Mitsubishi Xpander’s 1.5L MIVEC engine, is it powerful enough?

Eric · Oct 26, 2020 10:00 AM

Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has previewed the highly-anticipated 2020 Mitsubishi Xpander in Malaysia. Prices of the Xpander will be announced in November and it will rival the Honda BR-V, Perodua Aruz, and Toyota Rush.

Like its core rivals, the upcoming Mitsubishi Xpander is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine. Codenamed 4A91, this naturally-aspirated petrol engine is good for 105 PS and 141 Nm. It also gets MIVEC variable valve timing on the intake and as well as timing chain.

The 4A9-series engine was first fitted to the Mitsubishi Colt, but has since been updated to meet current market requirements.

This is the only engine fitted to the Mitsubishi Xpander – the company does not offer the Xpander with any other engine option.

The sole transmission on offer is a four-speed automatic that sends power to the front wheels.

According to MMM, Xpander's claimed fuel consumption figure is 7.0-litre/100 km, which is slightly behind the Honda BR-V and Perodua Aruz, both of which does a claimed 6.4-litre/100 km.

Power figures of the Mitsubishi Xpander may not be able to match the Honda BR-V (120 PS, 145 Nm), but the Xpander has enough power to rival the Perodua Aruz (102 PS, 133 Nm).

Power-to-weight ratio-wise, the Honda BR-V leads the pack, coming in at 94.6 PS-per-tonne. The Mitsubishi Xpander trails the BR-V's figure, coming in at 84 PS-per-tonne. As for the rear-wheel drive Aruz Rush, it offers the weakest power-to-weight ratio at 77.9 PS-per-tonne.

Though trivial for this segment of vehicles, we expect the Honda BR-V completes the century sprint the quickest, thanks to its highest power output and stepless CVT-type automatic.

Of the trio, the only model we tested is the Perodua Aruz, which completed the century sprint in 15.7 seconds.

We predict that the Xpander should complete the same century sprint in between the 14 - 16 second mark.

Keep in mind that the Aruz is a rear-wheel drive model, therefore suffer from more parasitic loss than its front-wheel drive counterparts.

Maintaining a rear-wheel drive vehicle costs marginally more than a front-wheel drive model, owing to the fact that the rear differential oil needs to be replaced at a set interval, much like engine and transmission oil.

While the Mitsubishi Xpander may not be as powerful as the Honda BR-V, it does offer a more durable four-speed automatic in place of the BR-V's CVT unit. Ride comfort and refinement levels should be ahead of the Aruz/Rush as well, as the rear-wheel drive duo are essentially a rebodied Toyota Avanza.

With all said and done, the Xpander isn't about outright engine performance, but its strongpoint is practicality.

Although Honda is synonymous with practicality and usability, the BR-V can't quite hold a candle against the Xpander as it isn't on the same practicality level as the Xpander.

In addition to the usual storage spaces in and round the cabin, the Xpander also offers a storage location under the front passenger seat and a tow-tier boot floor. It also offers a centre armrest with storage space - something that is missing on the BR-V and Aruz.

Its 2,775 mm-long wheelbase also means that the Xpander has a longer wheelbase than the Toyota Innova - a model that is one segment above. A longer wheelbase also means that the Xpander offers more legroom than the Honda and Perodua.

Couple that with its well-tuned suspension, the Xpander makes for a practical yet comfortable people mover without breaking the bank.