Bor­ing but bul­let­proof

It might be bland, but Magna own­ers swear by it, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

DModel watch

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.

Pay $2000-$5000.

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.

At thep­ump

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

Own­ers say

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.

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