Hi Forum !
I recently test drove a 2015 Mitsubishi Space Star Klassik Kollektion+ CVT, because I am interested in a cheap to run 3rd car with all the amenities we are used to these days. Main points where good automatic, automatic climate control and good fuel consumption.
All combined it is - even in Germany - not too easy to find a small size car that ticks all the boxes.
Somehow the Space Star always stayed below my radar, even if my wife had two minivan Space Stars (1.3 and 1.9 DI-D) before. Due to some youtube tests I realized there is an option with the Space Star and of course I immediately found the more vitriolic reviews - mainly from North American reviewers. Over here the reviews at least ranged from 'ok' to 'recommented for the city'.
My main car these days is a 2008 Audi A8 4.2 TDI, outfitted with an ABT ECU boosting power to 365PS and torque to 780Nm. I love it for the smooth powerful progress and the (in my opinion) exceptional frugality in its class:
From that data you can see, that I like to save fuel - at least for technical reasons. Even if consumption plays a negligible role in overall cost of the car, I just hate to burn fuel for unnecessary reasons (At least there has to be a good soundtrack, right ?).
This detour is only to give you an insight of what I am used to and to see my experience in a relative perspective (Which might be comparable luxury-wise to journalists, but nobody pays me for the agenda).
Nothing beats own experience, so I went to test drive one - which is not that easy when you are only interested in the cvt version around here.
It was a apple green 2015 Mitsubishi Space Star Klassik Kollektion+ CVT with manual A/C, heated seats - but no keyless entry or cruise control.
Exterieur temperature was around 25 degrees celsius with a fair bit of sun, interieur around 45 degrees celsius before starting up. A/C coped well, at the end of the 14km test drive I mixed in a bit of heat, because it got chilly.
After starting, you can definitely hear the 3-cylinder thrum, but as a fan of uneven firing orders (several 5-cylinders and now a V8) I prefer that to a 4-cylinder.
The CVT makes the car pleasingly snappy from a dead stop (I can't understand why tests say they feel different - my diesel is a lot more restricted from a dead stop in its first centimeters of pedal travel - quite possible to avoid shoving into the car in front).
I love it when an automatic transmission tries to drive with low rpms when there is no demand for power, and the CVT does exactly that. In city, I stayed around 2000rpm usually and when merging on a dual lane in city I was able to merge into 75km/h traffic with a bit more throttle and a maximum 3500rpm. Here the engine is a little bit more present, but still not too loud.
I am ok to hear a reaction from the engine if I demand more power.
In fact hat was the most interesting part of the test drive: In difference to most test videos (where reviewers always give full throttle everywhere and then complain about noise) you CAN have medium acceleration without too much delay from the CVT AND suitable noise from the engine. After merging, the rpms went down immediately.
Next exit, U-turn (tight turning, as everybody knows) and back:
On the onramp (type corkscrew) I realized I'd drive the Audi A4 of my wife through with at least 10km/h more without fuss, while the Space Star was feeling stressed at around 45km/h. Not too much of a problem for me, because with a low threshold usually there comes a broad speed range with tire squealing and skidding without any consquences.
On the dual lane back the traffic was flowing with 90km/h and I floored it. Of course the rpms rose to 5000 and it became really loud - but because of the quick reaction of the CVT this was over as quickly as I was done merging and the engine settled back to its pleasent thrum.
After those 14km and at least 3 longer red light phases (no engine cut-off) the trip computer read 5,1 l/100km - I resetted it 500 meter after starting the test drive. Therefore I am very confident that I can drive below 5 l/100km in light city traffic when I am used to the car and recon with 4,5 l/100km on my 35km one way trip to work over the autobahn with 90km/h cruise control, where I now need between 7,5 and 8 l/100km garage to garage with a bit of city at the end which costs me at least 0,3 l/100km consumption every time.
I really like the engine and transmission combination after this experience, at least for frugal driving to work. To cover large distances with higher speed there might be better cars, but it can be done - we drove two 1994 VW polo diesel with 48PS over more than 200.000km over long distances for some time and usually flat out. And the Mitsu will be quieter at 145km/h with the CVT - I have no doubt.
Interior room is generous and while I usually brush the headliner with my hair in Audis with sunroof and my seat setting, there is at least one inch room in the Mitsubishi. In the rear I like to be able to shove the feet under the front seat, so there is good clearance to be able to readjust your feet on medium distances.
The only criticism I took from the reviews and can confirm is the awkward steering feel (or better the lack of it) - sadly I was not able to drive faster than 110km/h, but from my experiences with the old Space Stars I can imagine fast corners at high speed feel uncomfortable deattached. Not the car to feel confident when carving though fast corners, our Polos where way more eager (lack of power steering helps - and Polo IIF's love to be thrashed).
I really think about getting one and hope that this experience give you an insight from a different perspective.