SPECS Model Engine
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.
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