The need for such an obvious decision becomes more apparent when you consider that 85% of European MPV sales are diesel variants.
Mitsubishi aims to sell 900 diesels this year and 4,000 during 2006. It is estimated that a little over 1,600 will be sold into fleets, representing about 35% of total sales.
Prices start at £19,699 for the Classic rising to £23,699 for the Warrior, which is likely to account for more than half of sales. Standard specification on the entry-level model includes ABS, climate control, CD player with MP3, pollen filter, 17-inch alloy wheels, eight airbags, trip computer and leather-bound steering wheel and gearknob.
There is no price premium for the diesel, with the cost of the vehicle determined by spec rather than engine choice.
The diesel engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and there are no plans to offer it with automatic transmission. According to Mitsubishi, 73% of all European MPV buyers prefer a manual gearbox. Customers wanting an automatic version will have to opt for the 2.4-litre petrol.
Sourced from Volkswagen, the ‘pump jet’ diesel will also go into the next generation Outlander SUV which is due for launch in 2007.
On the benefits of pump jet – known to fleets as pumpe duse in Volkswagen Group cars – technology over common rail, a Mitsubishi spokesman said: ‘Pump jet works at the highest operating pressures compared with other diesel injection systems.
‘As a result the engine produces higher power and torque, lower fuel consumption with lower emissions, enabling it to meet Euro IV requirements without a particulate filter.’
Behind the wheel
The Grandis performs the role of a relaxed and comfortable cruiser brilliantly well and while I’m not a huge fan of MPV styling – and I don’t have a handful of kids to transport around on a regular basis so don’t have to convince myself they’re OK – this model looks good, too.
The engine is quite noisy at idle but it’s not obtrusive and at higher speeds it quietens down. The ride is good both on back roads and motorways and it seats seven people comfortably.
The seating position is high, giving the driver a commanding view of the road ahead, and the seats are versatile.
The middle row of seats can be folded out of the way for more load space, and the two rearmost chairs can be swivelled around so you can sit looking out of the back with your legs dangling over the rear bumper – perfect for that picnic in the countryside or for watching a sporting event.
The Mitsubishi Grandis is a good-looking vehicle and the choice of a diesel engine makes it a worthy fleet contender.
It’s a competent car for both business and leisure use – particularly as the diesel engine’s low down grunt makes it so well suited to long journeys. And the roof-mounted DVD system in the top-of-the-range Warrior will keep the children entertained for hours.
Mitsubishi Grandis D-ID factfile
Model: Grandis D-iD
Max power (bhp/rpm): 134/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 229/1,750
Max speed (mph): 121
0-60mph (secs): 10.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 42.8
CO2 emissions (g/km): 176
Transmission: 6-sp man
On sale: Now. Prices (OTR): from £19,699