Maxus MIFA 9: the electric MPV we’ve been looking for?

Published: 24 May 2022

Van brand to sell electric MPV
MIFA 9 seats up to eight
Promises 250-mile driving range

The UK Commercial Vehicle Show isn’t the first place you’d look for the launch of a new electric MPV. But the debut of the Maxus MIFA 9 at said shindig makes more sense when you know that the Maxus brand has been born out of what used to be LDV. As in the old British van maker.

SAIC acquired LDV back in 2009, and has been making a quiet success of the van business since then. In 2020 the name was officially changed to Maxus over here, and now, in the next step towards world domination, it’s branching out into passenger cars. Hence the MIFA 9. At the CV Show.

Anyway. Get a load of this thing. It’s got touchscreen-controlled electric middle-row seats.

MIFA? Isn’t that a bunny?

Believe you’re thinking of Miffy. MIFA, in this context, stands for Maximum, Intelligent, Friendly and Artistic. We’ll tackle that in order, shall we?

Maximum? Well, it’s a full-size MPV powered by a 180kW (242bhp) electric motor attached to a 93kWh battery pack. Maximum torque is 258lb ft and Maxus reckons driving range will be around 250 miles per charge.

Maxus MIFA 9 electric MPV, front view, silver

It’s also nearly 5.3m long, not to mention 2m wide. Pretty maximum. Seating is for seven or eight, with the example of the stand packing a pair in the centre row akin to quilted armchairs. No kidding about the touchscreen controls – these are built into the arms and literally allow occupants to do the electric slide.

Intelligent? Well, we can’t speak to what this is like in practice, but according to the press bumf, the MIFA 9 comes with an ‘industry first’ called the ‘intelligent driving housekeeper’. This apparently ‘automatically recognises driving style through data and scene driving’.

What it does with this recognition is anybody’s guess, but we’ll attempt to find out later.

Friendly? Possibly the least convincing of all, as – at the risk of rolling out one of those long-lived automotive cliches – the all-in-black example here does rather give off a Darth Vader’s family transport vibe. That front end is particularly… helmet-like.

Maxus MIFA 9 electric MPV at the 2022 CV Show - front detail

Seems spacious inside, though, and the example on display is loaded with tech, including electric sliding rear doors, front and rear radar and an electric tailgate.

Artistic? Well, we haven’t heard the solo album yet, but we gather it’s pretty wild. Ok, so, we’re running out of steam here.

Should we be taking this seriously?

Well, SAIC isn’t to be sniffed at – this is the Chinese giant that also owns MG, and whatever else you think about what’s going on with that brand, the EV tech isn’t half bad at all.

And there aren’t any full-on electric MPVs available at the moment except the ones based on vans, so there could be a market for a vehicle like the MIFA. Albeit perhaps not an especially large one.

What’s more, it really is coming. We’ll see pricing in July 2022, it opens for orders in August and should start going into build for the UK market in September. First deliveries are expect in early 2023.

So, if the price is right, this could be another quiet winner. Notably, Maxus will also be first to market in the UK with a 100% electric pickup in 2023 as well.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Automotive Hub, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count