Ever heard the saying, “The higher you go, the harder you fall”? Well, Mitsubishi Corporation is a living example. Once a force to be reckoned with, thanks to its glorious 4-cylinder supercar slayer the legendary Lancer Evolution, it has taken a nosedive from automotive excellence. Ever since the Lancer Evolution retired from the asphalt, the Japanese automaker’s lineup is nothing more than a fleet of pale economy cars and lackluster crossovers.
However, underneath all the madness and confusion, there are a few promising signs of life in the coupe-like Eclipse Cross SUV. Even though the Japanese automaker is making considerable strides to regain its reputation, it's hard to forget the sheer number of fails in its history. Here are ten disappointing cars Mitsubishi ever made.
10 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander was Mitsubishi’s attempt to get into the three-row SUV segment, which is rare among small SUVs but not unheard of in Japan. The 2018 Outlander came with a tempting pocket-friendly starting price of $16,000 to $26,000 with extra bargains once potential buyers got to the showroom. Its profile might get you thinking the Outlander is a lot of a car for the money, but don’t be fooled, it’s not a competitive model.
The Outlander suffered electrical system issues where FCM ECU software triggered the brake for longer than usual, forcing the driver to apply more brakes, which results in rapid deacceleration that could lead to rear-end collisions. The vehicle also came with an incorrect rim size label, which could lead the owner to replace an incorrect size, potentially increasing the risk of a crash.
9 2002 Mitsubishi Dion
The Mitsubishi Dion is a compact multi-purpose vehicle produced by popular Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Corporation. After its exhibition back in 2000 at the Tokyo Motor Show, it was sold globally and specifically in Europe. The compact MPV (multipurpose vehicle) comes with three engine variants, including a 2L 4-cylinder engine, a 1.4L GDI, and a 2L GDI engine.
Most of Dion’s problems began with its GDI engine that often led to oil pump issues and eventually seizing of the engine.The Gasoline Direct engine was marred with issues that affected a large portionof the Japanese Manufacturer’s fleet.
8 Mitsubishi Mirage
For starters, the Mirage has a minute engine. To be specific, it comes with a 1.2L 3-cylinder engine making 72hp, which is little enough to make a Honda Fit look like a muscle car. It weighs 2,000 pounds and does zero to 60 in 11 seconds, which in the car world is perhaps the slowest speed in modern car ratings.
However, when it comes to fuel economy, the Mitsubishi does incredibly well, but not too far from its competition. The Mitsubishi Mirage has an EPA rating of 37 mpg city and 44 mpg highway, which is three miles per gallon more than the Honda Fit. The Honda Fit generates 140hp and can do zero to 60 in 8 seconds, which speaks volumes about the Mitsubishi Mirage.
7 Mitsubishi Lancer
The Mitsubishi Lancer is the base model on which its older, and more popular brother, the Mitsubishi Evolution, is built. The Lancer’s shortcomings begin with its inexpensive and less than thrilling driving chops, which is not very desirable. The standard ES model is bare-bones but very pocket-friendly.
It comes with a 4-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual or optional CVT making 168hp. The standard version of the Lancer makes 148hp. The Lancer trails considerably in its class when it comes to tech and driver-assist options. It’s a fossil with a new shell.
6 2008-2009 Mitsubishi Raider
The Mitsubishi Raider is a Dodge Dakota in a Mitsubishi outfit that sells for less than $20,000. It comes with a V-6 engine making 210hp with an optional V-8 model, making 230hp and a 6,500 lb. towing capacity. The Raider’s interior is much better than the Dakota, which makes it look like driving a fashionable cabinet.
The Raider, like most vehicles on the Mitsubishi lineup, suffered dismal sales; in 2008, it plunged 64% compared to the previous year, and was rated one of the worst-performing vehicles of 2008. As of 2010, the Raider is no longer in production.
5 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor
The Mitsubishi Endeavor was a product of Mitsubishi’s California design studio and ran on a tweaked front-wheel-drive system like the one you would get on an Eclipse or Galant. The Endeavor has a foreign design that’s not exactly from the earth, more likely Venusian. It's interesting, both in a good and bad light.
Its roof rack and crossbars design feel like an afterthought. It’s still puzzling why its limited variant’s tiny round fog lamps have big square bumper holes. The Endeavor also packs a conventional mechanical package, with a single 3.8L V-6 SOHC engine option paired to a spintronic 4-speed automatic making 210hp. For the all-wheel-drive models, there is a center differential distribution torque 50/50 front to rear.
4 Mitsubishi Mirage G4
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is a sedan variant of the unpopular Mirage hatchback. It is perhaps one of the most affordable small vehicles you can currently get on the market. But the Mirage G4 comes with a few lemons that prospective owners need to be aware of. Just like the Mirage, it generates very little horsepower.
It’s also got a noisy motor that runs rough and harsh, especially when you push the throttle hard. Additionally, the interior is pale and unadorned, which is the opposite of what vehicle manufacturers are currently doing. The only positive thing you will get with the Mirage G4 is an excellent fuel economy.
3 Mitsubishi Space Wagon
The Mitsubishi Space Wagon or Mitsubishi Chariot in Japan is an MPV (Multipurpose vehicle) that was in production from 1983 to 2003. This compact MPV was based on the SSW concept car at the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show. The Space Wagon is a Dodge and Plymouth Colt Vista Wagon in a Mitsubishi outfit.
Like most of the collaborations between the Japanese automaker and Dodge, the Space Wagon had its fair share of problems. Owners complained of starting problems when the engine was warm, which pointed towards a camshaft position sensor problem. Additionally, there was a clear engine tapping noise. The Mitsubishi Space Wagon was a poor performer, even though versions of the vehicle had the same 4g63T engine you would find in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
2 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
The last time Mitsubishi was selling pickup trucks in the US, it was in 1996, with the Mitsubishi Mighty Max, which later resurfaced as the Mitsubishi Raider. The Mitsubishi Mighty Max was a no-frills 4-cylinder truck generating about 116hp, which in American pick-up truck lingua is a big joke.
However, it came with a price-tag that no one could beat at $11,000, which explains why its sales tanked in the U.S in the first place. After suffering from low sales and massive complaints from its owners, production stopped, and the remaining units were rebadged as Dodge trucks.
1 2000 Mitsubishi Galant GDI
The Mitsubishi Galant GDI is a 4-cylinder four-door front-wheel-drive sedan. It comes with a naturally aspirated double overhead camshaft generating 142hp paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. The Galant GDI was not popular in the U.S partly due to its teething issues.
Mitsubishi Galant owners were frequent visitors of auto service shops with mysterious complaints. There are reports of problems affecting units with as little as 3,000 miles. If neglected, the issues magnified, leading to a costly top-end engine teardown or mechanical cleaning to restore it to its original function.