Many who bought late model Magnas when new would be painfully aware that they struggled to retain value.
But one man’s loss is another’s gain. Given their reliability, they look like one of the better used buys and the all-wheel-drive version one of the diamond brand’s diamonds.
What you get
The TJ series Magna was already aging when the all-wheel-drive models arrived in series II cars in 2003. Mitsubishi’s local engineers cunningly grafted components from the EVO and Japan’s Diamante into the local Magna, making it the first locally built AWD car.
Three specifications were available, a base model – the Magna AWD, the mid-level Sport and the upmarket Verada AWD. The base model’s equipment included ABS, dual front airbags, alloys, LSD, air conditioning and alarm.
AWD versions continued in subsequent facelifted models, namely the TL (mid ’03 to late ’04) and TW series II (late ’04 to late ’05). These model changes brought improved standard features and revised naming for the three specification levels.
Engine outputs are 154kW and 310Nm, though some versions score an extra 5kW and 8Nm.
The all-paw action ceased when Magna was replaced in October 2005 by the new 380.
How it drives
The 3.5-litre V6 is a smooth, responsive operator and is well matched to the INVECs II five-speed auto, the only box available in AWD versions. The weight gain due to the driveline layout punishes performance slightly, but more tellingly at the fuel bowser.
AWD models stand apart from their front-wheel-drive brothers for their grip levels, handy when roads turn wet and slippery or to gravel. There’s improved steering feel and the drive being fed to all wheels dials out most all the understeer that the two wheel drive versions suffer from. Upgraded Ralliart brakes boost stopping efficiency.
Reliability is sound, but proper scheduled servicing is important in preventing problems such as expensive damage due to engine sludging. Check for oil leaks – rocker cover and cam seals are some of the more common sites. Valve train noise may need further investigation. A few cars have experienced heater ‘O’ ring leaks, so look for signs of coolant loss onto the left front floor area – it’s expensive to fix.
Under the pump
Magna AWD will use between 8.0 litres and .1 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
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.
Sedan, 2003 to 2006, 2.5-litre 4-cyl and 3.0-litre 6-cyl
VW Passat 4 Motion
Sedan, 2001 to 2004, 2.8-litre V6
Audi A4 Quattro
Sedan, 2001 to 2005, 3.0-litre V6