Why does the new Mitsubishi Xpander not come with a CVT?

Why does it still use a four-speed automatic?
by Anton Andres | May 19, 2022
2022 Mitsubishi Xpander ph launch, refreshed mitsubishi xpander ph, refreshed mitsubishi xpander design, 2023 mitsubishi xpander ph, 2022 mitsubishi xpander photos
PHOTO: Charles Banaag
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The 2022 Mitsubishi Xpander is now available in showrooms nationwide. With a new look inside and out, the company aims to maintain its position in the subcompact crossover segment. Its main targets? That would be the Honda BR-V and the recently launched all-new Avanza. However, there is one thing we always wanted to ask Mitsubishi.

Why does the local-spec Xpander stick with the four-speed automatic from the pre-facelift model? We ask that because in other countries, the MPV has a continuously variable transmission. So, what gives? And is it the right decision? 

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According to Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC), its product planners focused on what the local customers wanted enhanced for the new Xpander. With that, the transmission was not exactly at the top of things that needed to be changed. “Based on what we heard, the customers want enhanced styling. If there is a strong demand for a CVT, we will look into it,” per MMPC.

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But here’s the thing: Do you want the Xpander to have a CVT? There are pros and cons to this transmission. One of the biggest advantages of a CVT is smoothness, since this setup does not have gears. That means it won’t have shift shock that detracts from the driving experience. The CVT is also geared towards fuel efficiency, so this kind of transmission should add a few more kilometers per liter to the Xpander.

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However, a common complaint about CVTs is response. Since it prioritizes economy over outright performance, CVTs aren’t exactly the liveliest from a standstill. The rubber-band effect is also another characteristic some consumers do not like about this transmission. While the Xpander is not meant to be a performance car, we can understand why there are those who have doubts about the CVT.

Before you accuse MMPC of sticking with old tech, you have to remember that these folks study the customer base. And since the demand for a new gearbox isn’t that high, it’s understandable why the company stuck to its guns. Either way, the pre-facelift Xpander can get up to 18 km/L on the highway under real-world conditions.  

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PHOTO: Charles Banaag
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