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The X-factor in the XForce

The X-factor in the XForce

Tessa R. Salazar

In the standstill of urban congestion, sounds are often the only trip that’s moving


As a hyperactive kid, my parents sent me to piano lessons supposedly to “settle me down,” calm my nerves. The theory then was that classical music would soothe me down, make me chill.

I distinctly remember the piano brand I played on was a Yamaha, and then much later on, when I was already punching letters into words and stories in my fave newspaper, I dabbled in percussion at the Yamaha School of Music for a time.

Obviously, a career in journalism was it for me. But music was never really out of my life (how can you ignore music in this country, gosh). It became part of my lifestyle. I joined a church choir. I participated in late-night karaoke howlers with friends and neighbors. Music was, like in most movies, the background track of my everyday scenes.

Maybe I can say the same for nearly all of us Pinoys when it comes to music and how it plays a crucial part in our daily lives. Especially when it comes to driving. I have almost never driven my car out without music playing from the stereo. And when I board public conveyances, like taxis, jeepneys, buses or trikes, 9 times out of 10 there’s music playing in there.

There’s logic and practicality behind it. Everytime you’re out on the road, almost all of the time is spent inside the vehicle, and when you’re stuck in traffic, much more so. When there’s no music in your cabin all that time? Well, the silence is deafening, and maddening.

That’s why, during the Philippine launch of the Mitsubishi XForce crossover at the Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City last July 5, I understood right away why Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) executives were seemingly keen on hammering home the fact that the vehicle was equipped with the Yamaha premium sound system. Because driving isn’t all about getting behind the wheel and taking control of the car. Driving is also about the car, particularly its sound system, taking over you as you navigate the predictable and unpredictable of the road.

I do feel that we Pinoys need all the help we can get in keeping our wits and patience about us during these days of worsening traffic. Music does have a palpable, tangible effect on our behavior, even when behind the wheel. There are studies that show fast music being found to increase the number of actions on the steering wheel and pedals, whereas slow music was found to reduce those same actions.

But why did Mitsubishi choose Yamaha as its in-car sound specialist for the XForce? Mitsubishi chief product specialist Masahiro Ito said during the presscon that Yamaha has been “a professional company making sound, including the instrumental, outside of the automotive arena. They have had a long history, over 130 years of good sound quality.”

He added that Mitsubishi’s objective was to “create the best sound for the car itself,” and that “at the very beginning of the product planning, Mitsubishi visited the Yamaha corporate headquarters and the Mitsubishi concept was explained to the Yamaha team.”

At the launch, Yamaha claimed that “it creates heart-stirring moments, embodying thoughts and emotions embedded in sound and music. The collaborative co-creation of two companies presents a premium car audio that tempts listeners to pure excitement, dynamic sounds.”

Hiroshi Nagaoka of Mitsubishi Motors Corp (MMC) said: “The XForce’s audio system opens hearts and shares emotions,” while Yamaha sound meister Takashi Nakanishi said: “We made the artists’ intentions reality, allowing us to create in-depth realistic instrument sounds, rich volume, and a low-frequency range that keeps the beat going.” Kazuomi Akiba of MMC said: “The XForce audio has unbelievable sound quality. Dynamic sound has been scrutinized and created conscientiously by Yamaha Sound Meisters and Mitsubishi Motors engineers. In fact, this is something that can’t be created with home audio.”

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MMC’s Akio Kawabata said, “Overwhelmingly powerful low tones have been reproduced to sound as if they’re shaking the earth. Mitsubishi Motors particularly focused on technology that compensates speed-related sound. Not only adjusting the volume to match vehicle speed, but also changing the sound quality itself.” He then summed it all up: “We created world-class quality sound.”

Mitsubishi and Yamaha claim that you can experience your favorite music performance in the XForce as if you are at the best seat in a private concert hall. It has a 12.3-inch touchscreen smartphone-link display audio with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Audio.

The experience would be akin to what we witnessed at the grand ballroom of Shangri-La at The Fort when rock icon Bamboo performed his set of signature songs (and whom I personally met inside the VIP room with fellow vegan motoring scribes after his performance. Bamboo told us he has been vegan for 8 years now. Now that’s heaven to my ears.)

The XForce literally sounds great. About the driving part, well, I haven’t come to try the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 104hp and 141 Nm of torque (same outputs as the Xpander) and its four drive modes (normal, wet, gravel, and mud). But you can drop by at the SM Aura in Taguig today, the last day of the public display, and experience for yourself that distinctive XForce and Yamaha collab. You can also visit the MMPC FB page, ask for the nearest dealership in your area and schedule a test drive with your family. Choose between the two variants, GLS and GT priced at P1.367 million and P1.581 million, respectively. For such a price, you also get an advanced driver assistance system (adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning system, rear cross traffic alert, etc.) on the GT variant.

Music to your ears? Well, MMPC hopes it has another chart-topping hit in its hands.