Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Mitsubishi Grandis
Function over form
June 2005

I MUST be getting old. Or more mature. Wife reckons the former ... so it must be. The reason? I`m getting attached to people movers.

It is starting to expose itself in other areas too. I went to the video shop (yes, to get VHS, not DVD) the other day in tracksuit pants and sandals and my feet were cold so I (gasp) kept my socks on!

Socks and sandals. Driving a people mover. VHS. I don`t think my father has ever even put that combination together. Hang on, they were Colorado sandals though!

And just like a pair of tracksuit pants, with a pair of warm socks and overlaid with a pair of sandals (because they were handy, right near the front door), I`m warming to a big, full-sized car that offers flexibility.

Seven seats if you need them, with still enough room for an esky and a suitcase for an overnight stay with the in-laws. Enter, stage right, the Mitsubishi Grandis.

The third row seats can be split and individually stowed away under the floor ... better than those where you have to leave the seats at home if you need more luggage room. These rear-most seats also offer individual adjustments including a reclining function and height adjustable headrests.

For a quick revive during long trips, passengers can lie back and enjoy the flat folding function of the 1st and 2nd row seats. The ultimate in comfort with a three position adjustable seat cushion, reclining seat

back and centre armrest.

Anyone who has a family knows they are priority number one. Dual airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags that cover the front and 2nd row seats are a welcome addition.

Standard inclusions are a CD player, automatic air conditioning and cruise control with an Optional "Luxury Pack" to help you stand out from the crowd a little.

ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution ensures maximum stopping power regardless of whether you`ve got the Under 6 goalie or the Broncos forward pack onboard.

Another plus with the Grandis is the number of cup holders and storage binnacles for every one of the seven passengers, but the big winners are the sturdy fold-down trays for the second-row passengers.

Someone who`ll wear sandals and socks out of the house has to find something to whine about, though. The stereo controls were too far over to reach safely while driving, even for a close-to-six-foot person like me.

Mitsubishi is keen to emphasise the Grandis comes with Sports Mode with the standard four-speed automatic. So if you are trying to stay away from the sandals just a little longer you can use it like a clutchless manual. (Talk about leaving the cardigan at home!)

It`s also handy when you're fully loaded and the overtaking lane just happens to co-incide with a big long hill.

You can tow up to 1870kg with trailer brakes, but it must be said the Grandis wouldn`t be my first choice for that type of assignment.

Handling is above average for a car of this magnitude and the ride is quite heavenly, actually. Quite like a pair of warm socks inside your designer Colorado sandals on a cold winter`s night in Video Ezy.



ENGINE: 2.4l SOHC 16-valve MIVEC

POWER: 121kW at 6000rpm

TORQUE: 217Nm at 4000rpm

TRANSMISSION: Four-speed automatic with INVECS II Smart Logic and Sports Mode

FUEL ECONOMY: 10.4 litres per 100km average consumption

PROS: Nice ride; comfort and versatility

CONS: Needs a wife to reach the stereo and kids to justify owning one

BOTTOM LINE: $43,990