Boring but bulletproof
It might be bland, but Magna owners swear by it, writes Graham Smith
ESPITE being condemned over the years as being boring and bland, the Mitsubishi Magna stands out as one that can deliver cheap, reliable motoring.
If they had their critics, they also had their fans, and those who bought Magnas, such as the TH, generally became hooked on them.
The Magna is no longer on the market, but plenty of them are still out there on the used-car market, and they can make good buying. THE TH Magna was the third makeover of the third-generation Magna first released in 1996 and the new model had sweeping lines and more athletic proportions. So sleek was its shape that it was the most aerodynamic car made in this country.
When the TH update model arrived in 1999 it had a more aggressive grille, revised rear, updated interiors and new wheel covers and alloy wheels.
Gone by then was the four-cylinder engine. Magna buyers could only buy a V6. A 140kW 3.0-litre single overhead camshaft V6 was available in the entry level Executive model. The rest of the range had a 3.5-litre V6 with performance peaks of 147kW and 300Nm.
Buyers could choose between a fivespeed manual and a four-speed auto.
As with previous models the final drive was through the front wheels.
The TH was the first Australianmade car with anti-skid lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control.
The model line-up kicked off with the Executive, followed by the Advance, Altera LS and Sports.
On the lot
IT’S now more than 10 years since the TH Magna was released, so it’s getting towards the end of its useable life.
Shop around because it’s important with such an old car that you find a gem that has plenty of life left in it.
In the shop
THERE are few reports of troubles with the TH Magna, which backs up claims that it’s pretty much bulletproof.
Most problems can be traced back to a lack of maintenance, so check the service history of any car on sale.
This can be neglected in cars as old as the TH because they can pass into the hands of owners who are sometimes unable to afford proper servicing.
Remove the dipstick and take a look at the oil. If it’s black and dirty look at the service record. You’re likely to find oil leaks around the engine and these could require fixing for a roadworthy.
Rule out any car that has problems with the transmission shifts, particularly any hesitation to shift gears.
Inspect the front driveshafts for damage to the rubber boots. Walk away if any damage is found.
Not all engines in the TH range were LPG-compatible, so make sure the engine in your chosen car is if you plan to convert it.
In a crash
THE base Executive model didn’t have airbags, but all other models in the TH range had dual front airbags.
All had anti-skid braking with the
new feature of electronic brakeforce distribution.
MITSUBISHI claimed the 3.0-litre V6 models would do 6.6 litres/100km on the highway and 9 litres/100km around town. It also said those with the 3.5-litre V6 would do 11.0 litres/100km around town and 6.8 litres/100km on the open
road. Road testers reported the 3.5-litre V6 would average 10-13 litres/100km. OF ALL the cars Damien Hamilton and his wife have owned, and they include an HSV3800, a Nissan 200SX, a Toyota Corolla, three Toyota Camrys and two Toyota Aurions, the 1999 TH Mitsubishi Magna Advance they recently sold stood out for reliability.
In the eight years they owned the Magna Advance, they had it serviced by the book and didn’t have to spend a cent on anything else.
The wear and tear was minimal on things such as brakes and tyres.
In fact the tyres easily lasted more than 100,000km each time.
Admittedly, they say, the Magna was plain to look at, but that was the only negative they came across in eight years. In all other respects it was exceptional and they say it’s a shame they are no longer made.
The bottom line
GET past the name with the Mitsubishi Magna and you will find a strong, wellbuilt, reliable and affordable car.
100 No problems: it was difficult not to be hooked by the strong and reliable Mitsubishi Magna.