range-topping Veloz offers no less than 6 airbags, as well as the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) ADAS suite, bundling features like Pre-Collision System (PCS, AEB), Front Departure Alert (FDA), Lane Departure Assist (LDA), Pedal Misoperation Control (PMC), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM).
Although the BR-V loses out to the Veloz in interior equipment, it claws back with a slightly more advanced safety kit, as it includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Auto High Beam (AHB), in addition to Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS, AEB), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Lead Car Departure Notification System (LCDN).
Trailing behind is the Mitsubishi Xpander. Never mind an ADAS suite, airbag count is a paltry two, as it loses out on side and curtain airbags found in the BR-V and Veloz. At least there's stability control.
Budget-friendly 7-seater SUV / MPV they may be, but a quick glance at each individual model's spec sheet will show you that manufacturers have listened to their customers’ needs and equipped their respective model accordingly, giving the customers what they want: better fuel efficiency (Veloz moving from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive), as well as a bump in safety equipment.
What was once a relatively quiet segment will be filled with brand-new models over the next couple of months. Those shopping for a family 7-seater SUV / MPV will no doubt be spoilt for choices, ranging from the BR-V to the Xpander.
Question is, which 7-seater SUV / MPV is your pick?