Mitsubishi Grandis

19 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis

Mitsubishi Grandis

(June 2004)

Quiet highway cruising

Not so much

Engine power barely adequate

Front seats lack lumbar support

No steering reach adjustment


People movers, according to Mitsubishi, are often grudge purchases. The sort of car that no-body really wants to be seen in but one that family transport requirements dictate. As a result, car makers competing in this small part of the market are always trying to convince us that their new people mover is not simply boring and functional family transport but rather something sexy and exciting designed to match the active needs of the modern mum, dad and couple of kids.

Mitsubishi’s latest offering is called the Grandis and it replaces the Nimbus people mover that sold from 1984 to 2004 in various guises. Mitsubishi says the Grandis is an Active Recreational Tourer. Sounds nice, but it’s still a people mover with its large and flexible seven-seat capacity, medium sized body and four-cylinder powerplant.

As is the norm these days, the vehicle is far more stylish and appealing and like the major players, no longer based on commercial vehicle vans giving it driving dynamics that are a match for many passenger cars.


As the first all-new vehicle to feature Mitsubishi’s new corporate design theme, the Grandis replaces both of Mitsubishi’s previous people carriers – the Nimbus and van-based Starwagon and size-wise sits somewhere in the middle. It is significantly bigger than the Nimbus — 170mm longer 20mm wider and sitting on a 50mm longer wheelbase — providing much more interior space for the 2-3-2 three row seating layout and still allowing a decent luggage space.

Just one engine/transmission is on offer — a 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder mated to a four-speed tiptronic style sequential shift automatic priced at $45,710. A luxury pack adds a further $3745 to the price with the only other option being dual sunroofs at a cost of $2000.

Mitsubishi’s own research indicates that the highest priorities for people in this market are seating capacity and flexibility and the Grandis delivers on both counts. Up front are two buckets, the second row is a 60/40 split bench on long sliding runners with squabs and backs that can fold fully forward, while the two individual third row seats can fold fully into the flat floor and even be turned to face the rear providing a place to park your bum when the vehicle is stationary. Good for weekend footy matches.


As a car designed to carry a wide combination of people and cargo, the Grandis offers a comfortable and spacious interior. There is plenty of head and legroom for first and second row adults and although the rear two seats are tight on head and leg space for adults, they would be suitable for short trips or could accommodate children up to teenage on longer trips.

The seats are well sculpted with the only gripe being a lack of lumbar support in the front buckets. Although the driver’s pew is fully adjustable, the steering column lacks a reach adjustment that would make getting a good driving position easier.

Sitting relatively high, visibility through the big glass areas is good and the layout of the wave-form dash provides good ergonomics and a simple to use traditional layout for instruments and controls.

Standard equipment levels on the comfort and convenience front are high and include power windows and mirrors — with an electric fold-in function — remote locking, cruise control, front and rear automatic climate control, four-speaker radio/CD player and plenty of reading lamps, storage cubbies and cupholders throughout the cabin.

The luxury pack is largely cosmetics with the main equipment additions being a dual sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, two extra speakers, roof rails and darkened privacy glass from the B-pillar back.


Safety should be a high priority in people carriers and the Grandis doesn’t skimp. Apart from the active safety delivered by its competent chassis and standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, the car is fitted with a full complement of airbags.

Up front are two dual stage frontal bags for driver and front passenger and seat mounted side airbags. In a first for the class, the Grandis also features side curtain airbags to protect the front and second row passengers in the event of a side impact.

All seats are fitted with three-point lap sash belts with pre-tensioners and belt force limiters on the front seats.


Grandis is the first outing in Australia for Mitsubishi’s new Mivec technology which has been applied to the company’s 2.4-litre four cylinder engine. Mivec is essentially the Japanese maker’s acronym for variable valve timing and, in this case, it has given the Grandis the highest four-cylinder output in the class with 121kW peak power. Maximum torque is 217Nm.

Compared to the outputs of the Outlander 4WD, which essentially uses the same engine sans-Mivec, the power and torque are increased by 21kW and 12Nm. Mitsubishi is set to deliver this technology into the Outlander later in 2004 while 2005 will see the small Lancer hatch fitted with the same engine.

Mated to the Grandis engine is a dash-mounted four-speed automatic transmission. This is Mitsubishi’s very good Invecs II Smart Logic unit which adapts shift points to driving style and road conditions when used in Drive, or can be manually sequentially shifted by flicking the gear lever forward or backward.

The front suspension is a MacPherson strut arrangement while the rear uses a semi-trailing arm setup for its compact design.

Mitsubishi Grandis


The people mover segment, although small accounting for just 2 per cent or about 1000 sales a month, covers a broad stretch of prices from the bargain basement $29,990 Kia Carnival to the top end extravagance of the $78,590 Chrysler AWD Grand Voyager.

Somewhere in the middle sit the majority with the two most obvious rivals for the Grandis being Honda’s Odyssey — replaced by an all-new model in July 2004 — and the Toyota Avensis Verso.

Both stack up pretty well and the new Odyssey, like the Grandis, is a far sleeker looking mobile than its predecessor. All three are pretty close on price, comfort, kit and driveability so it really comes down to personal preferences.

Toyota’s Tarago also slips in as a secondary rival along with the myriad offerings of large sedans and wagons and mid-size/large four-wheel drives which many Australians opt for in place of people movers.


The unfortunate image that people movers carry thankfully doesn’t translate into the latest generation’s driving characteristics and the Grandis performs admirably among the best of them. At least the four cylinder versions that is and here is the catch.

Trawling through the Sydney suburbs, the car’s engine, although not particularly adept at getting the car off the line quickly, is more than adequate in keeping up with the urban traffic.

But once we got onto the roads that wound up and around the Blue Mountains where Mitsubishi launched the car, the four-cylinder nature of the Grandis became acutely obvious.

Absolute peak power and torque figures only tell part of the story — where they peak in the rev range tells a more relevant story. This defines how the car needs to be driven when you require that extra grunt to pull up a long steep hill or overtake a slow moving truck. Both require patience and/or thought.

With the maximum power not kicking in till 6000rpm and peak torque coming on stream above 4000rpm, this engine needs to be revved hard to get the most out of it. That means holding onto lower gears — often second was needed for the steeper hills — and the easiest way to do that is use the manual shift.

Luckily, the engine is smooth and quiet enough that pushing it hard doesn’t intrude too much into the otherwise very quiet cabin and the Sports Shift mode is pretty responsive. But that said, we were still only riding two up and I can’t help feeling that in a fully laden car, the progress would have been a lot slower.

Despite the Grandis’ higher ride height, body control is good and in general, the car feels solid and predictable on the road with lightish but still direct steering. At the same time ride comfort is good with the compliant suspension soaking up most bumps. Over all but the worst surfaces, the car is supremely quiet with little road noise penetrating the cabin.

If occasional seven-seat capacity or a versatile interior is high on your priorities and you don’t mind adequate but hardly inspiring engine performance, then the new Grandis is well worth a look.

Published. Tuesday, 1 June 2004

Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
Mitsubishi Grandis
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