1995 Mitsubishi FTO from Australia and New Zealand
It's very niiiice!
I suspect it has a slight water leak. Got hot once. Never has again once I topped it up. Needless to say, I check it once in a while now... Oh yeah, and the heater doesn't work. Air con does though.. Cold winter road trips.. Drive faster to get the blood flowing...
Lovely to look at. That design is really one of the stand-out efforts from a Japanese manufacturer. The accentuated front arches crossing the bonnet line harks back to some serious '60's exotica, and now emulated by the new Maserati Gran Turismo. Bit of Aston, bit of Lancia Stratos too maybe. Lovely. Begs the question 'who was doing who in the industry back then???'
I really wanted a Fiat Coupe, but try finding one of these for the same dollars as the FTO. I suspect the Mitsi might just run away with the reliability prize as well. Perhaps these cars are getting a bit long in the tooth, but mine was immaculate, so stands out and doesn't really look its age at all. I find the way the light shines and reflects over its curves quite pleasing. Nice in the evening when it's just been washed.
Performance. I gave it a few stars for this, and it's probably a bit hard to gauge as it seems to be pretty relaxed about town. I putt about in too high a gear a lot of the time, because it will do so happily, and that also saves me some gas, which I can then expend if I get a straight stretch, a hill or wish to be away from the lights first. When it will happily scream its 2 litre Mivec head off to the 8200 limiter. The motorway on-ramp is the best place to explore this, though I think 2nd will run out to 110-115kph, so best to beware on that one. Frankly I feel it is more than adequate as, while it lacks the wallop of a turbo, by 4000rpms, it is struggling to find grip, being front drive, and I've had an episode where it wanted to steer into the sea on a straight piece of road when I gave it some welly to overtake. That aside it, err.. handles like it's on rails, and I've been more than happy to throw it into corners at speeds as sane as I dare, which it will happily negotiate.
This brings me to my biggest complaint. The steering. It has a nice quick rack, which is great through the twisties, and I'm sure on track days, but requires much attention on the open road. A nervous twitch will see you changing lanes if you lose focus. The feel as well is fine, but somewhat digital - a la' PlayStation, so it's hard to grasp the absolute limits of this car, high though they may be.. It will certainly deliver more than I've ever asked, but I suspect if you get to the point where it says no, you will be traveling at a speed from which, at best you will soil yourself... Alas, as such it possibly robs you of that little thrill you might otherwise get where man and machine become one... making sweet sweet love on the road baby. No, I won't include that - sounds crass...
The interior is nothing to write home about, but is very functional, so I don't really care. The controls are all just Mitsi parts bin fodder, and so lack the nice soft touch of a Euro, but won't be turning to liquid snot any time soon either. The seats are deeply bolstered, and hold you well. I'd say the driving position is spot on for my lanky frame. In the rear it would be difficult to swing a mouse, but I'm not fussed.
So in summary. Yes I'm quite happy with my FTO. There's nothing that I dislike about it. That 6 is very civilised indeed, and likes a good spanking. I wonder why anyone would have a 4 at all over this. Perhaps it's not the ultimate ultimate, but you could shell out more cash and get more cylinders and capacity, which would obviously be check mate, but that's all relative, and I'll happily stick with my little peach a while longer.. Thumbs up!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th September, 2010