Mitsubishi Motors Philippines struck gold with the introduction of the Xpander in 2018. It quickly became one of the brand’s top-selling models, beating the Mirage/Mirage G4 and even the L300 several times. In its first year, the automaker could barely keep up supply due to the high demand for the MPV. It was practical, affordable, and ticked all the right boxes for customers.

After its global debut in August 2017, Mitsubishi decided to introduce an updated version of the Xpander in November 2021. It was an extensive facelift too. There were major design changes both inside and out.

After a few months of waiting, the facelift Xpander is here, and we had the opportunity to try it out ahead of the launch. It wasn’t enough time for us to do a full review, so stay tuned for that next time. However, it did allow us to get familiar with the MPV.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

When the Xpander was first launched, some people were divided regarding the MPV’s design. Hopefully this updated version changes all that. The new T-shaped LED headlights look a lot more aggressive and modern as compared to the previous set. Designers also updated the grille, dividing it into two sections. The upper portion comes with a two-bar design finished in gloss black, while the lower half adopts a sportier mesh styling.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

Another subtle change that makes the 2022 Xpander look better is the position of the license plate. It now sits between the bumper and the lower portion of the grille instead of on the grille itself. Along the side, the changes are limited to the new wheels. At the rear, there’s a new set of LED taillights to match the updated front end. The rear bumper was also redesigned to look sportier as the reflectors have been moved to the corners.

It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos, but the new Xpander is also taller than its predecessor. The new model features 220mm of ground clearance as Mitsubishi tinkered with the MPV’s suspension. The taller ride height is not that noticeable from the driver's seat. But if you've driven the previous model, then it will be.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

Speaking of the cabin, Mitsubishi also overhauled the interior of the Xpander, making it feel more upscale. Gone is the old dashboard layout and in its place is a new one with straight lines and rectangular air vents. The automaker didn’t cheap out too as the new material that lines the dashboard is padded and feels premium.

In front of the driver is a new steering wheel that looks similar to the one used in the Lancer Evolution X. The instrument cluster is the same but features updated graphics. What I really like about the 2022 Xpander is the new touchscreen infotainment system and the automatic climate control system. They’re now easier to operate and look more upscale when compared to the ones fitted in the outgoing model. No more knob dials for the aircon here. Instead of a traditional hand brake lever, that’s been upgraded to an electronic parking brake.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

Though not as obvious, the seats in the 2022 Xpander also feature an updated design. These hug you more with larger bolsters as compared to the previous one; your butt will be more comfortable when going over bumps as there seems to be extra padding. Look between the front seats and the sliding center console is gone. Mitsubishi got rid of it for a larger unit that now comes with an armrest.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

Under the hood, the 2022 Xpander still uses the same 1.5-liter inline-4 and the same 4-speed automatic transmission. 

The taller ride height didn’t seem to affect the handling or the turning radius of the Xpander either. Then again, we weren’t exactly testing the MPV’s handling or suspension at the time on the streets of Metro Manila. We were only allowed to drive the vehicle around a private village. That said, expect more feedback regarding the transmission and the handling once we do a full review of the 2022 Xpander.

2022 Mitsubishi Xpander first impressions image

One other thing we also like about the 2022 Xpander is the price. It retails for PHP 1,030,000 for the base GLX MT variant, and it’s around the same as the outgoing model. This particular Xpander GLS AT, however, retails for PHP 1,160,000. The MPV has become more expensive since it was first launched in 2018. But comparing it to other models today, it’s still competitive.

For those interested in the all-new Xpander, you may now pre-order your unit at Mitsubishi dealerships across the country. Deliveries and official sales are expected to begin later this year.