Being the first off the block to offer a model no one else has, has got to be a good thing. Getting the jump on other brands can see a specific model in the market as the go-to for many buyers even after others come along with their own offering.

Does that count, when the model in question is an EV people mover? LDV hopes this is the case, we headed to Auckland for the launch of the all-new MIFA 9.

Great Lakes Motor Distributors – State Of The Nation

GLMD are the distributor for SsangYong and LDV brands. Andrew Bayliss, General Manager of GLMD, gave an update on the market based on facts and figures, and also as they see it.

As a company, they plan to have an EV in every sector of the market, including the new eT60 EV ute. For this reason, their slogan is “100% Electric” and currently their range includes EV models in a van, people mover, ute, and minibus.

According to the stats, the new car market is growing faster than the population, with steady growth in the new vehicle market over the last 20 years. This is a global trend and according to GLMD, and they feel that even with a change of government (if that happens), there will be no change to the current clean car subsidies scheme.

January sees the launch of the Clean Car Scheme (CCS) for distributors, who will have to reach a specific level of CO2 emissions across their range. If the targets are not met then a tax is payable, however, the target is set on an average of CO2 for each importer’s fleet. If GLMD did not meet the targets, then they estimate the increase in price by year would be: 2023 $2,000, 2024 $3,000, 2025 $4,500, 2026 $6,000, and 2027 $7,500 per vehicle.

So GLMD is on a mission to move away from internal combustion engines (ICE), and this is reflected in their plans to reduce the ratio of EV to ICE from an estimated 1 to 4.5 for 2023, to 2 EVs sold for 1 ICE model in 2027.

GLMD claims that LDV has the largest range of pure EVs eligible for a rebate in New Zaealand (not only commercial vehicles), and 2023 will see LDV transition from predominantly ICE to EV. Currently, their enquiries for EVs outnumber other enquiries by 10 to 1.

GLMD are proud to announce that they are now on the All of Government (AOG) vehicle supply list, with the ET60, eDeliver 3, and eDeliver 9 all approved for AOG, giving them what they say is the biggest range of Government-compliant EV vehicles under AOG.

Is launching a new people mover into this segment a good idea? From 1,750 sales of new people movers in 2002, that number was down to 700 in 2022, and most of these (403 in fact) the Kia Carnival. A long way off the Carnival in second place is the Volkswagen T7 at 83 sales.

2023 LDV MIFA 9

The MIFA 9 is a seven-seat, fully electric people mover. What does MIFA 9 stand for? Maximum, Intelligent, Friendly, Artistic and the ‘9’ stands for Premium. So now you know.

GLMD says the styling is “bold, stylish and distinctive” and it certainly is that. I’m not sure about the light green colour of the cars sitting outside the hotel, but we’re told that colour likely won’t make it to New Zealand, anyway. There are LED headlamps up front, and they’re adaptive in the top-spec model. The DRLs are a full-width light bar, while there’s another full-width light bar at the rear.

The car has sliding rear doors (electric on the two top-spec models) and is powered by a 180kW electric motor driving the front wheels. That motor manages a decent 350Nm of torque, getting the 2.3-2.5 ton car to 100km/h in around 8.9 seconds. All models are fitted with a large 90kWh battery pack, giving the car a WLTP range of 430km. The tow rating is listed at 1,000Kg.

Mifa 9 Premium

The car is wide at 2 metres, long at 5.3 metres, and has a huge 3.2-metre wheelbase. It’s not just long, but LDV claims there is a minimum of 1.5 metres of headroom from the base of any of the three rows of seats to the roof. They also claim over 900mm of legroom for each row, with the third row having 978mm.

There are loads of safety systems as standard, using LDV’s “ADAS 2.0” safety system and features things like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and a load of others.


Luxury is the number one word that sums up the MIFA 9; there’s a full-length electric panoramic sunroof in the top models, and apparently, if using Bluetooth and a phone call comes in, the car will automatically close all the windows and the sunroof to give your call the best quality.

There are 2 large captain’s chairs in the second row, and on the two top models, these are fitted with cooling and heating, massaging, and fully electrically reclining with one touch. In the top-spec, there are 3 memory positions, 8 options for massaging, along with AC controls for each second-row seat using a digital panel on each of the second-row seats. There’s also a fold-out table for working on those important documents while you are being driven to your next destination.

The third row has a 60/40 split, and that third row can be removed completely if more cargo space is needed. Both the second-row seats and third-row are sliding to maximise your space.

At the rear of the centre console is a 230-volt power socket into which you can plug things like a laptop, up to a maximum of 150 watts. Second-row passengers get access to USB ports on their seats, as well as the third-row.

There is a lot more to the comfort side of the MIFA 9, but we’ll wait until we get one to review to cover all of it off.


The two top models have a 360-degree camera system, utilising 6 high-def cameras around the car.

Only the top-spec Premium has a Fatigue Reminder system, using a camera on the A-pillar. This will alert the driver to things like smoking, fatigue, looking at their phone, or not looking at the road.

It is still going through testing, but LDV says the MIFA 9 is expected to receive a 5 Euro NCAP star rating. There are 7 airbags inside, and the steering wheel is haptic for alerting the driver.


New Zealand will see three models, each with driveaway pricing;

  • Elite $79,990 (Clean Car Discount $8,625)
  • Luxury $99,990
  • Premium $119,990

For a change, the prices we pay in New Zealand are many thousands of dollars cheaper than in Australia. About time! In Australia, the Mifa 9 Premium is over $20,000 more expensive, at A$131,000 (NZ$143,000).

GLMD says the base Elite model compares well with the base Kia Carnival Diesel, which is priced at $74,990. Once you take off the Clean Car Discount, the MIFA 9 Elite is down to $71,365, while the Carnival still has a Clean Car Fee to be added on, as well as on-road charges.

The MIFA 9 comes with a 5-year warranty, and an 8-year battery warranty (up to 200,000km).

Buyers can order online or at an LDV dealer, with deliveries expected in January or February 2023.


We’d be driving all the models today, along with the eT60 EV ute. Since the drivetrain on all three is the same, I’d spend some time in the second and third rows to test them out.

Initially, I got into the top-spec Premium to drive it to the first point. It all feels very much like a certain US EV maker, with a large touchscreen and very few other controls on the dash (AC controls only). There is a driver’s dashboard, so not quite just a central screen. The resolution on both is excellent, and the 360-degree camera system seems to rival any other on the market.

Heading away and then decelerating, the brake regeneration (regen) is quite high, which is nice. You can adjust this to Standard, High or automatic through the infotainment system.

The mirror on the Premium is actually just a display – you get no ‘normal’ mirror option, like you do on the Nissan Leaf. But I do prefer having a view on the mirror from a camera at the back, as you get a much wider field of view, so safety is increased. Only the Premium has this feature.

There’s other differences in the Premium; it has self-sealing tyres, a heated steering wheel and Alcantara headlining, amongst other features, like the incredible second row seats. These have their own digital display for adjusting heating and cooling of the individual seat, heating and cooling in your area, and allow you to select from one of 8 options for massaging. The display also allows you to electrically adjust the seat itself, as well as lumbar support.

Premium model MIFA 9

Visibility seems excellent, with massive rear door windows and large third row windows.

At the base of the front seats on all models is a plastic footrest, going right across the seat base. It’s at a perfect angle for your feet when sitting in the second row.

Driving the car is pretty good for something running at 2.5 tons. It masks the weight well and the batteries certainly help with a very smooth ride. With such a long wheelbase, ride quality is a highlight of the Mifa 9. Performance is very good for something this heavy, with wheelspin easily achievable.

Gears are selected with a steering column stalk, like Tesla, and similar to that brand you don’t need to do anything to start the car, or turn it off. Just get with the key in your pocket, select Drive and go. When you arrive somewhere, put it in Park, then lock the car. That’s it.

My next drive was the mid-spec Luxury, and it still felt extremely luxurious too. Naturally it drives very similarly to the Premium. I can see the Luxury model being the real sweet spot for the Mifa 9. It’s still so well equipped but gets under that $100K barrier that lots of buyers want to avoid.

After lunch, it was time to take the eT60 for a short drive. I’d not been behind the wheel of LDV’s EV ute before, and it still felt like a ute to drive. A little bouncier than I had imagined, especially since it weighs a few hundred kilograms more than the 4WD diesel model. The eT60 is rear-wheel-drive only, and that electric motor hangs quite low at the rear of the ute. Interestingly, there’s no Park for the ‘transmission’ so you put the ute in Neutral when you stop somewhere and then pull on the handbrake.

Still, GLMD has 400 preorders for this ute, and I can see it being a very popular choice even at its $79,990 driveaway price – and this makes it eligible for the CCS $8,625 rebate.

2023 LDV Mifa 9 Luxury

Next, I moved into the mid-spec Mifa 9 and sat in the second row while being driven to our next stop. Even though this was the mid-spec Luxury, I still had seat heating and cooling, and a massage option. There’s a lot of legroom in that second row, and the headroom borders on ridiculous, there’s so much of it. I can see the 230-volt power point that pops out of the centre console being very handy to charge laptops and the like, even if it does max out at 150 watts.

MIFA 9 Luxuy

One thing that was really noticeable from that second row are the windows. The windows in the sliding doors on the Mifa 9 must be the biggest on the market. They are huge. Those with kids that get car sick due to not being able to see much out of the back seat will find the Mifa 9 the answer to their prayers. For this reason, it was interesting that even the top-spec Premium doesn’t have any window shades.

The next stop was the Bombay Hypercharger where we plugged one of the Mifa 9s in. It didn’t need a charge, but it was worth the stop to check it out. The charge port on the left-side rear of the car might hinder some, compared to a front charge port, but still usable. While hooked up to the 300kW Hypercharger, the Mifa 9 took power in at 82kW, which is still very good – especially since the car was already 73% charged.

2023 LDV Mifa 9 Elite

My next ride was in the third row in the base spec car. Again, so much legroom and headroom, it makes a mockery of SUVs that have seven seats that become unusable for teenagers. Said teenagers would love the Mifa 9, there’s even room to stretch your legs out. The seats too seem very comfortable; quite firm, but still good.

The windows for the third row, while nowhere near as big as the sliding door windows, are still large and again, put 7-seat SUVs to shame.

With that, we got back to our starting point. All in all, the Mifa 9 – from initial impressions – should sell very, very well. It’s well made, drives great, has an excellent range and has humongous amounts of room for 7 people. LDV are on to a winner.

We’ll get a test car booked in, and put the Mifa 9 through our normal full review as soon as we can.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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