New models - Mitsubishi - Grandis
First drive: Grandis for the people
Mitsubishi replaces Nimbus and Starwagon people-movers with its all-new Grandis
27 May 2004
By TERRY MARTIN
AMID the turmoil surrounding its future as an Australian manufacturer, Mitsubishi Motors has continued to roll out its new overseas-sourced models this week with the launch of the Grandis people-mover.
Sporting the Japanese car-maker’s brave new design ethos, which on the Magna sedan has not been well received in Australia, the Grandis succeeds both the Nimbus and Starwagon and brings to light a larger size, more interior convenience and increased performance.
Above all, the seven-seater sets a new level in standard safety equipment in this class with six airbags – dual-stage front airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags – and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist all fitted standard.
Starting from $45,710, Grandis is the first all-new vehicle to reach Australia under the design influence of Frenchman Olivier Boulay, and it cuts a striking figure with a bold face built around Mitsubishi’s three-diamonds logo.
"When you have such a beautiful logo as the three diamonds, which is one of the clearest ones in the car industry, then you should take advantage of it," Mr Boulay told GoAuto at the TL Magna launch last June. "And that’s what we did (with Grandis).
"It’s not a matter of being French (influenced) or not ... it gives a very, very strong personality to the car."Standard features are competitive against rivals such as Toyota’s Avensis and Honda’s Odyssey, running to front/rear air-conditioning, cruise control, remote central locking, a four-speaker CD stereo, variable intermittent wipers, driver’s seat height adjustment and electric assistance for the windows, wing mirrors and tailgate.
A $3745 luxury pack is also available, adding a sunroof, alloy wheels, roof rails, tinted windows, two more stereo speakers, illuminated vanity mirrors, silver coloured inserts in the door trim and a woodgrain effect to the steering wheel and dash-mounted T-bar. The sunroof can be included as a stand-alone item for $2000.
Like the Nimbus, the Grandis cabin is set out in a 2-3-2 configuration and all seating positions have a three-point seatbelt and head restraint.
The front seatbelts now have pretensioners, and in what would be a remarkable improvement over its predecessors, the Grandis is claimed to perform to a six-star Japanese NCAP crash-test rating.
As for seating flexibility, the second row bench seat (now with a 60/40 split-fold) can, as before, be manoeuvred so that the entire row ‘tips and tilts’ to form a single barrier behind the front seats. Passengers can also now adjust the seat squab angle as required.
As it was in the Nimbus, the third row is split 50/50 but each portion can now fold into the floor to dramatically increase cargo room and convenience. These seats can also be turned to a rearward-facing position when the car is parked.
Power comes from a new-to-Australia 2.4-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine producing 121kW at 6000rpm and 217Nm at 4000rpm. Driving the front wheels through Mitsubishi’s familiar INVECS II four-speed automatic transmission (with sequential manual mode), the 1660kg Grandis is claimed to reach 100km/h in 12.0 seconds and, over the combined urban/rural fuel consumption standard, return 10.4 L/100km.
The suspension comprises MacPherson struts at the front and a semi-trailing arm arrangement at the rear, while the brakes incorporate 294mm diameter ventilated front discs and 302mm solid rear discs. The turning circle is a class-leading 11.0 metres.
Compared to the Nimbus, Grandis is bigger in the critical dimensions. It rests on a 2830mm wheelbase (up 50mm), is 4760mm long (up 170mm), 1795mm wide (up 20mm) and 1655mm high (up 5mm). Interior length is an additional 100mm and ‘living space’ an extra 75mm.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia intends to double its people-mover sales volume from the 55 units per month averaged with Nimbus and Starwagon to around 105 per month with Grandis.
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