Revamped for adventure

PhotographS by Ian Magbanua for the daily tribune 2023 Xpander Cross in quartz white pearl with black roof.

After Mitsubishi launched the facelifted Xpander in 2022, it was only a matter of time before we saw the top-tier Xpander Cross on our shores. As the latest addition to its lineup, Mitsubishi’s updated crossover slash MPV joins its bigger brothers, the Strada and Montero Sport to complete the brand’s outdoor-lifestyle offerings. The new Cross comes as an upgrade from the standard Xpander, with a bolder design and improved features.

Design Aesthetics
Design-wise, the 2023 Xpander Cross’ design seems more well thought out. Though the older version was well received, there was some criticism of the slapped-together look of the body cladding, fender flares, and bumper ornamentation on that one. The 2023 facelift, however, seems more thoroughly put together and comes off as more of a design studio output rather than an aftermarket afterthought.

The flares have narrowed a bit and are more straight-edged than curved, the body cladding is simpler and more elegant, and the guard bar and blacked-out grill treatment is a fresh take on the rugged theme.

All new bumper guard bar and rectangular foglamp housings complement the T-shaped LED headlight array.


Mitsubishi’s tried and tested 4 speed automatic seen with electronic parking brake and auto hold.


New steering wheel looks straight out of the Montero Sport.

The whole design package contains a fistful of angles making the vehicle more decisively modern and aggressive. 2023 sees the introduction of two special color options for the Xpander Cross in the form of two-tone configurations. Sunrise Orange Metallic with a black top and Quartz White Pearl with a black top. Two more colors make up the range — Blade Silver Metallic and Graphite Gray Metallic.

At first glance, one might mistake it for a larger SUV due to its sizable front grille and class-leading 225mm elevated ride height. However, upon closer inspection, one will notice that it still has compact dimensions suitable for driving in and out of Manila’s streets. New for this year is the 17” two-tone machined alloy wheels with a directional 5-spoke design that looks more upscale than the previous Cross’ wheels.

The interior of this vehicle exudes comfort and sophistication with premium materials used throughout, such as leather on the seats and dashboard, soft-touch plastics on several panels, and faux aluminum inserts that add to the elegance of the interior.

The steering wheel differs from the other Xpander variants and is more similar to the tiller on the Montero Sport. The digital gauge cluster is all new as well and can be configured to have the speedometer or tachometer front and center.

The seats are supportive and the use of space is as good, if not marginally better than its competitors. It can comfortably seat up to seven passengers with ample legroom even when sitting in the third-row seats — which is quite impressive considering its size.


The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross is powered by Mitsubishi’s dependable 4A91 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 105 horsepower and 141 newton-meters of torque, and our local variant comes with a 4-speed automatic with overdrive, same with its variant siblings. In the time that we have driven it, we’ve got an average of 9 km/l in mixed conditions and with a consciously light foot on the pedal.

The engine provides adequate power for city driving, and is quiet when driven gently, but will sound strained when floored. Rest assured though, that the engine and transmission have enough grunt and push for highway overtaking (granted that one puts a reasonable amount of space and safety into the equation).

The ride quality is smooth, and the suspension handles bumps and rough roads well. The 205/55 R17 tires are also a big factor in the ride quality, as we found out when we re-aired them to 30 psi from the 38 to 40 psi they originally had from the dealership.

One notable feature of the Xpander Crossthe Mitsubishi touts is the Active Yaw Control System. This system improves traction by independently braking individual wheels to find the best grip, making for safer cornering, especially in the wet. For added peace of mind, the vehicle also comes with several advanced safety features such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, Hill Start Assist and traction control.

Soft touch materials, leather and aluminum highlights elevate the interior.

Driving Dynamics
The 2023 Mitsubishi Xpander Cross makes for a pleasant driving experience overall. The interior ergonomics are well thought out, the steering is light and responsive, and the suspension has a good amount of assurance, allowing drivers to navigate corners with confidence. The front-disc and rear-drum brake setup is strong and predictable, providing a good pedal feel and confidence when stopping.

Because its engine tries to mix usable power and fuel efficiency (as is normal for this category), acceleration isn’t as spirited, given the size of the vehicle and the 4-speed auto. These small drawbacks, though, are eclipsed by the car’s superb handling and stability on a variety of road surfaces.

Families looking for a versatile, reasonably priced crossover SUV with modern safety features and amenities will find the Xpander Cross a strong contender. The way the space can be configured stays true to the MPV brief, and even while this well-rounded vehicle has some shortcomings, such as slow acceleration and lofty gearing, these problems can be overcome when looking at the entire value-for-money argument. This car stands out from other competitors in terms of exterior design aesthetics as well as interior comfort and available space. If you’re in the market for a vehicle that can handle Metro Manila and then some, then you should check out the 2023 Xpander Cross.

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