This car has been in our family's possession for more than 13 years. When I got my driving license for three years ago this car was handed down to me as a gift, by gift a mean scrap. This car was in a terrible shape, the oil was leaking, electric windows started to fail one after another and there was no functioning stereo in the car! A much needed accessory for a young man! Things were looking bad but not as bad as when I got pulled in by the police and they gave me a hefty fine because the car was banned from the road. Apparently he did't take the car to the annual manditory inspection for about two years. And it showed.. So after I got a nice long list of different faults the car had I was keen to fix the car and do it the proper way, so I left it to the hands of the Mitsubishi Dealership and told them to mend everything on that list. And the cost for their wonderful service and expertise was the equivalent of 1500€! The car itself wasn't worth that much! Doesn't seem to be a good idea to use the dealers workshop when you got a car in this age and shape. So after that I haven't gone back to any official dealership and let my local mechanic repair my car and with used spare parts from the scrapyards the running cost dropped.
Now when the car was working well how is it to drive?
I'm going to be honest, it isn't going to win any races at the red light, even against a diesel station wagon it's a struggle. The pickup speed is good but as soon you pass 100km/h (60mph) the car seems like it lost most of its torque and acceleration is slow. When driving above 150-160 km/h at the freeway and there is an uphill it quickly loses speed.
So this car is no high speed racer, despite what your spoiler in the back indicates.
Handling is adequate, despite not sharing the Evos suspension it feels sharp and sporty. It tends to under steer most of the time but a dosage of hand braking and Swedish flick there is still some excitement on the road. The cars handling in the winter is superb thanks to its low weight and front-wheel-drive. Sometime when I see the snow coming down through the window there is a feel of excitement going through me because there is much fun you can have in this car in the snow. No traction control, no ABS means little interference of electronics, you have to be careful but this car is extremely easy to drive in the snow. During April there was a snow storm and I had half good summer tires on the car and I still managed to drive around in the freeway for four hours in 110km/h (65mph). There in no limit of what this car can do on so little, handed it down to skills and knowing the cars character. Despite no ABS a have dodged a couple bullets that would be devastating in a big heavy car, thanks to its sharp steering.
Comfort is something that is not that should be expected from a compact Japanese car. But still the ride is rubbish! I can't stand sitting in the car after an hours driving so its not a appropriate long distance commuter. Neither is the fuel economy that good at high speeds since the rev meter exceeds 3000rpm at 110km/h (65mph) which makes it quite noisy in the cabin. Making a short A to B distance is excellent since it doesn't use up so much fuel and its small size and good visibility from the cabin makes it nimble and easy to park. But sometime I prefer to take the train rather the car when it comes to making those long distances.
And at last reliability?
Well despite its many failures and its faults there is only one place you can point your finger at, the owner. This car has been thrashed by first my brother and then me, it has been neglected and not served properly. This car had at one point almost no oil (!) in the engine and still it was going strong. I was impressed and so was my mechanic. When the water pump was leaking the same thing happened, the car was running without any anti-freeze coolant and the small tank that stored the fluid was filled with black substance. This car seems like it doesn't need any fluids to run! I'll have to try if the same thing applies to gasoline (I will post my results later).
This car has been in my possession for three years, it has been a mixed blessing and always looking over my shoulder for better alternatives. But despite its flaws it has served me well and still does and makes me a proud owner. I have also found joy in serving it as I have recently learned how to change oil, filters, ignition system, etc. You tend to build a relation to your vehicle after you start to mend it yourself.
Esthetically the car is in great shape, the metallic paint is still shiny with some scratches and the interior is as new.
But as time passes it deteriorates as the rust start to take its place in the car. Then nothing last forever and the time I've had in the car has been great. I'm going to keep this car as long as it runs but as soon the car fails again big time, I will leave it and go on. The car will be then handed down to my cousin and hopefully he'll put it to good use.