The Japanese-French-Dutch-Swedish mix that works!
EGR valve failed.
Passenger electric window never worked from day 1.
Driver's side electric window switch fell apart.
Air con never worked.
N/S brake caliper slide keeps seizing.
Handbrake keeps losing efficiency.
The Carisma (or Mitsu as I generally affectionately refer to it) is a very good car. It gets a bad press from wallies like Jeremy Clarkson, but frankly, he's talking rubbish!
We bought this car in 2005 when my father went over to car allowance from his employer, after he decided to hand back his company car, but it's mostly me that has gotten to drive it, and even although I own much more powerful machinery (a C70 T5), I love the Mitsu for everyday and local driving; it's quite economical, fun to drive, surprisingly quick, and if driven fast, can be quite frisky!
Interior is a strange blend of Japanese and European design, but is utterly functional and hard wearing. All the switchgear is Japanese, and most of it feels solid and reliable except for the window switches, which fall apart.
The engine is actually a Renault DCi unit, which can be found in Meganes and Lagunas, and pushes out 102 BHP and 215nm of torque, and has been known to mix it with BMW 320s in gear, much to their grimace, because for a mid-size modern car it is very light, just 1200kgs!
Our car is Virtual Blue, which is pearlescant so it changes from blue to purple in varying light, which I've liked since the day I clapped eyes on it, and even at 8 years old, the body is wearing very well with only the odd stonechip and zero rust.
Reliability has been top notch; occasionally the fly-by-wire throttle plays up, but it clears itself, the turbos on these engines have a bad reputation for wearing quickly, but we've always changed the oil every 5k miles with quality oil, and so far so good!
Tyre life isn't that good; 10k max out of the fronts, the rears though lasted 65,000 miles! They were the factory tyres, and only got changed this year!!
All in all, we've been very satisfied with this car over the 5 years we've owned it, and would recommend it to anybody looking for a nippy, economical, reliable and comfortable used car. If you're not bothered about image, you could do a hell of a lot worse than one of these!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th July, 2010