LDV will return to the people mover segment after a brief break with a more dramatically styled, feature-packed offering.
It’s the petrol-powered counterpart to the electric MIFA 9, also due here before the end of the year.
As revealed in government approval documents earlier this month, the MIFA – known in China as the Maxus G90 – will feature a more sedate grille than found overseas, and will be offered in three trim levels.
These are called Mode, Executive and Luxe, and all are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 160kW of power and 360Nm of torque, mated with an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.
No mention has been made of the 118.5kW turbo-diesel engine that’s also been approved for sale in Australia. Automakers sometimes get certification for variants that aren’t introduced until later, or don’t arrive at all.
Depending on the variant, it’s offered with either seven or eight seats, with the MIFA offering six-way power-adjustable captain’s chairs for the first two rows.
Second-row captain’s chairs get footrests and fold-out tray tables, with LDV promising a “business class” experience.
While its outputs are little changed from the defunct G10 people mover – it’s down 5kW and up 30Nm – its suite of safety equipment has grown dramatically.
All models will come standard with front and rear autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and rear collision warning.
“Every new MIFA model will come with a significant level of standard safety equipment, convenient features, fuel-efficient powertrain and more for hard-working Australian families,” said LDV general manager Dinesh Chinappa.
“While it might not share the heart of its electric sibling, the MIFA 9, it does share the fundamentals of evolutionary design, passenger comfort, safety and more. It has advanced the people mover game significantly and we’re looking forward to redefining the segment that has, until now, been dominated by two brands.”
The MIFA 9 features a 180kW electric powertrain, and LDV has previously confirmed it’ll use a 90kWh lithium-ion battery with a claimed WLTP electric range of up to 440km, depending on the variant.
Charging the MIFA 9 via an 11kW home wall-charger takes approximately 8.5 hours, while DC rapid charging requires approximately 36 minutes to go from 20-80 per cent full.
The company has also said it expects to secure a five-star Euro NCAP rating, and the MIFA 9 will come standard with a similar suite of safety features to its petrol-powered sibling.
That represents a big step up over the G10, which had only a three-star ANCAP rating and lacked any active safety technology, while also having only two airbags.
MIFA models feature MacPherson strut front and five-link independent rear suspension.
All are 5270mm long, 2000mm wide and 1845mm tall (1840mm in the MIFA 9) on a 3200mm wheelbase.
That makes them 102mm longer, 20mm wider and 83mm taller than the old G10, if on an almost identical wheelbase. They’re also 115mm longer than a Carnival.
LDV has confirmed the MIFA 9 will be offered with seven seats at first, with an eight-seat option due in 2023.
The new petrol and diesel people mover will generate some competition for the Kia Carnival, a dominant force with a whopping 65 per cent segment share of the overall people mover market this year.
Staples of the segment such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Tarago are no longer on sale.
As an electric people mover, the MIFA 9 will find itself with less competition apart from the Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer and EQV.