Mitsubishi is pushing its new Grandis as the MPV for people who don’t want an MPV. It’s making a big play of the car’s styling and handling, and wants the Grandis to break through some buyers’ reluctance to own such a family-orientated machine.
And it certainly looks good. Sharp, crisp lines, a low roof and shallow windows give the Grandis real attitude and an attention-grabbing presence often lacking in the people-hauling sector.
The Grandis also previews the new Mitsubishi family face with its narrow mesh grille, and it’s a success – I caught a bloke in a supermarket car park taking a second look.
From the front, especially, it’s a looker; the rear three-quarter view is a little less effective. But, as a whole, it’s an engaging and interesting design. Well made, too – the door handles feel chunky and are satisfying to use, and the doors close with a heavy, solid feel.
Shame the quality doesn’t continue inside. The handbrake and cigarette lighter are perfect examples – they feel spindly and cheap, more suited to a mid-’90s Korean car.
The plastics, especially on the dash, are hard and brittle, but the swooping, curvy dash design, while not to everybody’s taste, is at least different, and the silver inserts are more welcome (and more appropriate) than fake walnut. Twin sunroofs are standard on this top-of-the-range Elegance model, but the one over the front seats is of the old-fashioned tilt ’n’ slide variety.
It also has plenty of space and seven seats. The two in the very back are full size: they fold flat into the floor and are capable of accommodating two adults. Seats folded, there’s a sizeable boot on offer – significantly bigger than in most of its rivals. There are no sliding doors or electric tailgate, but the doors are long and deep, giving good access to the middle row of seats.
The Grandis’ 2.4-litre petrol four and four-speed auto make for brisk progress around town, and the ’box’s changes are respectably smooth, but extend the engine and you get a lot of noise with little extra performance. The engine has to work hard to shift the car’s 1655kg kerbweight, and becomes harsh and coarse over 3500rpm.