2004 Mitsubishi Airtrek 2.0 turbo from Malaysia

Summary:

It's an Evolution 7.5 GTA in a bigger body!

Faults:

Cracked turbo manifold at barely 70000 km - replaced and costs a bomb. Cheaper or almost equal in having a custom banana manifold.

Failed air flow sensor at 90000 km - replaced and costs a bomb. Has been running fine until now.

Clogged fuel filter at 75000 km - replaced twice, could be caused by the quality of petrol we have in Malaysia.

Failed actuators (when bought at 60000 km), leading to the need to install a manual boost controller, which then leads to over boost, which damaged a few valves in the process. Had a top overhaul, and running fine until now.

General Comments:

It is a quick car, behaves very well on the road due to its engine output and the 4WD nature of the car.

Maintenance is quite on the high side, considering the car is used mostly for long distance journeys above 300 km and weekend trips. Parts are available easily, but costs are much higher than my Nissan.

Somehow runs smoother the longer distance you travel.

Requires that it's run only on RON 97 and above.

Fuel consumption gets much better for long distance/highways and very bad in stop-go traffic, perhaps due to its cruising nature of the semi auto gearbox (5-speed shiftronic). A full tank of 60-litre will give me 500 km for long distance, but only 350 km for mixed driving.

Cruising is smooth, and handling at high speed is superb. Had the speed limiter removed, and can easily climb to a top speed of 200 and beyond - effortless.

RPM at 100 km/h is 1800, and 170 km/h is around 3400.

Function over style - love the interior and its accessories e.g. cup holders, storage area, climate control, luggage space, flexibility of the seats to be folded down and adjusted to the maximum, amongst others.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th March, 2011

21st Feb 2012, 12:45

Hello, if your turbo wastegate actuator was faulty, a boost controller of any type is going to be irrelevant (all you can do is increase boost, not lower it from standard), so I'm not surprised if it was 'overboosting'. A boost controller can only operate a fully functioning actuator. If the wastegate is faulty, it won't fully open (or at all) to let out excess boost - no matter what you attach to it. So if anyone else has this problem, just get a second hand actuator and replace it. Easy job.

2005 Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo-R 2.0 petrol from Singapore

Summary:

Evo VII GT-A in stealth SUV guise

Faults:

Radiator fan control module had to be replaced. The fan didn't stop running, instead it was running at high speed constantly.

Car interior was starting to rattle a little. On one occasion the dealer's mechanic need to re-align the front left door to reduce greatly the vibration, to solve a major rattling that was starting to irritate.

Other than that just the usual wear and tear, though the headlamps are HID, and I had to replace one of the bulbs, which was surprisingly costly to me.

General Comments:

I got it as a 3 year old used car with full Rallliart body kit, rims and accessories. The previous owner obviously gave the car some TLC and kept it near stock, except he had a open pod air filter, which I restored back to stock. It's almost 5 years old now and the build quality is still sound. Some friends remarked disbelief that the car is 5 years old, especially the clock was commented as a nice touch. To me the dashboard is rather simplistic in design, therefore it won't look too dated, though the hard plastics abound, showed material of the previous generation, though very hard wearing material they are.

The performance, handling and road holding is very good, as it is after all a detuned Evolution VII GT-A in SUV guise. It inherited 70% of Evo VII GT-A's ability, and traded 30% for space and practicality, an Evo for family men then. The steering feels a little dead compared to my previous Forester 2.0 XT though, otherwise the overall driving experience is a lot more sportier. Without the Forester STI officially imported here, it has no rival in this market then at the time of launch back in 2003, and was very expensive buying new, which was why I walked away from committing myself a new purchase.

With moderation I managed to achieve 9.5-10.5 km/l. Horsepower is rather irrelevant for driving in a city state with maximum speed limit of 90km/h. Staying below the speed limit, helps in optimizing the fuel consumption for daily commuting. Still great fun on occasions by exploring the rich torque that's available rather early at 2500RPM as the turbo charger seriously kicks in. The rally bred AWD give superior road holding especially in the wet, brings a smile to me whenever a wide empty corner and clear vision ahead comes into sight, as I power out each corner, leaving lesser cars behind diminishing into specks on the rear view mirror.

I personally like the INVECS-II transmission, which is based on Porsche's Tiptronic semi-automatic transmission technology. It provides me the flexibility to laze around in fully automatic mode during a traffic jam, and to engage in sport (i.e. manual) mode when I'm in the mood for a more exciting drive. The gear change is very smooth in both modes, though recent technology has move up another scale with the introduction of DSG.

Headroom and legroom are excellent. Five can sit in comfort. Boot space is small though compared to the Forester 2.0 XT of the same era, but Forester has lesser rear legroom consequently. While both cars are labeled as SUV, Airtrek Turbo-R is more a hatch back, to Forester 2.0 XT is a station wagon sitting higher with a more angular carbody design. Airtrek came with a sunroof and a moonroof, so that's a nice touch though not much of practical use. One thing I lamented is the lack of a cruise control, which I had in the Forester, but I got over that over time.

There's a cult following for Airtrek since some years with owners clubs around the region Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore for Airtrek, even there weren't too many of the turbo version in distribution. The model Airtrek was a Mitsubishi one-off until today, adding to a limited edition image of the car, though the model Outlander shared the same ancestry and continue to have the second generation in Mitsubishi's line up. So by now not many recognize the car as there aren't too many on the road, giving it a stealth image, and frequently surprised other road users by its unusual look and hot hatch performance.

For the same combination of performance, handling, practicality and reliability, as a used car, few cars beat Airtrek Turbo-R for value. It is slightly more costly to maintain than a typical Japanese family sedan, but it gives a whole lot more in technologies and performance. There are many shared components with Lancer, so aftermarket parts are readily available to help to keep the cost down. It's not exactly a handsome car, some may even call it ungainly, but it has tons of character, and still has one of the meanest stares of any car on the road here today.

Ironically, as the car shared so much design with Lancer Evolution, to have a stock used Airtrek Turbo-R would be challenging. Many in the used car market are a lot more enhanced in power and handling, which can be nice, but it won't suit my needs to frequently ferry kids and old folks around.

I'm very happy with the all round capability of the Airtrek Turbo-R, and I intend to keep mine as long as I can.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2010

2004 Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo 2.0 turbo from Singapore

Summary:

Evo-inside raised station wagon

Faults:

- Dealer (in Singapore) had to it write-off because they totaled our car during servicing...sigh.

General Comments:

This car is seriously quick = Evo engine.

Because of stock suspension, higher driving position and comfort wheels, it loses a little on corners (permanent 4 wheel drive), but that said, it is still ahead of the pack for stock SUVs.

InvecsII 5 speed gearbox is pretty smooth.

High fuel consumption, but this is also due to Mitsubishi outfitting their cars with small fuel tanks! So it is like a double whammy- guzzler + inconvenience of visiting the station for topups!

Turbo kicks in early but when driving in mid-range need to push a little on pedals, slight inertia and very slight lag... typical of auto turbos. But after saying all that, still the top of the line Turbo SUV... still beats Forester Turbo in my books for stock cars.

Smooth engine and fairly quiet.

Dash not the most attractive, and the trip computer is stone age!

Overall a great drive, respectable looking and affordable to own, and blows other cars off the road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th January, 2010