Quality performance sedan
The car has been pretty much bullet proof from day 1, except for a recall, which was minor and quickly fixed.
Only 2 annoying problems in its first 3 years:
- Malfunctioning ECU unit, making the traction control light come on and off with any application of the accelerator (eventually found to be a wiring problem).
- Rattling sunroof componentry.
Both were eventually fixed under a 5-year extended warranty at no cost.
The other faults have occurred only from its 9th year:
- Broken electric antenna cord.
- Blown foglight lamp.
Other nagging functional problems is rattling from plastic components, but after 9 years (to be expected) and shuddering brakes from new - in some cars, more obvious than others, but no fault at all, as it is simply the ABS unit doing its start-up check.
Overall, it has been a very reliable car going by this list. Mitsubishi's call centre is second to none, but their dealer network sucks majorly, thanks to poor branding, facilities and customer service.
Also just failed in its 9th year:
- Cruise control.
Fantastic car over flowing high-speed roads, with an awesome free revving engine and Australia's first 5-speed auto with tiptronic shifting.
Fastest Aussie 6 cylinder (atmo) car of its time, leaving in its wake the Ford XR6 and the Commodore S, with MOTOR magazine considering it even a better proposition than the supercharged HSV XU6.
Drive silly and it will ultimately lose its composure through understeering, but traction control is there to help without completely killing all joy (it is also switchable). The same automatic transmission and TC combo were deemed appropriate for the more powerful Ralliart - unlike the manual Ralliart, which differs from the manual VR-X by having a front limited-slip differential.
Steering wheel is somewhat large, feel is somewhat remote and the turning circle is large (not unusual for a FWD with big wheels).
Great comfort inside except for high belt line, but no issue with this model, because it is a limited edition of some 225 models featuring:
- Colour-matched instrument panel with part - Howe leather trim on seats and doors (blue or red leather only, depending on exterior colour).
- Silver/aluminium accented dash and tunnel components, plus silver/black leather steering wheel.
- Upgraded 8-speaker stereo sound system with in-dash 4 CD stacker (good, but not excellent sound quality).
- Black painted door metal door handles and black calipers in classy 17" alloys, that were later fitted to subsequent VR-X (previously 16" only).
This specific car was also optioned with a sunroof (first time on Magna) and upgraded interior lighting.
Relatively well executed bodykit (especially compared to Ralliart) with all important chrome exhaust tip. Some complain about the drone of the 2' exhaust system, but it is sporty and bearable.
Massive boot for its time and well finished componentry overall, apart from really plasticky secondary trim.
Relatively cheap to maintain, and though low mileage, it has been driven extremely hard all its life... testament to its mechanical reliability.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th October, 2010