Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is a force to reckon with in the commercial vehicle (CV) lineup, with the Pajero, Outlander, Space Gear and Strada contributing to the company's second overall ranking in 2004's Philippine CV sales market share. Now MMPC may have the ammunition to take over the top spot.

Recently MMPC launched two new additions to its CV lineup, the 2005 Montero Sport 4x4 and the all-new Grandis.

Fourth-generation Space Wagon

The Php1.480 million Grandis is actually a fourth-generation Space Wagon, featuring a generous application of distinguishing character lines around the exterior that sets it apart from other multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). The front end features multi-reflector halogen quad headlamps and low-glare foglamps that improve visibility during night driving and poor weather. At the rear are tall clear lens tail lamps that use 48 light emitting diodes (LEDs) to serve notice to oncoming motorists.

Once inside the Grandis, occupants will be able to enjoy is luxurious yet functional and quiet environment. Automatic climate control (with airconditioning vents for EACH seat), front-mounted map lamps, second- and third-row mounted personal lamps, six cupholders (two for each row), four bottle holders (one for the Grandis' four passenger doors) and a single-DIN in-dash MP3/CD player with six speakers are sure to make every Grandis passenger enjoy the ride. "Numerous modifications and applications of sound insulation panels in the Grandis have been made to significantly reduce road shock and noise. This makes the Grandis one of the most quiet and relaxing cars to ride in," said Froilan Dytianquin, MMPC assistant vice president (AVP) for marketing services.

The interior of the Grandis was designed to create a "modern living space", providing maximum relaxation and enjoyment for all occupants. The front seats have adjustable headrests, slide/recline functions and can be folded flat (along with the second row seats) to create a full-length bed.

The second and third row seats can be adjusted and arranged for a variety of uses. The second row seat squabs can be set at three different angles for individual comfort, while its 60:40 split angle can be independently tipped up and folded to maximize cargo space. The second row seats can also be reclined all the way back to create a sleeping space or play area with children when the MPV is parked. On the other hand, the third row 50:50 split seats can be reclined, tilted backwards or folded up/stowed away to create bigger cargo space.

Making the Grandis go from point A to point B is a 2.4-liter, gasoline-fed engine with MIVECS (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control System) to vary engine timing, with 165 PS and 22.1 kg-m of torque. At low rpm ranges, MIVECS uses a low/medium camshaft profile that creates valve timing that optimizes fuel efficiency. This is mated to a four-speed INVECS (Intelligent and innovative Vehicle Electronic Control System)-II that features a Sportronic mode which allows the driver to manually select "clutchless" gear changes.

Making Grandis passengers safe are two safety systems, a primary and supplementary safety system. The former features four-wheel disc brakes assisted by four-sensor, three-channel anti-lock braking systems (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), all peeking behind five-spoke, sixteen inch wheels and 215/60R16 tires.

The latter safety system uses Mitsubishi's proprietary RISE (reinforced impact safety evolution) body technology which uses a straight frame rail design to efficiently and effectively absorb and disperse collision energy. Front occupants are protected by dual airbags and pretensioners, while those in the second row are protected by two three-point ELR seatbelts with automatic locking retractors (ALRs) for child safety seats, along with a center lap belt. Third row passengers are protected by two three-point ELR/ALR seatbelts.

Beef up MMPC's SUV lineup

Introduced to further bolster Mitsubishi's strong sport utility vehicle (SUV) heritage, the Php1.580 million 2005 Montero Sport 4x4 features a 2.8-liter turbo-intercooler diesel engine, which gives out 125 PS and 29.8 kg-m. This engine is mated with a four-speed automatic with an electronic lock-up clutch. For four-wheel drive fun, the Montero Sport is equipped with an Easy Select 4WD transfer case with a synchronized free-wheel front differential. This lets the driver switch from two-wheel drive (2WD) to high-range 4WD at 100 kilometers per hour (kph) with just a movement of the lever.

Providing a faux passenger car ride is a front double wishbone suspension (with sprung torsion bars) and a three-link coil spring suspension at the rear, along with stabilizer bars on both ends to reduce body roll.

The Montero's exterior, based on its Rallye Dakar-winning Pajero brethren, is designed so that no part of the SUV's outside will come in contact with the ground. The design of the exterior was conceived with off-roading in mind, making sure that the SUV approaches and departs uneven terrain without a scratch. Also, the Montero's proven ability to go off-road, even maneuvering through floods is easy thanks to the SUV's ability to wade through more than nine-inches of water.

While the exterior of the Montero Sport exudes ruggedness, the interior exudes luxury and sportiness. Seats can be configured variably to handle most hauling needs, while a white gauge cluster, genuine leather seats, map lamps and a two-DIN MP3 capable head unit provide creature comforts for all. All-power amenities reduce travel stress while the Mitsubishi Motor Alarm and keyless entry system (MMAS) provides additional convenience and peace of mind.

Also, Mitsubishi deemed that an SUV of this size needs its passengers to travel safe, so it installed leading and trailing areas within the Montero Sport's ladder frame chassis. The aforementioned areas were designed to crush progressively (in case of an accident) to absorb collision impact. Additional safety features include dual front airbags, three-point ELR seatbelts and the location of the fuel tank within the ladder frame (in front of the rear axle) to prevent it from igniting in case of impacts.

The launch of the Grandis and Montero Sport 4x4 makes official MMPC's first salvo in the 2005 CV sales wars.