Buy a Mitsubishi Triton get a free goat

June 4th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Triton GLS

In a publicity grabbing special offer, Mitsubishi New Zealand has announced that it will offer a free goat with every Mitsubishi Triton sold before August. The company says this initiative aims to support local productivity.

The strange incentive is designed to get exposure for the Triton and draw comparisons between the vehicle and goats. Peter Wilkins, MMNZ general manager points out that “Goats, like our Tritons, are hardy, versatile units, which will integrate directly into existing farm operations”.

Wilkins goes further “At MMNZ, we are aware that three years of drought has severely depleted sheep and beef populations, so what better time to ‘float the goat’? We’ll supply a free goat with every Triton sold before August and do our bit to loosen the grip of the recession”.

In the unthinkable instance that someone wants a Mitusbishi Triton without the goat, Mr Wilkins explains how it could still work out, “On the off chance that the purchaser already has enough goats or feels that goat herding is better left to those in drier climes, we’ll supply a ‘no goat package’ consisting of a five-year/100,000km extended warranty, five free WOF inspections, 5,000km road user charges, five years of roadside assistance and $500 of genuine or approved Triton accessories.”

You have to appreciate Mitsubishi NZ’s humour, and as a publicity stunt it has been effective with International motoring websites quickly reporting on the odd offer. However, it’s stunts like these which only reinforce global stereotypes of New Zealand being a livestock obsessed rural backwater, if that was true we would all need Tritons just to get around.

Check out the TV commercial below.

Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ400 unleashed

June 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Evo FQ400 fq

The go-even-faster Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ400 has been rumoured for months and details have just been released before sales begin in the UK later this month.

The FQ400 is putting out 403 hp at 6,500 rpm, with peak torque — 387 lb-ft in total — arriving at a usable 3,500 rpm. The extra power comes straight from a set of high-flow fuel injectors and a new turbo with low friction bearings, an uprated thrust bearing and high temperature turbine that Mitsubishi insists will keep turbo lag to a minimum. A new intercooler helps bring down the charge, a new ECU works its computer goodness and a three-inch stainless steel exhaust exits at the center of the restyled bumper, complete with carbon fibre diffuser.

The exterior is dressed up with a carbon fibre front fascia, side skirts and rear wing. The ride height has been dropped by 30 mm with a fresh set of Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, hidden away by front Alcon brakes and 18-inch, nine-spoke rims wrapped in Toyo Proxes R1R rubber.

Interior upgrades for the FQ400 include Bluetooth connectivity, 30-gig hard drive, sat-nav and privacy glass, along with a carbon fibre gear knob and matching handbrake handle.

Mitsubishi claims the FQ400 will hit 100 kph in 3.8 seconds, a very impressive figure considering it’s humble underpinnings.

Mitsubishi releases Evolution X FQ-330 SST

May 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Evo X fq

Mitsubishi is at it again with a new even higher-spec version of its current EVO X hero model. Made for the European market the Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ-330 SST pumps power up to 242kW at 6,500rpm and churns torque up to 437Nm at a comfortably mid-range 3,500rpm. That’s enough to shoot the beastie to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, thanks in part to the smooth and quick SST twin-clutch transmission.

The FQ-330 SST joins the FQ-300 SST, rated at 217kW and 407Nm and good for 4.7 seconds to 100kph. Both are governed electronically at 250km/h max speed. For existing FQ-300 SST owners, the car can be upgraded to FQ-330 spec via a ‘power upgrade pack.’

All the extra power in the FQ-330 comes from an improved intake and exhaust and an ECU remap. The replacement intake goes further than the filter element and housing, but includes a new intercooler piping kit and a racing suction pipe. The exhaust is upgraded from the downpipe through the tailpipe, including new high-flow catalytic converters.

Other key features of the FQ-330 SST include Mitsubishi’s special S-AWC AWD system, 18in Enkei alloys, Brembo brakes, Eibach springs, Bilstein shocks, Recaros and satellite navigation. If all this still isn’t enough, never fear, there is rumours of a FQ-400 in development.

The Mitsubishi Evolution X FQ-330 SST has just gone on sale in the UK.

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart 2009 Review

May 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-lancer-ralliart-fq2

We all need a bit of back up sometimes, Batman has Robin, Shrek has Donkey, Vogel’s toast has Marmite and the Subaru Impreza STI has the Subaru Impreza WRX.  But where is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s super sidekick? It’s been 10 years since the Lancer GSR hung up its guns leaving the Evo to race the badlands alone.  But now, there’s a new deputy in town with Mitsubishi’s latest recruit — the Ralliart Lancer.

The new Ralliart is assigned to the expansive performance gap that exists between the top spec Lancer Evo and the mid-range Lancer VRX model. While there is no doubt the Ralliart is a performance model it’s not expected to show the raw aggression of the current Evo X, so what’s the difference?

Before specification and performance the most obvious difference is price. The EVO is Mitsubishi’s hero model and is valued accordingly at $67,990 with manual transmission and $72,990 with a twin-clutch auto. The Ralliart is priced at $49,990, around $20k less than the Evo and offers more affordable performance, but with what concessions?

Powering the Ralliart is a diluted version of the Evo mill. Using the same all aluminum block, turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder motor the Ralliart is good for 180kW of grunt and 349Nm of torque. This is a 40kW reduction from the higher spec Evo due to a single-scroll turbocharger (instead of a twin) a smaller intercooler, different intake plumbing and a 6500-rpm redline (7K on the Evo). However this harsh comparison with the kingpin Evo shouldn’t leave the Ralliart with major inadequacy issues for it’s a hard hitter in its own right.

The Ralliart achieves the 0-100k sprint in just under 6 seconds and the acceleration is suitably peaky and exciting. But without any degree of launch mode, off-the-line acceleration can be sluggish until the turbo brings the noise. This lag can take a good second which isn’t much but can still feel like an eternity. Once up to speed the Ralliart offers the kind of heavy mid-range punch usually reserved for David Tua opponents and in the upper power-band the delivery is linear and easily managed.

The Ralliart utilises Mitsubishi’s twin-clutch SST (Sequential Sportshift Transmission) six-speed auto transmission. It’s a very useful and interesting unit that makes a worthy offsider for the Ralliart’s modern engine. Always eager to get busy on the driver’s behalf the TC-SST box shifts at lightning speed and is never afraid to blip the throttle and chop down a gear even at high rpm. The sounds of gears and clutches clicking away are not overly insulated from the driver which adds to the rawness of the Ralliart experience. The TC-SST has an available sport mode that holds the vehicle in lower gears longer and squeezes out every drop of power. Manual shift options are available with steering wheel mounted paddles and through the stubby floor shifter, but with an auto transmission this advanced they are seldom needed.

On the windy roads the Ralliart can’t match the bravado of its Evo big-brother but it still has plenty of on-road bite. Using a no-nonsense all-wheel drive system the Ralliart has front and rear limited slip differentials (LSD) and an active centre differential that regulates torque to where it’s needed most. Three handy settings are available thanks to the centre diff — gravel, snow and tarmac. This 3-diff set-up makes for very good balance and the Ralliart can be pointed into corners easily and then powered out early and with haste. When nearing its limits a very gentle and controllable oversteer is felt giving the driver a shoulder-tap to ease off.

The Ralliart’s steering is very quick and focused – it’s firm to handle and offers a high-level of feedback. This does at times translate into steering wheel movement during cornering but most performance car enthusiasts would appreciate the communication.

Suspension is suitably firm but not even close to the harsh ride dished out by the Evo, giving the Ralliart an alert feel while still retaining a decent level of comfort. Road noise however does intrude into overall ride comfort and although a part of the Ralliart’s road-connected character can become annoying on long journeys.

Visually, the Ralliart isn’t far removed from the Evo, sporting the same air-scooped aluminum bonnet and large gulping front grille. Sharp and distinctive lines run throughout cumulating in a flashy rear spoiler. Multi-spoked 18-inch rims, twin exhaust pipes and chrome touches on the bodywork finish off the look.

Inside the Ralliart shares the same interior as the entire Lancer range: it’s dark with hard plastics and highly functional. The mix of silver and black is effective, if not a touch conservative, and the orange/black illumination on the display screens and instruments is easy to read. Deeply contoured Recaro bucket seats lifted from the EVO come as standard, these offer great bolstered support during spirited driving, but have no vertical adjustment which won’t suit shorter drivers. The tested model came with the brilliant 6-disc changer Rockford-Fosgate stereo with subwoofer. Overall the interior is ok, the materials are adequate but it works as a reminder that underneath the performance still sits an economy car.

If things go bang the Ralliart has its safety bases covered with a gang of seven airbags including front-seat mounted airbags, two-row side airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag. Antilock brakes and electronic stability control are also ready to help out.

There is no doubt that Mitsubishi’s ranks have been strengthened by the introduction of the Ralliart Lancer and it’s an awesome offsider for the Evo. It offers exciting acceleration, Evo-styling and a good equipment list all at a palatable price. In fact, when balancing the books in terms of value for money, specification and performance some potential Evo buyers may be persuaded by its charms and become willing to make the required compromises and favour the Ralliart. This healthy internal competition can only help the dueling Lancers in their continuing showdown with the Subaru Impreza.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: from $49,990

What we like:

  • Fun car to drive
  • Handsome styling
  • Reasonable price
  • Excellent auto transmission
  • Bring on the modifications!

What we don’t like:

  • Slow off the mark
  • Road noise
  • Has to run on 98 octane
  • Will the target market really enjoy the constant beeping while it’s in reverse?

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart – Specifications

Engine – LB6RAE41

Displacement (cc) 1,998
Max power (DIN) kW @ rpm 180 @ 6,000
Max torque (DIN) Nm @ rpm 349 @ 3,000
Bore and stroke (mm) 86.0 x 86.0
Compression ratio 9.0:1
Fuel consumption – l/100km 10.0
CO2 g/km 233
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 55
Fuel type premium unleaded 98

Dimensions / Weights

Overall length (mm) 4,570
Overall width (mm) 1,760
Overall height (mm)  1,490
Wheelbase (mm)  2,635
Track front (mm) 1,530
Track rear (mm) 1,530
Turning circle (m) 10.0
Kerb weight (kg) 1,555
GVW (kg) 2,025
Head room – front (mm) 950
Head room – rear (mm) 895
Trunk volume by VDA (litres) 293
Towing capacity with brakes (kg) 1,000
Towing capacity without brakes (kg) 550

UK government unveils electric vehicle incentive program

April 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi iMiEV fq

The UK government has announced a £250 million incentive program designed to get more plug-in and electric vehicles on British roads. The heart of the program is rebates of up to £5,000 for purchases of full electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

This could spell good news for companies like Mitsubishi, Nissan and even General Motors. The Japanese automakers are planning to introduce battery electric cars over the next two years and General Motors plans to launch the Vauxhall Ampera in 2011. The program is aimed squarely at next generation of full function electric vehicles like the Ampera and Mitsubishi iMiEV (pictured) rather than the existing crop of low speed vehicles.

In addition to subsidising new car purchases, the government wants to make life easy for EV drivers by putting in more public charging outlets. Around £20 million of the project money is being set aside for expanding out the UK’s infrastructure of charge points.

Mitsubishi increases production of iMiEV

April 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi iMiEV fq

Mitsubishi has just announced that it will ambitiously increase its production target of the iMiEV to 20,000 units annually by 2012 up 200% on previous goals of 10,000 per year.

Output targets for 2010 are also up 25%, from 4,000 to 5,000 units. That will ramp up to a target of 10,000 cars by 2010, with the 20,000 annual target to coincide with the car’s release for full retail sale in 2011.

The order book for 2009 output is already full for the iMiEV with Japanese corporations putting in requests for 2,000 of the cars.

The electric vehicles are built to fit Japan’s kei-class regulations, which give them the advantage of certain parking, insurance and taxation rules. It also makes for a very compact  and practical way to transport four adults around at city speeds. The iMiEV does remain a very utilitarian vehicle suited only to urban environments and lower-speed duties.

Mitsubishi’s stock saw a mild rise on the Japanese market as a result of the bold announcement despite the carmaker’s overall falling sales.

Mitsubishi Triton becomes safest ute in NZ

March 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Triton GLS

Mitsubishi Motors’ Triton GLS ute has recently received a model year update and is now the first 4WD ute in New Zealand to have side and curtain airbags as standard. This is in addition to the existing array of safety devices that include ABS brakes, driver and passenger airbags, with an on/off switch for the passenger’s air bag.

“The Triton now has more safety features than any other ute in the 4WD segment and none come with side and curtain airbags as standard,” said Mitsubishi Motors NZ general manager of sales and marketing Peter Wilkins. “It already holds a four-star ANCAP rating, placing it first equal in the class but we anticipate this will make us the outright leader.”

The GLS now also features Super-Select 4WD, cruise control and new 17″ alloy wheels. The Super Select 4WD System allows four driving modes and offers on-the-fly shifts from 2WD to 4WD high range at speeds of up to 100km/h.

2H (2WD high range) provides rear-wheel drive for general motoring on the highway or across town. When the weather turns bad and the road gets rough, 4H (full-time 4WD) has the flexibility of a centre differential with viscous coupling unit, providing better traction in unpredictable road conditions or volatile surfaces.

4HLC (4WD high range with locked centre differential) distributes power equally to all four wheels to meet off-road challenges and help keep the vehicle on track in rugged or slippery conditions, while 4LLC (4WD low range with locked centre differential) maximises low-end torque to cross the most difficult terrain.

“These additions bolster what is a very reliable, hard-working diesel ute,” said Mr Wilkins, Mitsubishi Motors NZ general manager of sales and marketing. “And we’ve managed to deliver it at a very competitive price that will appeal,  $52,990 for the manual and $54,990 for the auto.”

Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (LWB) 2009 Review

March 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

mitsubishi-pajero-fq

Now in its fourth generation the Mitsubishi Pajero has established itself as a true bruiser in the 4WD market. Never afraid to roll around in the mud the Pajero has taken top-honours in the Paris-Dakar Rally an epic eleven times (even though its namesake bears little resemblance to the on-road version). But durability and off-road prowess really isn’t enough anymore in a highly competitive market segment. Four-wheel-drives are now expected to offer refinement, fuel-economy and driving dynamics that can compete with increasingly popular crossover vehicles. The Pajero has been face-lifted for 2009, and is ready to go to work. Is the bullyboy still capable of beating off the competition or does off-road muscle still come at the cost of on-road manners?

A quick walk around reveals that although the classic SUV 2-box design has been retained the Pajero has been rounded and modernised but not at the cost of hardy good-looks. Elements of the Mitsubishi corporate face are reflected in the imposing front end dominated by the chrome slats that extend across the front grille. Bespoke front lights transition well into a raised bonnet.  The Pajero’s side panels are rich with feature lines courtesy of thick body-coloured trim.  With the facelift comes new side steps and mud guards. Wide wheel arches house 18-inch rims cloaked in 265/60R18 rubber. Out the back, Mitsubishi has continued with attaching the spare wheel to the swinging tailgate when many competitors now stow it under the body. The spare makes the tailgate heavier to deal with, but it is well secured and only slightly hinders rear-visibility. Overall the Pajero is a top looking 4WD with styling that reflects an awareness of both Mitsubishi’s current design language and its own model bloodlines.

Shift inside and the sharp design work continues with a dashboard that’s symmetrical and well laid out. Durable dark plastics mix together with chrome-like accents in a combination that’s neither too boring nor too busy. The plastics feel hardy, the centre storage bucket is large and deep, but not all storage compartments are well backed with one unable to hide the wires sitting behind it. The centre control stack has a high digital display that has dated looks but has some tricks to impress friends like a digital compass and an elevation reading, alongside trip computer functions.

The Rockford audio system sounds superb, is MP3 capable, has an in-dash 6-disc stacker, and with a rear-mounted subwoofer it’s easy to announce your arrival. Stereo controls take some getting used to but are repeated with steering wheel audio controls. Upholstery is generally soft and comfortable, but the front seats could benefit from greater lateral support. In the rear lays a third row of part-time seating that is pulled up from the floor – it’s an effort to set it up but has sash-seatbelts and is very useful for smaller passengers or children. The Exceed variant has a DVD player for the rear passengers and automatic lights and wipers added to the equipment list.

The Pajero has some smarts, but when the lunch bell rings and its time to get out into the playground, how does it go? Packed under the bonnet is an upgraded version of the 3.2L Direct Injection Common Rail Turbo Diesel power plant. Power has been kicked up from 127kW to 150kW, with torque boosted to 448Nm from 364Nm. Despite the extra power, fuel economy has also been improved with the Pajero only burning 9.2 litres per 100km combined. Towing capacity is still an impressive 3,300kg, though be aware that with the Pajero’s 3-tonne weight, if you pull anything over 1500kg you’ll need a class 2 license.

During acceleration the performance through the 5-speed automatic transmission was fair if not breathtaking. The engine offers healthy doses of mid-range torque, which are too often followed by turbo-lag before the measure is repeated. This makes the Pajero slightly jerky in its power delivery. That said, it’s still easy to drive and can keep up with general urban traffic.

The biggest disappointment from the Pajero motor isn’t in its performance (which is acceptable) but in its volume. The pre-facelift Pajero received stern criticism for this fault and Mitsubishi is quick to point out that cabin soundproofing had been improved for the 2009 model. Unfortunately it’s still too loud under normal driving conditions, when driving alone the quality stereo can drown it out, but with passengers it can be intrusive to conversations. The excessive noise serves to highlight the tranquillity of a rural destination once the engine is stopped, but it does negate the other areas of comfort that Pajero offers. Ride quality is impressive, on the firm side but generally very car-like with only serious dips and bumps being felt in the cabin. While handling is reasonable for a 3-tonne 4WD, the excellent ride quality promises a level of grip that isn’t quite delivered, and therefore care is required not to arrive at a corner 15-20kph faster than the Pajero is comfortable with.  Active stability control mitigates chassis movement, but some body roll can be felt when changing direction.

Leave tarmac behind, hit the trail and any on-road roughness is traded for total mixed-terrain competence. Mitusbishi’s Super Select system makes the changes offering shifts between 2WD (rear) and 4WD high at speeds up to 100kph. Sitting underneath is one of the most comprehensive 4WD packages on the market with four-wheel independent suspension and a monocoque chassis. The Pajero is equipped with (for the acronym lovers) ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Engine Brake Assist Control (EBAC), Active Stability Control (ASC), Active Traction Control (ATC), Hill Hold Assist and a Rear Diff Lock.

The Pajero has a solid chunky feel, but if things go wrong there’s a bevy of airbags prepared for deployment. Side and front dual-stage driver and passenger airbags are fitted, plus curtain airbags.

One of the main criticisms we had with the previous model (read the review here) was the extremely intrusive traction control. This has been fixed in the current model.

There is no doubt the Pajero is an all round tough-guy in the 4WD market and styling is excellent inside and out. Smoother suspension and a more rigid body has sharpened up handling and definitely improved the ride. But the Pajero still has an old school feel, caused largely by a raucous diesel motor and inadequate soundproofing. For this reason it doesn’t feel as road focused as some of its competitors like the Ford Territory or BMW X5. There is no doubt the Pajero’s an accomplished off-roader and while it is a comfortable and usable daily driver, leaving the tarmac is the only way to really reveal its complete value.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: $84,990

What we like:

  • Exterior and interior styling
  • Off-road capability
  • Comfortable ride

What we don’t like:

  • Noisy diesel motor
  • Uneven power delivery
  • Could be even more road-focused

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (LWB) (2009) — Specifications

Engine

Displacement – cc 3,200
Bore and stroke – mm 98.5 x 105.0
Compression ratio 16.0:1
Max power (DIN) (kW/rpm) 150 @ 3,800
Max torque (DIN) (Nm/rpm) 448 @ 2,000
Valves 16
Fuel consumption – l/100km 9.2
CO2 – g/km 240

Dimension / weights

Overall length – mm 4,900
Overall width – mm 1,875
Overall height – mm 1,900
Cargo load space 2nd/3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,758
Cargo load space 3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,050
Wheel base – mm 2,780
Track front & rear – mm  1,570
Ground clearance – mm  235
Turning circle – m 11.4
Kerb weight – kg 2,345
Gross vehicle weight – kg 3,030
Towing unbraked – kg 750
Towing braked – kg 3,300
Fuel tank size – litres 88
Fuel type diesel
Approach angle – degree 36.6
Departure angle – degree 25.0
Ramp breakover angle – degree 22.5
Battery 95D23L
Alternator 120amp

Transmission

5 Speed automatic with sports mode
Super select 4WD with 2 speed transfer
Final gear ratio 3.917
Rear differential lock

Suspension

Front suspension – double wish bone with coil spring & stabiliser bar
Rear suspension – multi link coil spring with stabiliser bar