China’s LDV is best known for its cheap workhorse vans and utes, not eye-catching all-electric shuttles brimming with luxury features.
The MIFA 9 is a big part of the company’s self-described shift from challenger brand to “innovator brand”, and hits the market before competitors have rolled out of bed.
Aimed at corporate transport companies or hotels keen on running a lower-emissions fleet, the LDV MIFA 9 joins the MIFA petrol – a newly arrived Kia Carnival competitor.
The company is talking with “early adopters, SMEs and corporate transport businesses looking to reduce their environmental footprint,” claims LDV general manager Dinesh Chinnappa.
We had a very brief introduction to the MIFA 9 at a large-scale media event last week, but frankly didn’t have nearly enough time to familiarise for a full review.
While that will come soon, for now this is a quick drive with all the specs and some initial impressions.
There is no getting around it: just like LDV’s eDeliver 9 EV van and eT60 EV ute, the MIFA 9 is expensive, especially compared to its internal-combustion equivalent. There are three spec levels coming to Australia.
2023 LDV MIFA 9 pricing:
- MIFA 9 Mode: $106,000
- MIFA 9 Executive: $117,000
- MIFA 9 Luxe: $131,000
Prices are before on-road costs
This makes each variant between $52,000 and $58,000 more expensive than an equivalent LDV MIFA petrol model in Mode, Executive and Luxe forms respectively.
The only competitor at this point in time is the more van-like Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer at $116,115 before on-roads, which frankly carries just a tad more badge credibility.
It’s sleek and minimalist up front, with a reach-and-rake adjustable steering wheel behind which sits a 7.0-inch digital instrument display with excellent resolution.
Standard on all variants is a 12.3-inch touchscreen with good graphics and a handy vertical toolbar on the right-hand side.
There’s no Android Auto or satellite-navigation listed, just Apple CarPlay, and while the middle and top grades have 360-degree cameras, the base model has a rear-view camera only.
Below this a silver plastic trim piece (with a misaligned join on our test car, much to my minor irritation) with touch-sensitive climate controls which are a touch fiddly but look slick.
Overall the material and trim quality feels good, with lots of soft-touch padded surfaces, while our high-spec test model had chic perforated door inlays and contrasting white stitchwork.
There are myriad storage options between the front two seats including cupholders and a centre-split console, plus you get LED lighting through the cabin and seven USB ports.
While the MIFA 9 Mode has a fairly pared-back feature list (full details below), the MIFA 9 Executive adds some real cabin glamour such as 64 interior lighting colours, front and rear sunroof with rear privacy glass, powered sliding side doors, more speakers, and an air purifier.
All grades have a 2-2-3 seating configuration, meaning two seats in the middle row, easy enough pass-through to the rearmost row, and grab-handles to help you up and in.
In the Mode they move manually, while in the Executive they move electrically and have lumbar adjustment.
But in the Luxe variant, they become Captain’s Chairs with heating, cooling, massaging, reclining, and a footrest. Plus a table. Somewhat like a 787 business class cabin…
In all variants the three-seat rear bench reclines, but also slides forwards to liberate more room for baggage.
The LDV MIFA 9 measures 5270mm long, 2000mm wide and 1840mm tall on a 3200mm wheelbase.
It has a decent 466L of luggage space with the second and third rows in use. With the third row not in use this increases to 1702L, and with the middle row also folded this increases to 2017L.
Payloads in the Mode and Executive grades are about 650kg, but the Luxe with its heavier middle chairs is rated to carry just 525kg. Keep this in mind this figure includes passengers.
Some motor components and a small storage tub.
The MIFA 9 is powered by a 180kW/350Nm permanent magnet synchronous motor driving the front wheels (front-wheel drive is standard), linked to Power, Normal and Eco settings.
It’s powered by the electricity stored in a 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack, offering a generous maximum WLTP-rated driving range of 430km-440km – the more luxurious the grade you choose, the more weight there is, and the slight differences reflect this.
The driving range is based on claimed electricity consumption of 21.3-21.8kWh per 100km.
Tare weight is 2310kg on the Mode, 2410kg on the Executive and 2535kg on the Luxe – which means each is between 270kg and 305kg heavier than the equivalent petrol.
According to LDV an 11kW charge at an AC wallbox with Type 2 port will fill the battery in about 8.5 hours on a three-phase installation, whereas a single-phase time is not listed in the data sheet.
A 120kW charge on a DC charger is claimed to take the MIFA 9 from 30 per cent to 80 per cent full in about 36 minutes, for top-ups on the move between jobs.
It has a rated towing capacity of 1000kg, and the top speed is listed as 180km/h.
MIFA 9 Tech Specs:
- Power: 180kW
- Torque: 350Nm
- Top speed: 180km/h
- Range claim: 430-440km
- Battery: 90kWh
- Towing: 1000kg
Electric power is ideal for shuttle services: perfectly silent to enable conversation, and brisk off the mark but with linear acceleration.
The claimed driving range north of 400km is generous and it can handle an 11kW AC recharge, though its 120kW DC charging speed ceiling is merely adequate.
I have ridden in many van-based shuttle solutions that are nowhere near as quiet or comfortable over bad roads as the MIFA 9 – in both the front seat and the middle row.
It soaked up regional NSW patchy tarmac quite well, feeling like a solid and plush commuter, with good quality Continental tyres presumably helping to filter out road roar.
You sit up nice and high, and outboard visibility is assisted by the large windows and slim pillars – plus it’s well-equipped with the latest active driver assist features, not that our quick drive allowed us to really test their effectiveness.
The suspension layout comprises MacPherson struts at the front and an independent multi-link setup at the rear. It has disc brakes all round (plus regenerative braking) and a low-resistance electric power steering system.
The main question to answer: If I were a business person hopping into one of these at the airport and heading to a meeting, would I be satisfied with the comfort, space and tech on offer? Yes, yes I would.
MIFA 9 Mode highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Tyre repair kit
- Rear parking sensors
- LED headlights
- LED daytime running lights
- LED tail lights with dynamic indicators
- Manual sliding side doors
- Manual tailgate
- Proximity key fob
- LED reading lights
- Multi-zone climate control
- Leatherette seats
- Manual front seats x 2
- Manual second-row seats x 2
- Manual rear seats that slide and recline x 3
- 7.0-inch instrument display
- 12.3-inch touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay
- Reversing camera
- 6-speaker audio
- 7 x USB ports
MIFA 9 Executive adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Tyre repair kit
- Front parking sensors
- Adaptive Headlights with auto high-beam
- 360-degree cameras
- Front and rear sunroofs
- Rear privacy glass
- Powered sliding side doors
- Powered tailgate
- Power-folding side mirrors
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Air purifier
- Ambient interior lighting – 64 colours
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Powered front seats x 2
- Powered second-row seats x 2
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- 12V sockets x 2 and 220V socket x 1
- 8-speaker audio
- Wireless phone charging pad
MIFA 9 Luxe adds:
- Heated steering wheel
- Digital rear-view mirror (camera-based)
- Rear occupant climate control settings
- Premium leather seat trim
- Heated, cooled and massaging front seats
- Second-row captain’s chairs with:
- Massage modes
- 12-speaker audio system
The LDV MIFA and MIFA 9 are yet to be tested by ANCAP.
Standard safety features include:
- Driver and passenger front airbags
- Driver and passenger side airbags
- Front-centre airbag
- Full-length curtain airbags (all pillars)
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keep assist
- Fatigue reminder and attention assist
- Rear collision warning
- Traffic sign recognition
- ISOFIX (3) and top tethers
- Tyre pressure monitoring
While the MIFA petrol version has a seven-year warranty, for some reason the MIFA 9’s warranty is five years or 160,000km (whichever comes first), with roadside assist.
However the battery gets an eight-year/200,000km battery warranty.
Servicing intervals are long: every two years (24 months) or 30,000km – whichever comes first.
Clearly the MIFA 9’s price tag will put off the majority of private buyers, but there will be some shuttle operators looking at this closely.
What the vehicle does is make us see LDV in a new way, and give us a glimpse at its next-generation range of products which are predictably a big step up over what it’s done before.
Electric MPVs make a huge amount of sense considering their usage cases, although we suspect at first the MIFA 9 will be sold in small batches for trial applications.
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MORE: Everything LDV MIFA