We’ve driven the Mitsubishi Xpander before—overseas, on local roads before the official launch, and more recently during Mitsubishi Motor Philippines’ first media test drive for this model. But it’s taken us this long to notice one little detail we hadn’t seen before.
While driving an automatic rental unit in the province, we spotted a little button labeled ‘O/D’ on the side of the shifter labeled And when we tinkered with it, our suspicions were confirmed—it’s actually an overdrive button.
It’s quite amusing, because you don’t often see this feature on major models anymore. Back in the day, it was pretty commonplace on automatic transmissions. The term overdrive could apply to a lot of things, but the simple gist is that it works to keep the engine speed below a certain rpm to improve fuel economy and reduce wear and tear. So, you’d have the overdrive on during normal driving conditions, but you’d switch it off when you need the engine to work at higher revs—say, if you’re hauling heavy cargo up a steep incline.
Nowadays, you don’t find the switch as often anymore. Most automatic transmissions now come with either paddle shifters or some other tool that allows you to choose gears yourself. The 1.5-liter Xpander’s automatic variants run on a four-speed slushbox without said paddles, hence the old-school switch.
What about you guys? When was the last time you saw an overdrive button on a brand-new model?