Grandis is ideal for the family

CarsGuide ·

11 November 2004

Grandis is ideal for the family

These two people movers from Mitsubishi and Honda hit the market a few months ago amid an advertising campaign portraying them as sexy.

They are not your usual people-movers, being sleeker and lower without a driving position like a mini-bus.

Seated in the cockpit of the Honda, you almost feel like you are driving a sedan. It has a natty little dash-mounted gear shift a finger away from the wheel.

The drawback is that rear room is not good and access to the third row difficult.

The Grandis feels less like a sedan from the cockpit. It has a similar stubby shifter, but it's a bit further from the wheel and you sit a little more upright and bus-like. The advantage is that it has more room in the back and better access to the third row.

So if it's a driver decision, it's the Honda; if it's a family decision, it has to be the Grandis.

The Grandis started life behind the eight ball when it was launched first in June, only to be undercut on price two weeks later by the Odyssey.

At $7000 less than the previous model, Odyssey had the price advantage over the Grandis until Mitsubishi counter-punched with thousands of dollars of extras.

My family was ferried around to school, dancing, work, etc for a week in the BA Grandis and could not have been happier with the accommodation and appointments.

They found the deep-velour seats comfortable and supportive.

The second row was like a huge loungechair, while it was easy to flip up the third row which has plenty of legroom even for adults.

With the third row deployed, there is virtually no room for luggage, even less than in the back of the three-seater Kluger, Territory or LandCruiser.

However, the seats are split 50:50 in the third row and 60:40 in the second to provide a two-one-one seating pattern option and room to carry a longer load.

The kids loved the aircraft-style flip-down dinner trays in the back of the front seats, the many cup holders and cubby holders around the cabin, the separate airconditioning controls and vents for second and third row passengers, and the second separate sunroof.

From a driver's point of view, I was not so impressed.

The new 121kW 2.4-litre MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve lift and timing Electronic Control) engine does not feel as refined or responsive as the Honda's i-VTEC. But it is quieter than Honda's "screamer".

Power and torque figures are similar

in the Grandis and Odyssey, but the former gets its torque a lot earlier, which is handy.

It meant the INVECS II four-speed automatic was not required to kick down as often for hills, load and acceleration, which is just as well as it was reluctant in full-auto mode.

The sequential shifter needs to be worked if you want it to respond.

Brakes felt a little spongy and wanted to push back against your foot, although stopping power seemed up to the task of a heavily loaded people mover.

Suspension seems a little slower to respond in the Grandis than the Odyssey which is sharp and nimble.

The Grandis always feels like the back end is half a phase out of sync with the front.

And without controls on the steering wheel as in the Odyssey, it's a big distraction to reach across to the left side of the sound system to alter the volume button.

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