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Mitsubishi Nimbus Car Review

Author: NRMA MotoringDate: 1 December 1998

Mitsubishi has updated the image of the 1998 UG Nimbus in an obvious move to bring it closer to that of its competitors. With eyes firmly fixed on attaining at least third position on the people mover sales chart, Mitsubishi aims to sell 100 of the new UG model per month.

Now longer and wider, with an increase in head, leg and shoulder room, plus a higher equipment level, the new Nimbus is claimed to be the cheapest, and one of the best equipped people movers on the market. Its main competition comes from Toyota's Tarago and Spacia, Honda's Odyssey, Mazda's MPV and Chrysler's Voyager.

There is only one model of the Nimbus and it is available with either manual transmission at $35 990, or $37 990 for an automatic version. A package option for an extra $1550, including a passenger air bag and ABS, is the only extra available.

The 2.4 litre SOHC 16 valve engine is a carry-over from the previous model, with some small modifications to make it quieter and smoother whilst improving its performance.

Although the manual transmission is unchanged, Mitsubishi's 'Smart Logic' transmission is used in the automatic version. This unit not only matches the right gear and shift pattern to the existing road conditions, but also adapts its operation to individual operators, after learning their driving style. The selector lever for both transmissions is mounted on a separate console that protrudes from the centre of the dash.

The McPherson strut front suspension is now mounted on a newly designed sub-frame to reduce road noise and improve frontal impact absorption. Minor modifications to the rear trailing arm suspension are designed to increase wheel travel, and improve ride and handling.

Larger road wheels have been fitted to the Nimbus, increasing the diameter by one inch and the width by half an inch. This has enabled the use of larger brakes on the front and rear, incorporating a load sensing valve, increased power assistance and optional ABS.

A driver's airbag is standard on the Nimbus and a passenger airbag is part of the packaged option previously mentioned. The new body style combines additional rigidity with driver's knee protection, redesigned collapsible steering column and relocated fuel tank, enhancing the occupants' overall safety level. An electronic engine immobiliser prevents the Nimbus being driven without its original key.

The UG Nimbus has a bold and more angular appearance than its predecessor, with a higher bonnet line and a steeply raked windscreen. The additional body width and repositioned gear selector, allows a walk-through passage between the front and second row seating. The 50:50 split in the back cushion of the second row bench-type seat, facilitates easy entry to the third row seating. Head room throughout the cabin is excellent, as is leg room in the front and second row seats. However, leg room in the third row could be restricted if the centre seat is right back.

Although good lateral support is provided in the front seats, the second and third row seats are more bench-like and less comfortable. Air flow in the rear compartment is limited, as the rear side windows do not open.

There is an abundance of storage space and cupholders in the doors and side panels, and although there is limited luggage space in the rear, this can be increased by sacrificing the removable third row seating.

The on-road performance of the Nimbus is quite impressive, with all controls placed within easy reach of the driver, although the handbrake lever is too close to the driver's seat cushion. Rear vision is restricted by the rear seat head restraints, although there is a narrow path of vision through the centre.

The ride and handling characteristics of the Nimbus are an improvement on the previous model, offering a good compromise of comfort and cornering ability. The adaptive automatic transmission was smooth and positive in all situations, and the larger brakes provided confident fade free operation in our performance testing.

Access for servicing in the engine compartment is quite reasonable, with service intervals set at 15 000 km or twelve months. Manufacturers warranty extends for three years or 100 000 km.

Summary

The restyled bold image of the UG Nimbus makes it less of a compromise vehicle than the previous model, and should therefore be more competitive in its field. Its high level of performance and driveability, coupled with its flexible seating arrangements, make it worthy of consideration as a family wagon for up to seven people.

Test vehicle supplied by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited

Quick Facts

Make Mitsubishi
Model Nimbus
Category People Mover
Pluses

Ride & handling
Flexible seating arrangements
Engine/transmission performance

Minuses

Luggage space
Rear vision (head restraints)
Air flow in rear compartment

Country of manufacture Japan
Warranty 3 years, 100 000 km
Models Available

Manual & auto

Prices

Manual: $35,990
Automatic: $37,990

Specifications

Engine

 
Number of cylinders 4
Engine size 2.4 L
Induction Multi-point fuel injection
Fuel ULP
Claimed max power (kW) 96 kW @ 5000 rpm
Claimed max torque (Nm) 210 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Transmission

 
Type Automatic

Wheels

 
Wheel type Steel
Wheel size 15 "

Tyres

 
Type Yokohama Aspec / 205/65R15

Steering

 
Turning circle (measured) 11.6 m

Dimensions

 
Mass 1525 kg
Length 4950 mm
Width (including mirrors) 2020 mm
Height 1650 mm
Seating capacity 7
Fuel capacity 63 litres

Towing

 
Max towed mass (trailer plus load) 1200 kg

NRMA Theft Rating

 
Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best) 72

Acceleration - Test results

 
50 - 80km/h 5.3 secs
60 - 100km/h 7.6 secs
0 - 80km/h 8.6 secs
0 - 100km/h 13 secs

Fuel Consumption

 
Best recorded during testing 9.6 L/100km
Worst recorded during testing 11.1 L/100km
Average on test 10.1 L/100km

Braking

 
Distance to stop (from 80km/h) 32.4 metres

Noise

 
Interior noise at constant 80km/h 65 dB(A)

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