Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Mitsubishi Grandis offers (more) affordable luxury MPV

Novan Iman Santosa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia is known, at least in Southeast Asia, as a lucrative market for multipurpose vehicles (MPVs), from the most basic models to the most expensive and deluxe.

Eager to grab a piece of this sweet pie, Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi introduced on Feb. 23 its Grandis MPV, through local partner PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motors (KTB).

This new MPV is powered by an inline, four-cylinder, 16-valve, 2,378 cc engine. The engine makes use of Mitsubishi's innovative valve timing and lift electronic control system (MIVEC), which is more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.

The engine unleashes 165 horsepower (hp) of maximum power at 6,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), and a top torque of 216 Newton meters (Nm) at 4,000 rpm.

The Grandis has four-speed automatic transmission with the intelligent and innovative vehicle electronic control system (INVECS), plus adaptive shift control.

The Mitsubishi Grandis, first introduced here at the Jakarta Motor Show last September, sells for Rp 292 million (US$31,300), or about two-thirds the price of its closest competitor, the Honda Odyssey, which it tagged at Rp 428 million.

No wonder. The Honda Odyssey has to make the long journey from Japan, while the Mitsubishi Grandis is assembled in the "neighborhood" in Thailand, taking advantage of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

PT KTB advertising and promotion manager David K Supangkat said Mitsubishi "had found a way to lower the price without compromising the quality" of the Mitsubishi Grandis.

The Grandis has numerous features not found in other vehicles. It has leather seats, a four-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel and armrests for driver and front passengers.

The curvy, minimalist dashboard design does not distract the eye, while the gate-type transmission lever is easily reached.

The seven-seater Mitsubishi Grandis has a number of seat configurations, allowing you to adjust the seats according to your needs.

One of the configurations allows the third-row seats to be turned to face the rear when the tail door is opened.

In other configurations, you can recline the center and rear seats, or join the front and center seats for a spacious resting position. These configurations can be useful when you are trapped in a traffic jam, especially during the notorious mudik season.

Other configurations allow you to carry more cargo by individually stowing the rear seats. Still need more room? Just fold down the center seats.

The Mitsubishi Grandis is equipped with anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic braking-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) as standard features.

It also comes with supplemental restraining system (SRS) air bags for driver and front passengers, and emergency locking retractor (ELR) seat belts. The seat belts also comes in automatic locking retractor (ALR) mode for a child seat.

Mitsubishi Grandis received a four-star rating from the European New Car Assessment Program for its reinforced impact safety evolution body design, which employs straight frames to effectively absorb and release energy during impact.

To increase driving safety, there are turn signals in rear door, making them readily seen by other motorists as well as pedestrians. Another unique safety feature is the use of light emitting diodes for the rear lamps.

Interested customers can choose from four color options of flop blue, fuji purple, pyreness black and warm silver.

They, however, will have to wait for their vehicle as there is already a backorder of about 650 units, David said.

"Indonesia has been given a monthly quota of 150 units but we have requested more vehicles.

"This, however, will depend on the performance of Mitsubishi's plant in Thailand."