Mitsubishi’s Magna may not have been at the top of the new car sales charts for sometime, however if you’re in the market for a not too expensive second hand large sedan or wagon and can find a good one they could be just the ticket.
Unfortunately many can’t see past the cars now somewhat aging styling, much of which dates back to the shapes original release. In fact the basic style ran from April ’96 until October ’05 with only a few facelifts and upgrades to keep it going. But the other side of the coin is that Magna is a well-sorted and well-equipped package that has few if any vices to speak of.
Models and features
The range covered in this article represents arguably the best of Magna production. The range includes “a model for every occasion” line up of economy, value and sports / performance vehicles, with a quite large number of the latter to choose from. The luxury line was the Verada, which while built on the Magna platform, is strictly speaking a stand-alone model and is not covered here.
Over the years Mitsubishi has been quite adept at producing many relatively low volume models on the Magna platform and as a result there are many, including various AWD and Ralliart versions, to choose from.
Except for a few base model Executives that had 3 litre engines, all will have Mitsubishi’s silky smooth 3.5 litre V6 with either a 5-speed manual, or more commonly, 4 or 5 speed sports mode autos with Tiptronic shift. Wagon versions are available in many of the models but regrettably not as an AWD.
Equipment levels vary from model to model depending on the specification and are at least equal to the cars main competitors. In terms of safety Magna also rates quite well in crash test results.
On the road
When first released, Magna set a new benchmark for build quality in Australian built cars, although it’s fair to say that to many large car buyers it lacked the street cred of a Falcon or Commodore. It also didn’t help that it was perceived by many as falling between the familiar market segments, being a touch smaller than Commodore and Falcon but having a big six cylinder front drive layout that outclassed the V6 Toyota Avalon.
Magna has a big boot and good space for its occupants. You could get three adults in the back seat, but it would be a little cosier than in its bigger six-cylinder peers. And it’s very quiet inside, with some of the lowest interior noise levels in its class. Magna is a comfortable and refined car, offering strong performance and refinement at a reasonable price.
Reliability is another of Magna’s strong points with few problem areas to be aware of. A thorough check for general wear and tear is required though. Like any belt drive engine, regular cam belt replacement is critical as is cooling system and general servicing and maintenance. Blue oil smoke on start-up could be a sign of valve stem seal problems. Engines that have had oil changes neglected could develop expensive to fix sludge problems. A careful check of engine mount condition is advised. Sagged engine mounts can result in excessive engine harshness.
From 7 to 10 L/100km (based on a 3.5 litre auto Executive sedan).
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.