SPECS Model En­gine

Friday - - MOTORING - @ 5,200rpm 275Nm 180kph Dh105,000 (base) Huge cabin, com­fort­able seats, smooth ride Not ex­actly blessed with a catchy name, plus some turbo lag

looks as if it’s pack­ing a mas­sive glove­box un­der that large flat panel above the pas­sen­ger’s knee. But pop it open and it’s tiny, as is the gear lever that still man­ages to block ac­cess to some of the con­trols on the cen­tre con­sole when it’s in Park. And fi­nally, the re­vers­ing cam­era takes an eter­nity to switch on. Hang on, wait. There’s more. All of the im­por­tant switchgear – like the head­light switch, fuel tank cap but­ton and power mir­ror but­tons – are hid­den in a se­cret com­part­ment on the left of the steer­ing. A se­cret com­part­ment! Why? Pro­tec­tion against peo­ple who like steal­ing switchgear per­haps?

Any­way, those are mi­nor com­plaints for this MPV has a lot go­ing for it, even if the seg­ment’s pop­u­lar­ity as a whole is wan­ing. With so many de­cent seven-seater SUVs avail­able, the full-on peo­ple car­rier hasn’t just fallen to the back of the queue, it’s also at the back of peo­ple’s minds. How­ever, this Lux­gen serves as a timely re­minder of the sheer prac­ti­cal­ity of an MPV.

You’d be hard pressed to find some­thing bet­ter to trans­port seven adults and their lug­gage in com­fort for the money. This base trim tester re­tails for Dh105,000. The fully loaded vari­ant costs Dh119,000 and packs a host of kit in­clud­ing the Think+ in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, sat-nav, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, four ad­vanced vis­ual as­sis­tance sys­tems in­clud­ing Ea­gle View+, Side View+ and Night vi­sion+. That’s a lot of whizbangery for your money. t re­ally comes into its own in the prac­ti­cal­ity stakes. MPVs are all about their in­te­ri­ors and most have some­thing clever to of­fer in the seat­ing de­part­ment. The M7’s party trick is that its seats aren’t just com­fort­able and boast move­able arm rests, they’ve also got stor­age spa­ces be­neath them. I guess that makes up for the tiny glove­box.

The sec­ond row slides for­ward and the back­rest flips over, mak­ing get­ting into the third row eas­ier. How­ever that mid­dle row only ac­com­mo­dates two peo­ple while the third row seats three – a bit lop­sided if you ask me. A two, three, two would be bet­ter. Re­gard­less, the cabin is sim­ply huge and oc­cu­pants have a good view of their sur­round­ings thanks to the large win­dows. There is legand head­room aplenty for every­one. The sep­a­rate handrails and pre-shaped head­rests are a nice touch too, while it’s easy to get in and out of the back thanks to the slid­ing doors, which can also be op­er­ated via a but­ton on the key fob.

Com­pared to the Odyssey’s ex­te­rior, which as its name sug­gests, looks a lit­tle odd, the M7 isn’t bad at all. Firstly, you need to sym­pa­thise with de­sign teams of all MPVs; they’ve been briefed to make what is es­sen­tially a box on wheels look at­trac­tive. It’s a tough task. The creative folk at Lux­gen have had a good stab and although it doesn’t ex­actly stand out from the crowd, the M7 doesn’t blend into the back­ground ei­ther. It holds its own; it’s sim­ple but this works in its favour.

Be­cause of the neat de­sign of the front win­dows, which meld into the fend­ers, the body­work isn’t as over­bear­ing as the chunky Honda’s. The M7 is more el­e­gant; the large chrome grille is another high­light and there’s more chrome trim at the back in the shape of a strip be­tween the tail­lights.

Pow­ered by a tur­bocharged 2.2-litre four-pot (a Gar­rett no less) that pro­duces 175bhp and 275Nm of torque, it’s peppy enough but suf­fers from a bit of lag and the en­gine wheezes like an asth­matic.

That said, the five-speed au­to­matic shifts smoothly, the steer­ing is quite light and over­all, it of­fers a good ride even though there’s some body roll, which you’d ex­pect what with it sit­ting 1,876mm high.

It may be top heavy but it cruises mer­rily along at high­way speeds with the cabin re­main­ing quiet, mean­ing you’ll hear the kids scream­ing and wife moan­ing per­fectly well...

It’d be easy to ig­nore this new brand and stick to the tried and tested, but the M7 can do ev­ery­thing its ri­vals do and for far less out­lay. That def­i­nitely makes it wor­thy of a se­ri­ous look if you’re af­ter a proper fam­ily hauler that’s com­fort­able and at­trac­tive. Lux­gen’s also busy work­ing on a sa­loon and if it’s as de­cent as this MPV, then the brand will soon be mak­ing a name for it­self. Even if it does sound like it’s a toaster.

MO­TOR­ING

M7 2.2-litre four-cyl turbo Trans­mis­sion Fivespeed auto, FWD Max power 175bhp Max torque @ 2,500 Top speed Price The dash has you play­ing hide-and-seek as you hunt for some of the con­trols

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