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Mitsubishi Grandis 2004 review: road test

The sleek seven-seater will replace not one but two existing Mitsubishi models – the popular but aging Nimbus people mover and larger, rather awkward looking van-based Starwagon.

In terms of size, it is longer, wider and heavier than both predecessors, but considerably more powerful.

With regard to price it sits somewhere in between, but arguably better value than both – as well as the competition.

Grandis hits the market this week priced from $45,710.

Mitsubishi says Grandis which it describes as an "active recreation tourer" spearheads a complete model makeover that will see seven new cars launched before the end of next year.

They include a long waited replacement for the bread and butter Magna that may be called something else.

Mitsu is considering "three or four" other names for the car.

In fact, it may even hold a national competition to pick the name.

"Hopefully, it (the Grandis) will be the catalyst to start some serious brand building," says Mitsubishi's embattled boss Tom Phillips.

Grandis continues the controversial style pioneered by Mitsu's global style guru Olivier Boulay.

It is a style that many motoring commentators believe is largely responsible for the failure of the Magna.

However, unlike the Magna, it is the first car to appear here that has been designed from the ground up.

The racy, bullet shaped front and sleek flowing lines certainly look better in a more narrow body.

In another first, the 2.4-litre four cylinder engine features Mitsu's version of variable valve timing called MIVEC.

The result is more power and better fuel economy.

The 2.4-litre SOHC engine develops 121kW of power at 6000rpm and 217Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

Transmission is a four-speed, tipshift style auto with the changer lever mounted high on the dash within easy reach of the driver.

Claimed fuel economy is excellent at 10.4L/100km.

The engine develops more powerful than any four cylinder competitor and Grandis ticks all the boxes in the features department and then some.

However, even Mitsubishi's figures confirm that growth in the people mover segment has been virtually stagnant over the past 10 years and it is not expecting to sell great numbers of the car.

On the road Grandis feels flat, stable and very car like, easy to steer and easy to change gear.

It is reasonably quick off the line with two people aboard, but performance is sure to diminish with additional passengers.

Hills will be especially hard work with a full complement.

We were able to give the car a testing workout over some trying, twisty roads and can report the car handles reasonably well, with early understeer and some bump steer through rougher corners.

Fortunately ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution are standard.

Front, side and curtain airbags are also standard.

Cars such as the Grandis are all about flexibility and the rear seats can be arranged in a number of different configurations.

The second row seats three people in a 60:40 split, with four floor positions for varying amounts of legroom, and seat bottoms that incline for greater comfort.

The third row seats two with reasonable legroom but reduced headroom makes it more suitable for children.

These two seats pack into the floor when not needed, either together or individually, and also have an incline function.

The rear seats can also be flipped for a grandstand style seating looking backwards with the tailgate raised – but this is only when the car is stationary.

Grandis is priced from $45,710, with a luxury pack adding an extra $3745. Twin sunroofs can be specified separately at $2000.


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Range and Specs

(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


Lowest price, based on 2 car listings in the last 6 months

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