Product Type: Mitsubishi cars
Newest Review: ... where hopefully my experience may help sway you, one way or another. At almost 20years of age any model of this car quite simply is for on... more
A soon to be Classic
Mitsubishi FTO GPX
Member Name: Rmaxix
Mitsubishi FTO GPX
Advantages: Cheap, powerful, sexy, drives like a dream,
Disadvantages: Running costs, insurance, age
The Mitsubishi FTO, as many things from Japan, was miles ahead of the game when it was released in 1994, not to mention various successive models in the subsequent years. However I jokingly have stated that my 2.0l GR from '96 is now old enough to drive itself, so almost 2 decades down the line what has this car got to offer.
Quick basic info- 2 door coupe, front wheel drive, if you want passenger space forget it. Good boot space, poor sound insulation, great engine, poor headlights, good performance, terrible MPG, good reliability, great online member communities, fantastic fun.
I'm not going to beat around the bush, if you are reading this you either have or have had an FTO and are part of an almost exclusive cult following, in which case both you and I know that despite any trouble this distinguished car has given you that it will always hold a special place in your heart. Or you are looking at buying a used FTO, in which case you want to know what you can expect. This is where hopefully my experience may help sway you, one way or another.
At almost 20years of age any model of this car quite simply is for only two kinds of people, the car hobbyist/enthusiast, or a young driver with minimal cash looking to get something with a kick.
This is a grey import, insurance will be high, parts will be after market or second hand from spare and repairs, performance won't be fully as per original spec, unless you have modded and replaced numerous parts, and it won't come with a service manual.
And yet, these can be bought now for less than £1,000, and for around 200bhp (dependant on specific model), sleek sexy design, smooth ride, and an interior which still offers more class than many brand new cars on the market, what could possibly be the harm, right?
I have now had mine for over 5 years, with almost no reliability issues, and in that time it has passed 3 MOTs without fail. It helps that I fall into the hobbyist category. So with the exception of noisy tappets which the engine has been known to run with above and beyond 150k miles and is a common issue of the non-Mivec versions, I have only needed to change the starter motor, tyres, discs and pads. Tappets can be replaced for under £300, if inclined to do so, you would pay as much to change tyres, which considering the tappers will last 5 times as long...
This car predates the complexity of automobile electronics, and as such means there are numerous modifications which can be fitted, like my all inclusive electrical kit- remote central locking, alarm, passive key entry, remote start, and push start. After market kit bought for £120, yet adds a priceless feel. There is also a vast wealth of online guides and manuals, which can be accessed easily for free, or by subscribing to a members website, which will also give you reduced insurance premium.
If you have read this far then I have your attention, so the next thing would be to find out exactly which model is for you, in this instance you need to go personal preference for manual or automatic, although certainly the manual is a lot rarer and arguably the more reliable choice. Then look at Mivec Vs Non-Mivec, which certainly would be unevenly tilted toward Mivec. I won't go into all the details, as this is only a review after all, not a technical guide.
If perhaps your new to driving, want something thats going to impress, don't want to be just another Corsa driver, or can't afford the sports car of your dreams, then this is perhaps the answer your looking for. And if your that way inclined it'll also be a great introduction into car mechanics. Just make sure you can afford the insurance and your comfortable with the fuel costs, but nobody looks to buy a sports car to be economical!
If your a hobbyist, willing to get your hands dirty, make some mods, and just love your cars, then with the prices that you can now pick up these beautiful timeless vehicles there really is no doubt about it. This is the one for you, and in a few more years when most of these are completely off the road you may even have a classic on your hand. Pure investment in time, pleasure, and even potentially in cash.
Summary: If you get it you'll love it, but its not for everyone.