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Car reviews - Mitsubishi - Magna - Executive 5-dr wagon

Our Opinion

We like
Spacious, stylish, refined and comfortable
Room for improvement
2.6 Astron engine sounds harsh when extended

20 Jun 2003

THE Magna quickly became a success for Mitsubishi after it was released in Australia in 1985.

The combination of ample interior space, excellent ride quality, four-cylinder fuel economy and an attractive price helped the Magna build a reputation as a car which was good value for money. More than 200,000 were sold up until 1992.

Mitsubishi stuck with the successful formula for the TR station wagon released in April, 1992.

The attractive body styling was all new and bigger in most dimensions. It was almost as big as the Commodore.

The mechanical components were common to the old model, although most of them were revised or upgraded.

The TR Magna wagon sold with three levels of equipment - the base GLX, the Executive in the mid level position and the SE at the top.

The Executive's equipment list has the basic comfort and safety features. Power steering, two-speaker radio/cassette and electric mirrors were standard equipment. Alloy wheels and air- conditioning were options.

A limited edition model based on the Executive with air-conditioning and body coloured bumpers called the Challenge was released in late 1993 to boost end of model sales.

Early 1994 saw the introduction of the TS Magna with revised equipment levels and the Executive gained central locking.

The 2.6-litre, four cylinder engine carried over from the previous model with lots of detail improvements to reduce maintenance and improve fuel consumption.

The Magna does not have the performance of its Australian rivals but if driven reasonably will return better fuel economy.

Drive the Magna harder and fuel consumption will drop closer to the level of the big sixes, partly because of the Magna's relatively heavy body.

On the plus side, the weight added strength to the cabin and the Magna did not need airbags to pass the occupant protection rules introduced in 1995. In fact, it was the best performer in the large car category of the New Car Assessment Program.

The station wagon has the same front suspension layout as the sedan with MacPherson struts and coil springs.

Overall, the suspension works well with passenger car levels of ride quality and handling, and excellent noise suppression. The rear suspension is a compact design to minimise intrusion into the cargo area.

Compared to its larger rivals, the Magna's cargo space is only slightly smaller but more useable with a low floor level, wider opening tailgate and useful split fold rear seat backs.

The TR/TS series Magna station wagon was, and still is, a good package for family transport.

The only low point for some buyers is the front-wheel drive, four-cylinder engine combination which can not match the rear- wheel drive Australian rivals when it comes to heavy duty towing ability.

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