Ashford Castle was to be the chosen destination for the Harris Group to unveil the new Maxus Mifa 9 to members of the Irish and UK press. Those not familiar with the Maxus brand might need a little background for context. After acquiring LDV in 2010, SAIC manufactured light commercial vehicles under the MAXUS name for the home market in China and select left-hand drive markets in Europe such as Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In April 2020, LDV rebranded as MAXUS across right-hand drive Europe, consolidating the brand’s presence and strengthening the dealer network. The Harris Group is the distributor for the Maxus range of vehicles in not just Ireland but also the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Malta and Cyprus.

Although most of us know the Harris Group as a giant commercial vehicle supplier based on the Naas road, they now encompass a global supply chain with a pan-European customer base and an extensive network of dealers. Their vast experience in commercial vehicles, trucks busses and a relentless push to emission free motoring leaves them perfectly positioned to penetrate the passenger car market with the Maxus Mifa 9.

The Maxus Mifa 9 is in essence a stunning looking full-size pure electric MPV with a range of up to 520km on a single charge. It is powered by a 180 Kw motor providing maximum torque of 350Nm with a consumption rate of 17.9 kWh per 100km from the massive 90kW lithium battery pack. Irish buyers can pick from three different trim levels to include Elite, Luxury & Premium.

Our test vehicle was the luxury 7-seater model which will be priced around the €90k mark with entry into the 8-seater Elite version €10k cheaper. How is an 8 seater cheaper you might ask? Well, the 7-seater is more akin to travelling first class swapping the second row of seats for two fully adjustable captain recliners with leg extenders and pop up trays for your laptop or light dining!

It really is a nice place to be with quality materials used throughout. Back in the driver’s seat now and a small screen relaying vitals such as speed, battery percentage and range are within direct view. To the left a 12.3-inch touchscreen acts as the command centre to control pretty much everything on the vehicle including the automated doors, sunroof, climate and entertainment etc. Apple CarPlay is offered with the use of a capable connection but Android Auto has yet to be introduced.

So how does the Mifa 9 drive and can it really compare with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQV already operating in this sector? In short yes, it can and it will. The ride was smooth and refined on our journey from Dublin out to County Mayo. Maxus has optimised weight distribution by placing the batteries low and central in the Mifa 9 and it holds the road very well. Despite tipping the scales at a hefty 2535kg, the Mifa 9 picks up pace with ease and never leaves you looking for more power.

Advanced safety technologies are plentiful also with blind spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, driver attention alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control all standard. We cruised down to Ashford Castle in single degree temperatures with 93 kilometres to spare. The vehicle was reading 420 kilometres of range when we set off and the journey was roughly 250 kilometres across.

This means we lost approximately 77 kilometres between learning and fiddling with the tech and the freezing road temperatures (It was actually snowing!), which isn’t bad for a vehicle of this size. Recharging the 90kWh battery takes around 8.5 hours with an 11kW charger, while using a DC fast-charger will speed the process up considerably giving you as much as 80% in 36 minutes.

Although the Mercedes-Benz EQV also has a 90kW battery the range wouldn’t allow us to complete a similar trip last year without charging. So who is this vehicle aimed at and where can you get one? We see the market mainly in chauffeur hotel transfers, golf courses, airport collections and possibly the luxury taxi sector in around cities. It is no doubt ideal for large families but the price point might put some off for private usage. We enjoyed our time with the Mifa 9 and look forward to getting to know the vehicle better over the duration of a week in the not to distant future.

Viewing the opulent Maxus Mifa 9 can be arranged through the Harris Group Headquarters or indeed by visiting newly appointed dealers Linders of Chapelizod Dublin. More dealers are due to be appointed in the coming months. If Mifa 9 is the start of things to come on the passenger vehicle side for Maxus, it most certainly is a brand to watch!