In case you haven't noticed it yet, Nissan has returned to the MPV game after debuting the all-new Livina. But unlike the Grand Livina from before, the new Livina is no longer a wholly Nissan product. Instead, it's now based on the Xpander. This doesn't come as a surprise since both automakers are now part of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.
But with the upgraded (and facelifted) Mitsubishi Xpander already in the country since May of this year, we couldn't help but compare the two MPVs. With that, does the Livina have what it takes to one-up the Xpander? Or is the Mitsubishi the better 7-seater than what Nissan has brought to market?
It's time for another round of spec check.
Sizing Them Up
Let's start by seeing which of the two is the bigger MPV. Sure, both are essentially the same vehicle but the Mitsubishi just got an upgrade while the Livina is still based on the pre-facelift version of the Mitsubishi.
The Xpander measures 4595mm long, 1750mm wide, 1750mm tall, and has a 2775mm wheelbase. Mitsubishi upgraded the suspension and has given the MPV larger 17-inch alloy wheels across the range, resulting in an improved ground clearance of 225mm.
As for the Livina, it has a length of 4510mm, a width of 1750mm, and a height of 1700mm. Despite being shorter in length by 85mm, its wheelbase is similar to that of the Xpander's. However, the Livina's ground clearance only comes in at 205mm since it only comes with the smaller 16-inch alloy wheels (15-inches for the lesser variants).
All in all, the Xpander is longer and taller than the Livina. The Mitsubishi also comes with better ground clearance thanks to the upgraded suspension and bigger wheels. It's only in sheer width where the two MPVs are evenly-matched.
Packed with features
If there's one thing that customers always look for when it comes to buying vehicles, it's the number of features available. The Livina and Xpander are no different as both Nissan and Mitsubishi made sure the two MPVs come with plenty of amenities. But which of the two is far more equipped?
All variants of the Livina come with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports AM/FM radio, USB, Aux, and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Instead, it only comes with a Phonelink that can connect with your Apple or Android device.
High-grade versions of the Livina will also come with black leather seats (brown fabric on lesser models), a 6-way manual adjust driver's seat, audio controls on the steering wheel, chrome door handles on the inside, and a color LCD multi-info display. There are also charging ports but they're only available for the front occupants and the third-row passengers. Last but not least, all models of the Livina come with manual air-conditioning with rear aircon vents.
Since the Xpander was recently updated, it comes with more upgraded features than the Livina. It now gets a more high-tech 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a new instrument cluster complete with a high-definition multi-info display.
Leather seats also come standard on the top-of-the-line GLS, a 6-way manual adjust driver's seat, audio and cruise controls, chrome door handles, and charging ports for all rows of seats. Instead of dials, the Xpander comes with a new digital panel for the air-conditioning system. For better ease of use, the Xpander GLS gets a new electronic parking brake which replaces the traditional manual lever.
Looking at what the Xpander offers, the Mitsubishi comes with more up-to-date technologies compared to the Livina. There are also more charging ports to help passengers keep their devices juiced up while on the go. In addition, the Xpander's touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which are now a big selling point for most buyers.
They may be wearing different exteriors, but both the Xpander and Livina are powered by the same engine, a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four.
Both the Mitsubishi and Livina produce 141 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm but the Xpander makes slightly more power with 104.5 PS (or 105 PS if rounded up) at 6000 rpm. Meanwhile, the Livina puts out 104 PS at 6000 rpm. We're not entirely sure where Mitsubishi got the extra power, but they might have done something to the powertrain to make the Xpander a little bit quicker compared to the Nissan Livina.
Aside from having the same motor under the hood, the two MPVs also share similar transmission choices. The entry-level variants are only paired to a 5-speed manual transmission while the mid-range and top-spec models get a 4-speed automatic transmission. Last but not least, both the Livina and Xpander come with a 45-liter fuel tank.
So while the two MPVs get different exteriors and interiors, customers will not feel short-changed when it comes to the powertrain. While the 1.5-liter is not exactly the most powerful in the segment, it has proven to be a reliable and relatively fuel-efficient engine in the MPV market.
Safety is Key
Since MPVs are sometimes the preferred choice for growing families, they have to be packed with plenty of safety kits. Luckily, Nissan and Mitsubishi equipped the Livina and Xpander generously.
Both vehicles are available with anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, hill-start assist (AKA hill-hold control), dual front airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors on the second row, rear parking sensors, and a reverse camera.
With that, it looks like the Livina and Xpander are evenly matched when it comes to safety equipment. Do note, however, that depending on the variant chosen, lesser models come with fewer safety features. Only the top-spec and mid-range offerings come with all the bells and whistles. Check out which variant you want to get and see if it has the safety features you're looking for.
What's the retail?
Now we come to the most important part of this comparo, the price.
The Xpander starts at PHP 1,050,000 for the entry-level GLX M/T and is followed by the mid-range GLX A/T which retails for PHP 1,110,000. At the top of the range is the fully-loaded GLS A/T which has a price tag of PHP 1,180,000.
As for the Livina, the most affordable model is the 1.5 E M/T that is selling for PHP 1,029,000. It is then followed by the 1.5 EL A/T which is priced at PHP 1,109,000. Up next is the 1.5 VE A/T which can be yours for PHP 1,149,000. Last but not least is the 1.5 VL A/T which comes with a PHP 1,209,000 sticker price.
Based on this, the Xpander offers more value for money since the GLS is slightly more affordable than the VL variant of the Livina. Sure, the E and EL models of the Nissan are cheaper, but the GLX offerings of the Xpander come with more equipment and come with an upgraded suspension, and improved ground clearance.
Despite the Xpander already sporting updates and a facelifted exterior, it comes as a surprise that the Livina is more expensive even though it's based on the pre-facelift version of the Mitsubishi MPV. But if you were given the choice between the Livina and Xpander, which of the two would you pick? Let us know in the comments below.