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MG's commercial sibling branches out with a luxury seven-seat electric MPV

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Fashion can be so capricious. Not even two years ago, MPVs looked a dead cert to join two-door estates and mid-market coupés on the format scrapheap, yet now the class is bursting with activity. Apparently we have Chinese businessmen to thank(or otherwise). Don’t get rid of your skinny jeans just yet, then, I suppose.

Following the airport-bound Mercedes-Benz EQV, nostalgia-fuelled Volkswagen ID Buzz and limousine-challenging Lexus LM into the UK is the Maxus Mifa 9

Maxus is a brand that may be familiar from its eDeliver range of electric vans and tippers and the T90EV, the first electric pick-up truck offered in the UK, albeit a very poor one. It has a complex heritage, as evidenced by the fact that the Mifa is sold in Asia as an MG and in Australia as an LDV. Yes, as in Birmingham’s deceased maker of spit-and-sawdust vans, itself formed when the respective truck divisions of British Leyland and Dutch firm Daf merged in the 1980s. Its assets were bought by Chinese giant SAIC after its 2009 bankruptcy, joined two years later by MG. South-east Asia also gets an MG version of the T90EV, by the way, called the Extender. Righty-ho…

Anyway, it’s now a significant player in the UK, albeit through a concessionaire, Harris Group of Ireland, with a technical centre in Liverpool and more than 60 dealers. Sales rose by 46% last year and are expected to do so again by 60% this year, as evidenced by a sales total of more than 1250 vehicles already. Harris told me it will sell the Mifa to families, chauffeurs, hotels and taxis, although I’m doubtful about that first claim, given that it’s playing in the £70k arena. 

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maxus mifa 9 review 2024 13 rear seats

The Mifa is a large, seven-seat MPV, at 5270mm long by 2000mm wide and 1840mm tall directly comparable to the EQV.

It isn’t a bespoke EV, sharing its platform with the petrol-engined G90, but nevertheless the battery is in the ideal position under the floor, not crammed under the bonnet or in the boot, meaning it feels no more compromised than its big-name rivals.

On the subject of names: Mifa is ‘Maximum, Intelligent, Friendly and Artistic’. Not sure that’s one for the Hinge profile…

That battery officially yields a range of around 270 miles, depending on spec. Astoundingly, that’s all of 60 miles more than the EQV, despite both having a 90kWh capacity. The ID Buzz isn’t far behind, even with only a 77kWh battery, but it lacks a third row of seats. Range doesn’t concern the LM, it being a hybrid, but then that might fall foul of various urban emissions restrictions now and in the future.


maxus mifa 9 review 2024 04 driving

The driver of the Mifa 9 is well cared for, at least in range-topping Premium trim, with many-way electric adjustment, heating and massage functions. 

Behind, the two captain’s chairs – of leather and PVC, and with ‘Mifa 9’ headrest embroidery – are even more comfortable and yet more adjustable, by way of a small touchscreen mounted atop the outer armrest. They can move back and forth, side to side, totally recline and offer not just massage functions but also control of ‘interior scenarios’ – for instance, ‘rest moment’ shuts the blinds over the two fully opening sunroofs – and the rear air conditioning and colour-customisable interior LED lighting. It would take some time for you to get to learn what each ‘scenario’ entails, but it’s a nice idea.

Walk between the pair and you come to a three-man third row, also comfy leather seats, which impressively have enough head room for adults up to about 5ft 9in tall.

There’s a 466-litre boot behind them, which would probably be problematic on airport runs, but they can be folded down in a 60/40 split to create an enormous, van-like cargo space. 

Someone unkindly described the Mifa as “an LM from” when it arrived, and that’s probably too harsh. Lexus has played its best hands in terms of interior design and material choice and quality, but Maxus hasn’t resorted to cheap and nasty. The stitched leathery areas feel fine, none of the plastics are hard and scratchy, even on the dashboard, and the large carbonfibre-look trim pieces on the door have a nice gloss feel to them. It’s just the small things that let it down: how the seats creak loudly as they work out that knot in your back, how the armrests judder as they fold up, how you have to yank the desk up and out and how its ‘wood finish’ is clearly a sticker atop black plastic. Attention to detail is what distinguishes premium cars, and it’s lacking here.

I had expected to be overwhelmed by the technological complexity so coveted by Chinese consumers when using the Mifa’s touchscreen infotainment system (for which reason I was glad to see touch icons on the dashboard for the air-con), but it’s actually impressively user-friendly. Clearly sharing its underpinnings with the system seen in the new MG 3, it has a mostly sensible menu structure (although why isn’t the regen slider with the other driving options?) and no translation issues. It’s cool that you can slide the passengers’ windows up and down on request from here, for instance, and that it has Apple CarPlay – although it’s wired only and on one day refused to work.


maxus mifa 9 review 2024 03 rear panning

The single motor at the front of the Mifa produces 241bhp, which sounds a lot but all of which is definitely needed given that seven ‘well-fed’ adults could easily take its weight past 3.5 tonnes. Not here the whiplash acceleration of an average electric car, although it’s considerably nippier than a regular diesel van, both off the line and when rolling. Just avoid going for a traffic gap in Sport driving mode, because you can easily generate some alarming tyre squeal – and that’s on Continentals, not Linglongs. 

This actually isn’t a bad omen for the handling, however: the Mifa corners tidily at speed, thanks to the ultra-low centre of gravity that’s typical of EVs. Indeed, its width was my main concern on British country roads. However, the body does roll quite a lot, predictably, leaving the driver feeling queasy before long – so goodness knows how it feels from the back. You also might want to put the regenerative braking in ‘low’ for the sake of those sat there, as ‘high’ is really keen, meaning you pretty much have to keep the accelerator halfway down at all times to maintain speed. There’s also ‘standard’, but this felt to me exactly the same as ‘low’, so who knows?


maxus mifa 9 review 2024 21 front cornering

For the VIPs in their armchairs, ride comfort is the vital factor – but here the Mifa rather lets itself down. There’s something of the ‘Transit without any two-by-fours’ about the way it rides with only two aboard, struggling to waft on the level, and the amount of juddering and shaking over potholes would raise some groomed eyebrows. I haven’t ridden in the back of any direct rivals, but our photographer has done so in the LM, and his verdict was that “it’s not even in the same conversation”. The EQV, meanwhile, rides beautifully on its air suspension. 

The calm is also disturbed by alarmingly loud wind noise, even at not particularly high speeds. Perhaps Maxus ought to study the LM’s specially designed A-pillars, bonnet, glass and panel gaps.


maxus mifa 9 review 2024 01 panning

When I eventually found the trip computer through all the various on-screen menus, it claimed a long-term average of just 1.4mpkWh, which is pretty much half what the WLTP suggests it should get, and would equate to a scant 126 miles. Mind you, that was displayed against an average speed of 136mph, which indicates either some incorrect calculation – perhaps caused by the Mifa’s insistence on defaulting to metric units every time it’s started – or it being repeatedly chucked off the side of a mountain. In either case, the range prediction was optimistic even in ‘dynamic mode’, and having begun the test nearly full, the battery had only about 40% charge left after around 100 miles.




maxus mifa 9 review 2024 23 static

The Mifa feels like an LM or EQV made on a budget. Which it is – in fact, its top spec costs £10k-£15k less than its German and Japanese counterparts. And it will do what they can do, just in a way that lacks some sophistication. In this context, its flaws don’t seem quite so glaring. For a business wanting more than one, the cost difference could be very persuasive. You just need to consider to what extent you would rather delight your accountant over your weary VIP customers.