The Truth About Cars » Mitsubishi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Mitsubishi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com QOTD: Do You Care About Mitsubishi? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-do-you-care-about-mitsubishi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/qotd-do-you-care-about-mitsubishi/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126441 I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect. For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect.

For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage owner reads automotive websites or blogs or any information source that offers proper opinions on Mitsubishi’s smallest of offerings.

Last — but certainly not least — I am going to point out there aren’t many people who read TTAC that care about Mitsubishi in the slightest. This, my friends, isn’t just a guess.

Every morning, after sitting down with my thick-as-tar coffee and obligatory morning bagel, I check the previous day’s traffic to see what articles have done well and what ones haven’t. I was almost certain that Mitsubishi’s announcement last week would set off a shockwave of interest throughout the automotive enthusiast community, whether it be out of actual concern or pure schadenfreude.

I wasn’t the only one who thought this. Tim was certain of this, too, providing us a quick recap of Mitsubishi’s sales in the U.S. since 2002. Even Matt Hardigree at Jalopnik found the Mitsubishi situation interesting enough to spend some time behind a keyboard to smash out an excellent editorial about the state of the U.S. manufacturer-gone-importer arm of the Japanese marque. He even linked to our Mitsubishi Doomsday Clock post by the second paragraph, the good friend that he is. (It should be noted when Jalopnik posts a link in our direction, we are usually in for a fair amount of additional traffic than a typical day.)

Yet, even with those pieces in place, do you know what people found more interesting?

A crashed Mazda MX-5 Miata replaced by Mazda.

That’s right. The fact that nearly 1,200 Illinoisans will likely lose their jobs was completely supplanted in popularity by a single MX-5 being destroyed by a pickup truck.

For what it’s worth, there isn’t much to report about Mitsubishi these days other than the company has increased overall sales due in part to the Mirage, a low-margin offering built in Thailand. It’s difficult to get excited about a car that’s typically sold below MSRP since first being imported to the United States. A 20-year-old Lada would garner more intrigue from our fringe set of readers.

It’s also difficult to take Mitsubishi seriously on the surface. Its car lineup consists of the aforementioned Mirage, an eight-year-old compact Lancer (that we first saw in Tokyo as a concept 10 years ago!), a performance model based on the Lancer that’s in its last year of production, and an electric vehicle that’s been uncompetitive (and more expensive than its competitors) from day one. Even Mitsubishi’s SUV lineup has been relegated to also-ran status next to the much more modern offerings of its Japanese, Korean and American competitors.

However, if Mitsubishi played a different game, I think we would care. If Mitsubishi was more honest about the products it does offer and wasn’t hellbent on ruining the little bit of remaining goodwill it has with enthusiasts, we might actually give a shit. When a car company has virtually no exciting product in the pipeline, people don’t see the brand’s disappearance as much of a loss. Even those who’ve bought Mirages are likely not to care as there’s not a single vehicle within the Mitsubishi lineup for them up “step up” to at trade-in time once the Lancer is put out to pasture.

When Suzuki tanked, while I cared to a degree, very few other people did. Most of my positive emotion invested in Suzuki was deeply rooted in a childhood spent being driven in and learning to drive on Suzuki products. Sure, they were cheap, disposable SUVs with little to offer in the creature comfort department (our first Sidekick was completely devoid of power options, A/C and gear selection was dictated by the driver), but at least Suzuki’s offerings were unique and provided a niche choice in the market. Even toward Suzuki’s end days, the Grand Vitara was an enchanting option with rear-wheel drive and a ladder-type frame beneath its unibody coverings. Oh — and you could still get a proper manual transmission! (Let’s not talk about the Kizashi or any of the number of Korean-built Daewoo rebadges. Or the Equator.)

What does Mitsubishi have that sets it apart from any other automaker?

Unlike Suzuki, however, I think Mitsubishi will survive, whether it deserves to or not. In a marketplace where virtually anyone can get a loan, Mitsubishi will likely thrive on small vehicle sales until the financial bubble bursts. Hopefully by then, for Mitsubishi’s sake, the company will have one or two new products that elicit some amount of interest in customers besides those who’d otherwise be relegated to a “buy here, pay here” lot.

And even with all that, even if Mitsubishi survives — or even thrives — after their latest shedding of production assets and we report on a brand new Lancer or EVO-esque SUV, I don’t think a single person will care. Maybe we will have enough budget by then to crash a Miata on our own just for the page views.

What say you, B&B? Do you care about Mitsubishi in its current form? Is it even still a curiosity at this point? Or is Mitsubishi simply a lacklustre brand that’s had its clearcoat fade in the sunlight for far too long?

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After Collapse, Mitsubishi Gradually Recovers, Then Shuts Down U.S. Production? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/collapse-mitsubishi-gradually-recovers-shuts-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/collapse-mitsubishi-gradually-recovers-shuts-u-s-production/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 19:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124641 With news that Mitsubishi is ending U.S. new vehicle production front and centre in the minds of not a single auto industry observer, one wonders how the situation devolved so quickly. That’s not to say there are any surprises when it comes to Mitsubishi’s U.S. decline. (And remember, they’re not dead… yet.) A recall scandal […]

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Mitsubishi USA sales chart

With news that Mitsubishi is ending U.S. new vehicle production front and centre in the minds of not a single auto industry observer, one wonders how the situation devolved so quickly.

That’s not to say there are any surprises when it comes to Mitsubishi’s U.S. decline. (And remember, they’re not dead… yet.) A recall scandal tarnished the brand’s global image. Mitsubishi moved away from SUVs like the Montero, Montero Sport, and Endeavor ahead of the market’s turn toward SUVs and crossovers. Mitsubishi is reluctant to do anything more than facelift unpopular models like the Outlander. They’re unwilling to import the popular Outlander PHEV to hybrid-friendly America. They’ve utterly forsaken the midsize car market. They’ve crafted a muddled image which suggests Mitsubishi is both a performance brand (Lancer Evo) and a green brand (i-MiEV). Good news stories? Few and far between.

The results have been catastrophic.

After climbing to 345,111 U.S. sales in 2002, Mitsubishi volume fell 26 percent in 2003, the first of four consecutive years of decline for the brand. Overall U.S. auto sales fell just 1% in 2003.

Mitsubishi’s 2004 volume slipped 37 percent even as the market strengthened. In 2005, Mitsubishi sales fell another 23 percent. 2006 volume was down 4 percent before a 9 percent uptick in 2007.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport now Made in America

As a recession hit in 2008, Mitsubishi sales slid 25 percent, although the overall industry was down just 18 percent that year. Mitsubishi sales then plunged to a low of 53,986 units in 2009, a 44-percent decline that was far worse than the industry’s 21-percent slide into the abyss.

2010 revealed a measure of recovery for the auto industry in America as total volume rose 11 percent. But Mitsubishi sales were up just 3 percent. A significant 42-percent surge for Mitsubishi in 2011 propelled the brand to 79,020 sales, but the brand hasn’t yet returned to that level. Only 77,643 Mitsubishis were sold in America in 2014, a 25-percent year-over-year increase and a 34-percent improvement compared with 2012.

2006 Mitsubishi Montero

The frightening figure? Mitsubishi sales in 2014, though representative of a three-year high, amounted to less than one-quarter of Mitsubishi’s sales from 2002.

Mitsubishi sold 20,000 more Galants in 2002 than they sold total vehicles in 2014. In 2003, their Outlander sales total was 2.6 times stronger than it was last year (when Outlander volume rose to a six-year high), even as the brand sold more than 61,000 copies of other SUVs.

2009 Mitsubishi Endeavor SE

Mitsubishi averaged 53,000 annual Lancer sales between 2002 and 2004 but hasn’t topped the 20K mark in any of the last four years, the 30K mark since 2007, or the 40K mark since 2004.

Mitsubishi wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in 2002, with U.S. market share of just 2 percent, but the brand appeared to be capable of weathering storms. A dearth of new product has been a killer problem for the brand. Through the first-half of 2015, only 0.6 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States were Mitsubishis.

2004 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

In the near future, with plans in place to stop building vehicles in North America for North America, Mitsubishi loses another key component in its quest to be competitive. Just consider the “import” automakers which believe that it’s important to not have to always import: all of them.

The Normal, Illionois-assembled Outlander Sport is Mitsubishi’s best seller this year. Overall Mitsubishi volume is up 25 percent with Outlander Sport sales rising 17 percent to 17,893 units, 36 percent of the brand’s first-half sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Mitsubishi Doomsday Clock – When Do We Start Counting? UPDATE: Right Now. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mitsubishi-doomsday-clock-when-do-we-start-counting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mitsubishi-doomsday-clock-when-do-we-start-counting/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124761 UPDATE: Mitsubishi has officially announced they will close the Normal, Ill. plant and are looking for a “strategic buyer.” This article was originally written a couple of hours before the announcement. Our Mitsubishi Doomsday Countdown starts right now, putting Mitsubishi’s Best-Before Date at Tuesday, January 16, 2018. When Suzuki decided to stop building their last self-produced […]

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport now Made in America

UPDATE: Mitsubishi has officially announced they will close the Normal, Ill. plant and are looking for a “strategic buyer.” This article was originally written a couple of hours before the announcement. Our Mitsubishi Doomsday Countdown starts right now, putting Mitsubishi’s Best-Before Date at Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

When Suzuki decided to stop building their last self-produced model in North America, the seven-seater XL7, in the midst of the U.S. economic crisis, it was just another nail in the coffin for that looked to be inevitable — the end of Suzuki sales in North America.

The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada — a plant that still cranks out GM products to this day — was an integral part of Suzuki’s success and ultimate demise. Much like the Normal, Illinois Mitsubishi facility, the CAMI plant started as a joint venture between General Motors and its new Japanese BFF.

General Motors, like Chrysler, wanted to leverage product from Japanese automakers. Chrysler went after sports cars while GM affixed the badges of many brands — Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Geo, Passport and Asuna — to the grilles of Sidekicks and Swifts to sell on the lots of its own dealers.

The CAMI plant gave Suzuki a local presence. People bought the Sidekick and its GM-badged brethren in droves — right up until the point they didn’t.

Suzuki, too little and too late, cut its ties with CAMI on May 12, 2009. However, the Normal story is a fair bit different, as it wasn’t Mitsubishi to pull out of the joint venture. In 1991, Chrysler divested part of its share in the joint venture and plant, giving Mitsubishi overall management control. Two years later, Chrysler would sell the remainder of Diamond-Star Motors to Mitsubishi, effectively ending the formal joint-venture partnership. DSM ceased to exist in 1995 when the joint-venture company was renamed Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America.

For Suzuki, it took 907 days after the end of manufacturing before the company packed it in for good in the U.S.

During the economic crisis, I was one of the many who also predicted the end of Mitsubishi in America.

Today, I’m not so sure.

Mitsubishi is making gains in sales, even if those gains are mostly on low-margin products. Also, there is a fair amount of new product on the horizon if the rumor mill is to be believed, and it could prop up the small Japanese automaker long enough to sort out its issues before the next inevitable recession.

Maybe.

Will Mitsubishi meet the same fate as Suzuki? Are we in for a 907-day wait before its ultimate end? We will see. If/when Mitsubishi makes a formal announcement on the future of Normal, we will start the clock.

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Breaking: Mitsubishi Ending U.S. Production, According To Nikkei Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/breaking-mitsubishi-ending-u-s-production-according-to-nikkei-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/breaking-mitsubishi-ending-u-s-production-according-to-nikkei-report/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:40:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124313 Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment. The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander […]

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment.

The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander Sport/RVR, but was tasked with manufacturing the Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, Mirage/Eagle Summit, Galant, and coupe versions of the Dodge Avenger, Stratus and Chrysler Sebring during its lifetime.

According to Automotive News, the closure is part of a “strategic shift to the growing Asian market.” Mitsubishi will look for a buyer for the plant, and there’s no shortage of potential companies looking for additional capacity.

After the break up of Diamond-Star Motors, Chrysler’s stake in the plant was purchased by Mitsubishi. At its peak, the Normal facility produced about 200,000 vehicles per year. Last year, the plant produced just short of 70,000 vehicles, still better than the less than 20,000 it produced in 2009.

 

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New Or Used: Wishing For Simpler Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-used-wishing-simpler-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-used-wishing-simpler-times/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107425 Hi Sajeev & Steve, “You have not covered extensively the problems encountered by GDI engines, especially Mitsubishi Dion (the engine is 4G63). As the revs go beyond the 2000 rpm, the ‘check engine’ light comes on, then eventually the engine — if forced — cuts off. After a few minutes, the engine can start but […]

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Mitsubishi GDi Engine (Dion)

Hi Sajeev & Steve,

“You have not covered extensively the problems encountered by GDI engines, especially Mitsubishi Dion (the engine is 4G63). As the revs go beyond the 2000 rpm, the ‘check engine’ light comes on, then eventually the engine — if forced — cuts off. After a few minutes, the engine can start but it does not take long before it repeats. I was told by a mechanic to buy a new pressure pump. This was fitted but the problem has not gone away. Please help!”

Ummm… we think your mechanic needs to keep away from Runaround Sue.

Cut Portion:

It turns out that a TTAC alum, Andrew Bell, did a fantastic job explaining this issue a few years ago. I’ll offer the Cliff Notes version here.

“In a GDI engine, the gasoline doesn’t touch intake side of the valve. As a result, the droplets have a tendency to bake onto the valve and significantly reduce performance… Even more alarming is that these deposits can dislodge and damage other downstream components (turbochargers, catalytic converters, etc). Manufacturers have added systems to capture these oil droplets and particulates, but no system is 100% effective. As a result, there are many disappointed early adopters with large repair bills.”

Steve Says:

When folks ask me why I am so sour on recommending cars that are on the early curve of advanced powertrain technologies, it’s because I regularly see these types of vehicles traded-in and sent to the auctions at a far greater frequency than their less technologically advanced counterparts.

Whether it’s a vehicle equipped with an early CVT that simply couldn’t handle the load (Ford Freestyle, Nissan Maxima/Rogue/Quest, Dodge Caliber), or a direct injection engine design that has severe teething issues (Mazda CX-7, the VW/Audi FSI engines, BMW with their N54 and N55 engines), I have come to the personal conclusion that automakers are far more apt to sweep these problems under the rug than to tackle them from the early get-go.

To Hyundai’s credit in particular, owners are now using a fuel additive to get rid of excessive carbon that can accumulate in their GDi engines. But there is a dark cloud in that silver lining, and it comes from the feedback of over 750,000 vehicles that have been independently inspected and appraised by certified mechanics and car buying professionals.

Automakers, to no fault of their own, often get sideswiped by long-term issues that couldn’t be anticipated during the research & development phase. As a result, those who stay with the tried and true often have a far better record of long-term reliability than their less conservative counterparts. Or to put this in a more brand specific way, there is a reason why a brand like Mitsubishi is ranked 8th at the moment when it comes to long-term reliability, versus a brand like Hyundai which has gone headlong into to direct injection, and is now ranked 21st overall. As I explained a few months ago on Yahoo:

“Mitsubishi has benefited from long model runs over the past ten years, and much of what they sell is devoid of the unproven electronics and technologies that have hurt other brands. Four-cylinder models are particularly strong in terms of long-term reliability.”

Does this mean a new Accent can’t last over 300,000 miles? Not at all. It does represent the fact that more sophisticated powertrains often have to compensate for unknown variables that can hurt their long-term reliability. In the case of GDi engines, it’s those vehicles that are not driven on a regular basis and have the corn curse that is ethanol lodged into their fuel systems.

This also bears some unusual fruit in the used car market. You may find that a 2011 or older Hyundai Azera offers an exceptional bang for the long-term buck because it didn’t come equipped with the third generation GDi engine. While a low-mileage late model Azera that gets driven infrequently, and has very short trips, may require a bit more engine care.

As many of you know, I absolutely love personal stories about cars that are kept for the long haul. Whether it’s a 30 year old FIAT that miraculously lasts over 500,000 miles, or a first-generation Dodge Neon that also gets to the moon and back, I love seeing cars live up to their potential longevity. But complexity is a real bitch when it comes to cars, and the current CAFE regulations are going to likely promote more rolling long-term dogs in the near future.

So let me ask you: Anyone have unfortunate experiences with what seemed to be the latest and greatest powertrain technologies? Whether your unpleasant experience came from ye olde Cadillac V8-6-4 which had the then tricky cylinder deactivation technology, or a late-model truck or SUV that had a CVT that became DOA within 100k, please feel free to share your experiences below.

Sajeev Answers:

Well then! What else can I add, especially considering relevant info of Piston Slaps past? (Here, here, and here.) Let’s focus on the 4G63. Wait, was that direct injected? Do you mean the 4G93? If so, that was the first production GDI motor and likely lives on the bleeding edge of technology like most cutting-edge products. So what will get you out of your predicament?

Probably a good de-coking of the intake system, ditto the EGR. And maybe some walnut shells blasted into the system if you put a scope into the spark plug hole and notice excessive carbon buildup.

Or maybe its the throttle body.   No matter what, I suspect you need to find another mechanic.

Note: All the links in this article have been sanitized and customized for your own viewing pleasure. Please click on at least a few of them, because it will likely give you a far greater understanding of this topic, and besides, the Long-Term Quality Index can always use a few more clicks and critiques. If you have used car questions, please contact us directly at carselect@gmail.com.

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Mitsubishi Will Soon Sell the Least Powerful V6 in America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mitsubishi-will-soon-sell-the-least-powerful-v6-in-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mitsubishi-will-soon-sell-the-least-powerful-v6-in-america/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:37:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102433 With the Lexus IS finally ditching its dated and overripe 2.5L V6 in favor of the new Atkinson/Otto-cycle 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, the vehicle above will have the least powerful V6 engine in America: the 224 hp, 3.0L V6-powered Mitsubishi Outlander. Making matters worse, it requires premium fuel … and that’s not the worst part. It’s been a […]

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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

With the Lexus IS finally ditching its dated and overripe 2.5L V6 in favor of the new Atkinson/Otto-cycle 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, the vehicle above will have the least powerful V6 engine in America: the 224 hp, 3.0L V6-powered Mitsubishi Outlander.

Making matters worse, it requires premium fuel … and that’s not the worst part.

It’s been a long time coming, but Lexus fans will likely welcome the new force-fed four-pot that ups the base output of its entry sedan to “241 horsepower and up to 258 lb-ft of torque” according to the Canadian Lexus release. While Lexus in the U.S. has not yet confirmed the new engine for the IS, it seems all but inevitable at this point.

Sadly, that puts Mitsubishi squarely in the crosshairs again for having a product that doesn’t match up to the competition. Even V6 turbodiesels on the market are producing 240 horsepower and above along with much, much more torque.

However, the worst of it comes when you put Mitsubishi’s V6 in context. It can only be had in the very top GT S-AWC trim, portraying the 3.0L V6 as the “premium” option, which starts at $30,995. It only drinks premium fuel. And, to top it all off, Mitsubishi is looking forward to being in this position for the next three to four years as the 2016 model year brings with it a refreshed Outlander. That refresh didn’t include any upgrades to the V6.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096361 We’ve seen plenty of front–wheel–drive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory. Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for […]

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23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve seen plenty of frontwheeldrive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory.
17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The severity of the top-down rust indicates that it lived near the ocean, or maybe under a leaky tarp in a shaded Bay Area yard.

11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Someone took the cylinder head off and said “To hell with it.”

01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, you can always find something useful on a car like this. The instrument cluster would be useful for a Colt restorer.

18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, Malaise.


Hemi engine!


This appears to be the same car, down to the blue tape stripes. Look, adjustable steering column!

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The Last Cheap Four-Seat Convertible Left Is a Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/the-last-cheap-four-seat-convertible-left-is-a-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/the-last-cheap-four-seat-convertible-left-is-a-jeep/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094609 Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the […]

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2015-jeep-wrangler

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the Chrysler 200, nobody cared, because nobody buys these cars anymore.

But surely some people still buy them. I mean, there are still millions of people out there having midlife crises, looking for the last modicum of driving excitement before they start ranting about how mobile apps are tearing at the fabric of our society. But sadly, the fun is over: there are no reasonably priced four-seat convertibles left.

Yes, I admit, you can still buy the Volkswagen Beetle, if you’re into that kind of thing. But one of the principal selling points of the Solara and the G6 and the 200 was that you didn’t have to get some odd-looking retromobile in order to get a convertible. You were just buying a normal ol’ car, but it happened to have a removable roof. Or, in the case of the enormous Solara, an infield tarp.

You can also still buy the Camaro and the Mustang. But reasonably priced, they are not: the Mustang Convertible starts above thirty grand, and for that money you’re still manually moving your seats. (“It’s a lever right in front,” the Hertz guy will tell you.) The Camaro is even more expensive, and it doesn’t have any more stuff. It also has blind spots the size of New Hampshire.

So what do you do, if you want a four-seater convertible without spending thirty grand? The answer is, you do nothing. You’re screwed. All the normal stuff is cancelled, so you have to either buy a Beetle, pony up for a Camaro or Mustang, or start measuring your garage to see if it can fit a used Solara. The four-seat convertible is dead.

Or is it?

Enter the Jeep Wrangler, which isn’t on any automotive website’s list of modern convertibles even though it is, in fact, a convertible. The Wrangler has everything you need. Un-weird styling. A powerful V6. Reasonable dimensions. And a starting price you can afford: just $24,000 with shipping. This thing is the Chrysler LeBaron of the modern era.

But it’s so much better than a LeBaron, because you can do so much more with it. For example: in a LeBaron, you would only remove the doors when you wanted to get all the water out of the cabin that had leaked in through the convertible top. In the Wrangler, you can pop off the doors whenever you want! Cruising on the beach? Take off the doors! Off-roading? Take off the doors! Driving to your local post office to mail a bag of human waste to your ex? Take off the doors!

And then there’s the off-road capability. Most human beings do not take their four-seat convertibles off-road, because the trail is no place for a four-seat convertible. The Red Robin parking lot is. But with the Wrangler, you don’t HAVE to choose! You can go to Red Robin AND you can hit the trails. You can go to the nail salon AND the mountains. The Wrangler is at home just about anywhere, from the Kappa Sigma parking lot at the University of Alabama to the Kappa Sigma front lawn at the University of Alabama.

So to those of you mourning the loss of the four-seat convertible, may I just say: it ain’t over yet. And the Jeep Wrangler is proof.

Of course, there is one small problem with the Jeep Wrangler. Namely, it isn’t very easy to remove the roof. In a normal car, you just unlatch the roof and you push it down, or you just press a button and it folds right into your trunk, or, in the case of the Solara, you hit a switch, and the FAA gives you airspace clearance, and then you go inside to watch an episode of Friends, and eventually the top is stowed.

But in the Wrangler, it’s a two-person job. One person to loosen the fasteners and the other person to complain about how annoying it is that the roof in a Jeep Wrangler weighs as much as a canoe.

But the simple truth is with all the other decent four-seat convertibles gone, the Wrangler is all we have left. And if you really don’t like the cumbersome top, my suggestion is you buy two Wranglers. One to park in the garage with the roof off. And one to park outside with the roof on. You will still probably end up spending less than one single Volkswagen Eos.

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QOTD: What Car On Sale Today, If Given To You Free, Would You Give Right Back? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-what-car-on-sale-today-if-given-to-you-free-would-you-give-right-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-what-car-on-sale-today-if-given-to-you-free-would-you-give-right-back/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:15:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090713 I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back. Lately, I’ve noticed a massive uptick in the number of Mirages skulking around the streets of my home town. I’d like to think the people who’ve bought […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back.

Lately, I’ve noticed a massive uptick in the number of Mirages skulking around the streets of my home town. I’d like to think the people who’ve bought them didn’t test drive anything else and don’t actually know there are better options available.

The reality is probably a bit worse. A Mitsubishi dealer is more likely than a Nissan dealer to welcome a subprime borrower into the F&I office.

That said, the Versa sedan (and Micra in Canada), while ugly, is better than the Mirage in almost every conceivable way – except fuel economy, as the Mirage has a CVT.

I totally understand the selling points of Mitsubishi’s multi-colored zit mobile: low price, easy financing, long warranty and great fuel economy. But, for all those things, you have to put up with driving a car that feels like it was engineered in 1992 by a blind guy named Takumi who has a daily affection for saké.

On the other hand, if given a Versa (or Micra), I’d drive it ’til the wheels fell off.

What free car would you straight up turn down?

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Junkyard Find: 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071202 We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week. You […]

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10 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week.
17 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You don’t see many cars this new in self-service wrecking yards (unless you’re living in the five-year period following the debut of an excruciatingly bad car), and the ones you do see tend to have been involved in fires, strip-and-dump thefts, or high-speed wrecks. This Mitsu falls in the latter group.

06 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The final owner of this car appears to have been a fan of Drunk Pedobear.

15 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many stickers adorned this Eclipse. That’s what made it so fast.

08 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Did the speedometer stick at 60 mph at the moment that Mitsubishi steel hit the concrete?

18 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has the 162-horse 2.4 with variable valve timing.


This ad is for the previous generation of Eclipse, but it tells us a lot about the car’s target demographic. Are you in?


The ’06 was driven to thrill.

01 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Once Someone Buys a Car, You Have to Be Nice About It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/once-someone-buys-a-car-you-have-to-be-nice-about-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/once-someone-buys-a-car-you-have-to-be-nice-about-it/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 11:06:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068010 Allow me to set the stage. A friend of mine is looking for compact crossovers, so I recommend to her all the good ones. Mazda CX-5. Ford Escape. New Nissan Rogue. Even the CR-V and the RAV4, if she really can’t find anything she likes. So she goes, and she searches, and she looks, and […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT front

Allow me to set the stage. A friend of mine is looking for compact crossovers, so I recommend to her all the good ones. Mazda CX-5. Ford Escape. New Nissan Rogue. Even the CR-V and the RAV4, if she really can’t find anything she likes. So she goes, and she searches, and she looks, and she comes back days later with a new car. Do you know what she bought?

A Mitsubishi Outlander.

A Mitsubishi. Freakin’. Outlander.

Part of me wanted to scream at her. The other part of me wanted to get in the car, drive it back to the local Mitsubishi dealer, and offer them five grand cash to take it back, knowing that’s probably half of the depreciation it had already endured, simply as a result of the three diamonds on the grille.

But I didn’t do either of those things.

You know what I did? I told her she made an excellent choice, and the Outlander is a wonderful car, and I’m sure she will be very happy with it.

And this brings me to the point of today’s column, which is: once someone has already purchased a car, you can’t really do anything besides be nice about it.

To help explain what I mean, let’s take a step back from my situation and analyze it a little further. At first, this person came to me, a self-described automotive expert in the sense that I have jumper cables in my trunk, asking for an automotive recommendation. “What car should I buy?” she said. And I recommended several options; a few good choices that I think we all could agree are the stars of the compact crossover segment.

Then she went out searching for a new car, armed with my suggestions. And she test drove, and shopped, and looked, and drove, and shopped more, and haggled, and looked more, and drove more. And then she decided to ignore my suggestions and get the Outlander.

This can only mean one thing: she must REALLY like the Outlander.

The fact that she’s driving the Outlander also means that the money’s already spent. She’s already made her choice, she’s signed the papers, the car has been delivered, and there’s no give-backsies. This game of “what car should I get?” is over, and once again the shoppers listened to the salesman over the enthusiast.

And since that the money is spent, and the deal is done, and she’s driving the car, you might as well be nice. Because otherwise you’re just going to piss off your friend. Now that the purchase has happened, you just have to be nice, be courteous, and step back and watch the ownership experience of someone with a brand-new Mitsubishi. You should also limit yourself to one monthly I told you so.

It’s not the same situation if the car shopper is a car enthusiast, of course. In that case, you should make fun of his or her choice, mercilessly, regardless of what he purchased, for the rest of time. He could come home with a Miura, and you’d still want to say something like: What? Couldn’t afford a Lusso?

But for the average person, we as car enthusiasts have a duty to make sure our friends and loved ones purchase the right vehicle. And if they don’t, we as car enthusiasts have a duty to understand when someone’s mind is made up, and to bow out and be polite. Because there’s nothing worse than someone spoiling the purchase of your brand-new Mitsubishi Outlander by bringing up pesky things like J.D. Power scores. And NADA surveys. And reliability rankings. And resale value charts. And customer satisfaction scores. And Consumer Reports reviews.

No, no. You want your friends to feel satisfied, and happy, and enjoy every moment with their new car, until they step into a different new car and say: “Wait, you have a touchscreen infotainment system? Why do I only have pixels?”

Maybe next time they’ll listen to the car expert.

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While You Were Sleeping: Tesla Is Now Officially In More Than Just Your Garage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-tesla-now-officially-just-garage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-tesla-now-officially-just-garage/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 10:02:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057810 This is what everyone in Silicon Valley was waiting for last night: a battery that hangs on a wall. Best car manufacturers 2015 (AutoExpress) AutoExpress readers in the UK vote on their own cars. Lexus wins. Chrysler loses. Mitsubishi slams rivals for tow weight figure fudging (GoAuto) It seems Australia is getting their own version […]

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This is what everyone in Silicon Valley was waiting for last night: a battery that hangs on a wall.

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While You Were Sleeping: The Unbuilt Beauties of British Leyland http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/sleeping/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/sleeping/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 10:05:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056778 We go down memory lane this morning and look at some of the great cars British Leyland didn’t build. Get your Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 while it’s hot (Engadget) Ever wanted to make your own infotainment system? This would be a good place to start. Team Hero EBR Withdraws from World Superbike (Asphalt […]

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a genuine british lawn ornament

We go down memory lane this morning and look at some of the great cars British Leyland didn’t build.

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Mitsubishi Evo To Return In Electrified Crossover Form http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055665 Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover. Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies: In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with […]

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Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover.

Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies:

In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with Evo characteristics. In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king – Evo.

As for what that Evo may resemble, speculation points to the next-gen ASX crossover, based upon the XR-PHEV II concept featured at this year’s Geneva Auto Show. The ASX Evo would follow in the footsteps of the previous Lancer-based icon, with power from its PHEV drivetrain funnelled to all corners instead of only the front pair as done on the standard ASX.

That said, the wait may likely be a long one. According to Aikawa, a significant number of base ASX models would have to be sold prior to bringing the ASX Evo to the assembly line, as those sales are what fund R&D for the higher-performance model.

[Photo credit: Mitsubishi]

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Orders For Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition Now Being Taken In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043746 If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history. Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter […]

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mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-open-in-japan-photo-gallery-94369_1

If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history.

Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter 4B11T turbo-four and its 473 horses from the Final Concept shown at this January’s Tokyo Auto Salon; the Final Edition uses a 2-liter MIVEC turbo, instead.

Aside from the turbo-four and Mitsubishi’s S-AWC AWD system, Final Edition owners can expect sodium-filled exhaust valves, 18-inch BBS wheels, Recaro seats, Bilstein and Eibach suspension pieces, and Brembo brakes for their ¥4,298,400 (approximately $36,000 USD). Owners can also choose from red, white, blue, black or gray and a white- or black-painted roof panel.

Orders for the 1,000 Evos began last Friday, with deliveries set for August. After that, the Evo will be no more the world over.

mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_1 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_2 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_3 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_4 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_5 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_6 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_7 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-open-in-japan-photo-gallery-94369_1 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_9 mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-opened-in-japan-photo-gallery_10

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New York 2015: If A Mitsubishi Outlander Debuts In The Big Apple, Does Anyone Care? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-mitsubishi-outlander-debuts-big-apple-anyone-care/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-mitsubishi-outlander-debuts-big-apple-anyone-care/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 18:12:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037625 The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander gets an all new look – and nothing else. While Mitsubishi touts a quieter ride and an all-new look, the powertrains are carried over. I don’t think that will be enough to keep the Outlander competitive.  

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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander gets an all new look – and nothing else.

While Mitsubishi touts a quieter ride and an all-new look, the powertrains are carried over. I don’t think that will be enough to keep the Outlander competitive.

 

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028673 The Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example […]

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08 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example in California wrecking yards. There was this ’83 Cordia Turbo (from which I obtained the amazing digital instrument cluster), this ’84 Cordia, and this ’87 Cordia Turbo, and here’s this well-worn ’83.
03 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s a lot of miles for an early-80s Mitsubishi. Actually, even (non-diesel) Mercedes-Benzes were hard-pressed to get to 200k back then.
04 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has been used up.

You can’t talk about the Cordia without showing this maddening Australian-market ad.

This Japanese-market one is a puzzler.

Then there’s this list of “Cars whooped by my Cordia.”

01 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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New York 2015: Mitsubishi Outlander Leaked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-mitsubishi-outlander-leaked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-york-2015-mitsubishi-outlander-leaked/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:28:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027809 From AutoGuide.com, we have pictures of the all new Mitsubishi Outlander sitting at the port in Japan. While these right-hand drive models are presumably for export, our North American model shouldn’t differ too much from what you see here. We’ll know for sure when the Outlander is revealed at next month’s New York Auto Show. […]

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From AutoGuide.com, we have pictures of the all new Mitsubishi Outlander sitting at the port in Japan.

While these right-hand drive models are presumably for export, our North American model shouldn’t differ too much from what you see here. We’ll know for sure when the Outlander is revealed at next month’s New York Auto Show.

 

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You’re Not Just Seeing Things: Mitsubishi Breaks U.S. Mirage Sales Record In February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/youre-not-just-seeing-things-mitsubishi-breaks-u-s-mirage-sales-record-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/youre-not-just-seeing-things-mitsubishi-breaks-u-s-mirage-sales-record-february-2015/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 13:13:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025993 Mitsubishi Motors USA broke its one-month-old, sixth-generation Mirage sales record in February 2015, soaring up to 1863 units, a 67% year-over-year improvement. The Mirage is a penalty box in the classic sense of the automotive term – in genuine penalty boxes you’re forced to sit beside a guy who takes notes like a secretive therapist […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ESMitsubishi Motors USA broke its one-month-old, sixth-generation Mirage sales record in February 2015, soaring up to 1863 units, a 67% year-over-year improvement.

The Mirage is a penalty box in the classic sense of the automotive term – in genuine penalty boxes you’re forced to sit beside a guy who takes notes like a secretive therapist while a camera looks up your nostrils.

But by the relative standards of Mitsubishi’s current U.S. status as a low-volume mainstream automaker in a high-volume market, the Mirage is a hit. And by, “a hit,” we mean it does ok. By Mitsubishi’s standards and our expectations for an 74-horsepower subcompact.

North of the border, the Mk6 Mirage, a replacement for the Colt in much of the world and a new entry-level car for Mitsubishi in our corner of the world, got off to a decent start. But then the Nissan Micra arrived and Mitsubishi’s average monthly Mirage total fell 36% from 377 units in the first eight months of 2014 to 241 since then, with February marking the second-lowest full month total since launch.

Mitsubishi Mirage sales chart February 2015But there’s no Micra in the United States, and Mirage volume has steadily improved over the last year. Only once in six tries has the Mirage failed to increase its U.S. volume, year-over-year. Mitsubishi sold 3785 Mirages in the first-quarter of 2014, 4482 in the second-quarter, and 4599 in the third-quarter. Q4 volume not surprisingly fell to 3842 units, but January sales broke past the 1700-unit barrier for the first time. February, with 1863 units, was 158 sales better than January’s record, a 9% month-over-month improvement.

Context? Yes, the Mirage is selling better now than at any point in its first 16 months. But even in its best-ever month, the Mirage accounted for just 0.15% of all new vehicle sales in America; 0.32% of all new passenger car sales.

Nissan sold 11,909 Versa sedans and Notes in February. Struggling subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic (down 62%) and Ford Fiesta (down 23%) outsold the Mirage by 1037 and 1845 units, respectively.

The Mirage was Mitsubishi’s third-best-selling model behind the Outlander Sport and Lancer. Not including the i MiEV (two February sales), Mitsubishi only markets four different vehicles.

Nevertheless, it was a record. So chin up, Mitsubishi. We may wish your subcompact was nothing more than a mirage, but you’re making visible Mirages more apparent than ever.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Piston Slap: Avoiding Brutal CVT Step Gears? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-avoiding-brutal-cvt-step-gears/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-avoiding-brutal-cvt-step-gears/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:04:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019698   TTAC commentator Raincoaster writes: Hi Sajeev, I currently drive a 2011 Honda Fit(Manual) and I’m mildly interested in a CVT for my next car purchase. I have never driven one, and one thing that gives me pause is all the “fake gears” that they set them up with. I understand that this is to […]

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A path too Brutalist? (photo courtesy: flickrhivemind.net/Tags/architectute,concrete)

TTAC commentator Raincoaster writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I currently drive a 2011 Honda Fit(Manual) and I’m mildly interested in a CVT for my next car purchase. I have never driven one, and one thing that gives me pause is all the “fake gears” that they set them up with. I understand that this is to make them drive in a manner familiar to traditional automatic transmissions, but this seems unnecessary and possibly inefficient to me. Are there any cars/companies that don’t fake it and just let the engine/trans cook up the best ratio at any given time? I’d like to test drive something like that to see how it feels.

A second and 2 part question. I work a 40 day on, 40 off shift and while working, my car (2011 Fit) sits. Is this bad and is there anything I should do for preparation or upon first start up? This also got me wondering about cars on dealer lots, do they periodically start sitting inventory?

-Raincoaster

Sajeev answers:

A 40-day stagnation period has been discussed, here’s the first example. Your only concern is having an older battery: newer cars in many geographic locations are rough on 3-5 year old batteries, so be ready for a dead battery that won’t come back from a jump start. Hopefully there’s an open parts store or a Wal-Mart nearby when that happens.

I also like the traditional, non-stepped CVT as witnessed by my 2014 Mirage road test.  The Mirage lacks flappy paddles and fake gears, but has a manual “low” for steep hills or maybe autocrossing in a serious sleeper. Add that with the fuel economy benefits, these CVTs are worth considering over auto-erratic slushboxes.

As I mentioned in the review, compared to the slow upshifts and the borderline-unsafe delays on WOT downshifts of modern 6-8 speed automatics (considering decades of performance oriented designs, both from the factory and the aftermarket) a stepless CVT is okay.  But public adoption sans fake gears is unlikely, Nissan’s D-step redesign is proof of that. Hopefully you, me, and threads like this mean that CVT step gears become a fad like motorized seatbelts.

Speaking of steps, I’m side-steppin’ your query.  Aside from the Mitsubishi, I don’t know which new CVTs run without steps. I assume Toyota hybrids stay stepless, as people are okay with a Hybrid being different.  This is why Piston Slap only succeeds with the Best and Brightest in play. So off to you!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Aikawa: Updated Mitsubishi Lancer Shelved For SUVs, Electrification http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aikawa-updated-mitsubishi-lancer-shelved-suvs-electrification/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aikawa-updated-mitsubishi-lancer-shelved-suvs-electrification/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023049 Get used to seeing this Mitsubishi Lancer for a long time to come, as the automaker has shelved its updates to its iconic sedan. According to CarAdvice.com.au, Mitsubishi president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa explained at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show the reasons behind the decision not to update the Lancer or its other sedans: While […]

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Get used to seeing this Mitsubishi Lancer for a long time to come, as the automaker has shelved its updates to its iconic sedan.

According to CarAdvice.com.au, Mitsubishi president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa explained at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show the reasons behind the decision not to update the Lancer or its other sedans:

While I’m the president probably no introduction of the next-generation Lancer… we will continue to sell current Lancer.

There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons is because, concerning the investment on development, we’d like to concentrate on SUV, PHEVs and EVs. That’s one reason.

The second reason is because sedan, in the world, is a very high competition at the moment and it’s very difficult to come up with a profit.

As for the Evo, the badge may be worn by a PHEV SUV with enough firepower to earn the honor to take up where the Lancer Evo will leave off this year.

The decision to freeze sedan development follows a failed attempt to partner with Renault for C- and D-segment vehicles, which Aikawa says was not “a win-win scenario” for either party.

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Chicago 2015: Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-mitsubishi-concept-gc-phev-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-mitsubishi-concept-gc-phev-revealed/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:38:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998426 A preview of things to come for a full-size crossover, the Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV bowed at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The concept not only demonstrates the design language that is expected for the production-ready full-size crossover to come, but also hints at what might be on-board when the real deal finally hits the showroom. […]

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A preview of things to come for a full-size crossover, the Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV bowed at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The concept not only demonstrates the design language that is expected for the production-ready full-size crossover to come, but also hints at what might be on-board when the real deal finally hits the showroom.

Power for the Concept GC-PHEV is a supercharged 3-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed auto, and paired an electric motor powered by a 12-kWh lithium-ion pack. Total output is 355 horsepower, which is carried to all four corners via the crossover’s full-time AWD. Fuel economy is projected to be 35 mpg — the specific category wasn’t mentioned — and can go up to 25 miles on its electric motor alone.

Should a disaster not involving EMPs occur, Mitsubishi says the Concept GC-PHEV generates 1,500 watts of electricity when both battery and fuel tank are fully replenished, enough for nearly two weeks of emergency power for an average household.

Other features include: four bucket seats; a “Tactical Table” console touchscreen that allows smartphones to access its features via wireless induction; augmented-reality HUD; lane-departure; and adaptive cruise control.

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US Debut of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Delayed Until 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-debut-mitsubishi-outlander-phev-delayed-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-debut-mitsubishi-outlander-phev-delayed-2016/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991170 Those waiting for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to come to North America will need to keep holding their breath until next year. According to Automotive News Mitsubishi Motors North American executive vice president Don Swearingen announced during last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show that the crossover PHEV — already on sale in Japan and Europe […]

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Those waiting for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to come to North America will need to keep holding their breath until next year.

According to Automotive News Mitsubishi Motors North American executive vice president Don Swearingen announced during last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show that the crossover PHEV — already on sale in Japan and Europe since 2013 — will arrive in the United States around April of 2016. The delay is due in part to a shortage in battery packs, as well as a California mandate requiring the fitment of battery-degradation sensors to said packs.

Once it does hit the showrooms, the crossover will face competition from the likes of the Volvo XC90 PHEV and the equally oft-delayed Tesla Model X. The Outlander PHEV derives its power from a 2-liter gasoline engine and a pair of electric motors fore and aft, and boasts a range of 32.5 miles in electric-only mode.

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Costs, Currency Issues Killed Mitsubishi-Renault Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/costs-currency-issues-killed-mitsubishi-renault-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/costs-currency-issues-killed-mitsubishi-renault-deal/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:09:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989674 Currency fluctuations and a lack of volume helped bring an end to a deal that would have seen Mitsubishi sell Renault-Samsung vehicles as their own in North America, according to a report by Just-Auto. While Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi will continue to share production of a kei-class minicar in Japan, proposed plans to sell a large Renault-Samsung vehicle […]

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Currency fluctuations and a lack of volume helped bring an end to a deal that would have seen Mitsubishi sell Renault-Samsung vehicles as their own in North America, according to a report by Just-Auto.

While Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi will continue to share production of a kei-class minicar in Japan, proposed plans to sell a large Renault-Samsung vehicle as a Mitsubishi in North America have been put on hold, along with the potential to export other models in the future. Currency issues and a lack of profitability for Renault-Nissan were cited as the main reasons that the deal fell through. Mitsubishi is apparently still open to searching for a new partner, while dealers are said to be growing anxious about a lack of competitive sedans in North America.

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Mitsubishi Won’t Be Getting Renault-Samsung Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:33:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988818 Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle. The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According […]

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Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle.

The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi’s Don Swearingen told dealers at the NADA conference that the plan had hit an unspecified roadblock.

Mitsubishi has no D-segment sedan and an aging Lancer that competes in the C-segment. The deal with Renault-Samsung was said to provide vehicles for both segments.

Earlier this month, Renault-Samsung released the SM5 Nova, an all-new sedan that was likely to become a Mitsubishi branded sedan.

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