Monday, May 14, 2012

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Grandis (2005-2011)

Now, all road trips must have a minivan in the picture. It must seat seven people, must have good hauling capability, car-like driving dynamics, and sliding doors. The first three qualities are possessed in this featured vehicle, but how about the sliding doors? Forget about it, but this minivan is stylish for sure, and heads would surely turn around when you arrive. Myk Belmonte assures you that.

2005-2011 Mitsubishi Grandis

The Japanese and Europeans love and appreciate MPVs and Minivans. And what is not to love them? More room for their toes and legs, the easy ingress/egress (almost similar to an airplane cabin), and sliding doors for easier access anywhere. So bad that these types of vehicles receive a bad name, which they have good flexibility and practicality than an SUV.

Aiming to replace the Chariot/Space Wagon/Nimbus line of MPVs, the Grandis was introduced in 2003 and sold in various Asian, European, Oceania, Central American, and Southern American markets. This vehicle signaled the usage of Mitsubishi's new corporate face which can be described as "triangled shape". The corporate face was designed by Oliver Boulay (he is no longer connected with Mitsubishi nowadays). This vehicle was the basis of the Mitsubishi FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle). 2009 saw the cancellation in its home market and 2011 for the rest of the world.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation released this stylish-yet-functional vehicle to the Philippine market in 2005. This also gave way (although a bit earlier) for the Adventure, Lancer, and Outlander wearing the corporate face (the USDM Lancer had one also but complaints are mostly regarding to be similarly looking to Pontiac's grille). Despite accolades and awards from media and award-giving bodies, the Grandis was not a sales success, despite having a price drop in 2008. Together with the international market, MMPC also dropped this vehicle from their lineup in 2011, leaving a void for such type of vehicle.

Value and Costs
With this vehicle being discontinued recently, you can get a second hand Grandis for P500,000-P900,000. Some of them (especially the 2009-2011 models) have remaining basic warranties on it. Better pay attention on the vehicle condition rather than the year model, since changes are not limited than cosmetic changes. There also exist a Grandis nameplate - wherein fact these are named as the "Chariot Grandis" in Japan and they are priced lower, and they are not related with the Grandis in this article.

Thinking that the Grandis has expensive maintenance costs? It's just a myth. Costs of maintaining this MPV is similar to minivans and similar vehicles of the same time period. Although no major problems are being reported, minor things to check include the common wear-and-tear pieces (such as the suspension, interior bits, and mechanical parts). And since a DVD player slash TV Tuner with radio comes standard, best to have it checked for any deficiencies so kids won't complain.

Exterior and Interior
You can agree with me that this MPV is stylish and its exterior resembles an egg. The corporate grille blends well with the rest of the body; this part brightens up the huge, but dull looking slab-sided scallop doors. Notice the long, low snout? This part gives out a dash of modernity and looks clean. Compared to the 1992-1999 Spacewagon sold locally, this one is classy looking and executed.

Minivan interior styling cues are present inside. The automatic shifter is located in the dashboard which frees up knee space in the front rows. Some good news, there are tons of cubbyholes for the stuff the driver and the occupants stash in: such as sunglasses, cellphones, music players, and coins for emergency purposes. If you are a Mitsubishi owner, you'll comment that the aircon controls and buttons are similar to present day ones.

Only a gasoline engine is the standard powertrain for the Philippine market Grandis. We do have the 4G69 2,378cc which carries 165hp at 6,000rpm and 217Nm at 4,000rpm backed-up with the MIVEC technology. The 4G69 is a member of the Sirius engine family, with production dating back in the 1970s. Although this one has good pull, the 4-speed automatic tranny does not feel connected to the engine, but this one has good power for the highway, thanks to an abundance of high end torque. A diesel variant (which uses the TDI diesel engine of Volkswagen) is sold in European markets, but has not landed ever since here.

Driving Impressions
With the low ground clearance, and driving it at high speeds, you almost forget that you are driving an MPV. Space is good for five persons but reserve the last two seats for the kids. Fold the rear seats, and you'll get oodles of space for the stuff you can imagine to place. The ride is smooth and the suspension absorbs road imperfections but let it pass unnecessary road debris and suspension is damaged big time. You can drive something stylish without the added heft and bulk.

Who says Minivans or MPVs are boring daily drivers? The Grandis can prove that carrying people and sports car driving dynamics can be mentioned in one breath. It is such a shame that its prohibitive price and a lack of diesel engine didn't make an appeal to most consumers. But with the discontinuation, you can enjoy this beauty for half the price and makes it a good buy for the family.

The Good:
  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • Comfort for Seven bodies
  • Stylish
The Bad:
  • That minvan stigma
  • No diesel engine
  • Regular hinged doors are a liability on tight parking spots
The Pick: Any well maintained local unit

Engine: 2,378cc 4G69 I4 gasoline
Power: 165hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 217Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear semi-trailing arm with coil spring

Price (New): P1,505,000 (2005-2007), P1,358,000 (2008-2011)
Price (Now): P500,000-P900,000
Rivals: Toyota Previa, Kia Carnival, Chrysler Town and Country, Nissan Serena, Chevrolet Venture
On Sale: 2005-2011

Citimotors Makati - 892-0331
Diamond Motors Valle Verde - 671-9590
Diamond Motors Greenhills - 727-0352

Photos courtesy of

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