MPV has Grand Ambitions
First published in Auto Trader Magazine, May 27, 2004.
The all-new Grandis signals the third generation of MPVsfrom Mitsubishi.
It offers more space and power than the Nimbus it replaces, which was the successor to the first version, the Chariot.
"It is coming on to the market at the same price as the Nimbus, $39,990, and we believe offers an excellent alternative to buyers who have had larger 4WD SUVs and discovered that they seldom needed their 4WD capability," said Mitsubishi New Zealand general manager of sales and marketing Peter Wilkins.
The Grandis is primarily a family car with seating for seven passengers. Its interior layout is designed with safety in mind without compromising the ergonomics. Inside, it’s bigger than the Nimbus, and the increased dimensions deliver more leg space and improved visibility for front and second row passengers.
There’s additional luggage capacity. The gear-lever is dashboard-mounted, leaving a flat floor area across the front of the car. Between the front bucket seats there’s space to reach through to the second row of seating. Both driver's and passenger's seat have foldaway armrests.
There are various gloveboxes, sunglasses holders, map pockets and other storage compartments. Conventional doors provide access to the rear seats with the second row seats tilting and running forward to give access to the third row.
The seating design in the Grandis allows many variations in interior set-up. The third row seats use Mitsubishi's foldaway technology first seen on the Pajero, where the seats 'disappear' into the rear floor to leave a flat loadspace.
On the Grandis, individual seats can be folded, rather than both seats, increasing the flexibility. Another feature of the third row seats is their ability to 'tumble' backwards to become rear-facing.
The back becomes the squab and the normal seating space becomes the back. The second row seats are a split bench, one or both parts of which can be used in conjunction with the front seats to form a bed, or folded to convert the Grandis into a high-capacity station wagon.
There is a separate control panel for the rear seats mounted above the second seat. It can only be operated when the main air conditioning control mounted in the dashboard is switched on.
Safety is a key feature of the Grandis. Side intrusion bars in the doors and other body design features provide an integrated body shell with crumple zones front and rear.
Providing protection in both front and side impact accidents are a SRS airbag system and seven seat belts with three point emergency locking retractor (ELR) with pre-tensioners and force limiters. Pressure sensors in the seats cause the warning tone to sound when either of the front seats is occupied and the seat belt is not fastened.
There are front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger and curtain airbags for second and third row seat passengers. Dash and steering wheel mounted airbags at the front are supplemented by side airbags, which deploy from the backs of the front seat. The side curtains are contained in the side pillars and are designed to activate in side impact accidents.
An anti-intrusion brake pedal is designed to collapse forward in a collision and the steering column also telescopes and collapses out of the way.
Large disc brakes, ventilated at the front provide quick stopping power. These are backed by a brake assist system that recognises emergency braking and applies additional pressure to the brakes.
A four-channel ABS system with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) reduces stopping distances. It prevents wheels locking and allows the driver to swerve safely around obstacles if necessary. Working in conjunction with the ABS, EBD shifts the brake force between front and rear brakes.
Other safety features include halogen headlights, a rear high mounted LED stop lamp, and fog lamps and triangle windows in the front doors to eliminate a traditional blind spot caused by the outside mirror.
The Grandis has an overall length of 4,765mm, an increase of 175mm in bumper- to-bumper length compared with Nimbus. At 1,795mm across the Grandis is 20mm wider than its predecessor.
The wheelbase has been stretched 50mm to 2,830mm, still enabling the vehicle to maintain a tight turning diameter of 5.5-metres - the same turning radius as Nimbus - for round-town-handling. The overall height remains the same but the centre of gravity has been lowered 50mm.
The exterior features the distinctive Mitsubishi front-end design. Large, halogen headlights flank the grille. The large tail light clusters use LED lights to provide visibility for following drivers.
The Grandis gets a 26 percent increase in power from a 121kW 2.4-litre MIVEC engine and is fitted with Mitsubishi's acclaimed INVECS II transmission with Sport Mode.
The engine is a development of the 4G6 family of 2.0 and 2.4-litre engines used extensively in the Mitsubishi range. Maximum power is achieved at 6000rpm and torque tops the graph at 217Nm at 4000rpm
The effect of MIVEC is to provide a very driveable car delivering maximum economy in both city and open-road running. Japanese figures indicate consumption of 7.2 litres per 100km at a constant 90km/h.
The engine runs quietly thanks to the torsional damper pulley, alternator and the use of an aluminium rocker cover to suppress valve train noise.
Delivering power to the wheels is Mitsubishi's INVECS II four-speed automatic transmission with Sport Mode. The system allows the transmission to alter its shift patterns according to both the road conditions and the driver's demands. Sunday driving will produce a quite different shift pattern than that required for a driver in a hurry.
The transmission computer senses that difference, just as it senses when the vehicle is ascending a winding or hill road and optimises the gear selection and timing The Grandis has
MacPherson front struts and a multi-link, rear suspension with semi-trailing arms, and is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/60R16 tyres.