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Car reviews - LDV - MIFA


We like
Three value-packed specification levels, likeable turbo engine, pleasant seat comfort in all three rows, base model feels pretty special, drives nicely, vents and lights throughout
Room for improvement
Third-row stowage not nearly as good as Carnival, no eight-seat option yet, no capped price servicing, low payload capacity, is it cheap enough?

A new people-mover to rival the all-conquering Kia Carnival

29 Aug 2023



LDV AUSTRALIA has quietly launched the new petrol-powered Mifa people-mover, a seven-seat family van with dual sliding doors and a big body offering lots of interior space.


It’s here to take the fight to the almighty Kia Carnival, which dominates the people-mover space in Australia – and with good reason.


The Mifa is available with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine producing 160kW and 360Nm, and has an eight-speed automatic transmission, with power channelled to the front wheels. Those outputs are decent compared to the petrol V6 found in the Carnival and related Hyundai Staria (3.5L V6, 216kW/355Nm), but unlike those vans, the Mifa isn’t available with diesel. But, also unlike those rivals, the Mifa has a fully electric version available, albeit at more than $100,000. Official combined cycle fuel efficiency for the petrol Mifa is 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres.


There are three trim grades available. The entry-level Mode tested in this review has a decent amount of kit for $53,990 drive-away, including LED lighting, 18 inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, but it makes do with fake leather seat trim and a plastic steering wheel.


A reversing camera and rear parking sensors are standard, and it has a captain’s chair setup for the middle row, with both second-row spots offered with ISOFIX points and top-tethers, while the rear row (three seats) includes one space with ISOFIX and a top-tether, as well.

Step up to the mid-spec Executive and you score a range of desirable inclusions for $63,990 drive-away, including dual electric sliding side doors, electric tailgate, while it adds a welcome surround-view camera and front parking sensors, not to mention 19 inch wheels and adaptive headlights. Amazingly, this version scores heated and cooled second-row seats with a massage function, but still has pretend leather.


And topping the range is the Luxe grade, which costs $72,990 drive-away and adds leather seat trim, driver’s seat memory settings, colour-adjustable ambient lighting and a 12-speaker sound system, while the second row seats add an eight-mode massage function.


The interior space on offer is quite good, especially if you plan to carry larger adults. But keep in mind that the payload capacity for the Mifa is just 550kg, which means you won’t be able to take many big adults along for the ride.


The media controls are interesting, with a touch-sensitive bar below the media screen, but with some controls still requiring touch input through the display. I tested the Apple CarPlay and it worked fine, and honestly the front-seat storage and space is quite nice, with good seat comfort and decent ergonomics. Just a shame the base model has a plastic steering wheel, and the car also exhibited a couple of not-quite-perfect fit and finish elements to the interior plastics.


The second-row space is exceptional, though access to the third-row could be better, as this car doesn’t feature the clever folding/flip-up-base seats of some other cars (including the D90 SUV from LDV), so access to the back can be a squeeze, though it is possible to scoot through the gap between the captain’s seats if need be. Third-row room is very accommodating if you slide the back seats all the way rearward, but that limits the usability of the boot considerably.


It doesn’t feature the same sort of smarts as the Kia in regards to rear cargo capacity – the seats don’t disappear into the floor. But with all rows up, LDV says there’s 466 litres of cargo space, which can expand to 1702L if you fold the third row down and use the rearmost seat-back as a shelf for storage.


LDV backs the Mifa with a seven-year/200,000km warranty plan, with roadside assist offered for five years/unlimited kilometres. There is no capped-price servicing plan, and servicing is due every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first.


The Mifa achieved the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating against 2022 criteria, and as such it has a host of active safety technology available including autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear AEB, safe exit warning and seven airbags (dual front, front centre, front side, full-length curtain).


Driving Impressions


Easy to drive? Tick. Just sit in the driver’s seat, put your foot on the brake pedal, and the engine starts up. Yep, you don’t need to hit a button to start it, nor turn a key. And when it’s time to turn the car off? There’s a button on the media screen for that, when Park is engaged.


This is a pretty simple thing to get around in, despite the fact it measures nearly 5.4 metres long and almost 2.0m wide. One thing that would encourage this driver to step up to the mid-spec would be the inclusion of a surround-view camera – even though this car is easy enough to see out of, it’s still a big thing, and you can’t see everything around it, which is a pertinent point for family customers.


The turbo petrol engine and eight-speed auto make for a good combination, with enough punch for a single occupant, though I think you’d feel it if you loaded it up to maximum capacity. However, one thing that will take some acclimatisation is the gear selector – it’s a stalk-style column shifter, like in a Mercedes, and for the uninitiated it will likely catch them out as they think they’re about to indicate.


Speaking of the stalks, the other one (on the left of the steering wheel) is a multifunction thing, with indicators and wipers (front and rear) all in one. If you’re wondering where the headlights are controlled, the answer is through the media screen (although having auto headlights means you barely need to think about that).


The ride comfort and steering responsiveness make this feel like an amenable and accommodating family vehicle, one that ticks a lot of boxes, but maybe doesn’t argue as strong a case as the big-selling Korean van. But for those customers sick of waiting for one of those, the LDV Mifa is well worth a look.

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