Mitsubishi For 1998
By Carey Russ
Mitsubishi introduced four new vehicles and had significant upgrades on most others last. Does that mean 1998 will be a year of rest? No way. This year sees a restyling of the Montero premium sport- utility vehicle and refinements to most other products. Mitsubishi makes a complete line of sedans, sports cars, and sport-utilities.
Mitsubishi has been building 4-wheel drive passenger vehicles for over 60 years. This heritage has been put to use in the Montero, its premium sport-utility vehicle. The Montero has an exterior styling freshening for 1998, and interior enhancements as well.
Externally, the new Montero's flared fenders and lower cladding hint at the Dakar Rally success of specially-prepared versions. Inside is the level of luxury appointment and comfort expected in a premium SUV. Additional insulation makes the 1998 Montero quieter than earlier models, and a redesigned console adds convenience.
One well-equipped trim level of the 7-passenger Montero is offered for 1998, with several option packages for various customer needs. Power is from a 200-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine, matched to a multimode 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission. The standard, technologically-advanced "ActiveTrac" 4- wheel drive system has rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and dual range 4-wheel drive modes for optimum operation in all conditions.
The 5-passenger Montero Sport was the new star of the Mitsubishi lineup last year, and continues to evolve. Four-cylinder ES, and V6-powered LS and XLS trim levels are offered. An XLS 2-wheel drive model is new this year.
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder ES model is available only in rear-drive form with a 5-speed manual transmission. LS and XLS models have a 3.0-liter V6 engine, a choice of the manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, and 2- or 4-wheel drive.
The Australian-built Diamante is the flagship of Mitsubishi's sedan line, and is designed to compete with sports and entry-luxury sedans from around tie world. Offered in two trim levels, ES and LS, it was completely redesigned last year.
Both levels now have standard antilock brakes and remote keyless entry. The ES has minor interior changes, while the LS now has a standard sunroof, high-contrast instrument panel, "HomeLink" universal transmitter, and wheel locks.
All Diamantes have a 210-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine and electronically-controlled 4-speed automatic transaxle with adaptive shifting.
Mitsubishi's midsized sedan is made in Normal, Illinois. It received a facelift and interior enhancements last year, and has solar tinted glass and a new heavy-duty starter and battery this year.
Mirage Sedan and Coupe
With inspired styling and the choice of sedan or coupe body styles, the Mirage lineup has something for every small car need. A new generation was introduced last year. Minor equipment level revisions and a new heavy-duty starter and battery are the highlights this year.
Although many manufacturers have abandoned the sports coupe segment of the automotive marketplace, Mitsubishi has a major presence with the Mirage Coupe, 3000GT, and its most popular sports car, the Eclipse. The Eclipse offers high performance for a very reasonable price. A wide model range fits the needs and budget of many sports car buyers. New in 1995, the current-generation Eclipse had a serious facelift last year and has new levels of standard and optional equipment this year.
There are 4 trim levels, ranging from the sporty-but-economical front-wheel drive RS to the ferocious turbocharged, all-wheel drive GSX. Front-wheel drive convertibles are available in normally- aspirated and turbocharged form.
The sole survivor of a generation of Japanese super coupes soldiers on with minor trim differences for 1998. Three models are offered, all powered by different 3.0-liter V6 engines. The base-model 3000GT has 161 horsepower, the SL produces 218, and the twin-turbo, all-wheel drive VR-4 recalls the glory days of the early 1990s with 320 horsepower.