Reliable. Well-built. These are compliments not welcome in this week’s Challenge. Today, I present you with two Mitsubishi products, one Honda and two Suzukis. You know the drill by now: try and find one nice thing to say about these oft-maligned cars that doesn’t revolve around their dependability or build quality.
When I last spoke about the final generation of Mitsubishi Eclipse, it yielded some rather negative comments from Curbsiders. The Eclipse was derided as a “bubble on wheels”, was said to look “constipated”, “sad” and like a “rubber blob… with cartoonish proportions”. And that was just some of the comments!
Clearly, the Eclipse’s design rubbed people the wrong way. The Eclipse had long ago lost its turbocharged engine, all-wheel-drive and boy-racer credentials and for its final generation had gained a further 300+ pounds in weight. The base engine was an outmatched 2.4 four-cylinder with 162 hp and 162 ft-lbs, left to haul 3200+ pounds of Eclipse. But the new, bigger 3.8 V6 put out 263 hp and 260 ft-lbs, good figures for the day; there was a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic (five- and four-speeds, respectively, in the 2.4). It was still a rather heavy, front-wheel-drive coupe and convertible but the Eclipse rode and handled quite well by 2006 standards. Alas, Mitsubishi – as with its other Project America vehicles, the Galant and Endeavor – left the Eclipse to wither on the vine. By 2012, it was very much outdated and Mitsubishi mercifully pulled the plug.
Mitsubishi axed the Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor at the same time, instead focussing on smaller models in the North American market. The old Mirage nameplate was dusted off for a new subcompact hatchback that would be one of the cheapest cars on sale today. Reviews of the new Mirage have been fairly critical, as the little hatch is built to a price and powered by a tiny 1.2 three-cylinder engine with just 74 hp and 74 ft-lbs. Bright colors and high fuel economy, as well as that low list price, help sweeten the deal for consumers who just want a cheap new car with a warranty. But the Mirage is thoroughly outgunned by the nearly identically-priced Chevrolet Spark, which looks better inside and out, drives better and is more powerful.
The Suzuki X-90 had a bright color palette and dimunitive dimensions like the Mirage but that’s where the similarities ended. I’ve covered Suzuki’s bizarre leisure vehicle before but to recap: the X-90 was based on Vitara/Sidekick mechanicals but featured a two-door, three-box body with removable roof panels. Goofy looks, poor practicality and a higher price than the mechanically-related Sidekick made these utterly pointless vehicles which sold only on their dubious stylistic merits. Still, the basic mechanicals meant that – in 4WD guise, at least – the X-90 was capable off-road.
While many remember the X-90 as a peculiar curiosity from the 1990s, the 2002 Suzuki Aerio (also known as Liana) has been almost completely forgotten despite a lengthy six-year run in North America. Suzuki’s tiny dealership network and non-existing advertising are most to blame. So, what was the Aerio? It was a spacious albeit oddly proportioned compact available as either a hatchback or sedan. While in Australia our Liana received only 1.6 and later 1.8 four-cylinder engines, the North American Aerio came with 2.0 and later 2.3 four-cylinder engines, the latter of which produced a healthy 155 horses. Available all-wheel-drive also made the Aerio one of North America’s cheapest cars so equipped.
Common complaints were the Aerio’s poor handling, overly soft ride and cheap interior. As General Motors then owned 20% of Suzuki and also owned Daewoo (now GM Korea), in 2004 the North American Suzuki lineup was supplemented with the Daewoo-sourced Reno and Forenza. Although the Aerio was a higher-quality vehicle, it was neither as attractive nor as cheap as its new showroom-mates. The Korean Suzukis outsold the Aerio by more than 2-to-1 and now nobody can remember the little Aerio except its loyal owners, like my friend Maree. Despite now driving a Toyota Supra, she still has fond memories of her little Suzuki.
The Accord-derived Accord Crosstour (later, just “Crosstour”) was a huge disappointment for Honda, consistently and markedly outsold by the conceptually-similar Toyota Venza which itself wasn’t successful enough for Toyota to continue beyond a single generation. Count me as a fan of the Crosstour, however. For those who wanted all-wheel-drive – not available in the Accord sedan – and a little bit of extra versatility without going full mommy-mobile and buying a Pilot, the Crosstour had merit. Some find the design ugly whereas I find it mostly attractive. It’s really just a jacked-up mid-size hatchback and has all the basic merits of the regular Accord.
Go ahead, try and say one nice thing about these cars. If you’re feeling really generous, try and say something charitable about the Acura ZDX which Gerardo discussed earlier this week.
Mitsubishi sure has built several very interesting cars. While Suzuki has no qualms about building the world’s quirkiest small cars.
There, I did it, and I actually believe what I “said”.
The final generation Eclipse, for all it’s aeformentioned faults, was still better looking than the previous generation version. I do remember going to school with someone who bought one brand new, and was quite taken with it, and he was quite surprised by our distaste for it.
The X-90? Well in a world of boring grey CUVs I’d take it in a heartbeat over one of those appliances. At least it wore it’s flaws on it’s sleeve, most actually think their cute utes are practical automotive evolution, HA!
I get really annoyed by the flack the Mirage gets. If anything is a modern interpretation of the old Geo Metro / Ford Festiva, this is it. It’s reasonably roomy, comes standard with things like full power, keyless entry, and auto a/c. Great in-city fuel economy. Mitsubishi still backs it with their Kia / Hyundai challenging warranty ( I don’t buy that Mitsu will up and leave the North American market. They would have already if they were going to ). It gets fairly good safety ratings while only weighing 2,000 pounds. And nobody pays full sticker on one. This spring the local dealer had several going out the door for $8,990. At that price it is very hard to ignore the value when you purchase one with the full intent to drive it long past final payment stage. It’s not anything it isn’t trying to be, and a fair bit more than what people expect for such a small, cheap commuter.
You know, you’re right. And I forgot about the Mirage. I’m actually glad they still make cars like this. I wouldn’t pay even nine grand for one, but in about 18 months when they show up on dealer lots for $4995 with 30,000 miles on them I think they’ll be a darn good value. Nothing wrong with a cheap, low spec, nominally powered Japanese car. Isn’t that how they took over the world to begin with?
I also give Mitsu props for offering the Mirage in Kermit Green, Purple, and Pink. In a world of black and silver, it’s nice to see some variety – and that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
+1 on their colour availability.
Agreed. Folks always wax nostalgic about the simple, cheap cars from the past, and the Mirage is the closest thing to it. But folks also love to diss whatever seems inferior, regardless of its price and place in the market.
I’m glad to see the Mirage be the last man standing in the shit-box class!
I’m not going to whine about the Mirage but in defense of nostalgic folks the shit-box class USED TO cross segments far beyond subcompacts. Today full size car means full array of standard options, in the exact inverse of the Mirage which plays directly into the often maligned trope that small car = Shit-box. The proponents of simple cheap cars are not necessarily going to be the same people who are detracting the Mirage for being one. There’s quite a large(literal) gap between a tiny lurid hatchback that’s available and the Biscayne like package they long for.
In Austria Mitsubishi now sells the 6th gen as the Space Star which complies with all of the above once more, RRP is €11K but they will reduce it if you have cash and haggle. And the 1.2L, 80 hp version is not THAT slow (0-100 Km/H in 11 sec, top speed 180 Km/H). Absolutely nothing wrong with that sort of car, and were I looking for a small economy hatch I would not hesitate to buy one.
Oh my gosh, Paul! What a way to put it! (Although, you are right!)…..!
Mitsubishi SEEMS to be following the same route Isuzu took: that is, it’s cars are bordering on irrelevant due to a lack of development/investment in design, the company (currently) puts a large percentage of it’s funds behind SUVs, and what vehicles it sells have disastrous depreciation curves.
BTW, the company’s CEO has said that due to Mitsubishi floundering in most of it’s biggest markets, they are now going to invest heavily in electric and hybrid vehicles. He figures they cannot compete with most car companies so they are going after what they feel is a vast and untapped market.
AND, in Japan, the company recently got into trouble when it overstated the mileage figures for it’s smallest cars.
Mitsubishi may not be quitting the U.S., but the U.S. is quitting Mitsubishi.
“Mitsubishi may not be quitting the U.S., but the U.S. is quitting Mitsubishi”
Or not. Yearly sales for 2015 were 95,324, up 22.8% from 2014. This also happens to be the best overall sales year they have had since 2008. Hence why I said if they were going to leave the NA market, they would have done so already.
The Mirage is actually one of my favourite cars. Despite its external size, it fits my 6’4″ frame more comfortably than almost any other subcompact or compact car. The three cylinder engine sounds like an excitable small terrier, much more interesting than your average four cylinder in the segment. The soft, long-travel suspension, higher-than-average ground clearance, and relatively high sidewalls are an absolute revelation for driving on heavily potholed and frost-heaved roads, and when combined with the fizzy engine and the stick shift, allow the driver to have fun flooring it around town without being a danger to other road users. The controls are easy to use, and the lack of whiz-bang tech like direct injection plus a spacious engine compartment should make servicing a snap. And to top it off, drivers report some of the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid gas car on sources like Fuelly.
I like it too and even the base model has A/C keyless entry and a stereo so really not old days base. One blast from the economy car past is the required every 30k engine valve adjustment on the little three. Bet not many owners will get around to that.
I agree with you. I like the Mirage and for that full sticker price of under $13,000, you get power windows, locks, power mirrors, remote entry, A/C, fog lights, ABS, traction control, 5 year/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty,
The cars come very well loaded for a good price. They are point A to point B commuter cars.
The 2017 Mirage will have a sedan joining the hatch.
The Mirage gets better MPG than the Spark, around 40 combined. When I rented a Spark, I found it more pleasant to drive than expected, but it needs Honda engine refinement & is not really spacious enough for 4 adults. Not sure if I’ll get a crack at the Mirage anytime soon though.
The Venza & Crosstour look like attempts to win over “outdoorsy” Subaru customers.
Interesting comment. When you said it needed Honda engine refinement, I thought “So why not buy a Jazz/Fit?” Then I realized they’re actually a larger size/class. So does Honda need to sell a sub-Jazz/Fit-size car in our countries? Could certainly be curtains for the Mirage et al if they did.
I love the X-90. It’s one of those vehicles that I’d just HAVE to buy if one crossed my path at the right moment and at the right price.
A close friend, who’s an emergency room nurse owned a Suzuki Aerio SX (the wagoney looking one) with AWD that she loved to death. (Literally, it died one night on her way home from the hospital when it threw a piston through its own hood). She had it for 8 years, it got her to work at all hours and in all weather, and her two dopey bassett hounds were very comfortable slobbering all over themselves in the back with the seats folded down.
That’s all I’ve got.
The Suzuki Kazashi was not a bad looking car and nutritious. 7 whole grains on a mission.
I’d go straight past “not bad looking” and say the Kizashi was actually quite attractive. Sadly, it was too late to save the brand, and buyers stayed away as they were understandably concerned about warranty service and parts availability. Were it not for those issues I might have considered one back in 2011.
I test drove one recently when I was used car shopping. The Kizashi has an absolutely wonderful four-cylinder, very spirited with a great engine note. The CVT is surprisingly good, smooth-shifting with no drone. The handling is capable although the ride is annoyingly unsettled. The interior is clean and handsome. But I find the exterior ugly. Really ugly. Bigger wheels and fog lights help, but it looks like a melted Jetta with a nasty Bangle Butt. Even the typefaces are ugly. Overall proportions are ok but I can understand why nobody bought them. Such a shame because the Kizashi concept cars were fairly stylish.
I remember seeing them on display at the airport (of all places!) when I was catching a plane about the time they were released. The styling sure was busy, but what killed it for me was the lack of space inside. I’m not claustrophobic, but the back seat sure was tight, which would have made it useless for us as a family car. I remember them getting good reviews in Wheels, but they commented on the tight back seat too. If only they’d made the wheelbase maybe 50mm longer.
As you say, the concept car looked way better.
I considered one briefly last year before I bought the Mazda 3 but was concerned about dealer know-how or spares availability on a car they sold maybe 50 of here in Austria…
Chris M: I have seen precisely ONE Kizashi since it’s introduction.
Bless you, sir. Would you like a Kleenex ?
The Eclipse looks kinda like a Porsche 911 if you’re a bit drunk.
The Crosstour drives and handles beautifully. The styling is love it or hate it. I think it is attractive, perhaps an Accord for those who wanted something a bit different, maybe some extra versatility and then maybe needed 4-wheel drive. An Accord for the outdoorsy person if you will. The problem with the Crosstour was that it was never a wagon nor was it an SUV. The cargo area was not really all that big. Add to the fact that it has odd styling and it was expensive and then you can see why sales were so poor.
Barbie and Ken approve of the X-90.
I would love a nice clean Crosstour. It would fit so well between the Miata and the Tacoma Double Cab.
But I also loved my 2002 5 speed PT Cruiser.
Like the Cruiser, the Crosstour is probably an acquired taste.
Like pickled herring.
The final Eclipse was far more attractive than the version that preceded it. I appreciated the attempt to capture some of the styling mojo of the very successful 2nd-gen model, even if it did come off as a bit of a caricature.
The Mirage? I like the bright colors. Enterprise car rentals had a purple one at their Nashville airport lot. (Thankfully they did not try to make me drive it.)
The X-90 became the official car of Red Bull for quite a while. As such, I associate it with the attractive young women who were typically their reps.
The Aerio SX4 was quite practical and was one of the only compacts available with AWD. A bargain version of the Subaru Impreza wagon.
The Accord Crosstour has grown on me. I didn’t like it at first but now I actually don’t mind the shape. Yeah, I’d rather have it as a proper wagon, but it’s got some utility without going full-on CUV style. Plus it’s still an Accord, which is still a good thing.
Totally agree with you on the final Eclipse, Chris – I thought (and still think) they look great. I don’t even mind that they look like somewhat exaggerated 2nd-gen models – their looks work for me. What I guess I didn’t remember or realize before reading William’s article was that all performance was gone by that point. No matter, though – not every sporty car needs to be the hi-po version.
Well Peugeot was successful (sort of) with the RCZ (more than 60.000 sold over 5 years) and the styling is very similar. I don’t like both – I never liked pretender sports coupes – but it is what it is…
The final Eclipse nicely showcased Mitsubishi’s prodigious skills and talents in finding pointless and dumb ways to add cost to a headlamp while subtracting performance: it had a faintly-blue transparent polycarbonate disc held between the bulb and the headlamp lens by three chromed arms. The purpose of this disc was…nothing. It didn’t change the appearance of the lamp from more than about 3 feet away (and then you had to be really staring and caring to notice). It didn’t change the colour of the light. It slightly reduced the output of the lamp—which wasn’t all that good to begin with, given its archaic and inefficient 1971-technology H4 bulb.
The nice thing about the Crosstour is that not many of them sold and then they quit making them, so our eyes are mostly spared having to look upon that excrescence. It’s especially nice how North Americans begged Honda for the rest-of-world Accord wagon (“Take my money!”), and Honda instead shat this hideous, bloated thing upon North American roads.
The nice thing about the Aerio is that it wasn’t called something even dumber like Esteem.
I had the blue things in my old Saab’s headlights. The catalog said they were styled after Scandinavian iceblocks. Mitsu probably used Normal iceblocks as a guide. The did look cool in the garage at night as the headlights would stay on and outlast the garage door opener light yielding cool reflections on the garage wall for a few seconds with me lingering at the door into the kitchen to see the show.
I liked the looks of the Eclipse in convertible form; and they were rarely painted grey, sandstone, sea-foam blue or some other non committal, won’t hurt resale, non-colour.
The Suzuki X-90 is a quirky relic of a bygone era and I kinda like it for that. The facelifted Mitsubishi Mirage looks alright enough and surprisingly enough the rental company I work for has a few. All have Cali plates so I assume it was a regional decision to buy one. My mama was thinking of buying a new Yellow Suzuki Aerio as a more fuel efficient runabout than her 95 Voyager, but decided against it. One of her main concerns was the ride would be unbearable on Tompkins County’s roads and the body cladding would get ripped off by those same roads. Concerns about rusting Japanese vehicles also came up. Now the Suzuki Equator, that is a rare vehicle.
The X-90, once you fit proper tires and modify the suspension a bit, has very good offroad capabilities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVPSPhEm1fM
Mitsubishi Eclipse – say one nice thing:
Girls named Donna had to have something to buy from 2002 to 2009 when there was no Camaro (especially the Spyder version.)
I’d rock an X90 or an Aerio as a cheap commuter. I like quirky and different.
I remember that when the Aerio came out C&D joked that you could probably convince the neighbors that it was “kit car” you had built yourself.
I dunno about the Aerio, but the subsequent SX4 was known to have satisfying road feel and dynamics, and Suzuki generally knows how to make a satisfying small car, even if refinement and looks are lacking in the Aerio’s case. The later Aerios also got a decent engine (by the standards of 12 years ago, before everything got DI and turbocharging).
If the Crosstour had been a proper wagon, there might well be one in our driveway. Subaru’s Legend/Outback is making hay, with very little direct competition. A Honda AWD wagon might have been one.
I wonder how hard it would be for an adventurous gear head to swap the Crosstour’s AWD system into a TSX wagon; pretty sure the Japanese market Accord wagon had an AWD option (though don’t quote me on it).
As Honda already had a proper wagon in the TSX, they probably figured a full size US/Asia Accord wagon would be redundant.
The logic falls apart when attributing motive/intention to the Crosstour. I can see it making sense at a normal ride height, without SUV affectations; a sporty Accord hatch might be quite fun, with AWD used to quell torque steer. And such a car would leave breathing room for Acura, too, if it avoided the torque vectoring SH-AWD system. If Honda could’ve offered a six-speed stick (as on the coupe) as an option as well, they might’ve had a compelling five-door lift back functioning as a cut-rate A7.
I’m not saying that’s the most sound business proposition, but a crossover like the Crosstour, with meager cargo room, no off-road ability and named to distance itself from its corporate sibling makes even LESS sense.
All of which makes me realize that modding a Crosstour in such a fashion, using the innards of a “beak” era TL six-speed, would make for quite a sleeper.
The big problem with the Crosstour was that in real world conditions, the backseat space was smaller than the regular sedan. What’s the point then when you have the cavernous Pilot?
I had an Aerio sedan rental for events out in California. The A/C worked flawlessly in the Arizona desert, and it was comfortable. Is that what you wanted?? 🙂
I actually like the Crosstour. It’s actually nice looking for crossover vehicle – a segment whose vehicles are usually just weird. And I’ll add a nice comment about the similar Acura ZDX which Gerardo posted about on June 1st. I never knew about that car, and it looks like a nicer version of the Crosstour.
I also liked the last generation Eclipse, even though I think I like the previous generation a little better.
And I’ll add one more nice thing about Mitsubishi. I’ve learned to like my wife’s Lancer, even though I’m not a fan of its CVT transmission. And, it’s the easiest car to change the oil in EVER!!! (Checking the oil however, not so much, especially in the dark. ;o)
There’s nothing wrong with the Mirage that a small turbocharger and firmer suspension can’t remedy. I suppose once all that were to be added, pricing would put the car in the line of fire from B-segment sophisticates like the Fiesta or Sonic.
But really, I appreciate the Mirage for what it is and the same goes for the Yaris (before the most recent, ghastly facelift).
Mitsubishi has not changed a whole lot from the early 70s when smoke blew out exhaust pipes of sorry owners. Other than they don’t smoke now. Still a sub Asian choice for a new car. I’m surprised they have not folded as they don’t produce anything people even recognize. unless there is something in the pipeline I’m not aware of, please go away with Volvo and leave room for superior Asian cars. They used to make Junk, and unless there is major news… I’m not impressed with the brand.
From my perspective, not knowing the inner workings of Mitsubishi Motors’ logistics, the screwing up of the Eclipse could’ve been avoided. Mitsubishi could seemingly have based the Eclipse off the Lancer. The Outlander Sport is already built off that platform and is built in Illinois, as the Eclipse always has been.
Basing the Eclipse off the Lancer would’ve resulted in a more lithe base level car, and could’ve appealed to different buyers, with a turbo front-drive version as well as a “GSX” version based off EVO hardware. And it wouldn’t have hurt the EVO’s sales, necessarily, as the famous rally-bred sedan appealed to WRX intenders and is seen as a very specialized, and very special, product.
Now that I think about that possibility, I wonder why Mitsubishi never took the opportunity to build Outlander Sport with EVO hardware as well. A detuned version of that engine with less sophisticated AWD hardware would make that product stand out, and at minimal R&D cost. It’s been a money-maker for Subaru’s Forester XT (though the take rate for the latest turbo’d Forester is deservedly lesser, since Subaru’s latest cars show a surprising and profound lack of imagination).
Mitsubishi already had a Lancer-based sporty coupe, the FTO, so they could have assembled that in the US. We see a few in Australia as used imports. They’re a bit tight inside though, so you were probably better off with the Eclipse.
Yeah but it had been out of production since 2000 (and it was gorgeous). The 2000-2005 Eclipse sold well, but I think it was a dead end. My point was that it could’ve (seemingly) been easy and cheap to make a relevant, hi-performance Eclipse again using Lancer mechanicals (it’s a platform used for everything from Caliber to Outlander to EVO, built both in US and Japan).
That generation Eclipse was the only car I can recall in the last 15 years that I was made aware of its existence standing next to it at a dealership. That might not be complimentary…
I’m glad the Mirage exists. Yes, everything is getting better, but with that makes everything more expensive. In the same way that you can’t buy a modest new house anymore, your choices for a cheap new car have nearly eroded away. Why does everything have to have 270hp? Why can’t you be happily miserable in a car you can tell people in 15 years how awful it was but how much fun you had in it?
Everyone driving an X-90 looks silly because of its proportions. But silly in a fun comical way. I knew a guy who was over 6′ tall and in the 300lbs range who drove one of them. You couldn’t help but smile seeing him in it.
I never drove an Aerio, but I would always look at them on Cars.com to find out what they were going for near me. The thought of a low mile, later model, AWD wagon for no money was and is very appealing. I don’t think I have ever had a problem with them. I like their quirky looks.
In much the same way I am glad the Mirage exists so lower income folks can buy a new car, I’m glad the Crosstour existed because it made it easier for me to spot people who have absolutely no interest in driving or cars.
Sorry, I haven’t been able to say anything nice about Acura since 2008. Well, other than how they’ve started to do away with the beak.
I loved the quirkiness of the Aerio. This is another rental vehicle that I found fun to drive and practical.
It was based on the last double wishbone front suspension equipped Accord. It beat the pricier, outwardly similar, MDX-based Acura ZDX, which like the Odyssey based-MDX, had a strut front suspension.
The Crosstour is the only AWD US Honda (not counting Acuras) to have double wishbone front suspension.
On a Mitsubishi side note, I think the Montero/Pajero is pretty neat and really wish they would sell it here. I realize that pretty much only I and about 3 other people probably want a tall, boxy, body on frame SUV that’s more at home in Africa or the Middle East, but hey, Mitsubishi is a niche player, they might as well sell a niche product.
Crosstour definitely has better rear visibility than a ’73 Mustang Sportsroof.
Damning with faint praise? 🙂
I will absolutely vouch for the Aerio as a compact that deserved better than it got – even though its wacky looks were clearly never going to garner mainstream success.
Strength #1: 155 hp may not stand out today, but that was a lot of horses for a mainstream compact in 2005. In terms of output, it straddled the mainstream- and sports-compact classes. The engine was arguably over-sized and buzzy, but the clutch and shifter feel were pretty decent, so while refinement wasn’t top notch, this car was way quicker and sportier than its silly looks indicated.
Strength #2: Steering. The Aerio was tall enough, and its seats weak enough on lateral support, that you wouldn’t want to do any serious corner-carving in one. But its firm and precise helm meant that you could thread it through traffic like a Mazda 3 (if, admittedly, one viewed through a fisheye lens). It was actually a pretty sporty ride, and one that I enjoyed driving in my brief acquaintances with it.
Strength #3: Interior quality. Suzuki’s reputation was diluted by its tie-ups with Daewoo late in life, but the Aerio had proper Japanese fit-and-finish in its interior, and it felt like a high-quality, well-assembled product that would last a long time. I never owned one, so I don’t know – but in the showroom, I doubt anyone would have flinched if it had had Toyota badges on it.
So there you go – more than a few nice things to say about the Aerio. Actually, its market failure is quite sad in light of the fact that tall, awkward, car-based compacts became the new definition of family cars not long after its departure. In its own humble way, it helped to blaze that trail.
anyone who I spoke to that owned an aerio never had an unkind word to say about them. they loved them and swore by them, not at them. in my personal experience, that didn’t happen with a lot of comparable makes.
the eclipse had what I thought was a good style and was one of the easiest cars to identify on the road. you know, like “back in the day” when everyone said cars didn’t blend in and we didn’t whine about “cookie-cutter” style.
the others..ehhh…I can only do so much nice in a day and that was it. 😉
The Liana was actually reasonably popular in Norway, mainly in thanks to Suzuki’s large dealer network, and their slogan “Suzuki – Made for Norwegian conditions”
While Suzukis have never been top sellers in Norway, they have never really been obscure either, they’re not up there with Toyota, Vw, Ford, Renault, etc – But they have a decent share of the market.
Personally I don’t like these Lianas, but I can see why old people like them, tall, easy to get into, but not too high off the ground etc.
The good old Suzuki Alto was the cheapest car (costs per kilometer) on the road for years in a row.
I learned, from Suzuki’s website, its successor is the new Celerio. Prices start at € 9,999. (yep…)
Long live the new Mirage ! On the other hand, how many of these small A-segment cars are available right now ? Must be more than a dozen brand names.
When I check the Crosstour, I wondered if Honda had taken their hands of some old blue prints of a proposed and aborted 2nd-gen Chevrolet Citation hatchback?
It does have some resemblance to the short lived Chevy Corsica hatchback, of course on a bigger scale
That would be the early 90s Seville, John C.
Not to beat a dead horse, but check the official Mitsubishi website. Mitsubishi’s newest car is a sedan version of the Mirage. If you don’t want a hatchback or sedan Mirage, your only other car choices are the Lancer (but all the “hot” Lancers are gone) and the i Mec.
Granted, 2015 may have been the company’s best year in the U.S since 2008…but you can’t grow much market share, with gas so cheap, with 2 small, gas powered sedans and 2 compact SUVs.
BTW, I also believe an opportunity was missed when the Eclipse grew even bigger in it’s last generation instead of being switched to the Lancer platform.
And Mitsubishi no longer has any assembly plants in the U.S. or Mexico. If the yen gets stronger, Mitsubishi could be in big trouble in this market.
I rented a new Mirage in Sunnyvale a couple of weeks ago. I gave it back after one day and was grateful(!) for the Yaris they substituted.
As a Mitsubishi and Suzuki owner, I can tell many nice things about the “other” japanese brands. First of all, it’s just so good that they exist. Here in Chile, these brands are highly popular, and offer an interesting range of cars. Our 2015 Celerio is not so different to the Mirage in size, has an even better mileage, and fulfills our need of a small, economic and reliable car. The Mitsu (a l-200 ute) is the second best selling light vehicle in Chile (as a 4×4 double cab it is ideal for mining companies), and Is a very rugged and versatile vehicle. i think these brands are doing well in the “rest of the world”, especially in Asia, with products that are attractive for many emerging markets.
I hope they keep being successful here for many years to come!
I’ll offer you guys a bit of a shocker.
Two years ago I seriously considered opening a Mitsubishi franchise. There is a long list of reasons why you do want to have a franchise car dealership in the retail car business that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you’re selling new cars. Financing, service, parts, the type of clientele you can attract, access to tools and remarketing channels (online auctions and ‘closed sales’ that only involve new car dealers of that specific brand). The list is long enough for me to probably write a mini-novel about it.
Mitsubishi hit rock bottom back in 2014 due to a lot of nasty publicity regarding the Mirage and the lack of recent competitive product here in the USA. The funny thing was that the franchise was a lot more valuable than most retailers in our industry would ordinarily assume.
The Outlander and Outlander Sport were in the right market segments,and thanks to their healthy depreciation after they’re sold new, you could usually retail them for very healthy margins if you’re willing to learn the niches that they attract. These two models are routinely my top sellers.
The Mirage is an excellent fit for the sub-prime market. Long story short, you can sell a new one for a lower payment than many five year old cars and they can be financed over a far longer period of time (7 years vs 3 to 5). This is one of the main reasons why Mitsubishi was able to sell so many of them despite the bad reviews. A car that costs only $5 a day and can ‘make the note’ is an excellent alternative for a lot of folks who have limited funds. The fact that it’s paired with a 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty makes it an even more compelling vehicle in the eyes of consumers who are just looking for a hassle-free way to get from A to B.
In the end, the area I wanted to put the dealership at wasn’t a good fit for them and I decided to focus more of my resources on late model vehicles. As for the Eclipse, it’s a nice looking car that has what can only be described the worst space utilization of any modern car. It’s the size of a Galant with half the seats and a third less visibility for the driver. I could tell you tales of their dashboards and paint jobs peeling off within five years and Mitsubishi ignoring both issues. But I also know that the 2.4 Liter was produced in the millions and the reliability of Mitsubishi powertrains tends to be better than more popular Japanese brands such as Subaru and Nissan.
The Aerio is a fun and interesting car, but the check engine lights always come standard at the auctions due mainly to the mediocre emission systems. You need to be in an area without emissions to enjoy driving one.
I have never owned the X-90 or Crosstour so I can’t give a qualified opinion on those. The Kizashi tends to have CVT issues over time but you can buy a 2012 model with a manual transmission (hypothetically) and enjoy a 7 year / 100,000 mile warranty. All the Suzukis sold from 09 onwards have transferable warranties that go into effect once the vehicle is registered. That means you can buy a 3 year old Suzuki that was built in 2012 and sold in 2013 that will have a powertrain warranty until 2020.
For a lot of used car shoppers, these two brands are the ultimate versions of hitting ’em where they ain’t. I think that will be the enduring legacy for the Mitsubishi and Suzuki brands. Their value goes beyond the product that they sell, and thank God for that!
Back in 2003 or so there was a neat commercial for the Mitsubishi Eclipse where this cute girl in the passenger seat was doing dance moves to the song, “Days Go By” by the band, “Dirty Vegas.” (The girl was wearing a seat belt while making the moves.) Google it on YouTube.
As others have pointed out, aside from being only slightly smaller, not having optional all-wheel drive and having a conventional trunk lid, the new Honda Civic sedan sure looks a lot like the old Crosstour. Same roofline.
I’m guessing that the Mirage would kick ass in snow with it’s 2000 lb weight and front wheel drive on those skinny tires. I like the looks of the Crosstour. It reminds me of a modern hatchback take on a step down Hudson. The X-90 is a modern Jeepster in spirit.