Mitsubishi Car Reviews
Mitsubishi L 200 2.5 TD 4WD
I learned to drive in this truck, a 2001 L200 double-cab (import, but equivalent to UK 4life spec), which was a bit of a liability considering the evil handling and sheer size of the thing (around 5 metres or 16.4 feet). But I survived it, and it survived me! Awful as the handling was it taught me a thing or two about how to control a ... car, with its power-oversteer in the wet and snow, and roll-understeer in the, er, wet and snow. Consistent it was; consistently unpredictable, so it kept me on my toes.
Alas, having a vehicle like this means you'll be towing a lot of people out of trouble, but despite being very underpowered it happily towed two Land Rover Discoverys out of steep ditches (in the snow), and several different cars up a tricky steep gradient, again in very deep snow. The handling in the snow isn't very good though, despite the four-wheel drive. I guess it can't overcome the size of the vehicle and the inherent handling problems.
The power, 98bhp (uprated to an almost as feeble 115bhp in later models) really is inadequate in a vehicle nearing two tons, and the torque output of 177 lb/ft is equalled and often bettered by much smaller diesel engines. But the short gearing lets you keep up with most traffic and 80mph cruising is bearable. It tops out at around 95mph. Not to say I didn't like the engine, its gruffness and simplicity was endearing and 28-32mpg isn't so bad from a vehicle this size.
Off-road it's remarkable what you can do with it, despite the long overhang at the rear and inadequate standard tyres. We only got it stuck once - in an unstable river bed - despite going deep into the wildness of Northern Scotland often.
There were a couple of problems with the car, the rear axle would "knock" when the weather was wet, the rear electric windows constantly got stuck (common with L200s), the alloy wheels started to corrode heavily after six months (practically every Mitsubishi off-road alloy wheel has this problem, SORT IT OUT!). These aren't such bad problems considering the hard use it had and mileage we did in it though. It never ever let us down.
The interior is fairly horrible, with little space and poor-quality plastics which scratch like hell despite it being a utility vehicle. But it seems built to last, and it's simple. The equipment list is decent, with power-steering, ABS, electric windows, air-conditioning and twin airbags.
Of course the main reason most people buy these is image (I found the image on the whole a bit vulgar), but the practicality is fantastic. The pickup bed will swallow skis and snowboards whole, will take a couple of bales of hay and practically anything else you want.
The vehicle is very tough as proven by its off-road experiences, and it also managed to hit two full-size roe deer without so much as a scratch or dent (though the bumper mounting bracket was bent a little).
The servicing is a bit of a pain, especially when your local Mitsubishi dealer ignores you because your vehicle's an import (I thought Mitsubishi UK's policy was to accept imports?), and the car needs to be greased up every couple of thousand miles (just buy a grease gun and do it yourself).
All in all it's a very able vehicle, even though it's flawed. Still, it's preferable to a Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux, if not a Nissan Navara which is a lot more powerful and better-looking.
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Mitsubishi Pajero 2800 TD 5-door long version
Background The Pajero is a so-called ?grey import?, which is imported directly from Japan without official sanction of Mitsubishi Motors. They are almost identical to the Mitsubishi Shogun sold in this country for a number of years (1980?s-onwards), what the mechanical/electrical differences are I?m not exactly sure and it seems ... that the majority of people that deal with them aren?t sure either. The majority of ?greys? speedometers are in kilometres per hour, however ours has been converted to Miles Per Hour. The major difference between the official and grey versions is the level of equipment with the Pajero being far superior to the Shogun, depending of course on the specification level. The most obvious difference between Pajero/Shogun is the ?greys? colour scheme, with Pajero?s usually having a different coloured centre section. The long wheel-base Pajero is available in petrol (3.0 V6, 3.5 V6) and two diesel variants 2.5 and 2.8 litre, a visual difference between the diesels is the air vent on the bonnet is usually only on 2.8litre version.
Spares and repairs
There have been many scare stories about the availability of spares and dealers refusing to work on them. This has allowed the specialist garages to pop-up to do this work and for any concerns that you have, I suggest you look at the World Wide Web and at the various owners clubs to highlight problems. Personally apart from oil, oil and air filters (and a headlight bulb) I have not had to obtain any spares but I?m confident that I will be able to get them either from the dealers, the specialist dealers or scrap yards. You may ask why am I confident, well, money is a powerful weapon and car spares generate lots of income for manufacturers.
There are a large number of insurance companies that will insure y
ou, I?m currently insured with Tesco and their rates are reasonable, but this would depend on your personal circumstances. Some major insurance companies will not insure the car - apparently because its imported - I reminded some insurance companies that I dealt with that all Japanese cars are IMPORTED! This shows how large companies support each other and some would say maybe corruptly, this is entirely acceptable and apparently they operate within the law, so much for freedom of choice.
Moving onto our vehicle, we have had our Pajero (long wheelbase- Exceed) for a year now and yes it does do the school run. My wife likes the feeling of the safety and the commanding driving position. The car is almost ten years old and is very well equipped. The following list shows the basic details
· Large 5-door 4x4 vehicle with seven seats
· 2.8 litre Turbo-diesel engine
· Automatic gearbox (three speed with overdrive) facilities for 2 wheel drive (Normal), 4 wheel drive (low & high gearing)
· Power steering
· Cat 1 Alarm (& immobiliser)
· Electric heated mirrors
· Electric windows x 4
· Digital Air Conditioning (Full climate control)
· Digital Compass
· Large electric sunroof
· Electric Aerial
· Outside/inside temperature gauge
· Electronically adjustable suspension (just operated by switch)
· Toolkit including torch
· Various holders throughout the car
· Hardwearing velour style seating material
· Sun visors with backlit mirrors
· Twin batteries (2 x 12 volts)
It has a very good ride for an ?off-road? vehicle and handles reasonably well for such a large car, The large mirrors assist with all round vision and the brakes are progre
ssive and able to stop this two-ton beast with great aplomb. The commanding driving position is another positive and adds to the overall feeling of safety of the vehicle as the more observant driver should be able to spot any dangers earlier. It is no dragster but is able to comfortably keep up with traffic both around town and on the motorways. The power steering is well weighted and is light enough for tight manoeuvring, however the turning circle is not small!
They are some down points to driving, although the vehicle is no longer or wider than other vehicles it can nevertheless feel a large vehicle (strange that!), because of this smaller gaps are avoided and reversing can be a bind, although the large mirrors are very useful. Parking the car accentuates previous comments. The indicator stalk is on the right hand side, so quite often I indicate with my wipers!
The seats are very comfortable and have multiple manual settings, it is roomy and still remains a good looking classically shaped car.
The car is not very economical and around town only achieves around 20mpg (28mpg on long runs), however to be fair it is a heavy vehicle and this sort of mileage return was expected. It does sound typically diesel and the automatic gearbox does not always seem perfectly matched to the turbo-diesel engine.
The most impressive feature for me is the digital air conditioning and I know that many people say that we don?t need air con in this country, how wrong I think you are. It is a godsend on any warm day and because it is available throughout the whole interior even the kids are aware of the benefits. The compass (seems very accurate) has a certain novelty factor and the children like it. The same can be said for the interior/exterior temperature gauge but once again the children like it and ?guess the temperature? game is often played. The car has neve
r been off-roading to my knowledge and is never likely too, so for us some of the features such as compass, altimeter will never be used, however for some that will go off-road they may well come in handy. The suspension has three settings, Soft, Normal and Hard. These again allow the suspension to be changed to suit different driving conditions. This can all be done with the flick of a switch.
In contrast to luxury feel of this car. The reception of the radio is very poor and this is not just our car, this is all ?greys? and means that some radio stations can?t be picked up.
This has been excellent, the only item that has required any attention is a replacement headlamp bulb (£5 and a couple of minutes of my time). The best thing is that when you turn the key it always starts first time providing of course you have deactivated the immobiliser.
With all things considered we are pleased with this car, it still remains in outstanding condition for the year both externally and internally, the engine (apart from the diesel engine noise) is first class and contrary to ?popular belief? it is well suited to the school run as the car is normally full of children and saves at least three other cars being used.
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Mitsubishi Colt 1.3 GLX 3-door
I've had my Colt (1999 model) since Feb 2000 when I bought it as an ex-demo from a main dealer. I have to say I'm very pleased with it - 4 years on, and approaching 80,000 miles and I've not had any problems with it. I find it comfortable and have done several long journeys with it. OK, so it's not a hot hatch, ... but the engine performs well, and can be pretty nippy if you take the revs up and drop a gear. The handling is very good - it goes round corners like it's on rails.
Equipment levels are not over generous (although I dare say things have improved with later models) - although mine is a GLX model, I don't have electric windows or air con. It does have central locking (useful even on 2 doors !) and mine had a CD player installed (although I think the dealer put this in). I had a sunroof put in (pop up & lift out).
There's plenty of room in the front, and storage is pretty good with a useful centre console with a lift up lid. Although the door pockets are so thin you struggle to get a CD case in them. Driving position is good with seat height adjuster, and adjustable steering column. And the instrument panel is very clear, with a nice large Rev counter.
Rear space is not so good - it's a squeeze with 3 adults in the back, but it can be done ! - biggest problem for rear passengers is lack of leg room behind front seats (although having said that, I'm nearly 6 foot so tend to have my driving seat fairly well back).
Luggage space is pretty good for a small car; you'll get all your shopping bags in the hatch, and it will take most of your luggage requirements for 2 people if going on holiday.
Fold the rear seats flat, and you've got a pretty impressive load area - I've had washing machines in there, and have moved house twice stuffing the rear of the car full. (OK, I needed a van for the bed and sofa and other large furniture)
However, above all, and to cou nter any niggles, the main thing is that this car is well built and very reliable in typical Japanese fashion. I've had it serviced at the regular intervals (9000 miles or 12 months) and I've never had a problem with it. Infact, apart from usual tyres / brakes, and not had to spend anything on it either other than normal service parts (timing belt change at 55K)
I even got my exhaust replaced under the 3 year warranty scheme. The clutch is nice and light, so it's east round town, and with the power steering and reasonable all round visibility, it's good to park. But it's also good on long motorway trips - and will cruise at 80mph all day.
Like a lot of foreign cars, main dealer servicing and spare parts can be expensive; I've started to use a non franchised garage for servicing now my warranty has expired (last service was £85 as against £270 for the main dealer !) and I've used after fit parts for my brakes also from my local garage.
So, for a car over 4 years old and nearly 80,000 miles I'm very happy. Paintwork is still good (allowing for a few stone chips and a couple of scratches put there by some kind person at the supermarket !). There's no sign of rust, and no excessive annoying noises and squeaks.
I like it because it's a little bit different from most cars, and there aren't loads of them driving around. The styling is good and works well but is still practical.
Fuel economy is a little disappointing for a small car with a small engine. Generally I get mid 30's MPG on normal daily driving. Although this can raise to around 40 for long trips with steady cruising.
I have no plans to replace yet (don't fix it if it ain't broken !) but would certainly consider another Colt when the time comes.
Happy motoring !
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