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. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:09:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mitsubishi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New or Used: Can One Car Last Through Five Kids? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-can-one-car-last-through-five-kids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-can-one-car-last-through-five-kids/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:58:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=804162 brady1

I currently have three cars and I feel a hankering to buy a fourth. My wife has bought into the idea, now it’s just a matter of what to get.

The particulars:

- Five kids between the ages of 5 and 15…

- Active duty military with seven (7!) moves since 2005 with a couple more likely over the next several years
- Three current cars are all paid for
- Commute is 35 highway miles each way and will be that way for at least the next 18 months and maybe longer
- Car #1 – 2006 Honda Odyssey with ~120,000 miles (bought new)
- Car #2 – 2007 Honda Accord 5 speed with ~83,000 miles (bought used)
- Car #3 – 1969 Jeepster Commando that’s been in my family since 1973.

Our oldest turns 16 in a few months and we’d like to get a vehicle that the kids can all drive over the next 13 years. Note that I said ‘a’ vehicle as we keep our cars a long time and don’t intend on getting another car for the kids to share. One and done.

What should that fourth vehicle be? I see really only two paths that make sense.

First option: Get a car that pushes 40+mpg to ease the pain at the pump my commute causes. Possible vehicle: my Dad is selling his 2011 Jetta TDI 5 speed wagon this fall and I have dibs, if I so choose. This option would mean that the kids would drive the Accord, which we’re fine with.

Second option: Get something that can double as the kids’ car and that we can use to tow the Commando on our future moves. This means I would keep commuting in my Accord, which is also fine. Budget is about $7K max and we’ll pay cash.

We are leaning strongly towards getting a third gen 4Runner (’96-’01) with a V6, 4×4 and tow package as the min requirements. Manual is highly desired but not required. There are several for sale where we live (north of LA) and examples with 150-175k miles can be found for around $5k, although most are automatics. Reviews and 4Runner forums seem to portend good news regarding longevity with relatively straight forward maintenance required. My fear? My vehicle aperture isn’t nearly wide enough and that there are lots of other good options out there that we’re not considering. Whatever the fourth vehicle ends up being, there isn’t a requirement that it be able to carry all seven of us.

I leave it in your capable hands. What does your magic 8 ball say? (It better not say to buy a Panther, ’cause it ain’t happening!)

Cheers,

Steve Says

I like your first option the best.

If your kids learn how to drive a stick (good move there!), they will eventually get a far better vehicle in the marketplace as they get older and more independent.

As a car dealer circa 2014, it amazes me how so few people know how to drive a stick these days. When it comes to older vehicles, I find that sticks will go for about 15% to 35% cheaper than their automatic counterparts with a few notable exceptions

I still buy a lot of em’ for retail, and although they sit at my lot for longer periods of time, they also attract customers who are far more conscientious about maintenance and upkeep. This helps me when it comes to financing these rides. Since a car that is well kept tends to have fewer issues.

As for option 2, yes, the Toyota 4Runner has an excellent long-term reliability record. But let me throw in an alternative that will cost thousands less and have a solid reliability record as well.

I would consider a Mitsubishi Montero  from the early 2000′s. If you buy one with the 3.5 Liter, they are virtually bulletproof, and the kids will benefit from a higher seating position.  The gas mileage will remain abysmal. But in the real world the 3.5 Liter in the Montero will get you a vehicle with about half the miles of the 4Runner for the same price, and the reliability of that particular powertrain is solid (<—click).

Maintenance history is critically important when buying older SUV’s because a lot of them are neglected and inevitably hot-potatoed in the used car market . So get it independently inspected and only opt for ones that have a strong maintenance regimen. Otherwise you will also be buying someone else’s problems.

Good luck! Oh, and if you decide to not buy an older SUV, I have a beige on beige Toyota Solara with a V6, no CD player, and a hand shaker in between the front seats. I’m thinking about naming it, “The Rolling Leper” in honor if it more or less being an unsellable car.

If you don’t have to tow, go find the west coast version of a low-spec Solara. In a non-rust climate like central California, I think a car like that would probably be the optimal fit.

All the best.

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Arrives In UK Showrooms Minus Premium Price http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mitsubishi-outlander-phev-arrives-in-uk-showrooms-minus-premium-price/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mitsubishi-outlander-phev-arrives-in-uk-showrooms-minus-premium-price/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 12:04:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=787553 03-2013-mitsubishi-outlander-phev-paris

Already available throughout Europe, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is now just arriving in United Kingdom showrooms at a post-credit price tag of £28,249 ($47,000 USD).

Autoblog Green reports the plug-in hybrid SUV without the £5,000 credit would start at £33,249 ($55,000 USD), but with the credit, the starting price is around the same level as its diesel-powered sibling, thus allowing UK consumers to pick the SUV they want without worrying too much about affordability.

As for what they will get out of their Outlander PHEV, the hybrid has a range of 32 miles in all-electric at a limited speed of 75 mph, and can tow over 3,000 lbs.

On sale now, the first SUVs will arrive in May, with the PHEV arriving in the United States in 2015, which will share a facelift with its U.S.-based gasoline-powered twin. No word on how the PHEV will be priced in the U.S.

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Mitsubishi Buys Laguna Ford Assembly Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mitsubishi-buys-laguna-ford-assembly-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mitsubishi-buys-laguna-ford-assembly-plant/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:06:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785649 Mitsubishi_L300_front_20081009

In a push to expand Southeast Asia sales, Mitsubishi has purchased a Ford assembly plant in Laguna, Philippines for an undisclosed amount.

Automotive News reports the plant, which last saw production in 2012, will start back up in 2015 with an initial capacity of 50,000 units per year, expanding to 100,000 annually. The plant will produce both the Adventure and L300 vans.

The second plant in the automaker’s Philippine portfolio, Laguna is key to underpinning Mitsubishi’s strength in the Southeast Asia market, especially in the emerging local auto market where the automaker is second to Toyota in annual sales.

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TTAC Salutes: The Mitsubishi Evo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/ttac-salutes-the-mitsubishi-evo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/ttac-salutes-the-mitsubishi-evo/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785425 2011_mitsubishi_evo2_feature_rdax_646x396

Japan’s greatest rally special. The M5 for the Playstation generation. The only decent car Mitsubishi ever made. Different people associate the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with different enthusiast tropes. For me, the Evo will always be inextricably linked to heartbreak.

Early in my career as an automotive journalist, I managed to wrangle a red Evo MR (above) for a week-long road test. A weekend trip to visit my then girlfriend ended in a very humiliating public breakup, and a 100 mile drove home in near-blizzard conditions.

The breakup, though minor in retrospect, served as a trigger for the kind of emotional anguish that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I was an animated example of every post-breakup cliche: unable to listen to certain songs, all too able to ingest excess amounts of alcohol, unwilling to get out of bed in the morning, incapable of focusing on my work or personal responsibilities. I steadfastly avoided anything that had even the slightest association with my ex. Except the Evo.

For some unknown reason, the local press fleet manager had another Evo, an MR model in the dark graphite color that was so popular a few years ago. Nobody seemed to want it. When I’d check for available cars, the Evo was always kicking around, and I was always there to borrow it. I ended up driving on three different week long stints, and it never lost its lustre.

On the continuum of “superlative performance cars with humble origins”, the Evo is somewhere between an Integra Type-R and an Escort Cosworth. It still retains the vestigial shape, drivetrain configuration and hard points as the regular Lancer, but beyond that, there is little commonality.

The base Lancer is meant to be cheap, practical transportation for global C-segment consumers. The Evo is not cheap to buy or to own (thanks to a small tank and a thirsty powertrain, good luck getting above 12 mpg). About the only concession to practicality it makes is the fact that it has two doors and a barely passable rear seat. Between the fuel tank, the all-wheel drive system, the pureile subwoofer and the battery, the trunk can barely hold more than a carry-on suitcase. The interior is an embarrassment and the Mitsubishi brand – from the dealer experience to the name itself to having to tell people you drive one – is dismal.

In return, you get one of the most visceral, thrilling driving experiences available at any prices. The Evo is not a rival to a Subaru WRX or a Focus ST or a Golf R. It would not be hyperbolic to liken its qualitative traits to something exotic. The steering is more similar to a Lotus Evora than anything else, while the handling defies verbal explanation. Dynamically, it’s as capable as a Nissan GT-R, but without the clinical, disconnected personality, and the turbocharged 4-cylinder powertrain, with its overwhelming induction noise and unrefined dual-clutch gearbox, is the welterweight version of the GT-R’s mighty twin turbo V6.

No wonder it’s going to be put to sleep. In a marketplace full of commoditized boxes with in-dash iPads, CAFE-driven two-point-oh-tee engines and reverse teardrop styling, the Evo is a relic of a time when performance wasn’t equated with profligacy and planetary destruction. There’s simply no place for the Evo anymore.

But that’s nothing new either. When I penned my earlier piece for TTAC, it looked like the Evo was on its way out as well. At the time, I felt it was a fitting metaphor for a particular stage in my life, one that took supreme importance to me at the age of 22, but was long in the past for most of the B&B. Now that I’m a little older and a little more experienced, I think about the Evo’s demise in its proper context, as the last of a particular breed of Japanese performance car - one ungoverned by profit & loss, economies of scale and other realities for auto makers doing business in the 21st century.

The new crop will look a lot different – a new hybrid NSX, a Supra built with BMW, a Nissan sports coupe with only a CVT. But it won’t look too different either. We still have the FR-S, the new WRX, and a Miata that will be as light as it was in 1990. But there won’t be an Evo. And we’re worse off for that.

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Mitsubishi Kills Off Lancer Evolution http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mitsubishi-kills-off-lancer-evolution/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mitsubishi-kills-off-lancer-evolution/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:06:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785265 550x410xIMG_2034-550x410.jpg.pagespeed.ic.GRcaCarU4s

This generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will be the last, according to Automotive News. Although no firm date was given, Mitsubishi did confirm that there will be no successor to the tenth generation Evo.

Instead, a potential successor would likely incorporate some kind of electrification, with a Mitsubishi spokesperson telling AN

“Mitsubishi Motors does not have any plans to design a successor with the current concept, as a high-performance four-wheel drive gasoline-powered sedan…Mitsubishi Motors will explore the possibilities of high-performance models that incorporate electric vehicle technology.”

Mitsubishi is looking to re-focus on utility vehicles, electric cars and other volume models as it combats an increasingly competitive marketplace. The next Lancer is widely expected to come from Renault Samsung, so Mitsubishi can focus resources on development of electric vehicles.

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Hammer Time: The Mitsubishi Banana http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/hammer-time-the-mitsubishi-banana/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/hammer-time-the-mitsubishi-banana/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=778649 ec6

Otherwise known as the Mitsubishi Eclipse.

No car has better embodied the sad decline of a once competitive automaker.

Awkward styling. Poor interior space and wonky ergonomics. Plus, you got a double whammy if you decided to keep them in the arid parts of the country.

Thin flaky paint… and a weird flaw with the glues and vinyls used on the dashboard. The net effect of which is…

ec2

This.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of other vehicles that suffer a similar fate — especially here in the heat enriched world that is Hotlanta.

tau1

The Ford Taurus dashes are legendary for their ability to serve as cubbyholders for your paperwork. If it’s late-90′s model that doesn’t get garaged, this storage space comes standard.

spec

Kia products were even worse during the early 2000′s. Part of this was abated by the long warranties that Kia offered to compensate for the second-rate glues, foam paddings and adhesives. Even today though, the headliners and dash materials for their older used cars don’t seem to be holding up to Kia’s  aspirations for value and quality.

ec4

But the worst of them, the crème de la crème of substandard materials with nary a fix in sight, goes to Mitsubishi.

ec5

The good news is you can buy a 2006 Eclipse that has been well kept for all of $4000 these days at a wholesale auction and if you fix them up, they can be retailed for around $5000 to $6000. Not a bad price for a sporty vehicle that came from a manufacturer that offers surprising reliability on their four-cylinder models.

The hard part is fixing those peeling bananas on the dash. There seems to be no enduring fix for this cosmetic ailment because the foam rots from within..

ec3

So to make it an enduring fix, you have to replace it all.  Then you have the paint issues which were thankfully rectified in later model years. As for the earlier ones? Consider a basecoat/clearcoat paint job and a healthy level of waxing to keep it looking good.

It’s a shame because, at least in mind, no car has been more important to the successes of Mitsubishi than the first generation Eclipse. The image of that model as a class leader could have set the stage for a long, long list of Mitsubishis that were both sporty and practical.

Instead we ended up with this…

ec7

this…

i-miev

and this…

ec1

What’s your take? Is it worth it for Mitsubishi to invest in a recall for the last of these rolling dodos? Or does the sordid memory of a defunct model deserve to be buried and forgotten?

 

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Capsule Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE FWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/capsule-review-2014-mitsubishi-outlander-se-fwd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/capsule-review-2014-mitsubishi-outlander-se-fwd/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:55:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770034 2014-Mitsubishi-Outlander-2

A week ago, I asked the Best and Brightest for help in understanding my wife’s desire for a 7-seat vehicle. Uninhibited by the premise of the question, recommendations on what to buy poured in:

  • Honda CR-V
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Planned Parenthood gift certificate
  • Cadillac XTS in Pearl White Tricoat
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Anything except a Dodge Caravan

Several readers submitted well-formulated responses, but the volume of possibilities was dizzying. Mitsubishi may have had a similar problem when redesigning the 2014 Outlander.

At most automakers, product planning is a tough job. Keep things too similar between generations and you risk falling behind. Stray too far from a successful formula and you end up with the second generation Scion xB. Every mistake is an expensive one.

But what about Mitsubishi? The previous generation Outlander was one of the cheaper, sportier rides in the segment and featured unique touches like magnesium shift paddles, a trick two-piece tailgate and an aluminum roof. Per data from TTAC contributor Timothy Cain on Good Car Bad Car, Mitsubishi’s best year for the Outlander was in 2003, with just over 34,000 sold. Crossover sales grew exponentially over the ensuing years, but only 7,750 Outlanders found homes in 2012.

With so few customers to alienate, almost any change would boost sales. So did Mitsubishi double down on sportiness or some other niche? Not really – at least not yet. A PHEV is coming, but for now we are left with a page borrowed from the 2012 Civic’s playbook – decreased MSRPs and a still-cheap interior.

Let’s start by giving credit where credit is due. Prospective buyers can make their own value propositions, but the Outlander is undeniably affordable. A base-trim ES, which includes a 166 hp 2.4 liter SOHC four-cylinder, a CVT, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and auto-off headlights, costs $23,820 including destination ($200 less than last year). For $24,620, the SE adds in 18-inch alloy wheels, proximity entry, push-button start, heated front seats, a 6.1 inch touchscreen display with a rear camera and the FUSE hands-free system. Super All-Wheel Control, better known as “all-wheel drive” to everyone outside Diamond Star forums, is optional on the mid-level SE and standard on the top-shelf GT ($28,620).

Choosing the GT also yields a 224 hp 3.0 V6, a “Sportronic” six-speed automatic transmission and enables the privilege of ordering the $6,100 Touring package. For over 25% of the base price, this package includes radar-based cruise control, leather seats, a lane departure system and other gadgets.  Apparently, no amount of money can improve the integration of these toys though. Cheap touches like a slap-dash ignition-hole cover on push-start models, left a poor impression.

Regardless of trim level, the Outlander did well in NHSTA and IIHS crash testing. The “good” score on the IIHS small overlap front test, a rarity right now, should be very marketable compared to competing 2014 models.  Fuel economy is also competitive – 25 EPA city, 31 highway, 27 combined for units with FWD, the inline four and a CVT. This efficiency is certainly aided by a curb weight as low as 3,274 pounds in the FWD ES trim.

An increased use of high-strength steel in the crash structure gets some credit for the lithe curb weight, but where did the rest of the savings come from? The recently-reviewed Cherokee weighs about 700 pounds more with just FWD, and even a Dodge Dart weighs 3,348 pounds with the 2.4 and an automatic. Both the Cherokee and Dart are lauded for being relatively quiet vehicles though. Can the Outlander make this claim?

NO. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MANY DECIBELS WE EXPERIENCED WHEN CRUISNG AT 70 MPH, BUT MY WIFE AND I HAD TO TALK LIKE THIS. Road noise is pervasive, but the inline four will likely be the bigger issue for most drivers.

Show me a raucous, performance-tuned engine, and I’ll smile.  Show me another Outlander with the 2.4, and I’ll groan – like the MIVEC. From the parking lot to the freeway, the engine constantly made itself known. More sound-deadening is a must.

Interior fit and finish also need another round of polishing. It may have just been an issue with the dealer’s specimen I drove, but a constant dash rattle was a disappointment. My wife’s car has 86,000 miles and rattles. My car has 145,000 miles and rattles. This car had 21 miles and rattled. That isn’t progress.

As expected, the 2.4 and CVT provide a driving experience best described as “imitation vanilla”. While not inappropriate for a crossover, most competitors offer more polished, anodyne experiences. Acceleration around town was acceptable, but highway passing required planning. Good visibility in all directions was a positive, and maneuverability in and out of tight spaces was good. Still, I don’t disagree with TTAC alum Michael Karesh describing the suspension as “under-damped”. I also found the electric steering to require constant adjustments on-center, even at city speeds.

Driving dynamics may not be a big deal in this segment, but aesthetics can be. I’ll leave the critical analysis to our in-house styling expert, but a schnoz this unique needs to be mentioned. The shark-nosed Outlander (2010-2013) drew neutral-to-positive responses from everyone I spoke to. The 2014 generally left those same people puzzled. Mitsubishi needs to stand out from the herd to survive, but this may not be the best way to attract attention.

The seventh inning stretch of the review has been reserved for the most important part of the car – its interior space. Don’t stretch too far though or you’ll likely strike a passenger. With 183.3 inches of length, the seven-seat Outlander is shorter than all other seven-seaters save the 2014 Nissan Rogue (182.3’’). For a point of comparison, the five-seat Chevy Equinox (187.8’’) is longer than either.

I had no issues with front seat space, though seat padding was thin and my back disagreed with the contours. I have a trim build and average height, so larger individuals might have more issues.

Tumbling the second row isn’t as smooth as some competitors, but it does slide fore and aft easily. That’s good, because you’ll need to slide those seats forward for even children to fit into the third row. A photo of me stuffed in the third row exists but did not come out well. Picture a grown man in a Cozy Coupe and you’ll get the idea.

Comparing manufacturer-calculated interior space is tricky business, but the 2014 Outlander loses space even compared to its predecessor.  Folding the second and third rows yield a flat floor with 63.3 cubes of space, but the 2013 featured 72.6. The ’14 can only hold 10.3 cubes with the seats up, so this isn’t likely to be the right car for livery duty in a large family.

For some buyers, all of these warts will be covered by the generous warranty – 10-years/100,000 miles on the powertrain. Will Mitsubishi will be here to replace recalcitrant CVTs over the coming decade? Maybe. Most companies would have already left the market rather than launching a new crossover and compact car. Perhaps the risk-averse should look elsewhere, but they likely already have.

If you want a cheap, safe crossover with a long warranty, the Outlander should be on your list. How much are you willing to overlook for as little as $23,820 though? Maybe the PHEV will quell the noise and improve interior finish, but current buyers have a lot of provisos to consider.

Mitsubishi is probably drowning in possibilities though, so what is my advice worth? In my debut article, several commenters advised to just let my wife pick whatever she wants. The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander isn’t that crossover.

When first published, this article incorrectly described the 4-cylinder engine as being a carryover from 2013. Commenter Mitsu_fan straightened me out. Displacement is unchanged, but the 2014 Outlander features a newer SOHC design relative to last year’s DOHC. My apologies for the mistake.

 

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Mitsubishi Publishing Real-World MPG Sign Of Openness With Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mitsubishi-publishing-real-world-mpg-sign-of-openness-with-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/mitsubishi-publishing-real-world-mpg-sign-of-openness-with-customers/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:30:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=766201 outlander-phev-snow

In a sign of openness toward its customers, Mitsubishi will begin publishing real-world MPG figures for their entire lineup, beginning with the Outlander PHEV.

Auto Express reports Mitsubishi UK marketing director Lance Bradley stated the plug-in SUV was chosen because his customers, expecting the 148-mpg claimed in official tests, found the vehicle returned 90 mpg instead:

It’s crazy that people think that’s bad, but it’s all relative to the official figure. We’d like to do a graph, maybe just a figure, starting with the PHEV but then rolling it out to other cars. It would come from customer information.

The move comes as the automaker plans to have an PHEV variant for every one of their models within five years’ time. With more buyers reporting what their vehicle averages in fuel economy, future owners could compare the official test results with those found in real-world driving.

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Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan Displayed Proudly In Toronto http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/mitsubishi-mirage-sedan-displayed-proudly-in-toronto/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/mitsubishi-mirage-sedan-displayed-proudly-in-toronto/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 18:20:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=742017 Mirage (3)

 

Not content to let Nissan steal their A-segment thunder, Mitsubishi brought out their Mirage G4 sedan, which was locked and on a turntable, next to an Evo and a Mirage hatchback. In person, the G4 looks just as pinched and stretched as photos make it out to be.

 

Mirage (1) Mirage (2) Mirage (3) Mirage (4) Mirage (5) Mirage (6) Mirage (7) Mirage (8) Mirage (9) Mirage (10) ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1993 Eagle Summit Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1993-eagle-summit-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1993-eagle-summit-wagon/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737769 10 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs with so many things surrounding the bewildering swirl of Renault/AMC- and Mitsubishi-derived products sold by Chrysler brands during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Eagle Summit wagon is something of a puzzler. The Eagle Summit car was a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage, which itself was the same car as a Dodge/Plymouth Colt. But the Summit wagon was actually a Mitsubishi RVR, sold in the United States as the Mitsubishi Expo LRV and the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Wagon. In Europe, this thing was known as the Space Runner. Space Runner!

In fact, this is a good time to watch a European commercial for the Space Runner. And, just as I did with the ’12 Chevy Sonic rental-car review, I’m going to find some more not-very-relevant ads for the RVR.

A whole lot more than a four-door!

How about Bugs Bunny riding an RVR to the beach while getting red-eyed to Japanese reggae?

Apparently Bugs was the RVR spokesman.

You could get a Space Wagon in Brazil, too.
18 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eagle brand lasted all the way until 1999, though (disappointingly) the AMC Eagle that donated the name was never sold by Chrysler as an Eagle Eagle.
07 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Sirius 4G63 engine went into everything from the Mitsubishi Cordia to the second-gen Hyundai Elantra to the mighty Proton Perdana. You can always find plenty of 4G63s in American wrecking yards.
21 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sliding side door was extremely useful, but image-conscious American car shoppers were beginning to hate minivan practicality by this time. Within a few years, just about every potential Eagle Summit buyer would be looking at SUVs.
04 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, just imagine the proud family that owned this Summit Wagon back in 1993, putting some of 1993′s greatest hits on the cassette deck for the family vacation to Action Park.

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New Or Used? : Excuse Me While I Contradict Myself… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/new-or-used-excuse-me-while-i-contradict-myself/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/new-or-used-excuse-me-while-i-contradict-myself/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:06:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=738593 car.mitula.us

A reader sent me these parameters for picking his next vehicle
I’m at a crossroads. I’m looking for a cheap – laughably cheap – like less-than-$3,000 cheap – car for my next daily driver. It’s got to be economical (near 30 mpg hwy) and fun to drive, with decent aftermarket support (so I can throw a couple mods at it – I’m a gearhead). Oh, and since I’m 6’1″ and have a 1-year old daughter, it needs a back seat.
We can skip the DSM/Mitsubishi reliability warning.
Much to the chagrin of most of TTAC’s Best and Brightest, I am a Mitsubishi enthusiast. Aside from a brief stint in an 89 Volvo 245 a couple years back, I’ve been driving Mitsubishi exclusively since 1996. Any mechanical problems I’ve had over the years were my own damn fault. Such is the price of learning-as-you-go.
I’ve got a giant “Wake up and drive” banner in my garage, and more left over DSM/GVR4/EVO bits than I really know what to do with. I am comfortable rebuilding pretty much anything from ECUs to engines to turbos to even replacing sections of the unitized chassis. I’m willing to negotiate on the character-vs-dependability piece, as I have two other vehicles to rely upon.
My first instinct – the obvious plan – is to pick up another DSM or GVR4; maybe an old Colt or Mirage. Any of the above could easily be a 200-300whp daily driver in short order, without much effort. But I’m looking to lock down my wheels for another 200,000 miles like I did with my bought-new-in-1996 Eagle Talon. I’m not looking to buy another daily driver for another decade after this, so I want it to be really good.
In the meantime, I’m daily driving what is basically a non-air conditioned riding lawn mower with a windshield 40 miles a day back and forth across Phoenix year ’round. I’m proud to be a charter member of the 100HP Club and I love my Rocinante, but I’m itching to get back into something as fun to drive quickly on tarmac as my Pajero is to drive on gravel.
Any ideas? :)
Steve Says:
Here are the two issues I see.
First, you say that you want to drive the vehicle for another 200,000 miles. Then, you say you aren’t willing to spend $3,000 on your next ride.
The avenues for achieving these seemingly disparate goals do exist. But to make it a success, you have to be willing to acknowledge a few things first.
The primary idea you have right now is that you simply don’t want to spend any long-term money in the pursuit of perpetual wheels. Believe it or not, you could do that since you also happen to be an expert in any area of the business where few others have experience or skills. Mitsubishi mechanics, old and new, are not exactly easy to find. I only know of one independent mechanic in over 15 years of this business.
So what I would do is this…
Get yourself a used car dealer’s license and start looking at buying wheels from the wholesale auctions. Start with one vehicle at a time.
Buy it. Fix it.  Advertise it. Sell it. Rinse and repeat.
I know that some folks try to take the tact of buying vehicles on Craigslist and working from there along with other online advertising site. The only problem with that is the time inefficiencies that come with dealing  an audience that is not exactly forthright in their disclosures. You could look at 12 vehicles at an auction over the course of an afternoon versus maybe two by traveling the Craigslist route.
If I were in your shoes, this is exactly what I would do. Take your skills and make them work for you so that you can make money in the long run. However, if time and monetary means make this a bit challenging, I’m sure the folks at TTAC could recommend plenty of DSM and orphaned models that will be worth your investment on a retail level.
Good luck!

 

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Announcing A (Proposed) New Grassroots Racing Series: Spec Mirage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/announcing-a-proposed-new-grassroots-racing-series-spec-mirage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/announcing-a-proposed-new-grassroots-racing-series-spec-mirage/#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 20:07:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737233 Mitsubishi Mirage Hatchback (1992-1994)

Stumbling upon old family photographs is a funny thing. Sometimes, you find out that your parents were actually pretty cool in their day, devoid of middle-aged paunches or wrinkles, and decked out in stylish clothes, with good-looking but rarely mentioned companions on their arm that elicit scowls and glares when you innocently inquire about their identity. Looking at old photos of the Mitsubishi Mirage is a little like that.

While our North American Mirage was a dowdy also-ran B-segment car for credit criminals and second-tier rental car agencies, the Japanese market Mirage fell victim to the irrational exuberance that plagued the Japanese economy, and paradoxically gave us the greatest generation of Japanese cars to ever exist.

No matter that the Lancer Evolution, Galant VR-4 and Legnum VR-4 (that’s a Galant VR-4 wagon) already existed. American sales and marketing execs were content with just the Eclipse, and aside from the cost of homologation any other nameplate, they likely would have nixed another sporty model, for fear of cannibalizing sales of the Eclipse GS-T and GSX.

But Japan is different. Having overlapping, redundant models sold under the same brand (but different sales channels) was a requirement in the Bubble Era. And so, the Lancer Evolution was joined by the Mirage Cyborg family, which was a three-door hatchback with a naturally-aspirated MIVEC 1.6L 4-cylinder engine making 172 horsepower and a VTEC-esque 124 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t enough that Mitsubishi had conquered the four-door rally special niche. They needed a competitor to other now-forgotten bubble-era specials like the Toyota Levin BZ-R, the Nissan Pulsar VZ-R and the Honda Civic SiR (are you sensing a trend here?).

While the Levin was primarily known for its innovative 20 valve, individual throttle body engine, and the Civic became famous for arriving in America in the form of an engine with the wiring harness hacked in half, the Cyborg R never achieved much beyond appearing in Gran Turismo. But at least it was cool. Not like the one that’s for sale right now.

Today’s Mirage is either a pur sang back-to-basics subcompact or the world car on sale today, depending on the biases of the journalist reviewing it. I think it would be a great basis for a grassroots Spec Racing series that would cost very little and provide, at the very least, marginal thrills. The production spec Mirage weighs 1,973 lbs in base trim with a manual transmission, or the same as a Lotus Elise, but it puts out just 74 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque from its 1.2L three-cylinder engine.

A freer flowing intake and exhaust system might bump up output by another 10 horsepower and 10 lb-ft, while stripping the car out for race duty should shave another 150 lbs or so out of the car. There is no real way to make these things fast while keeping costs down. Off the shelf suspension components and better brake pads might turn the car from a “jellyfish” (as one British magazine described the handling) into something tolerable. With any luck, the cars will lap as fast as an NB Miata, the ubiquitous, but slow entry-level track machine that everyone so politely describes as a “momentum car”. Think of it as a stepping stone to tin-top racing, one rung below B-Spec.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735681 22 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chrysler K platform spun off many K-based descendents, but genuine, pure Ks have been fairly rare in this series. We’ve seen this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon so far, though I’ve passed over many dozens more. Still, when I see a first-year Aries wagon in this weird chalky gray-green color and it has a “Hemi 2.6″ engine, I break out the camera!
13 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars depreciated just as fast as all the other Detroit front-drivers of the 1980s, which means that only relatively trouble-free ones managed to survive 33 years on the street. One expensive problem after about 1989, good-bye!
12 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Hemi 2.6 was really the good old Mitsubishi Astron 4G54 engine, which made 114 not-so-bad-for-1981 horses. Sadly, Chrysler never used any Simca-derived engines in the K family.
07 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis wagon has plenty of options, including air conditioning and futuristic digital chronometer.
05 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs the street price of a battered Aries-K approached scrap-value levels, the socioeconomic status of the average K-car owner also dropped.
03 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, you can see hints of former luxury in the much-used faded-mint-green vinyl interior.

As you can see here, the ’81 K-cars were sold on price, period.

02 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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A Long Last Dance With The Chrysler 200 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/a-long-last-dance-with-the-chrysler-200/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/a-long-last-dance-with-the-chrysler-200/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 15:04:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=732690 200-5

I was shivering, I think, because I was low on blood. Ten days of internal bleeding, of cauterization, of six vials a day donated to the unworthy cause of redundant testing, of the dark brown surge through the catheter, of the bright red bloom in the water of the toilet bowl. Your blood keeps you warm. You don’t realize it, but it does. Low on blood, low on heat, shivering in my shearling and cashmere Gimo’s coat, backing my walker towards the open door of my rental.

There was an ugly whirr from the starter. A prehistoric noise, one that reminded me of the M-body Gran Fury my boss owned when I worked at a two-screen theater in 1989. The kind of scrape-and-moan that has long since been banished from modern cars. And it didn’t catch. A new car, in the Year Of Our Lord 2014, that doesn’t start. But when it did catch, on the second crank, the temperature display showed a nice round zero. Zero degrees. I can forgive that. I can forgive being a bit hesitant to start after days on the rental lot, at a temperature not so far above that at which Ketel One freezes.

“You and me, little guy,” I said, patting the soft-touch dash, “we have some work to do, so let’s get going.” And we did.

200-2
I didn’t want to return to driving. Not for a long time. I had it in mind that I would wait until spring, perhaps. At the very least, I’d wait until the bones stopped grinding in a way that I could hear and feel in my teeth, until I was healed up enough to survive an unlucky second crash, should one arrive. But the rest of the world wasn’t inclined to work at my schedule. I had doctors who insisted that I drive thirty miles to see them, an employer whose actions regarding my crash and the resulting downtime oscillated between simply bizarre and definitely threatening, and a lonely friend suffering in a hospital on the other side of the city. It was time to drive.

200-3

What can I tell you about my Chrysler 200? Well, it was a configuration that I can’t make on the Chrysler site, even when I select model year 2013. Four cylinder. Four-speed auto, but much better-behaved than the one in the Avenger SE I tested last year. No automatic headlights. Cloth seats. Oddly bling-tastic wheels. It was clearly some sort of leftover-parts special tossed to the rental fleet. You couldn’t buy a retail 200 this poorly equipped in 2013, and the 2014 transition models appear to either be V6es or loaded fours. Easier to list what the car has than what it doesn’t have: windows, locks, cruise, CD player, A/C. At a dealer, if you found it new, after the incentives, maybe seventeen grand. At an Enterprise Used Car lot for $13,999, more or less. They say the price is no-haggle. I’d haggle, I think.

200-4

For two weeks the 200 and I trundled down unplowed roads, through low-visibility snowfall, into crowded parking garages dripping with dirty snow that melted into brown stalagmites to catch a walker or stall a wheelchair. The Eagle LS tires weren’t comfortable at the sub-sub-freezing temperatures and the nose would occasionally slide without warning on the freeway. Not a problem; my son was safe at home and the passenger seat stayed empty. If the Chrysler never gripped with authority, it was also harmless in the way it let go of the road, just continuing along in the same direction until some trustworthy surface appeared beneath its paws.

I have yet to get out of the driver’s seat without significant pain, but I’ll call that an effect of the three cracked lumbar vertebrae. The Avenger’s seat, when I put hundreds of miles on it in a day, was fine, and the seat in the 200 is nominally better, featuring some adjustable support. The interior fabric showed no appreciable wear after 24,000 uncaring miles in random hands. The dashboard, too, looked brand-new. When they did the interior refresh on these cars, they didn’t skimp. Five years from now, these ex-rental cars will impress people with how they’re lasting.

The “World Engine” four-cylinder, on the other hand, is simply depressing. I’m tempted to write a children’s book about it, calling it “The Little Engine That Doesn’t Want To”:

Chug, chug!
Is that a tractor?
Is that a tow truck?
Is that a Tempo?
It’s the World Engine!
Listen to it mooooooaaaaannnn on the hills!
Feel it vibrate at the stoplight!
Chug, chug, World Engine!
You’re so sad and lonely!
Waiting for the red light
We hear you chug, chug!

In the winter, the 2.4 is supremely reluctant to do anything and it shakes the 200 lightly at rest while idling in a most unsteady fashion. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, it sucks in precisely the same way that the Pentastar does not. Earlier this year, I had the chance to drive a V6-powered 200 across Ohio, and it was a genuine pleasure in most respects. But the World Engine? Chug, chug!

200-1

Last week, I added an occasional passenger to my trips. She requires a wheelchair, for the same reason I’m leaning on a cane, and we keep her in the back seat for safety’s sake. Nontrivial bravery, to get in a car with someone knowing that you’ve done it before and ended the day taking an eighteen thousand dollar helicopter ride to an emergency CT scan. “What’s it like back there?” I asked.

“Not great… but not terrible, either. The armrest is good.” So, a 5’8″ woman can sit behind a 6’2″ man in this thing. The rap on this generation of Chrysler midsizers has always been that the back seat room is below-par. That’s true if you’re coming from a Camry or Accord, but when you compare it to, say, any of the other sub-twenty-thousand-dollar sedans, the 200 makes a solid case for itself. And there’s room in the trunk for a wheelchair.

Every once in a while, you come up against the fact that this is fundamentally a generation older than the competition. Somehow, today, I locked the keys in the 200 while it was running. However, the trunk was open because I was about to load a wheelchair into said trunk. No problem, right? Just pull the handle in the trunk and drop the rear seat. Except for the fact that the Chrysler doesn’t have those handles, because they weren’t yet popular when the Sebring was released. The solution: use my cane to bash the center pass-through open. Climb into trunk, banging all fractured bones in the course of doing so. Reach through center pass-through, grab fabric loop that releases fold-down seat, unlock rear door, climb back out of trunk, take all remaining Tylenol in the bottle, take a nap, make note not to tell TTAC readers about stupid adventure.

What’s it like at full pace, on a racetrack, at the limit of the tires? I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t exceeded seventy-three miles per hour in the 200. It’s been a lot of poking around in bad weather at low speeds. A lot of drab commutes with the surprisingly excellent heater battling the polar-vortex cold. A fair amount of chug-chug idling in phamarcy drive-thrus.

Under these conditions, the Chrysler has shown virtue. The controls are simple and easy to use. The stereo is weak but clear. Road noise is about what you’d expect from a Camry. As previously noted, the interior materials are definitely up to par, even if they are applied to an interior that is narrower and less exciting than what you’d find in the competition. If the 200 fails to excite, it also fails to annoy or disappoint at the price.

No, it can’t hold its own against a modern Camcord or Sonatoptima. But it isn’t priced against them. It’s priced against Corollas and Civics and Fortes. Hell, I’m pretty sure you can get a run-out 2014 V6 model for twenty grand. That’s not a bad idea, really. It’s more car than the compacts offer and if you are price-conscious it is worth considering.

A week from Thursday I’ll turn this car in and go buy something for myself. That will mark four rental weeks together. Viewed in the context of many of my short-term relationships, it’s been better than most. Frill-free but faithful and fit for purpose, the 200 has been reliable enough, capable enough. Good enough. It’s tempting in this business sometimes to forget that ninety percent of buyers simply want good enough. The new 200 will have more of what people want and none of that awkward turtletop Sebring legacy hanging over its head. But if you want good enough, right now, this will do.

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Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan Set To Cause Heart Palpitations In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/mitsubishi-mirage-sedan-set-to-cause-heart-palpitations-in-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/mitsubishi-mirage-sedan-set-to-cause-heart-palpitations-in-canada/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:38:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=702058 2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _1_

The Montreal Auto Show is shaping up to be a blowout for fans of B-Segment cars. Aside from the usual Quebec specials, Montreal has been the launch pad for the Canada-only Nissan Micra and the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 you see above.

Looking like every other too-tall-sedan, the Mirage G4 isn’t officially slated for North America – Mitsubishi is officially studying it for our market – but it will likely come here, bearing identical mechanics to the Mirage. With hatchbacks positioned as a “premium” model in many small car ranges, the Nissan Versa might have some competition for the title of “Cheapest Car On Sale”, with the Thai-built Mirage G4 having a good shot at sneaking into the sub-$12,000 bracket.

2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _1_ 2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _2_ 2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _3_ 2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _4_ 2014-Mitsubishi-Mirage-G4-Sedan _5_ ]]>
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Piston Slap: Norwegian Longroof Reformism? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-norwegian-longroof-reformism/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/piston-slap-norwegian-longroof-reformism/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 13:01:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=697009 volvo1978

TTAC Commentator Sjalabais writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I am and have always been a car guy. Since I am an academic with two left hands and sausage fingers, my flavour have been indestructible 70s Volvos, of which I have owned a couple.

Now I am a father and a bit cash-strapped, with the need for an occasional 7 seater. A Volvo V70 with rear facing extra seats has been voted down in the household assembly, I am thus looking for a blob-shaped car. My location is Norway, but my issue is recognisable for any car guy in this situation, I fear.

My problem is that I can only afford roughly ten-year old quality vehicles, or newer cars with awful reputations. The latter include 2004-2006 VW Touran and Opel Zafira, the former 2002 Honda and Toyota models. In between I find the rusting time bombs by Mazda and the remarkably substandard build quality Mitsubishi Space Wagon. A Previa or Grandis would be acceptable, though they are a bit on the large end of the scale and usually very expensive to buy and maintain.

The Toyota Avensis Verso comes attached with a halo and is priced accordingly. The same is true, to a lesser degree, with the Honda Stream. Both have tiny engines that suck the fun out of blob-shaped 7 seaters that comes so naturally with them. That’s why I have tended to focus my interest on strong, but ugly Mitsubishi Space Wagons. But their paint, chassis, engines, clutches and transmissions are dead at 10 years and/or 150000km driven.

So would it be advisable to go for a low quality car like the Mitsubishi that’s been refurbished by owners desperate to sell before the next big investment? Or should I pay more for an older, but more reliable and well-build Honda or Toyota?

Sajeev answers:

What a difficult question for someone who lives in America!

Actually no, because there’s one universal truth for any used car buyer: buy the used car with the most service history, the newest wear items (tires, brakes, etc.) and the most original body/interior you can find in your buying area.

Of course, nobody will blame you for avoiding a vehicle known for colossal engine/transmission failures, or anything else that might “rub” your family the wrong way.  So perhaps you must buy the cheapest of the cheap: perhaps a Honda/Toyota with high miles but an extensive service record is your best bet. Or maybe a low mile Mitsubishi/Ford/Renault/etc…who knows!

Time to punt: what say you, Best and Brightest?

 

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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Montreal Has Monopoly On A-Segment Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/montreal-has-monopoly-on-a-segment-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/montreal-has-monopoly-on-a-segment-debuts/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:40:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=695897 Nissan-MarchK13 (2)

The often-ignored Montreal Auto Show will have two major debuts, both A-segment cars that may not make it past the 49th parallel. According to Autos.ca, Mitsubishi will debut a production-ready version of the G4 concept, aka a Mirage sedan, while Nissan will show off a Canadian-spec Micra. The diminutive Micra will likely slot below the Versa Note in size, but perhaps be positioned as a chic city car, to compete with the Fiat 500.

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New or Used: Should I Beat My Hauler? Or Haul My Beater? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-or-used-should-i-beat-my-hauler-or-haul-my-beater/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-or-used-should-i-beat-my-hauler-or-haul-my-beater/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=685722

rzrforums.net

To The Best & Brightest,

I need advice on my next used car purchase.

99% of the time the vehicle will be a daily commuter (rural highway and very little city traffic / 26 miles round trip). But during the winter when salt keeps my classic pickup off the roads I need the ability to tow my boat and trailer (combined weight of 4500 lbs.)

The towing distance is only 13 miles and the vehicle must either be front wheel drive or AWD/4WD to get the boat out of the water. The ramps are fairly steep on the lower Niagara river and for obvious reasons can be icy in the winter time. Normally just me in the car but have a wife and two teenagers who come along boating occasionally. A three seat pickup would work but most I have seen are too expensive. It’s either by two vehicles or one if it offers the right combination of capabilities and economy. I would like to keep it under 12 grand but would go as high as 15 for a great vehicle. If it won’t get a t least 20 mpg I would likely go the two vehicle route. I have a neighbor who is a great independent mechanic and for reasonable prices will help me keep an older vehicle on the road.

Lastly, is it worth the cost and hassle to travel to a non snow state to find a rust free vehicle to avoid the rust belt effect of vehicles here in the Buffalo area? I thought a used Grand Caravan would be perfect but those are evidently only rated to tow 3500 lbs. Thanks.

Steve Says:

The good news is that you’re hitting the prime part of the used car market as it pertains to value.

There are a ton of older minivans and SUV’s, hundreds of thousands of them, that are molderizing in wholesale auction heaven as we speak. Unpopular vehicles. Orphan brands. You could pretty much start at the near beginning of the alphabet with the Buick Rainier, and work your way nearly all the way down to the Volvo XC90. Both of those vehicles, coincidentally, would easily hit your price quotient and may have older owners who took proper care of those rides.

This brings me to what I think is going to be the big issue with you, the prior owner. You’re not buying a used vehicle these days as much as a prior owner who may or may not have done the right thing. I would keep your list fairly open and wide while attempting to snag that ride that can handle all of your hauling days.

Would I encourage you to buy it outside of the rust-o-sphere that is northern New York? Hell yes. Not only due to the rust, but the fact that the suburbs surrounding the tri-state area are swarming with used SUV’s (and minivans to a lesser extent) that have been garage kept and dealer maintained. I may sound like a complete snob for saying this. But I would prioritize a vehicle that was dealer maintained over one from the rougher parts of town that was not. I used to liquidate vehicles for an auto finance company and  at the time, I visited quite a few wholesale auctions that had more heavy haulers than they knew what to do with. The difference between a well-kept one and an abused one was quite vast.

If you’re asking for that one vehicle, well, I have a bit of a shocker for you. My choice would be the last year of a good generation from an unpopular automaker. A 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport Limited 4WD with all the options. I would definitely opt for the 3.5 Liter with the touring package. As for fuel economy, if you drive with a lighter foot, you’re likely to get about 16 mpg, which is less than the 20 mpg you mentioned. But if you’re only driving it part of the time, say maybe 8,000 miles a year,  you are only looking at a few hundred dollar difference in gas. To me, a better tool for the job and a lower purchase price will more than make up for that cost differential.

If you drive a LOT, then get whatever car interests you for daily commutes… and then get the Montero anyway. The only hauling vehicle with a serious fuel economy edge would be a Touareg TDI, and they are hysterically overpriced. So is the Toyota Highlander.  There is also the SAAB 9-7x with the 5.3 Liter V8.  But most people don’t have the guts to buy an orphan brand. Even though that particular vehicle is composed of the most common of GM engines and the most common of GM platforms, nobody wants em’.

That’s what I recommend. Hit em’ where they ain’t. Opt for a loaded orphaned or unpopular vehicle that was built in the last year of it’s production run.

Good luck!

 

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Raider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-raider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-raider/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=682026 18 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, out of the entire series of Junkyard Finds, which goes back three years and includes more than 600 posts, which vehicle has attracted the most readers? Strangely, it’s this 1987 Dodge Raider, which I shot in a Denver yard about a year ago. Why? Perhaps fans of the rebadged Mitsubishi Pajero are especially obsessed devoted, to a degree that the rest of us (I’m sure Raider/Montero/Pajero fans have a derisive nickname for us) will never understand. Anyway, here is exactly the second Raider I’ve seen in a wrecking yard since the start of this series; I found this little gold devil during my visit to the San Francisco Bay Area last week.
02 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 136,000 miles on the clock, but I’m sure they were manly miles.
09 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t recall ever seeing Ram emblems on a Raider before. Could these have been lifted from a Dodge Ram 50 aka Mitsubishi Mighty Max?
08 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMarques in the Chrysler family got pretty hard to follow by the late 1980s, what with all the DNA from AMC, Renault, Mitsubishi, Simca, and assorted second cousins of those badges coursing through the company’s veins at this point. The Raider makes for some good automotive trivia questions, though not quite as weird as questions related to early 1970s captive imports or the greatest Brazilian Chrysler of all time.
01 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t recall hearing about the lawsuits that must have led to these warning labels. Anybody know this story?
14 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe coolest truck in the Napa High School parking lot!

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Mitsubishi to Cut i-MiEV Sticker Price by 20%. $16,345 After Tax Credit. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/mitsubishi-to-cut-i-miev-sticker-price-by-20-16345-after-tax-credit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/mitsubishi-to-cut-i-miev-sticker-price-by-20-16345-after-tax-credit/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=672370 Mitsubishi-i-MiEV-image

Mitsubishi announced that it will cut the sticker price of its i-MiEV electric car by 20% for the 2014 model year, following price cuts at other automakers that sell EVs. Automotive News reports that the ’14 i-MiEV will start at $23,845 including destination charges when it goes on sale next spring. That’s a $6,130 reduction from the previous 2012 model, which sold so slowly that Mitsubishi didn’t offer a 2013 model year i-MiEV so they could sell down unsold units.

 

After the $7,500 federal tax credit still in effect, the base i-MiEV will cost $16,345. The base i-MiEV will also be upgraded with aluminum wheels, a quick-charging port, audio speakers in the back doors, heated front seats and side mirrors and leather for the steering wheel and shift knob as standard equipment.

Earlier this year Nissan, GM and Ford significantly reduced the prices of the Leaf, Chevy Volt and the Focus Electric. A Mitsubishi spokesman said that the new low price would allow the i-MiEV to compete with gasoline powered subcompacts as well as other EVs.

Mitsubishi sold just 12 i-MiEVs in November, with year-to-date sales of the car totaling 1,018 .

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Plymouth Colt Premier Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-plymouth-colt-premier-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-plymouth-colt-premier-sedan/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=670658 16 - 1988 Dodge Colt Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWe see the occasional Colt hatchback in this series— say, this ’84 Plymouth Colt Turbo or this ’88 Dodge Colt hatchback— but the Colt sedan is stop-the-presses rare by Junkyard Find standards. Chrysler called this car the Premier, and it’s full of unusual-for-a-badge-engineered-econobox options.

Of course, we can’t talk about the Colt without watching this Redd Foxx Colt .45 ad, featuring a much earlier version of the car.
04 - 1988 Dodge Colt Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust over 155,000 miles on the clock.
10 - 1988 Dodge Colt Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis seat seems to have manual adjustment controls, so what’s the joystick for?
06 - 1988 Dodge Colt Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinNine-band equalizers were considered essential to a quality cassette experience in the late 1980s.
01 - 1988 Dodge Colt Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinPremier!

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Ur-Turn: Mitsubishi’s Biggest Fan Discusses The Renault-Nissan Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/ur-turn-mitsubishis-biggest-fan-discusses-the-renault-nissan-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/ur-turn-mitsubishis-biggest-fan-discusses-the-renault-nissan-deal/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651730 6thGalantVR-4

Today’s edition of Ur-Turn comes from Brian Driggs, a long-time TTAC reader, Mitsubishi fan and published of Gearbox Magazine, a digital enthusiast publication that we highly recommend.

As a North American Mitsubishi enthusiast, I often find the dismissive comments about the brand disappointing. While the US might be the second largest market on the planet (second to China, I suspect), it’s far from being the only market. I believe Mitsubishi is diversified enough they can afford to be more proactive with regard to automotive trends. News of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership only supports that belief.

Mitsubishi doesn’t necessarily have to move a lot of units in the US market. While everyone else is focused on converting existing models into hybrids, I see Mitsubishi looking beyond, to the next generation of electric vehicles and infrastructure. They don’t have to change up their message every month because everyone still thinks their $40,000 “EV” is really a hybrid. They’re just quietly evolving into a fun-to-drive electric brand for the masses; laggards in one respect, early adopters in another.

Back to the new partnership. By now, everyone is familiar with the details; Renault-Nissan gets access to more EV technology and Mitsubishi gets a “new” model to likely replace the now soundly stale, North American Galant. All three will collaborate on a couple new models in the not-too-distant future, which should be nice.

Still, the comments run the full, incredulous gamut, from “I can’t believe Mitsubishi is still in business,” to “Mitsubishi is still doing sub-prime auto lending?” Yeah. That’s right. They are still in business and they are still doing sub-prime lending. This new partnership isn’t meant to reinvent their brand in America. It’s meant to keep costs down while they continue developing the vehicles they know the world is going to demand as fuel prices continue to rise (and corporate welfare hopefully ends) in coming years.

So who are the EV experts these days? Tesla comes to mind; Bold, innovative, exotic. Nissan’s up there with the Leaf. And then there’s Mitsubishi. What’s that? You’ve never seen an iMiEV on your way to work? That’s okay. They just took second and third place at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb this year, giving “Monster” Tajima a good run for his money in the rain. They also build electric trains, industrial lasers, consumer electronics, and dabble in nuclear power generation. I’d say they know what they’re doing.

The global auto industry is so inbred these days, it’s foolish to single out any one player as somehow being destined to fail – especially based on it’s perceived performance in the American market. Globally, Mitsubishi is doing just fine, and I’d offer their ability to weather the economic downturn whilst remaining focused on the product lineup they want to sell speaks to the quality of their brand.

Not to say I consider anyone here a fool for taking a comfortable seat on the Sycophant Express – we all do it. I’m quick to point out the only reason GM is remotely profitable today isn’t because they’re making better cars, but because they’re still enjoying limited competition in the truck market and because, for some strange reason, they’re huge in China. That’s my personal hangup.

We’re all bound to have different opinions, but our shared interest in the auto industry, in all its interwoven complexity, is a solid foundation upon which we can build greater understanding of the world around us. I’ll be honest with you, barring announcement the Mitsubishi Triton will be built in the States, or that this merger will mean I can get finally get a turbo-diesel, 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive, ASX4 (unlikely, as that’s a partnership with Peugeot and Citroën), news of this merger hardly moves my pulse. It does, however, show me Mitsubishi is still doing better than many had thought and remains focused on the long game and, in that respect, pleases me.

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Brian Driggs is Editor-in-Chief of Gearbox Magazine

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Mitsubishi: A Finance Company That Happens To Sell Cars? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/mitsubishi-a-finance-company-that-happens-to-sell-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/mitsubishi-a-finance-company-that-happens-to-sell-cars/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 11:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=650562 mitsubishilineup

News of Mitsubishi’s rebadging of Renault-Samsung vehicles for the US market is being greeted with far less enthusiasm around these parts than one would expect the internet to greet news of any French vehicles coming to America. One angle that isn’t being explored much comes from commenter callisall, who writes

if anyone else was scratching your head (like I was) about how Mitsu makes money in the USA, Mitsu is the third largest seller of cars to subprime borrowers behind Chrysler and Dodge.

So by outsourcing its R&D and focusing on the subprime market (and perhaps parts for its cars), it looks like Mitsu can make its US operations worthwhile.

Industry observers know that R&D is the most expensive part of new vehicle development, and by rebadging Renault-Samsung vehicles as their own, Mitsubishi gets to skip out on this very expensive exercises while getting proven technology that’s already been on the market for a few years. Is it possible that other Mitsubishi-derived vehicles like the Outlander could become variants of some Renault-Nissan project? Perhaps.

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Renault-Samsung Confirms Mitsubishi Product Offerings, US Will Get SM5 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/renault-samsung-confirms-mitsubishi-product-offerings-us-will-get-sm5/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/renault-samsung-confirms-mitsubishi-product-offerings-us-will-get-sm5/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 17:05:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648234 Renault_Fluence_in_Limburg_March_2011

Reports out of South Korea are confirming the news that French car enthusiasts have been waiting on for decades: Americans will soon be able to buy French cars again, with Renault Samsung confirming that the first Mitsubishi-branded product exported to America will be the Renault-Samsung SM5.

Just-Auto is reporting that the first product, a D-Segment sedan, will be based on the Renault-Samsung SM5, which is sold in other markets as the Renault Latitude and Safrane. The unnamed C-Segment car slated to follow is said to be the Renault-Samsung SM3, also known as the Renault Fluence. The two South Korean-built cars no benefit from a free trade deal between America and South Korea, and give Mitsubishi a way to replace the aging Lancer and plug a hole in its US lineup without having to shell out the R&D dollars to develop new products. In return, Renault-Nissan will benefit from Mitsubishi’s experience in developing kei-cars and other minicars for world markets.

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Generation Why: 2013 Even Worse For Young Car Buyers, But The Dream Is Still Alive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/generation-why-2013-even-worse-for-young-car-buyers-but-the-dream-is-still-alive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/generation-why-2013-even-worse-for-young-car-buyers-but-the-dream-is-still-alive/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:33:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=645770 renault-duster-front-static-7_560x420

A study by Edmunds on the buying habits of millennials shows that 2013 was not a particularly good year for young car buyers. Despite making good headway in 2012, 2013 saw those gains practically eroded, as a weak job market and rising home prices helped stymie any growth in market share for automotive consumers aged 18-34.

The Edmunds study adds support to the two major points that Generation Why has been propagating from the start: that the lack of interest in cars among young people is largely rooted in poor economic prospects, and that their interest in the automobile goes beyond utilitarian considerations

Millennials’ car-buying patterns in 2012 and in 2013 both lend support to the theory that their weaker car-buying compared to previous generations stems from economic constraints rather than from a preference to not drive. Plus, what they bought in 2013 continues to suggest that Millennials do see cars as more than a means to get around. Even with their decreased share of overall sales in 2013, Millennials did not slack off on buying luxury and sports cars. The share of Millennial purchases from the luxury segment increased slightly. And, in every income group except the highest ($150,000 and over), aged 25-to-34 Millennials continued to buy luxury cars to a similar extent or more as older buyers with same income. Likewise, in nearly every income group, 18-to-24 year old Millennials continued to purchase a greater share of entry and midrange sports cars than the older buyers. These Millennial buying choices suggest an interest in cars that will translate into more purchases when economic conditions allow, just as in 2012.

Edmunds Chief Economist Lacey Plache raises an interesting point: new car sales among young people could continue to disappoint as the economic recovery passes them by. If this is the case, then OEMs should being to take notice. Not just that the oft-cited meme of “kids aren’t into cars” is false, but that a whole segment of the population is being systematically shut out of buying a new car. Rather than continuing to push high-content subcompact and compact cars at Generation Y, perhaps it might be time to shift gears to something simpler and more robust, but with the “cheap chic” appeal of a brand like H&M or Zara. Perhaps a brand like Mitsubishi could reinvent itself as the “frugalista” option, and borrow some product from that other fashionably cheap brand they are now in an alliance with…

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