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Mitsubishi Grandis 2004 review: snapshot

Some luggage, as well, plus a surfboard or two on the roof.

But buyers are not necessarily parents of burgeoning families.

Increasingly, people seeking more versatility in their cars are moving away from traditional sedans – hence the explosion of sports utility vehicles.

Manufacturers have picked up on the trend and there are few better examples of the redefining of the commercial van-turned-people mover design than the Odyssey and Grandis.

Visually the Grandis easily identifies its multi-seat role. It's relatively tall, comes with a wedge-shaped nose and vertical tail and has a row of school-bus windows.

The Odyssey looks less like a van, though the hearse shape of the low-slung wagon categorises it as a multi-seater.

Both have a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through an automatic gearbox and both cost about the same since Mitsubishi slashed the Grandis price by $4000 to compete with the Honda.

It also dropped the Grandis base model, so you get the Luxury specification for a big discount with some leftover base model Grandis models selling for $38,990.

Both have seven seats spread over three rows, with a foldable rear row and a centre row that slides fore and aft on rollers.

The Grandis's rear row can be folded flat on to the cargo floor by effortlessly pulling levers, while the Odyssey – in its Luxury version – has an electric motor that does it all for you.

Both have four conventional doors – as opposed to sliding doors – with a lift-up rear hatch.

You can walk from the front seats to the centre seats thanks to a low centre console (Grandis) or fold-down console (Odyssey).

Both have armrests for the front seat occupants, centre-console gearshift, a wave-form dashboard, lots of cupholders and – on the negative side – temporary spare tyres. For me, that rules both out as country holiday tourers.

Internally the Grandis presents a functional, if not overly uninspiring, cabin with a neat dashboard.

The Odyssey gets steering wheel-mounted controls for cruise and radio functions, while the Grandis demands the driver lean to the left to fiddle with the radio tuner and volume control – not easy to use or high on safety.

But the Grandis gets a proper handbrake lever, while the Odyssey has an awkward foot-operated parking pedal typical of a US car. Then again, the Odyssey shines with faux wood and metal trim to brighten up the dashboard and is enhanced by soft leather upholstery.

The Grandis gets soft velour upholstery, which is my personal preference because leather tends to either roast or freeze human skin in sympathy with the ambient temperature.

Seating space is good on both vehicles. There is room for five adults plus two children, or perhaps six adults at a squeeze.

The cargo room remaining with the three seat rows intact is slightly bigger on the Grandis.

Safety features are almost identical. Both get dual front airbags and side and curtain airbags, plus seat-belt pretensioners with load limiters on the front seats, head restraints and front and rear crumple zones.

Both have ABS with brake-force distribution and five child safety-seat anchor points.

The Grandis has seven lap-sash seatbelts but the Odyssey has only six, giving the middle row centre seat a lap belt.

On the road the two start to announce their differences.

The Grandis is much more engaging to drive. It relates better to the driver, has more road feel and feels more nimble and sporty than the Odyssey.

Part of that impression is due to the steering set-up, and the characteristics of the engine. The MIVEC engine – which simply translates as a variable-valve system – produces strong low-end torque and a revvy top-end.

On paper it's more powerful than the similarly equipped Honda engine but only by a mere 3kW.

Where the Grandis is sports-oriented, the Odyssey is all soft centred.

Both are easy to drive and have a tight turning circle.

The Odyssey's ride is compliant and supple. Although the driving experience is somewhat distant, with virtually no engine/tyre/road noise, it wins over occupants. It is more attuned to demands of slow-moving traffic conditions, while the Grandis feels more at home on sweeping country roads.

People movers come with an expectation of having commanding height and, therefore, good visibility.

That's the case with the Grandis, though the low-line Odyssey offers no more outlook than a conventional sedan.

Both models have bulky A-pillars (windscreen pillars) and fat vertical buttresses. As a result, drivers of both vehicles have some difficulty spotting traffic coming at right angles. This is worse in the Odyssey because it is so low.

The Honda isn't low because the company is trying to make life easy for you – it's below 1.6m high to avoid a height penalty in Tokyo car park stacks.

On matters of visibility, both vehicles have sloping bonnets that are invisible to the driver, making parking a practised art.

Given the similarity in price, the Honda Odyssey wins on quality but it could also have higher repair and servicing costs.

Pricing guides

$8,105
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$6,200
Highest Price
$10,010

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $6,500 – 10,010 2004 Mitsubishi Grandis 2004 (base) Pricing and Specs
Luxury 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $6,200 – 9,680 2004 Mitsubishi Grandis 2004 Luxury Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$6,200

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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