Motoring News

Meet Prince Xpander – son of Dakar rally’s King Pajero

COMING TO SA IN 2021. The Mitsubishi Xpander. Image: Mitsubishi Motors

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia has been working with XRT to prepare the automaker’s Xpander AP4 for its first off-road rally trials and Naoya Nakamura, president of MM Indonesia, told The Corner in a media release:

“Our collaboration with the XRT team in realising the first modified seven-seater MPV crossover and joining the AP4 Rally continues. Even in the midst of challenging conditions, MMKSI and XRT remain committed to preparing the Xpander AP4 for National and International rallies.”

The small on/off-roaders are expected in South Africa in early 2021.

Mitsubishi has a history of racing in a number of global motorsport events and using the process as a global laboratory to test vehicle performance, driving pleasure, comfort, and safety. The Pajero dominated the Dakar Rally from the 1980’s with 12 wins – seven of them in a row from 2001-07 – and still holds the record for event’s most wins.

COMING TO SA IN 2021. The Mitsubishi Xpander. Image: Mitsubishi Motors

Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, told The Corner: “The valuable experience and knowledge gained through participation in motorsport provided excellent feedback for the development of all Mitsubishi models,”

This participation, The Corner was told, will also apply to the Xpander AP4 which had its debut in Indonesia at an automotive exhibition there in April 2019. Three months later (July 2019) the Xpander AP4 was again displayed at an automotive exhibition as a prototype but with a design closely resembling the original.

COMING TO SA IN 2021. The Mitsubishi Xpander. Image: Mitsubishi Motors

The Xpander AP4 lso underwent rigorous research and development with Ralliart New Zealand as a rally car. After homologation the XpanderAP4, based on Mitsubishi’s new crossover, is expected in South Africa in early 2021.

READ MORE Mitsubishi features on Carman’s Corner

The XpanderAP4 rally version underwent trials on gravel for the first time in Indonesia. XRT racer and Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia brand ambassador Rifat Sungkar said: “I was satisfied with the recent first trials on the Tembong Jaya Circuit in Indonesia. 100km of testing delivered data about every aspect of the vehicle’s performance – from  engine and transmission through to suspension and chassis.

”The Xpander AP4 showed excellent performance and results. Useful data was obtained and further adjustment of the Xpander AP4 in terms of fuel, tyres, turbo cooling, and other areas was done.”

FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE

The XpanderAP4 will now be tested on asphalt before being prepped for an Indonesian sprint rally championship event towards the end of 2020.

Campbell added: “The compact MPV will have its SA debut in early 2021. It will only have front-wheel drive and a 1.5-litre petrol engine spinning a manual or auto transmission,”

The Xpander AP4 in its inaugural development programme can be seen here.

COMING TO SA IN 2021. The Mitsubishi Xpander. Image: Mitsubishi Motors

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