When you have a brood to take around, there’s nothing more convenient and comfortable as an MPV. Here are three that not only has all the features to keep your family safe and comfy, but also provides great driving pleasure.
1. HONDA ODYSSEY
Since the Odyssey was introduced in 1994, it has earned a place among the most popular MPVs in Singapore. Honda’s reliable engine, sensible seat configurations, and spaciousness in its flagship people mover are still going strong in the new millennium.Naturally, the latest versions boast new technologies, both under the hood as well as around the vehicle. Regardless of where you find it, everything is designed to keep driver and passengers safe, while providing pleasure behind the wheel.
Honda has moved away from a perfunctory, box-like structure to a streamlined look that includes a new, bold grille, and rear aero bumpers. Looking at the car from the side, you’d notice that the departure is a timely one. LED headlights now come with Active Cornering Lights for added safety, and the daytime running lights further add a touch of elegance. Brake lights are now also LED, which improves visibility through its increased brightness.
Previous customers of the Odyssey will be happy to hear that the new floor platform is lower, making getting in and out a breeze. The sunroof offers rear passengers an al fresco sensation whenever they feel like letting the outside in.The Odyssey is powered by the groundbreaking Earth Dreams 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine that is known for durability and fuss-free power. Noticeable upgrades can be seen from the many safety features that now accompany the smooth ride.
Honda Sensing now gives the Odyssey a slew of features to keep everyone safe. The multi-view camera is one of the best in its class, offering 360-degree views of the vehicle through multiple wide-angle cameras. Parking is made ever so easy with the Honda Smart Parking Assist System, which provides steering inputs to support the driver. Blind Spot Information lets out a beep and a warning light appears when a car approaches from behind. The comprehensive suite of safety features also includes Vehicle Stability Assist, which regulates the engine’s output and selectively applies the brakes; Cross Traffic Monitor, which detects and warns of approaching vehicles when reversing; Adaptive Cruise Control; Collision Mitigation Braking, which is designed to detect and alert the driver in the case of an impending collision; Lane Keeping Assist; and Road Departure Mitigation.As safe as the car is, nothing has been spared to up the comfort and luxury quotient inside the cabin. The single second-row seats are nicely crafted, while retractable sunshades on the rear side windows — together with air con outlets in both the second and third rows — keep everyone cool during the ride.
PRICE FROM $152,999 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 2,356CC WATER-COOLED, IN-LINE 4-CYLINDER, 4-STROKE DOHC I-VTEC
TRANSMISSION EARTH DREAMS CVT
0–100KM/H 11.2 SECONDS (EX VERSION)
DISTRIBUTOR KAH MOTORS CO SDN BHD (Tel: 6840 6888)
2. NISSAN SERENA E-POWER
Few MPVs can match Nissan’s Serena e-POWER for the technology involved in combining power and efficiency. The revolutionary e-Power was named Technology of the Year in 2019 by the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference of Japan (RJC). Once you get behind the wheel of Nissan’s advanced family vehicle, you’ll understand why.Zipping around town running errands in the Serena is an effortless task — even pleasurable — with a 100% electric drive that doesn’t need a plug-in charge. Unlike most conventional hybrid systems, the e-Power technology found in the Serena combines a fully electric motor drive with a petrol engine that charges the battery. This combination provides an instantaneous 320Nm of torque and 5.4 litres / 100km fuel efficiency.
The Nissan multi-purpose vehicle also has the brand’s trademark One-Pedal Drive, which allows you to accelerate and decelerate by only using the accelerator pedal. Though it takes getting used to, it is particularly handy when negotiating heavy traffic in urban settings. Two driving modes are included when One-Pedal Drive is engaged: Smart and ECO. And if you prefer your car to drive the conventional way, Normal would be your choice.
Despite the quiet nature of the electric feature, Nissan has gone the distance in further reducing unwanted noise in the vehicle. The many sound-reducing features in the vehicle include dampening on the roof, sound insulation on the front glass, sound absorbing material on and below the dash, as well as under the hood.
Nissan designers have included certain features that make moving the family around with shopping very ergonomic. The interior of the Serena e-POWER is a spacious 1.4m in height, and the versatility of seating arrangements provide more than nine different configurations to choose from. And you even have the option of just opening the rear hatch instead of the entire tailgate if all you have from your supermarket run are a couple of bags of groceries. Hands-free auto sliding doors lets you into your vehicle even if you’ve got your hands full!The little touches make all the difference. The Serena has a roll-up sunshade at the rear windows, second-row personal tray tables, second and third-row bottle holders, passenger seat tray, and an extra-large under-luggage storage box that is ideal for items that you prefer to have hidden from sight.
Four cameras provide a 360-degree view, plus a split-screen to help you move in and out of the tightest spots. Hill Start Assist helps you tackle those steep inclines and declines with the greatest of ease. And the vehicle is intelligent enough to alert you when it detects fatigue. Throw in Nissan’s Zone Body technology that protects occupants in the car as well as those in the other vehicle in the case of a mutual impact, and you not only have one of the most sensible and efficient MPVs in Singapore, but also one of the safest.
PRICE FROM $141,800 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 1,198CC, 3-CYLINDER, IN-LINE DOHC WITH E-POWER ELECTRIC MOTOR
TRANSMISSION SINGLE SPEED REDUCTION GEAR
POWER 136PS (TOTAL MAXIMUM)
TORQUE 320NM (TOTAL MAXIMUM)
DISTRIBUTOR TAN CHONG MOTOR SALES PTE LTD (Tel: 6479 7711 / 6266 7711)
3. RENAULT GRAND SCENIC
Multi-purpose vehicles may seem like the domain of Japanese brands, but there are a few European makes that aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Asian stalwarts. Renault is one of them, and they’ve not held back their punches with the Grand Scenic.
Already in its fourth iteration, the Renault Grand Scenic is still one of the leading vehicles to fly the European flag in this category. The combination of Renault’s engineering prowess, build quality, and attention to detail has been key to the model’s great success. The car was named Best MPV in 2017 by UK Car of the Year, which pretty much says it all.
From the outside, the Grand Scenic eschews the boxy silhouette that many MPVs are known for. The lines are sleek and aerodynamic, with a windscreen that slants aerodynamically backwards and synchronises nicely with the dynamic lines on the side.
Inspired by the R-SPACE concept car, the 20-inch wheels were designed with a specific profile to allow low-rolling resistance and to improve fuel efficiency, while the anodised aluminium longitudinal roof rails add a rugged flair to the appearance. Delivering comfort and engaged handling, the wheels work in tandem with the suspension, which features Multi-Tuned Valve technology shock-absorbing dampers to enhance ride quality.
One of the key features of the Renault is the modularity afforded by the seating configurations. The 2-3-2 standard seat setup may be adjusted in myriad permutations, all with a touch of a button on the 8.7-inch capacitive screen on the centre console. This can also be done from the controls in the luggage compartment.Even if you don’t need to access the rear luggage compartment, there is a 13-litre storage space in the front cabin accessible by a sliding centre armrest. In truth, there are 13 storage solutions in the Grand Scenic where you can stash your stuff. Given the connectivity needs of today’s modern family, the four USB ports and three 12V charging sockets will certainly come in useful, too.
You can also trust the French to do things a little different. The coloured touchscreen that controls the multimedia and navigation is portrait-oriented and comes replete with intuitive smartphone technologies, such click-and-drag, two-finger pinch, and zoomability. Six different profiles can be stored just in case your extended family are finicky about what they see. Corporate road warriors will also be happy to hear that there is Bluetooth hands-free function as well as voice recognition.
This being a Renault, what’s under the hood is just as impressive as what’s in the cabin. The MPV is powered by a 1.5-litre Euro 6 dCi engine that promises punch power and considerable economy. The Effective Dual Clutch seven-speed gearbox lets you go through the motions with smooth transitions.
Needless to say, the comprehensive range of safety features — Hill Start Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Electronic Stability Control with Anti-Slip Regulation, and front and rear-view cameras, to name a few — complete the suite of reasons why MPV buyers here should not rule the Renault Grand Scenic out of their options.
08PRICE $118,999 (WITH COE)
ENGINE 1,461CC EURO 6 DCI TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
TRANSMISSION 7-SPEED EFFECTIVE DUAL CLUTCH
POWER 110BHP @ 4,000RPM
TORQUE 260NM @ 1,750RPM
0–100KM/H 13.2 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR RENAULT SINGAPORE (Tel: 6471 3313)