mReview: 2023 Maxus MIFA 9 - The Best Value Electric Luxury MPV
A new luxury-oriented MPV joins the fray, and it comes courtesy of Chinese automaker Maxus.
And yes, this is the same Maxus that builds a wide range of commercial vehicles. Only this time, they decided to try their hands at building a luxury-oriented people mover. Oh, and it happens to be electric as well.
Competition is sparse in its class, with only the significantly more expensive Mercedes EQV and the more barebones Opel Zafira-e being what you’d label as legitimate competitors. And both of these vehicles have commercial vehicle DNA coursing through their veins, something no amount of leather and insulation can fully disguise.
Niche product it might be (a fully electric luxury MPV is still fairly uncommon), but Maxus still pulled out all the stops, and created a very compelling alternative to the ICE establishment.
It definitely looks every bit like the $300,000 C&C wants for the vehicle. The slab sided design creates plenty of room in the cabin, and the lightbar up front adds an additional element of sophistication to the overall design.
The main light clusters are integrated into the fog light assembly on either side of the front bumper, and are flanked by a chrome trim panel that runs the width of the fascia. Additional contrast chrome pieces have been added to the side of the car, with the trim panel forming a ‘Z’ motif on the side profile.
Taillight design is equally bold, with a lightbar also running the width of the rear end, and two additional adjoining elements running down towards the bottom of the bumper. Being electric, there are no tailpipes here, and a faux diffuser helps tie the back together with the rest of the car.
Generally, the build quality is good, save for the occasional rattle or squeak when you go over a really big bump. I’ll give it the benefit of doubt, as this could very easily be a unit-specific issue. It is almost 1.9 metres tall, so there’s no shortage of headroom, and you can easily find a comfortable sitting position even up front.
But it is clear that the Maxus engineers have built this to cater for the rich folks in the second row. The captain’s chairs are ventilated, have built-in leg rests and are supple enough that you’d be able to catch some quality shut eye in them when the seats are fully reclined. It isn’t real leather however, though it doesn’t need to be.
It isn’t all perfect though. The SAIC infotainment screen could have been more intuitive to use, and you could definitely do with some additional auditory oomph from the JBL speakers. I also found the lack of native Android Auto functionality a slight turn-off, but there’s nothing you can’t solve with a quality phone mount.
If you somehow found yourself in the driver’s seat of the MIFA 9, you’d be surprised to find that it has probably the best brakes of any vehicle in its class. And yes, that includes its Internal Combustion competitors. With strong regenerative braking working in tandem with its friction brakes, the car sheds momentum convincingly, and the pedal feel is robust enough to give you the confidence to stop every time.
It does an admirable job in soaking up most of the larger imperfections on our roads, but you can detect minor oscillations from the smaller bumps. Noise insulation on the roof panel could have been better too - the sound of rain drops pelting the roof is louder than you’d expected from such a car.
Overall though, it drives and rides very well. The electric motor provides smooth torque at any road speed, the steering is easy to use and the car’s turning radius is surprisingly good considering its five metre plus length.
Should You Buy One?
It is a commendable first attempt, and it’d fit the needs of almost any user looking for such a vehicle. With 400+ kilometres of real-world range, great visibility and decent ride quality, it perhaps serves as the best bang-for-buck premium MPV all things considered.
There are a few considerations you need to keep in mind though. The large overall dimensions means space is good for occupants, but it makes it hard to navigate older car parks and even estates with silver zones.
Though you probably would not be buying this if you didn’t have access to your own property, which makes these concerns a moot point. It may be smack in the middle between the EQV and the Zafira-e in terms of overall price, but there’s no doubt that it is the best value of the trio!
|Maxus MIFA 9 Specifications|
|Price: $302,999||VES Band: A1|
120 kW (DC), 11 kW (AC)
241 bhp, 350 Nm
21.5 kWh / 100 km
5,270 mm x 2,000 mm x 1840 mm,
466 - 1,702 litres
Photo Credit: Acube Creative (@weareacube)
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