This week I tested the 2004 Mitsubishi Diamante VR-X 4-door sedan. It is perky light on its feet and comfortable. It is also practical in large part because it is built by a Japanese company. Not only are Japanese cars generally better on fuel they are cheaper to operate overall.
They are also more likely to cost more to purchase new or used. That’s the bad news and the good news. Bad that you must pay a premium when you buy one but good news when it comes time to sell.
Wayne (a Chinese friend of mine) asked me to review his auto situation. Seems his wife and son are pushing him to buy a BMW sedan or X5. My first response was why? So we reviewed hi present combo of cars. Two 1990 vehicles – a Toyota Corolla and a Mitsubishi Montero. Annual cost of theCorolla figures to be about $500 per year, after selling it for $3,000 (seems Corolla is in high demand in the Chinese community especially so since it has low mileage (under 8,000 miles a year). Great car, great service. Wayne intends to keep the Montero because it’s in great shape with even less mileage than the Corolla. The big question is should he buy the BMW.
No! My response is based on the fact that I know economy is important to Wayne. Unlike his wife and son who are into impressing others, Wayne is not. How about the cost to purchase and operate the BMW? Surely it would cost three times the cost of the Corolla to buy and depreciation would consume about $3,000 per year by comparison.
I know my kids don’t read my column because they just bought an Acura TL for a lot of money. Ithasn’t got the kitchen sink, nor does it have keyless operation, but it has everything else. Now if they had taken my advice they would have considered this Diamante for about $10,000 less. But who’s kids listen to them anyway? There’s an old saying that … you can tell your Kids, but you can’t tell them much.
Parts – Japan 54%, Australia 42%.
Assembly – Adelaide, Australia
Class: – Mid-Size
Cars: – Diamante, Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Montero and Outlander.
Handling & Performance:
I must say it is a little too light on its feet for my taste. I got a slightly uncomfortable feeling from its loosey-goosey steering.
The picture at first blush could be any one of many more expensive cars, like a BMW.
Fit and Finish:
It is clearly Very good, and up to typical Japanese standards.
This car is Properly equipped for the price level.
Ok. Not fantastic, but ok. The Olds Alero is super competitive, but they are, were, promised to, throw in the towel, take the tent down and stop selling Oldsmobiles. Perhaps that’s why they are so well priced.
Well, I like Japanese cars but they have some serious competition here. I would look hard at the Olds Alero that is very worth your consideration.
Mitsubishi Diamante VR-X $25-28,000, Pontiac Grand Prix $22-26,000, Nissan Maxima $27-29,000, Mercedes Benz C Class $26-51,000, Lincoln LS $32-43,000, Cadillac CTS $31-49,000, Oldsmobile Alero $18-23,000, Audi A4 $26-44,000, Toyota Camry $18-25,000, BMW 3 Series $28-44,000, Subaru Legacy $20-25,000, Infiniti G35 $28-32,000, Lexus ES 330 $31,725, Jaguar X-Type $29-34,000.
Decent fuel performance, smooth ride, roomy, nice styling and surely similar to most of the high demand lines of more expensive competitors.
Some will surely not like the loose feeling of the steering.
3.5 liter V6 210 hp engine, 4-speed auto trans, dual front airbags, child rear door locks and tether anchors, anti theft engine immobilizer, traction control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, climate control, infinity audio system with CD player, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, remote trunk and fuel door releases, 8-way power driver seat, power passenger seat, cloth seating, leather wrap steering wheel, fog lights, auto headlights and power sunroof.
17 City and 25 Highway MPG.