Seemingly perpetual advances in both the SUV (sport utility vehicle) and MPV (multipurpose vehicle) markets mean that for a manufacturer to stay content and become static is to lose potential buyers. With that in mind, Mitsubishi recently introduced new variants of its Grandis MPV, and Pajero and Outlander SUVs at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

Right on the heels of its surprisingly and wildly successful Outlander AWD (all wheel drive) compact SUV is a new Outlander variant in 4x2 flavor. Billed as the Outlander 2.4L 4x2 GLX, the SUV retains the six-speed INVECS CVT (Mitsubishi's take on continuously variable transmission) from its AWD sibling. This time, the Outlander's CVT now has a manual mode (known as Sportshift), and one can shift gears using magnesium alloy paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Also, the 4x2 Outlander totes enhanced outside aesthetics - 18-inch rims, LED (light emitting diode) taillights, a two-piece flap type tailgate, and multi-reflector halogen headlights (with manual lever). This new Outlander variant is deemed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) as crucial to its compact SUV sales "because 4x2 versions comprise 75 percent of our market, and we at MMPC saw fit to upgrade or present new changes to - the Outlander," said Mel Dizon, MMPC executive vice president.

The Grandis also sports significant changes. It now comes with HID (high intensity discharge) headlights for easier view at night, plus three-eye parking sensors (rear) and two-eye parking sensors (front) to aid parking maneuverability. Chrome interior inserts and a glass printed antenna provide better interior aesthetics, while the anti-trapping power-assisted windows prevent limbs and extremities from getting caught between metal and glass. The 16-valve inline four-cylinder 2.4L engine is retained, this time sporting 163 hp and 217 NM of torque.

The seven-seater Grandis was designed to create "modern living space", providing maximum enjoyment for all occupants. The front seats have adjustable headrests, as well as slide and recline functions so that occupants can sit however they choose. They can be folded flat along with the second-row seats to create a full-length bed. The third-row 50:50-split seats can be reclined, tilted backwards with the tailgate open for use during rest stops, or folded up and stowed away under the floor, creating larger cargo space.

Lastly, the SUV icon known as the Pajero has a new variant which MMPC calls the Pajero Special Edition. This new flavor has a black/beige leather interior (with wood/silver panel inserts) and fully automatic climate control for supreme riding comfort. The hood is now aluminum, saving weight and providing better fuel economy. The side mirror with defogger also functions as a turn signal indicator and as an approach lamp as courtesy to passengers boarding the vehicle. Cat's eye HID headlights and newly designed rear fog lamps aid in better visibility at night. Both front seats have power assisted seat movement 10-way for the driver, eight-way for the shotgun passenger for easier seat adjustment. Mitsubishi Active Skid and Traction Control (M-ASTC) - which controls engine power and brakes to prevent understeer or oversteer couples with ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, four-piston front disc brakes and rear disc brakes to create supreme stopping and cornering ability. "This is a test to see if there is market demand for our Pajero Special Edition. We're just trying it out," said Dizon.

These new variants come on the heels of MMPC's recent achievement - reaching the 500,000 cumulative units sold plateau. "We are very proud of this sales achievement. Looking back, we are so very thankful to our customers who have bestowed confidence to the Mitsubishi brand. This achievement also inspires us and encourages us to be passionate, committed, and aggressive to ensure that we maintain our dominant position in this market, especially now that we look forward to a resurgent Philippine automotive industry," said MMPC president and CEO Masahiko Ueki.

The new Mitsubishi Grandis has a special introductory price (SIP) of P 1.258 million, and an MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of P 1.358 million. The Pajero Special Edition 3.8L MIVEC has an SIP of P 2.488 million, and an MSRP of P 2.608 million. On the other hand, the Pajero Special Edition Di-D has a P 2.588 million intro price, and retails for P 2.708 million. Lastly, the Outlander 2.4 DOHC MIVEC 2WD GLX has a P 1.15 million SIP and an MSRP of P 1.248 million.