In Thailand, there are many Mitsubishi Grandis on
the road (I am presuming that the plural of Grandis is Grandis). These
are rather large pick-ups available for around 700,000 baht. It came
then as a surprise to receive from our Down-under correspondent John
Weinthal, a piece on the Mitsubishi Grandis, entitled “Mitsubishi
Grandis people mover”. I know that Thailand probably holds the
pick-up stuffing record of 27 persons in the tray, but a Grandis
It seems that as well as carrying on with that
dreadful snout as first seen on the Mitsu Outlander, and now on the
local Lancer, the people at Mitsubishi aren’t very original in
coming up with names either, and the new people mover down-under is
called a Grandis as well.
That being the case, according to John, it looks
good, drives well and is practical. Here are this week’s words from
Motors is having a tough time globally for a host of reasons. These
range from big losses in the US market due to some strange marketing
approaches to styling changes over the past couple of years which have
won far from universal approval.
“However, parent company Mitsubishi Corporation
has said it will pour billions into rebuilding its vehicle making arm
and developing new models. Already there have been serious management
and board changes in Japan following the withdrawal of backing by
short-term partner Daimler Chrysler.
is, however, at least one major Mitsubishi vehicle which was clearly
developed before and during these tumultuous times. This is a people
mover called Grandis.
“A week in this auto-only 121 kW 2.4 litre seven
seater demonstrated convincingly that this is a leap forward from both
the Nimbus and Starwagon in style, performance, comfort, ride,
handling and flexibility.
“Grandis costs AUD 45,700 (straight conversion
around 1.3 million). There’s an AUD 3,745 Luxury Pack and a dual
sunroof adds another AUD 2,000. The luxury pack boosts an already very
well equipped vehicle with 16 inch five spoke alloy wheels, roof
rails, leather-wrapped and wood grain steering wheel and gearshift
lever, some metallic-look interior touches, backlit vanity mirrors,
six instead of four speaker sound system and darker windows.
Personally I would pocket the money.
“What really matters is that it is not only a
stylish and fabulously functional device, but it is also good to
drive. Around town it is nippy enough and small enough to slot into
most parking spaces with ease.
“On the open road it lopes along with little
noise intrusion and more than enough poke for its role. Although it
weighs in at more than 1600kg, the mating of the 2.4 litre engine to
Mitsubishi’s ‘Smart Logic’ four-speed automatic transmission
with ‘Sports Mode’ sequential shifting is a happy partnership.
Claimed cruising fuel economy is 10.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
“Of course it is not a sports car, nor does it
ride or handle like one. It is simply effortless, comfortable and
safe. Safety was clearly a priority of the Grandis design and
engineering team. Grandis has ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic
brake distribution, front, side and roof airbags, height adjustable
driver’s seat for prime comfort, excellent halogen headlamps and an
engine immobilizer. All seven seats have head restraints.
“It has cruise control and air conditioning and
the usual remote locking and power windows and mirrors. The middle row
of seats is adjustable for legroom and seat angle. They can be folded
60/40 and there is a centre arm rest and picnic trays with cup holders
in the backs of the front seats. It is a very comfortable place to
“The third row of seats is suitable for two
children or smaller adults. It is split 50/50 and has height
adjustable headrests, and a reclining function. These two seats can be
individually stowed under the floor providing a huge luggage area. You
can use one rear seat normally, and stow the other under the floor for
carrying bulky cargo. These seats can also be flipped to a rear-facing
position when the car is parked. There is a multitude of storage
pockets and useful lockers throughout the cabin.
“Grandis is a singularly well thought out design
- one that looks good, drives well and is truly practical. Grandis’
major competitor - apart from the sales champion Kia Carnival - is
like to be the even more recently launched Honda Odyssey. There is a
standard 2.4 litre 118 kW Odyssey at AUD 38,790 but the more
comparable model is the Odyssey Luxury at AUD 45,290. Together they
represent an impressive rethink of the people mover concept delivering
new style and driving pleasure.”
(Thank you John, but this vehicle would have more
than the Carnival and the Odyssey against it in Thailand. The market
leader remains the Chevrolet Zafira and there are also the battling
‘twins’ of the Honda Stream and the Toyota Wish. I also do not
agree that the Grandis “looks good”. The interior looks as if it
were designed by Walt Disney, and outside the hunched down effect at
the rear is rather odd, and as far as the snout is concerned - get rid
of it. Dr. Iain.)
With the Free Trade Agreement that has been signed
between Australia and Thailand, it is conceivable that the current
Holden Commodores, imported and sold here as Chevrolet Luminas could
expand their line-up. General Motors Holden (GMH in Australia) has a
huge model range, including the Thailand built Zafira, re-badged as a
Holden. So what about this V8 for Thailand? The vehicle that our
Down-under correspondent John Weinthal dubs “Just the thing for real
Aussie guys”. Here are the words from Weinthal.
“Back in the ’60s one could get all the
impressions of performance and fun with an Austin Healey Sprite or MG
Midget; neither expensive, nor fast, nor specially well built they
were nevertheless the ambition of many young and not so young. Some
won’t agree, but I can see parallels with the cars so many Aussies -
especially males - dream of today. Few aspire to the logical
successors to the Midget and Sprite like Mazda’s great little MX5 or
the more expensive Honda S2000.
they’re not the stuff for real Aussie guys. Today’s dream car has
a roof, five seats and a thumping V8. But it is still technically
simple, makes all the right noises even when it is not really hurrying
and can turn friends and bystanders green with envy.
“The myth of the big Aussie V8 is a wondrous
thing, milked for all it’s worth by Ford and Holden through the V8
SuperCar racing. The fact that these cars cost more than a Ferrari and
contain little more than a bare shell of the showroom car is
irrelevant. The image is there and that’s enough.
no greater proof of the above than the metallic purple Commodore SS
we’ve had for the past week, especially as it was also our transport
to the V8 round at Queensland Raceway. Stuck in the traffic jams we
had many offers to swap cars, some from people in far more desirable
vehicles, if only they knew.
“Judged as a rational car for the 21st century
this SS rates about a 3 from 10. Yet its appeal for some is
“On paper this AUD 50,490 (1.5 million baht
straight conversion) 5.7 litre V8 weighing in at 1660kg certainly
looks right if bulk is your bag. That’s the rub. Its sheer size
mitigates against true sporting delivery and contributes to a
“There are many lower priced cars which are more
practical in a host of ways and which in the real world would be
quicker in almost all circumstances bar a tearaway from the lights.
“The six-speed gearbox is a heavy obstructive
device with ratios which will give you nearly 80kph in first, but
which deem the fifth and sixth gears all but useless. Even on mild
slopes one is chasing down through the gears.
“Standard gear includes climate control air,
cruise control, front and side airbags, excellent automatic halogen
headlamps, tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel plus height
adjustable front seats. There are alloy wheels and pedals plus front
and rear spoilers and side skirts. It has Holden’s rather
agricultural traction control plus ABS disc brakes.
“Like all Commodores it has an excellent turning
circle but a serious shortage of the sort of handy storage spaces
found in many much smaller cars. There are no centre front armrests
nor ashtray or cigarette lighter.
“In practice this is more a fast looking than
fast going motor car. The SS V8 6-speed will do IT, but is it the car
you would choose to do IT in? Hardly, must be the answer for any
serious driver or anybody who aspires to a degree of 21st century
finesse and refinement. Like the castrati of old; nice sound but
little productive capacity.”
(Well thank you John for this one too, though it does not sound as
if this is one car that Chevrolet should put near the top of the list
of models for consideration! Dr. Iain.)