Comfort is an important consideration in a family car. Handling capabilities? Not so much. But there are some occasions where both characteristics go hand in hand. Case in point – the dampers on the Mitsubishi Xpander are said to have “high-performance valves” inspired by the mighty Lancer Evolution X.
This bold claim was made by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines during the crossover’s media drive and was notably picked up by publications such as Top Gear Philippines. This claim can also be found in marketing materials in a few markets, including Egypt.
Interestingly, Mitsubishi never made any mention of damper valves in press releases or marketing materials for the Evolution X. It should be pointed out that the car was available with two different damper options in its lifetime, with the High Performance Package adding Bilstein shock absorbers.
But what does the chassis of a hardcore rally-ready sports sedan have to do with a comfort-oriented people mover? Well, suspension technology doesn’t just benefit high-power, high-g-force applications – the use of better components also means that a car can provide a stable and supple ride, no matter how rough the terrain below is.
To understand why, let’s look at the basics of how a shock absorber works. It consists of a tube filled with fluid through which a piston moves – this piston features small orifices and valves that only allow a certain amount of fluid to pass through at any one time, providing the damping force.
Improvements to the valves can give you finer control over damping, which may not only reduce body roll but also improve the ride quality. These “high-performance valves” could make the Xpander feel more sophisticated on the road – important given that it rides on a more basic torsion beam rear suspension.
So, do Evolution X components really make a tangible difference to the way the Xpander drives? Well, we’ll just have to drive it when it launches in Malaysia later in the year, to find out.