by Brad Leach - 12/12/09
A MITSUBISHI GRANDIS FOR A FAMILY
A good-looking MPV was once thought impossible – but now with the Chrysler Grand Voyager, Honda Odyssey, Mazda CX-9 and Mitsubishi Grandis, things have turned stylishly for the better.
Mitsubishi timed the arrival of a VRX model Grandis at the Car Showroom office perfectly – just in time for a long weekend!
The seven-seat VRX model is the leader of the Grandis lineup and boasts some impressive specs including leather seats (heated fronts), rear parking assistance, roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels and an ingeniously flexible interior with under-seat storage in the cleverly-folding third row seats.
It’s not the price leader in the segment but when you compare its specifications with rivals, the Grandis actually presents a credible value-for-money argument.
The Car Showroom family certainly had no complaints after our extended journey down Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.
Mitsubishi’s venerable 2.4-litre MIVEC 16-valve engine sees duty in both the Outlander SUV and Grandis – it’s a refined and handy unit delivering 120kW of power and 216Nm of torque.
Drive is to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission with sports mode direct manual shifts when required.
Mitsubishi claims combined cycle fuel economy of 10.4l/100kms.
During our extended road trip, performance was certainly not lacking and even fully loaded the Grandis tackled the curves, swoops and climbs of the Great Ocean Road with aplomb.
Our plan was a weekend of golf for the adults and beach activity for the youngsters. So there were no occupants for the third seat (which has a clever folding mechanism) but luggage capacity was tested to the max. The good news is two sets of clubs fitted in easily…oh, and the not-so-important stuff also made it no probs.
The second row seats slide to accommodate various luggage capacities and provide extra legroom. The Car Showroom juniors were comfortable in their child seats and by sliding the second row seats forward we were able to increase luggage capacity.
Front seats were comfortable although for ultimate driver comfort, the steering wheel needs reach adjustment.
Dual front and side curtain airbags plus ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution allowed us to tackle the long weekend road chaos with confidence.
We liked the quality of the six-CD/six-speaker audio system with MP3 and WMA compatibility.
As usual with Mitsubishi, the instruments were excellent and the mix of stalk-mounted and center console controls worked faultlessly.
We reckon the Grandis can strut the automotive catwalks with the very best of the MPV models.
In VRX mode, the 17-inch alloy wheels and dark privacy glass for the rear passenger windows provide extra sophistication.
We particularly liked the angular front-end with sharp, contemporary headlights, colour-coded bumpers and fog-lights.
Curved side glass presents very well and the large window area certainly enhances interior brightness.
At the rear, the large vertical tail-lights are distinctive and stylish in a very contemporary way.
After our long weekend in the Grandis, we’re certain this stylish Mitsubishi can match it with most rivals for refinement and quietness.
We liked the responsiveness of the 2.4-litre engine when heading along the Great Ocean Road and also in freeway overtaking.
Steering response was very sharp and overall grip levels were high.
Noise suppression over bumps was on par with most rivals although ultimately not as silent and refined as the significantly more expensive Grand Voyager – which is the segment benchmark.
Practical and spacious, the interior of the Grandis looks a little dated compared to newer rivals like the Odyssey and Grand Voyager. In saying that, we did like the abundant leather and nice ambience of the VRX model we tested – and it is more spacious than the Odyssey and costs a lot less than the Grand Voyager!
We reckon we had the ideal vehicle for our family long weekend trip.
The Grandis simply laughed at the ridiculous amount of luggage we loaded on-board. The Car Showroom family was comfortable for the hours we spent on the road. And the person behind the wheel actually enjoyed tackling the twists and curves on the rural roads.
Priced at $44,950 the Grandis VRX really goes head-to-head with the Honda Odyssey (from $43,990 but $49,990 by the time you spec it up to Grandis levels).
Mazda’s CX-9 is sharply styled and a nice drive but it doesn’t have the practicality of the Grandis and is more expensive.
Chrysler’s Grand Voyager remains the luxury MPV benchmark but requires a lot more coin.
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