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Mitsubishi Thailand introduces the Xpander HEV family

The e:Motion system makes it a proper hybrid MPV

Same same, but very, very different underneath. PHOTO FROM MITSUBISHI

The seven-seater MPV segment just got really interesting with the introduction of a new hybrid competitor, as Mitsubishi Motors Thailand unveiled to the world the e:Motion hybrid system found in the Xpander HEV and the Xpander Cross HEV.

And yes, unlike some other electrified MPVs, this one is an honest-to-goodness hybrid system that’s based on the PHEV system found in the Outlander PHEV.

A proper hybrid system that actually uses the battery to drive the wheels. IMAGES FROM MITSUBISHI

A newly developed 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine (93hp and 134Nm) is paired with an electric motor (114hp and 255Nm). The hybrid battery can be found under the driver’s seat.

This is a series-parallel (or power-split hybrid) system as the ICE motor can both drive the front wheels and charge the electric motor. And the best part about this system is that it comes with two special EV drive modes: Charge and EV priority.

The new drivetrain also brought some changes under the hood. PHOTOS FROM MITSUBISHI

Other improvements include better body rigidity, additional insulation for enhanced NVH, retuned suspension, Active Yaw Control for the front wheels, and five drive modes (Normal, Tarmac, Gravel, Mud and Wet).

Unfortunately, this makes it very easy for Xpander owners to fool others into thinking they drive an Xpander Hybrid. PHOTOS FROM MITSUBISHI

One might think a huge upgrade like this would necessitate a revamped exterior and interior, but Mitsubishi kept everything exactly the same for both models.

All you’ll find are very subtle blue accents and 17-inch wheels aside from the obvious HEV badges. The Xpander HEV gets White Diamond as an additional color, while the Xpander Cross HEV gets Green Bronze Metallic.

The interior also gets slightly more pronounced updates, such as a new eight-inch digital gauge cluster, a new steering wheel (shared with the Triton), a PM2.5 cabin filter, a new nine-inch head unit (which is probably Thailand-exclusive), and a new puck-style shifter (something also seen in Nissan products).

Very minor updates inside. PHOTOS FROM MITSUBISHI

The Xpander HEVs will be manufactured in the Laem Chabang Plant 3 in Thailand, which means that this model should be a no-brainer for Mitsubishi Motors Philippines to bring in.

And once it does, we might as well be looking at the new king of compact MPVs with all the exemptions that hybrids enjoy under the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act.

In fact, Mitsubishi Thailand is running a promo for the introductory prices to make it match its ICE-powered siblings, which is an extremely great value proposition. Will we see MMPC do the same?

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.